Archetype Talk and Diving into the Fool

One of the groups I facilitate is taking a transformative healing journey through the major arcana of the tarot, as The Fool, the first archetype out of twenty two that make up the tarot. This morning I feel inspired to write about The Fool and every now and then focus the blogs on these specific archetypes.

An archetype is a sentient collective instinct.

Sentient because the archetypes have a life of their own, independent of the individual, larger than the individual. Transpersonal.

The archetypes live in the collective unconscious. In a shamanic framework this may be known as the underworld. In the indigenous framework, which we all come from as we are all animal creatures of earth, the archetypes are known as gods and goddesses. Indigenous wisdom of life is connected to nature because we are nature and hence, wisdom is connected to the natural world.

The archetypes are just as much a part of nature as a tree or a layer of the earth’s interior. The psyche, individual and collective, is a part of nature not detectable by the five senses but detectable to felt senses experiences on deeper levels. These deeper levels of awareness are not in fashion in today’s religious or atheist black and white cultural narrative, but they are real and exist.

An archetype is a collective instinct because it is an urge we all share in common.

The urge to dive into a new experience with no past or future is the instinct of The Fool. The instinct to mother, create, nurture, and love unconditionally is the The Empress…and so forth. Whether you use the tarot or another archetypal system is does not matter. You can use Jungian, tarot, astrology, pantheons, or channel your own names for the archetypes….it is up to you.

The archetypes don’t have names and they live in their own dimension as psychic nature forces that the ego names in order to have a relationship with them.

Depth perspectives in psychology (Jungian and beyond), occult magic, shamanism, astrology, and tarot all narrate the same archetypal forces with different titles, beliefs, and frames of reference. The important thing is to choose what narration and belief fits you the best.

Naming, beliefs, and narration itself is a mental process that helps the ego connect with life. It is a function of being human not an objective solid truth outside of our minds. We get so caught up in the mental narration of beliefs in culture, warring over who is right, needing to be right, craving power, or even just wanting to put your name on a system of thought and get recognition for it…all of that is ego play and nothing more.

Nature cannot be claimed.

Back to The Fool!

I love The Fool because this archetype is free of the past and future. The Fool lives in the present. The Fool literally does not have a past or future.

One of the most literal understandings of The Fool is the fetus being born into the world for the first time. The brand new infant has no memory of the past, no awareness of a future, and no understanding of linear time. The new born does not even know it is different or separate than the external world.

A infant experiences being one with all of life. This is The Fool.

From a more spiritual perspective, the soul dives into the body of the mother but once nestled in, forgets where it came from. This is the first deep dive of the soul. Incarnation. To forget the origin and only know the absolute present is The Fool.

From a healing perspective, The Fool is the instinct to start anew with no preconceived notions, feeling the urge to experience life in a new way, forgetting the hurt, wounds, stories, and the behaviors of the past. In relationships this could herald a fresh new perspective in the relationship you are in, a new relationship, or a returning relationship wanting to start over in a new way. Internally, The Fool invokes the urge to be new inside…and it always starts from within no matter if relationships, jobs, locations, or circumstances are asking for newness in your life.

To experience internal and external life anew the healing has much to do with letting go of what was.

This is not so easy….but that’s the brilliant beauty of the archetypes. They are sentient transpersonal forces that give us help, life, internal shifts, miracles, and ease in the form of an urge inside to express their agenda.

They need us to express their agenda. We need them to express our agenda. It’s a two way street.

If The Fool rises up in your psyche, you will not only feel the urge to begin anew and be only in the present, you will also find it easier to let go of the old because The Fool has got your back.

Caution may also be needed as the archetypes don’t stop, don’t hold back, have no concern for human needs, The Fool will metaphorically or literally throw you off a cliff and cause careless action in the shadow of its urge if you don’t learn how to have good boundaries with its instinctual force.

Part of consciously working with archetypes is understanding each force has a light side and shadow side. A friend recently said that it wasn’t about the coin or black and white taking of sides but life is more like a prism. I love her prism metaphor and paraphrase it here to say that the archetypes contain a prism of urges from destruction to creation and they don’t care about how their force effects humans. This is not because they are devious or malicious, no…it is simply because they are not human and so they are not moral story makers like we are. They simply express with no limitation until the human ego puts up a limitation.

It’s up to the human ego to say yes and no the archetypal urges that rise up in the psyche.

For instance, I often feel The Fool rise up in me to blow up my entire life and move to a different city. I say no to this urge from The Fool unless it fits in with my chosen plans and soul narrative because it would be destructive and careless of me to do this. The Fool rises up in me just as often to chuck my beliefs about myself and relationships so that I don’t become dogmatic or rigid in my thinking. This Fool urge I always embrace to cleanse my psyche.

Consciously working with the archetypes is a wonderful way to connect with the transpersonal and feel supported and loved from within. We are never alone.

Consciously working with the archetypes is a wonderful way to create your life for as much as you are able in this world. It is a wonderful way to connect with nature and your psyche.

There are many tools to connect. As a therapist, I work with clients to connect and consciously work with the archetypes using tarot, ritual, and journeying. I use the same methods on myself on a regular basis. I also take the journey along with the others in my group. We form our crucible and journey together. Each time I journey as The Fool I get to start anew and the journeys get more specific over the years.

You can take this journey too in therapy, in a group, in a class, through watching videos or reading books…it’s up to you. You can use the tarot or Jungian archetypes. You can use a specific pantheon or blend pantheons. You can set up an alter for the archetype you are working with or paint, draw, sing, dance or creatively express it however you wish. I want to stress taking the creative and individualized path because how you connect best is what is most effective.

Is The Fool rising up within you?

 

 

 

A Different Blog…

To be honest and frank…and in the spirit of transparency….I admit I am tired of writing “how to” or “this is what it is” type of blogs on the topics of healing.

I have been on the healing path my entire life. Healing is so much a part of who I am because it is my life long journey, my work and my soul purpose. I have many years under my belt now and from this lived experience I will say that the most effective healing tool, for me, is love.

Love as compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, letting go, inspiration, creativity, connecting with the transpersonal (divine) and with self and with others.

I have traversed a huge plethora of healing modalities in the metaphysical and psychological world. CBT, EMDR, Hypnosis, NLP, Shamanic healing, past life regression, astrology, tarot, Reiki, crystals, Kabbala and magic, attachment theory, family systems, depth psychology, on and on….all have been very helpful for me and most of these modalities I use on myself and with those I work with….

And…

Still…

The greatest healer, time and time again, is purifying the heart to let more love in.

Love is peace that lasts.

Happiness is fleeting as is pleasure and pain. But love is a stable solid foundational energy within that makes the difficult and painful moments tolerable and something to grow from.

Love connects us to our true source of power within that cannot be taken away by anyone or anything no matter how unjust or tragic… and…

Love also tempers the joy so that it doesn’t turn into addiction or an escape hatch.

But I am not going to write a blog on “how to love” or “this is what love is”.

I feel compelled to simply….write from the heart.

I pulled a few oracle cards this morning on what to write about and these three cards showed up: Memory, Harmony, Anguish.

Perfect timing with the new moon in Libra of which I do not want to explain either. There are many astrologers to refer to on this. My favorite is Kaypacha who puts out the free “Pele report” you can find on YouTube every week.

Anyhow…my clear intention this morning is to write on these three words, from the heart.

Anguish is a feeling most people run away from like it is the plague.

I tell myself and all of my clients the same thing on repeat, feelings are nothing more than chemical storms coursing through the body.

You are not your feelings.

Feelings cannot harm you.

Feelings do not last.

There is nothing to fear about anguish and yet fear is a feeling to also learn to not fear….(the paradox is always present).

I know anguish very well. I feel anguish for the state of humanity and this country. I feel anguish for every child, elder person, and animal enduring abuse. I feel anguish for the homeless and mentally ill. I feel anguish for my own sense of deep unmet soul longing that flares from starvation.

I don’t fear anguish and when it courses through me in a storm of emotion, I watch the storm as I cry, wail, bitch, paint, write, or however anguish expresses….

Then, like magic, the anguish that is not me leaves my body and is gone forever…or until the next storm.

I used to wrap up anguish in a story that said I was bad, wrong, not good enough, not loved, and other negative interpretations created by a youthful me, that stuck like glue as stories do.

It took a long time to learn how to detach from the stories and not identify with them anymore.

Did you ever see the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”? That movie is the perfect metaphor for learning to detach from the story. That brilliant man in the film (a true story) needed to learn to ignore his best friends because they were delusions. He did not feel them to be fake but they were.

The stories of anguish can feel so real but they are not real. They are delusions.

Humans are delusional creatures. Look at the state of our world. Look how we hate, judge, create moral systems, religions, principals, and ideas about what life is and what life should be.

I know many people believe in a being in the sky who decreed it all and that’s their right to to believe as I have my right to believe. Whose to say who is accurate?

Who is the judge of reality?

Nobody or God? Yourself?

I pay more attention to wanting every human to experience love, equality and freedom more than I care to know the facts about the metaphysical nature of reality. This is my heart’s desire and stand by it.

My metaphysical interpretation of life is solid but I am always willing for it to evolve and I always take it with a grain of salt.

Love, freedom, and equality for all people, on the other hand, comes first and I will not budge on this ever.

The New Age, witchy and metaphysical communities can be as arrogant, narrow minded, and dogmatic as fundamental religion or atheism communities, even if only the religious extremists are the violent ones.

The need to be right, feel powerful, have power and relevance in the world lives in all of us in the shadow if we don’t own it.

I own my desire for power so it doesn’t stink up my shadow. Our human nature is our human nature. I want love to rule and I too, like us all, am a self centered desirous animal. I have no shame around this.

I do have shame though. We all do.

Shame, like anguish, is only a chemical storm coursing through the body. It is not me. Or you. This leads me to the next word.

Memory….

Shame rises up strong in me when I think back to my past. I feel so much embarrassment when I compare myself to others or feel the weaknesses that exist in my temperament. Oh well. I let the shame pass through.

Look, my shadow is dark alley way filled with despair but I don’t live there. Sometimes I fall into this alley way and suddenly I feel lost and confused.

I have learned to tell when I fall into my alley. It’s usually in the body I notice first. Anxiousness rises up in me. I may also notice that I feel young like a child and insecure like something too soft and vulnerable.

Soon as I notice I am in the alley,  I am no longer in the alley as much because I am witnessing being in the alley from that point on….

Awareness creates distance and detachment, it’s so cool!

Developing the witness is the whole entire thing Buddhism is about. I dig it. I live it. I would say that at the very core of my mind is a Buddhist monk.

My spirit is not a monk though. My spirit is Blue Lily Storm here to return people to their inner source of power and tear down outdated structures, cleanse and purify like storms do. My spirit is not concerned with mental anything but is more a force of nature that seeks to transform energy. My spirit is a conveyer belt of transformation…

My soul is a gypsy wandering through lifetimes, a karmic being sewing a tapestry of time….Danu, Isis, Sophia, the goddess in many forms longing to tell the story of what really happened in humanity’s past that is still hidden. My soul longs to share this myth. She has no pragmatism at all in her nature….and she roots only to wisdom, nothing in the physical…

Luckily, my Animus, which was born the moment my soul entered this body, is a stoic masculine force who finds peace in emptiness to balance out all of the passionate feminine. My inner masculine has light eyes and weathered salty skin who spends most of his time contemplating within. He believes in nothing and steeps in the vastness, He likes to create things and finish works…

Did you know that falling in love is when we are struck by the arrow of our Anima or Animus in another person? All of us have an inner compensating force to balance out the conscious self we identify with…I love that, it’s such a brilliant trick!

I am waxing poetic and sharing some of my personal self…busting the old system that therapists need to be blank slates. I will not share very much of my personal life and what I share I hand pick with intention, keeping it pertinent to healing or for inspiration but I will not be a blank slate. Down with that old crusty perception!

We are all in this together and I just so happen to have a lot of experience, intuition and knowledge which makes me a good guide.

We cannot escape that we are mirrors for each other all the time…

Harmony is remembering this so we own our own shadow, see every relationship as a healing opportunity and purify our hearts to love more…and more…

We cannot escape the personal connection between each of us at all times. Boundaries are needed. My boundaries are firm and supportive and I will say, it took a solid five years of intense work. How are your boundaries?

Boundaries are the most vital aspect next to love it feels to me, because if you lose the boundary between your true self and the story or the feeling inside, you lose your center. Just like your sense of self can shatter in the energy of another person it can also shatter in the energy of yourself.

If you can keep your sense of self firm and centered in the presence of every feeling and story that courses through you then you can keep your sense of self firm and centered in the presence of another, no matter who they are…..

When sense of self s firm and centered you are in harmony.

Love is the firm center.

 

 

Reflection on Having a Mental Paradigm Shift

I have to force myself to blog this morning and I share this because it has to do with the topic at hand. Having a mental paradigm shift stems from being able to follow discipline when the feelings strongly wish to stray from the practice.

The practice is the actual root. Mediation is key. Yoga can be meditation. Chanting can be meditation. Meditation is watching the thoughts pass by while focusing inward and on breath or the mantra. With yoga, the focus is on linking breath and movement while you watch the thoughts.

The practice builds your inner witness (your soul) so you may watch thoughts but not identify with them.

Most people identity with their thoughts and feelings. You think you are your thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and you believe the stories you tell yourself about yourself, life, and others. Yet these stories are only stories.

Same goes with your feelings. You are not the sorrow, despair, joy, inspiration, frustration, anger, rage, loneliness, (on and on) that passes through you in waves.

When you identify too much with your thoughts and feelings you wind up suffering.

The more you find yourself in stillness, breath, and just being, the more peace, balance, and letting go results.

You don’t need stories to define you although you still create them because as humans we are wired to make meaning out of life. You don’t need your feelings to define you although you still acknowledge and express them so that they leave the body. Through the practice, thoughts and feelings are given their right place within the land of self.

This skill of experiencing self as being develops through consistent practice. It is not magic or miracle.

When you put in the dedication and time to meditate most days or every day, you build the skill of self as being. This is where your true source of power is discovered and cannot be taken away no matter what happens to you in the external world, from slight aversion to major trauma.

The true source of power found in being naturally radiates empowerment, contentment, balance, and peace within.

As you build this skill you detach more and more from your thoughts and feelings and this is the prerequisite to being able to make a mental paradigm shift.

What do I mean by making a mental paradigm shift? Let’s say you believe in following the heart no matter what and you keep winding up in toxic relationships, or you believe that feelings are not to be trusted and always find it hard to connect with others, or you strongly believe all men are bad or all women are crazy and you keep attracting the same unhealthy relationship to project your belief onto to prove yourself right (insert your mental paradigm here). I am using only relationship examples but this could be any area of life.

Your mental paradigm is a meta-program that filters all of your thoughts into its main stance. Strong mental paradigm stances that have no room for suppleness, change, growth, or flexibility are usually put in place to protect the ego from being wounded…again. They are purposeful and were put in place to help you but eventually they become a source of suffering.

We all have a protector within us. The protector is the aspect of self that tries to protect us from pain.

Your protector may be sarcastic, flippant, accusatory, wanting to build a case, avoidant, controlling, manipulative, narcissistic, masochist, shy, show-offy, on and on…basically the protector creates the defense mechanisms we unconsciously use to keep us safe and lurking in our familiar haunts that mirror the childhood family system in some way.

Although we long for more connection, secure attachment, and freedom to be the true self, familiarity is hard to break. Most of us find comfort in the familiar pain we know from youth and we tend to unconsciously wade in it rather than risk the vulnerability required to open up to more of what we truly desire on a soul level.

The protector makes sure the vulnerable child deeper inside does not get slam dunked into pain and disappointment again. This means we don’t risk vulnerability and instead we wade in the familiar comfort that is painful but manageable.

Some protectors think they are content but rely on addiction to feed them a false sense of joy. Some protectors are self loathing and rely on feeling bad about self to avoid taking risks. Some protectors rely on being right and good and never doing wrong. Some protectors are critical and judgmental and live on high horses. Protectors project a strong mental paradigm about self, other, and life itself.

The stories that the protector projects are wide in variety but you always know it’s the protector’s mental paradigm when the stance cannot be budged, is narrow in focus, comes out unconsciously (without thinking) or uses some technique of blame, hate, minimizing or negatively perceiving self or other in a black and white fashion.

These protectors are born very young and reflect a mentally immature mind. When we were young these defense mechanism stories were the best we could come up with and allowed us to survive or cope with being a self in the family system. Even privileged children who do not endure trauma may be raised with avoidant parents, surrounded by functional addiction, not receive the attunement or structure needed to develop a healthy ego capable of making healthy choices and traversing through painful experiences.

At a certain point in the healing process, it is time for the protector to stand down and allow vulnerability to express because the protector creates suffering on repeat.

The protector’s story usually makes a hard line between victim (self) and perpetrator (the other) or the reverse of this where self is bad and other is glorified. I am not speaking of actual crimes and violence when there really is a perpetrator and victim. I am speaking of the messy relational field where we come into each moment carrying the hurting inner child wrapped inside the protector who will go to any lengths to make sure the child is not hurt again.

To let the protector stand down and to be vulnerable becomes much easier when we build the inner witness and no longer need to identity with our thoughts and feelings as strongly. There is a detachment that develops. This detachment doesn’t take away from the passion of living, it does not stop thoughts or feelings…it simply creates space so we can breathe and access our true source of power within.

When we can access and feel our true power, self love, spirit, nature, emptiness, whatever you want to call it depending on your temperament and belief….we can let go of the mental paradigm that is causing us suffering, we can allow the protector to stand down, we can allow our vulnerable self to show.

The mental paradigms that create suffering are not who you are and they do not have to rule your life. Yet to release them you must become somewhat comfortable or at least willing to feel and share your vulnerable self without it causing you to crumble to pieces when another causes hurt. The process of becoming somewhat comfortable and willing is different for each person. Trauma may make it much more complex and attachment wounds can be just as difficult.

Temperament has a lot to do with the process too. Nature and nurture are always at play. Patience is needed. Love is needed to not judge the spiral of progress that may look like two steps forward and one step back on the regular.

Human beings are designed to endure pain and we are also designed to be vulnerable.

Most of us are not present. Our wounds and insecurities live with us from the past, alive and sizzling in the heart and mind. Many of us were not safe as children. Many of us could not be vulnerable as children without being dismissed, avoided, scolded, controlled, or abused. This is why we cling to the hard nosed stories that the protectors create to make sure that the little person inside does not risk danger again.

The healing work to integrate the inner child, have the protector stand down, and develop a strong inner witness is hard work but brings potent results.

Meditation is part of healing and so is therapy or some kind of process work. You can process with healers of all kinds to help you move energy and understand your inner landscape. The point  I want to make is that there needs to be some form of processing of the thoughts and feelings, past and present.

The key is to balance not identifying with the thoughts and feelings with processing the thoughts and feelings, so that we heal from a holistic perspective. Meditation, energy work, talk therapy, depth work, using crystals, herbs, dream work, shamanic healing….whatever you are called to do is what works best.

Having a mental paradigm shift may also happen by miracle. Miracles are real. I have experienced them myself and witnessed others suddenly change. In an instant their suicide ideation is gone, their cigarette addiction is gone, their mind suddenly grasps a new paradigm just like that, a story of betrayal vanishes, a feeling and story of attachment to another turns on or shuts off…and we shift in an instant. We cannot rely on miracles but they happen.

Best to put in the daily effort to keep the self supple, growing, healing, and expanding.

Hard work is a part of life. Paradoxically, putting effort forth each day to open the mind, integrate the psyche, heal the self, and grow as a soul will make life easier and more loving and make you more present. It is not the experience itself that does or does not create suffering, it is how we digest and interpret the experience. We are the meaning makers.

Reflections on the Importance of Core Values

This blog is about core values. Are you aware of your core values? Have you defined them in your mind, do you feel them in your heart? Or are you unaware of what you value authentically as true self?

Differentiating self from others is important business. How often we doubt ourselves when a core value clashes with a core value of a loved one….how often we sacrifice a core value for a loved one…..how often we do not develop firm and loving boundaries that allow us to say yes or no to others in order to protect true self….

Our core values make up an inner map that guides us into living a life that reflects our authentic self.

This map guides us to forming and sustaining the right romantic, friendship, business, and all forms of relationships.  (The West, heart) Without the map you could partner with a person where you have to compromise too much or completely sacrifice what you value. You may also find that over time you realize a core value is not being met and enter the healing process to see if a compromise and balance may be discovered. The matter may be complicated and take time.

This map guides guides us into choosing (if we have the privilege to choose and many do not) the right livelihood that gives us what we need and provides a sense of fulfillment. (The North, body) Without the map you may stay in a job that drains you or that you hate. Becoming aware of your values may also help you see that the job you have hated is actually providing you with core value nourishment in that it may pay well or is stable even if you don’t love what you are doing. The matter may be complex.

Our core values may not give us happiness all the time but they keep us balanced and allow for true self to have wiggle room to grow and express.

The map of core values guides us into understanding when we are in or out of integrity. (The East, mind) When you feel bad about yourself you might be judging yourself harshly based upon a habit of identifying with being bad due to attachment wounds or trauma from the past. Or you might feel bad about yourself because you are not living in your authentic sense of integrity, which is different for each person. When this is the case you need to course correct and return to your integrity to actually feel good about yourself again. Core values are an inner compass.

This inner compass builds a strong foundation in the psyche that helps us act from a sense of inner truth. (The South, will) When you continually act from whatever the impulse or reactivity of the moment is, you do not have your map in hand. You live at the whim of fate and the forces of nature. Learning how to say yes and no to the constant impulses of the body and unconscious mind begins with having your core values fleshed out and firmly in place. A clear and concise map.

Questioning your core values is a developmental exercise that is vital because as we grow our values may shift and change. In your twenties you may value partying or hanging out or dreaming huge dreams in the realm of endless possibility or living in a more idealistic state, etc. When you hit your forties you may have fully lived out (successfully or unsuccessfully) the core values of youth. This is what is called “the mid-life crisis” (the next developmental transit would be around age sixty nine at the second Saturn return, the markers happen all throughout a life span).

As one friend stated in speaking of the Uranus opposition in the natal chart that occurs around age 42 (this mid-life crisis transit), it is time to metaphorically build a new house. The house is our core value map. What do you value now?

I can say from personal experience that I am more of an introverted hermit now (in my forties). I value solitude. I also value discipline, consistency, being structured, grounded and balanced through taking care of my body. The values of my youth were all about flowing, indulging, and being in the heart all the time which allowed me to heal, grow and be my true self back then. If I did that now I would crumble. Now it is solitude, disciplined practice, and my health regime that catalyzes healing, growth and true self expression. I still enjoy socializing and flowing but it is not my main focus.

We may hold onto values from the past with less weight as new values take up more space.

Developmental changes may feel like crisis because change is hard for humans. Across the board. To suddenly experience being drained by what once energized, or to experience your health decline by what once invigorated, or to experience a certain quality of relationship (or the relationship itself) go from feeling right to feeling off and wrong, or to suddenly wake up in your job or lifestyle and it no longer feels satisfying…..

Are all clues that it is time to rewrite the map because your core values are changing. To avoid crisis you would just switch to the new way of being but that’s not how we are as humans. All of us get attached to people, jobs, lifestyle habits, mental patterns, and most importantly we attach to how our values turn into a self identity.

I used to have the identity of a bohemian gypsy priestess rolling through life a leaf in the wind barely touching ground and indulging my senses as I pleased. This identity and lifestyle was partially a privilege and a way of being that allowed me to deeply heal for a period of time.

Now my identity is a grounded, stable, disciplined therapist and teacher planting roots and living like an urban Buddhist monk with how I eat and practice yoga/meditation. I went through a very difficult transition because I was very attached to my old self identity. I resisted the identity I wear now, profusely (a life-long trend for me to have aversion for what I am about to embrace). Now I am content with the new identity.

Growth is always painful and death always brings rebirth.

The artist identity has also changed value. I used to want make it in the world as an artist. Now, I could care less about getting worldly recognition. Sometimes only part of an identity shifts. The artist remains but she values making art for the sake of making art and not for achieving fame or success in the eyes of others.

Do you have a life long identity that also needs a shift within it?

Romantic relationships are a big one when it comes to core values. The kind of relationship you value now may be very different than what it was five, ten or twenty years ago. Your values here may shift in terms of the structure of relationship and in the type of person most compatible with who you are.

Discerning core values from more shallow expectations is vital. You don’t want to miss out on a great core value match because they don’t meet your shallow expectations.

Compromise plays a big role here too. If an introvert is with an extrovert, for instance, your values will clash but can you find a happy medium where you allow your partner to go out more while you stay home and sometimes they stay home with you and sometimes you go out and socialize with them?

Sometimes opposite core values find their balance when other core values match up well between two people.

It is also important to discern the difference between a core value and an unconscious wound or fear. For instance, you may value a close long term relationship but fear being in one due to hurt from the past or not feeling good enough to have what you want. If you don’t know the difference between hurt and value, you may cling to an idea that you prefer being single and free when this is not a core value but rather a defense to protect yourself from being hurt again.

You may need to discover, rediscover or hone into your core value map. There are many ways to feel what matters most to you if your mind is not producing the words.

Look to what makes you cry with tears of beauty. Look to what causes you to feel anger in defense of the sacred. Look to what makes you smile big. Look to what invigorates you and makes you feel more expanded, open, and buoyant. Look to where you find it easy to focus and lose all track of time. Look to which people make you feel like coming home or make you want to be a better person or who make you light up. Look to love.

There may be blocks in the way when wounds, fears, and hurt spiderweb through the psyche. Sometimes finding the map requires an investigation of your shadow land. Patience may be required to navigate through confusing feelings, opposing thoughts, or being disconnected from your true self and over-bonded to the values of others.

Fear of being yourself may present as a projection onto someone or a real situation when a loved one’s expectations, criticisms, and dominating personality takes up too much space on a regular basis (due to their own wounds). This may have been in your upbringing or in a present relationship. Or you are projecting this onto a current person who is not dominating and critical but simply expressing their needs or feeling triggered into their own past stuff.

The path of differentiating true self from toxic patterns in loved ones is a path that requires courage. Discerning projection from reality is a skill that takes time to develop. We all project because it’s natural and just a part of what we do.

Lastly, I want to mention that we are not our core values and we are not our identity. Our values protect true self. To change up the metaphor, identity is the costume sewn by the core values to understand and express true self.

True self is deeper than the sewer and the costume. True self is a felt experience and a verb ever-changing just like nature and life itself.

 

 

 

 

Healing in the West, Heart, Connection

This blog will cover the west, the final direction to discuss in the four directions healing process. Read the blog “The Defeat Story and the Transcending True Self,” and the following direction blogs before reading this one, if you haven’t already.

The west is the heart. Here we heal through connection. The attachment wounds live here and are healed here. In the west we also dive into the deep sea of the psyche to discover and awaken the true self, archetypes, wounds, gifts and all aspects hidden from ego that are asking for acknowledgment. The west is where psychological depth work is helpful to integrate the aspects of self through differentiating them. Uncovering, acknowledging, and expressing all that wants out from the unconscious happens here. This is the direction of the heart. Honoring feelings. Going with the flow of inner wisdom. Being in relationship of all kinds, romantic, therapist, healer, friend, mother, father, sibling, pet, teacher, co-worker, etc. Through being in relationship with others outside the self and aspects within the self, we heal. The heart is purified in the west which is connected to water. Water cleanses and renews. Forgiveness, acceptance, letting go and surrender all happen in the west.

In the therapy world we know that 90% of healing happens through the relationship of therapist and client, not from the skills learned or the narrative developed. True, it is vital to have physiological healing from trauma, anxiety, and stress as the foundation of all healing. After that, different narratives and skills work for different people to initiate healing. Yet healing through connection is the most powerful form of healing, for everybody.

It’s hard to talk about this using logic because it is mysterious as to why outside of the scientific understanding of mirror neurons and other brain development factors understood through the attachment theory lens. Science may show us the physiological foundation of how connection keeps the psyche healthy or corrupts the psyche. Beyond science, you could say that love makes the world go round or that connection is what we are all after and why we are here, underneath it all.

What gets broken in relationship can only be healed in relationship. This is not to say we cannot heal tremendously by healing ourselves in solitude or within. I have healed drastically through connection with self and I believe this is a vital relationship to nourish. At the same time, attachment wounds begin during the early brain development years of childhood and set the psyche up for adulthood. The attachment with the parents, siblings, family and peers is most important for developing into a healthy adult in terms of being able to experience secure attachment.

Secure attachment means that you can experience intimacy and connection with another that feels safe and nourishing. Most people have an attachment wound because most of us were born with some level of dysfunction in childhood. Addiction, abuse, neglect, personality disorders and mental illness, poverty, harshness, and ignorance from family and culture show up on a spectrum for every child.

What you experience as a child is much more intense than how you would experience the same thing as an adult. It’s best not to compare and say things like, “others had it much worse,” even if you are a privileged white male or other form of privilege. Abuse, neglect, addiction, harshness, personality disorders, mental illness, death, physical illness, ignorance, and loss can show up in every category of human. It’s important to take care of yourself without judgement.

Insecure attachment can show up as ambivalent, avoidant, or disorganized. If your parents or care takers, one or more, did not attune to your emotions and show affection and love but gave you structure you could depend on (meals, bedtime, clothing, schooling, shelter, etc) than you are likely to experience avoidant attachment.

If your parents or care takers, one or more, attuned to your emotions and showed affection and love but you had little or uncertain structure to rely upon, you are likely to experience ambivalent attachment.

If your parents or caretakers, one or more, lacked in providing both structure and emotional attunement or if there was abuse, you are likely to experience disorganized attachment.

An instructor of mine used the metaphor of a cup of liquid. The cup is the structure. The liquid is emotional attuning and expression of love an affection. If you had the cup and no liquid you may avoid intimacy and feel uncomfortable around it. If you had the liquid in a cracked cup, you may constantly doubt that you are loved and feel ambivalence all the time, needing constant reassurance and filled with anxiety. If you were abused or received no liquid in a cracked cup, you may avoid intimacy sometimes and other times enter connection with high anxiety and insecurity, doubting and spinning in your mind.

These are tendencies and you may not experience what I am describing here but what I share is based upon scientific research you can look up if you are interested. Attachment theory is what you would want to research to understand more.

Attachment wounds tend to show up mostly in romantic unions because they most mirror the parent child relationship. In a romantic relationship you have the opportunity to heal the attachment wounds of the past. This is done through recognizing how you are projecting mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, grandfather etc, onto the partner and then pulling back your projection. Once you own your reaction instead of blaming and accusing, you can work through the issues in therapy or with your partner through dialogue and connecting.

Romantic relationships are not meant to be walks into sunsets. That’s all a bunch of brainwash. In fact, real love with a partner only first begins once the projections start falling and you can see the other for who they truly are.

In the beginning, we project our ideal mate onto the partner. This ideal mate lives inside of us as our inner counterpart to the conscious self. Our unconscious self is the ideal mate to our conscious self. In a sense, we all look for ourselves in a partner when we are unable to love past projection. Projection is not bad, it just is and it is how we fall in love. It is how we get into relationships. It’s the honey moon stage. But once the honey moon is over you see your ideal beautiful mate is not the person you believed them to be. Do you still want to love them. Do they still want to love you?

If you both still want to love each other and are willing to own up to your projections and take responsibility for healing through the intimacy, then you move on to the next stage of intimacy.

Many life long couples never do this. Instead, they may always live with not feeling close to their partner and fall into the same roles their parents fell into, repeating history. This work is only for the brave and for those who want to heal, experience deeper intimacy, and true love. By true love, I mean love that is true and not the sunset walk. I mean love that is based upon a commitment to love one another through the storms and once the projections fall for who each other really is. This should not feel like a life sentence in jail. You should enjoy being with your mate. If you don’t, you are not with the right person. If you enjoy each other but hard issues get in the way, you can heal the issues if both are willing.

Some couples have it easier too and just get along or mutually don’t make a big deal out of the conflicts and are not on the path of healing and evolving in a therapeutic way. Other couples love and enjoy each other so much that they are willing to work on their issues that show up intensely in romantic union due to both people being really intense. Sometimes one partner is willing and the other is not. The spectrum always exists and we each have our own relationship karma to experience.

I don’t want this entire blog to be on romantic attachment. I am somebody who has spent very little time in romantic relationships and I have healed my attachment wounds without it because the few times I was in a romantic union, the mate was not willing to work on his stuff or we were not in love or timing was off. I have healed largely through friendships and family relationships.

I know that when the right man is by side, I will experience attachment healing as well but I don’t want to make it the only way. Our culture over-values romantic relationships as the be-all end-all. But for many, they don’t want that form of relationship. Or they want a different version of it. Point being, however you connect with others is valuable and healing in the west happens through connection.

As far as healing through the self goes, this is done through depth work. Discovering you. Within the psyche many aspects of self dwell. Individual aspects and archetypes such as the wounded self, inner child, the protector, the mother, father, shadow, trickster, on and on. If you take the time and effort in therapy or on your own to discover and integrate these inner aspects you will experience deep healing from the attachment wounds of childhood. You will become more whole, balanced, and blossom into your true self.

This work can be done through Jungian and archetypal psychology and you can use astrology, tarot and other maps of the psyche to understand your inner landscape. This work is my favorite and I would place myself in the west, if I had to pick a direction. The work of each direction is equally needed to heal but the west is where I love to play.

The spiritual lessons dwell in the west too. Forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, acceptance, redemption, and tolerance all stem from attachment wound healing and we can also surrender to spirit to heal and learn these soul deep lessons.

Relationship with spirit, in my opinion, is as vital as the parent child attachment. You can translate this transpersonal relationship to meet any belief. If you are atheist, spirit is nature or the larger cosmos. If you are religious, spirit is god or the gods and goddesses. If you are spiritual but not religious spirit may be the universe or the divine, source creation or whatever word works best. This relationship is not metaphorical. We are a small part of a larger force.

There is a ton of proof for how healing occurs when surrendering to a higher power. People in AA know this well. I know this well, as surrendering to the transpersonal has healed me via miracle and also healed alongside me, carrying much of the burden of my human life, helping me out in ways more powerful than any human could provide.

I am probably on the far end of the spectrum and in a smaller category of people who have healed attachment wounds through connection with self and spirit more than with human beings. This being said, you can heal through connection with pets just as much as people. And with nature too. Let’s not box ourselves in. Connection is expansive.

The spiritual lessons are simple to understand in the mind but hard to achieve. Can you accept the injustices that have happened to you? Can you forgive your abuser? Can you have compassion for the short comings of others? Can you have tolerance for those more ignorant than you? I have found in my own life that focusing on soul lessons has brought me the most inner peace and well being.

We cannot control what happens outside of ourselves. Safety is largely an illusion. Back in the day, nature was the attacker. Today, the attackers have grown due to systemic illness in humanity and also, well, nature has a dark side that just is. We are constantly faced with being treated badly, being abused, neglected, becoming ill, getting into accidents, on and on. Life is filled with tension, injustice, power struggles and pain.

Healing in the west from the suffering of the psyche in response to the pain of life is about healing the heart. Forgiveness sets the heart free from karma and rage. Acceptance allows the heart to metabolize and release trauma. Compassion allows the heart to connect with others, as does tolerance. The spiritual lessons are pragmatic in nature, for they allow us to experience more peace, self love, love for others and the big U.

Unconditional love, the lesson of all lessons.

These lessons are tall orders and perhaps why we have spiritual practices, religions, and mystical tools to help us heal, transcend, transform, and grow. Spiritual bypassing is a thing too to be wary of too. For instance, true forgiveness comes from experiencing suffering, anger, sorrow and working your way through empowerment and into acceptance before forgiveness is genuinely felt.

Spiritual bypassing would be mentally saying you forgive while stuffing all of your painful feelings into the shadow because you judge your own feelings and glom onto spiritual morality to keep you feeling good and safe. This is common and the reason why societies scapegoat groups of people and demonize corrupt leaders. Unless we process our own feelings stuffed into the shadow we will project our feelings onto the other. This is the collective level of connection that needs healing.

I would say healing in the west is the most complex of the directions. I could write on and on about it but feel this blog is already too long. I will end it with mentioning water. Water flows. Water cleanses. Water drowns. Water purifies, Water is our feelings. Our feelings form connection. Connection is why we are all here. Being an individual within the collective, connected to self and the other in harmony, is the healing of the west. This occurs from healing the past and being able to show up with loving awareness in the present. May it be so for us all.

Notes on the East, Mind, and the Story

This blog will go deeper into the east direction of healing as first written about in the blog entry, “The Defeat Story and the Transcending True Self.” Healing started in the north and you can read about that in the previous post.

East is the mind and here we can find the mindfulness practice that allows us to be witness to the story of defeat versus buying what it is selling. When we can watch the mental stories and the mind blah blah blahing while knowing true self is not the thoughts, we free ego from being enslaved to the story of defeat. This gives space for true self to rise up from the shadow and synthesize with the ego. No need to understand how this works. If you learn to watch your thoughts but not believe in them and if you learn how to be the witness to your mind but not identify with mind as self, the true self will rise, synthesize and become ego. The healing of the east is connected to the air, seeing the big picture like a wise eagle up in the sky.

I want to share my personal story of healing in the east. Back in 2010, when I was 38 years old, I had never meditated before minus a handful of times. I had done countless journeys inward in the form of creative visualizations and shamanic journeys. I had stared out the window and allowed my thoughts to reveal themselves in silence probably every day of my life. But I did not think I needed to meditate and I had no desire until my father suggested I try it when he noticed how much I was struggling with a certain issue in my life.

Smack dab in the middle of New York city, I closed my eyes and began the basic practice of watching my breath and noticing my thoughts pass like clouds through the sky of my mind. Beginners luck. Within just a few minutes a profound felt experience took me over. I could feel me being my breath and the thoughts not being me. Suddenly, I changed forever. I no longer believed my thoughts were true. I no longer felt my self to be what my thoughts were telling me I was through their stories and more deeply, I no longer felt thoughts themselves to be anything even close to who I was.

An emptiness seized me for weeks afterward as I would have thoughts about me or whatever topic rose up and every single thought seemed irrelevant. Not pointless or bad or wrong or any judgmental thing. Just a soft neutral irrelevance that left me feeling empty because I used to fully invest in my thoughts before that. I used to not have a sense of space between me and my thoughts. All of the sudden there was space and complete differentiation. Thoughts seemed nothing more than song on the radio.

I am very mental by temperament. I have seven air planets in my natal chart which represents mind. I am a huge meaning-maker. Eventually, I found my way back to the love and joy I experience for allowing my thoughts to have some weight. During that period in 2010, I would have said, “I have seven air planets in my chart, is just a thought. Astrology is just a thought. I am a meaning-maker is just a thought. None of it matters. I am, is just a thought.” and let it all go the moment those thoughts rose up in me. This is a path many take in life and it is beautiful and true in its own right. I swung back to the middle because my true self love for meaning-making led the way.

Every time I get too invested in thoughts I can return to that place and drop all identification with thinking and identities that thinking creates. To identify with your thoughts means to believe them as true and to believe what they tell you informs you about the nature of reality, self, or whatever you are thinking about. We use thoughts as a means to communicate and they have their purpose. Eventually I found the right balance for me in how much I invest in thoughts but I don’t identify with them at all anymore. I can blab on and on about my natal chart and how it makes sense of my internal experience and I also don’t identify with Astrology as a concept, at the same time. This is how it is with every mental understanding that I love and that gives me a strong felt sense. I love exploring the archetypes, they give me a strong self sense and I don’t identify with archetypes as concepts.

I identify with only a felt experience of being me. It’s wordless. It’s love if I have to give a word.

I share my story of east healing to show how quick it can happen to loosen the grip on the mind. When we over-identify with the stories our mind tells us, we suffer. Buddhism is rooted in the psychology of detaching identity from thought. We are not our thoughts. Even being a “me” is a thought and radical practice of this transcends sense of self past the individual level. We are not who we think we are.

Thoughts are not ours. We don’t make them up. Thoughts travel around and we catch them with our brains that are like nets catching butterflies. Or you can see the brain as a radio station and thoughts are the radio waves. Those of us who channel experience this consciously all the time. I turn my brain to a certain channel and channel a certain being.

The big idea (which is a thought too, so everything I explain in this blog is also moot) is that we are not the stories we tell ourselves and we don’t make up thoughts we think. Rather, the human being is a frequency channeling other frequencies in one big frequency being.

How is this healing?

Because, for example, when you let go of believing you are insecure and not good enough, space is created within. This space will naturally fill up with love. Love is the frequency of oneness that is the core power inside every single human being. Love is God. Love is Nature. Love is Universe. It’s the most natural thing in the world. Yet it is very easy to blotch out. If you spend all day trying to prove your worth in the eyes of others or chasing after projections of what you think will satisfy you or tell yourself you are a piece of poo or tell others they are a piece of poo or whatever story of pain and suffering you tell yourself, you blotch out the natural love that is the very core of existence.

I don’t use the word love like a hippie woo woo creature you can make fun of but you might make fun of me anyway. Let me remind you, love is strong. Love is childbirth, love is surviving abuse and war and starvation, love is saving a life, love is working through problem after problem, love is communicating truth, love is being honest, love is being open, love is being vulnerable, and love is being present. Love is hope. Love is the blood in the body and the gold of the soul. The west is where we feel this love. The east is where we clear space to feel this love.

I have not formally meditated in years. I do a vinyasa yoga practice that connects breath to movement and this keeps me centered so that I remain the witness of my thoughts. Four times a week. Chill. I have huge struggles in certain areas and I am not on any mountaintop when I share that being witness to my thoughts is something that comes easy to me. For you it may be harder and you may need to meditate daily to stay the witness. We all need a different kind of practice.

You can meditate by simply watching your breath and thoughts pass by while sitting in silence. You can watch your thoughts and breath while chanting, making something with our hands that does not require thought, or do some form of movement that allows you to watch thoughts and breath at the same time. You can meditate for five minutes a day or hours a day. Some ancient eastern practices make it complex and add all sorts of fancy breath work. There is a lot of variety to choose from and practices root back to the beginning.

True self rises from the west when we create space by not identifying with thoughts. This is my take on it, coming from a western point of view where I have consciously chosen to embrace the creative play of being an individual soul. I don’t believe in the individual soul as a static thing because as we lose the human suit we may become more collective and when I let go of all thought, I feel only oneness as the play of forces and form. I like to use all metaphysical concepts playfully, poetically and free to morph, as a result.

I feel the play of forces and form that is oneness choosing to put on the costume of the individual soul. Like the Russian doll image, I feel oneness as the core doll evolving through individuating itself into more and more specific life forms. I feel oneness evolve through creating stories of being different life forms. Just as humans stem from the single cell bacteria here on earth…I feel oneness as the spirit version of the single cell bacteria, continually evolving into more and more life forms. Metaphysical tangent.

True self is the authentic individual aching to emerge from the shadow of the ego where it waits for ego to make space for it to rise.

When space is created by not identifying with thoughts, true self can begin to rise and embody the conscious personality. True self is a felt experience and not a belief system. Why must I always express myself creatively? It’s my true self. Why am so sensitive and feel things with the volume way higher than most? It’s my true self. Why am I so spiritual? It’s my true self. It’s me beyond an idea of me. It’s living breathing me.

I was blessed to be raised by parents who did not tell me what to believe about who I am or life itself.  I was raised without religious or moral dogma. I was raised with a felt experience love, even through the dysfunction, abuse, and troubles youth delivered. This may have made it easier for me to know who I really am. I can only imagine the struggle for some who are raised with strong mental belief systems and dogma that forces them to repress their true nature at a young age to survive or be liked. I think about this especially for LGBTQIA kids and it breaks my heart that their true nature is made to be sinful and wrong by religion.

We all face the battle of true self versus conditioned self if we don’t align with our culture’s value system, on any level. Yet even if you are gender binary, christian, cis-male, straight, between the ages of 18 and 35, healthy, handsome, wealthy and educated with the cultural norm kissing your feet, you may equally battle discovering your true self because the world will mold your success so easily and distract you from looking within. However you are praised or marginalized by family and culture will inform how your true self is repressed or valued. Nature and nurture.

A certain true self temperament may not let any amount of cultural/family conditioning, abuse or trauma repress their true nature. Another temperament may crumble from the slightest thought of being humiliated. The reality of being oppressed, abused, or steered away through a strong value system put in place by family and tradition effects each individual in varying degrees. You can notice this in siblings who grow up in same household and culture but respond to external life in very distinct ways based upon their distinct internal experience. The distinct internal experience is the true self.

True self exists beneath and beyond thought but thought turns true self into a word and a concept. In the east, space is made between the felt experience and the thoughts that are always flooding in to costume the felt experience into a story. This story, when identified with, cements itself into the psyche and loops. This looping is called a neural pathway. The reason why we get stuck in habits of thinking and behavior roots itself in the way the neural pathway plays on repeat like forgetting to change the radio station and it always playing the same song, over and over. This is suffering.

 

 

The Dark Night of the Soul

I am compelled to write about the dark night of the soul because I am currently journeying through a dark night myself. The recent death of my mother was my entrance, this time around. We all take our turn in the dark night journey. Loss is the entrance. This may be a loss of a loved one to death, to the break-up of a relationship, loss of health to illness, loss of a job, loss of a home, loss of youth, loss of a dream….loss.

In astrology the dark night of the soul would be associated with Pluto, the planet of loss that happens out of your control that takes you to your knees in surrender. It is through this surrender that the soul transforms. In tarot, you could associate the dark night of the soul with the Death and The Hanged Man archetypes. The former applies to the actual loss, the latter to the journey that comes with the loss. If you pull these cards, you know it is your turn.

The dark night of the soul is not fun, easy, predictable, or known. Each time a person goes through it, it is their own unique journey. At the same time, the dark night of the soul is archetypal, universal, and collective. There are key elements we all experience when going through it. It’s helpful to know that you are not going insane and that nothing is wrong with you when you feel…

Hopeless, like nothing can lift your heart out of the shadows.

Despair, like you’ve fallen into an abyss and there is no light to be found.

Confused, like one minute you are in your every day life with your usual struggles and pleasures (no matter how intense they may present) and the next minute you’re in a different place emotionally. You feel feelings you cannot name. Your life does not seem to make sense.

Angry because you feel as if life unfairly took something important from you.

Judgmental of yourself because you are not functioning like your usual self and being vulnerable makes you feel embarrassed.

Like hiding or withdrawing because interacting with others makes you feel worse. Maybe you are envious of what they have that you have lost. Maybe you try to explain yourself but it makes you feel worse to do so. Maybe the contrast of your life against their life is too much to bare. Maybe you need silence. You don’t laugh as easy. You don’t feel chatty. You cannot care about their lives the way you normally do. You have very little to give.

Like escaping self-destructively into food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, television, or whatever thing or activity will act like a balm on the harsh feelings. Maybe you have an addiction issue and the dark night takes you to a new level of needing to surrender to not partake in your addiction. Maybe you don’t have an addiction issue but keep over doing it and feeling bad about yourself and struggle to find balance.

Like you can’t sleep or you sleep too much, your dreams are intense, you wake up each morning in a fog, you never feel truly rested.

And these are just a few of the feelings and experiences I am tapping into that we all share when in the dark night. The dark night is not a depression. It is a rite of passage.

Just know you are normal for experiencing all of the above. This journey will take its own course in its own time. There is nothing you can do to stop it and it is enforced upon you.

Surrender is the key.

Surrender is all you can do but at the same time, you have a choice to continually make and grapple with every single day. I stress “grapple” because the dark night of the soul is an internal wrestling match on the regular.

You can surrender and radically accept all of these feelings and experiences that seize you, not identify with the feelings, let them pass through you and allow the dark night to mysteriously transform the myth of your soul.

Or you can resist the dark night by identifying with the feelings and telling yourself a story that creates suffering based upon these feelings.

This story can be that you are bad, guilty, wrong, fucked up, not good enough, or that you need to just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with life, that your feelings can’t compare with those who are going through worse, that you don’t have the right to feel pain and loss as you push all your feelings down into the shadow, slowly making yourself sick either through seeming like a shining star of strength or through self destructing from escape into addiction or fleeing or doing something impulsive that makes your life fall into suffering. You get the idea.

Suffering is the story, not the feelings.

The internal wrestling is hard because the feelings that rise up in the dark night are unnamable and often intense. The key is to let them rise and pass through you like chemical storms.

Agony, loneliness, despair, anger, regret, every form of vulnerability where the ego feels like its fallen off the throne and lost its crown, can present in the dark night. Or maybe you feel a low level blah, a loss of interest in your regular activities, or you need to be alone. Depends on the temperament as we are all different.

The key though, is to allow the feelings and desires to present and be honored without buying the stories the feelings want to sell.

Sometimes the thoughts create the feeling but I think more than often, the feelings create the thoughts. You feel sad and then you tell yourself, “I am not good enough”.  You feel confused and you tell yourself, “I am lost.” You feel guilty and you tell yourself, “I am not lovable.”

This is why I am not a big fan of reframing thoughts to change the feelings. I think this winds up invalidating the feelings and then what you resist will persist and the feelings will find a way to express, often through physical illness or projection onto another. Feelings need to be recognized and felt to leave the body. Our culture has a morality around dark feelings being bad and it winds up making the self sick as a result.

I am more of a fan of mindfulness practice. When a big scary or dark feelings rise, instead of trying to change the feeling into something positive, witness the feeling, feel it, and do not identify with it. You are not your feelings. If you do this, the feeling will rise like an internal storm, express, and leave the body like waves that roll through.

When you identify with the feeling that rises inside, you create a story from it. If you identify with despair in your dark night, you may create a story that says, “my life is always painful and I never get a break.” This traps the feeling by perpetuating it over and over inside of the story. This causes suffering.

If you don’t identify with the despair rising in you, the feeling will storm, express and leave the body. This is where the magic happens. Somehow, from letting feels express and leave the body, you slowly begin to transform.

This is the soul journey of the dark night. The essential nectar. It’s in the meaning making. It is spirit playing the role of you and making a myth out of your life. It is you finding forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation for yourself and for those who have hurt you. You let go of the clinging, you release the suffering, you release the karma. Your heart purifies and you remember who you are. Love.

This is how the soul transforms. Through loss.

The dark night of the soul is an archetypal rite of passage that is meant to transform your soul. Grief is the medicine. But you have to allow this to happen.

If you resist the feelings by over-identifying with them and creating stories of suffering that perpetuate the same patterns in your life, you wont transform. You will petrify. You will grow more resentful, guilty, bitter, defensive, untrusting. You may get sick if the stories turn into physical aliments from all the trapped feelings.

If you don’t identify with the feelings that rise within you and you learn how to let them express and pass through, you will mysteriously begin to feel differently about yourself, your past, those who hurt you or who you hurt in your past. You will begin to find forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.

Forgiveness. Redemption. Reconciliation. Big words, big topics. I will save digging in for another blog.

This is the power of of the dark night of the soul. It is soul medicine and to understand the medicine you must remove judgement on light being good and dark being bad. You must remove the perspective that happiness is good and sadness is bad. That gain is good and loss is bad. You must allow the full spectrum of life experiences and feelings expression within you, without identifying with them. You must be willing to heal, grow, and evolve. It’s very hard!

If we collectively (and we are starting to) understand and educate about the medicine of the dark night of the soul it would be easier because no singular human would feel isolated in their experience and they would have a map for how to traverse through the pitch black dark night of their soul journey. Perhaps many of our ancient elders experienced this collective wisdom in their earth based cultures?

I am only giving a brief summary here and I am writing this mid-dark night of my soul. Figure I have another year left. I am internally wrestling my ego’s compulsion to identify with the feelings and tell myself negative stories about self. My witness is strong and although the negative story maker is busy as work, I am not identifying with those tales.

It’s important to understand that not identifying often means saying “no, I wont believe this story about myself,” not necessarily being free of the negative stories blabbing away in the psyche every time a hard feeling rises up. It’s learning to ignore the blah blah blah while allowing the feeling to swell and express without thoughts. Eventually the thoughts and meaning-making return but as a wise soul myth, and not a false negative self story.

I am just now beginning to enter the realm of forgiveness. More to come. I am in the dark night with you and if you are not in the dark night, hello from the darkness.