|This is part 2 of Newsletter portion of the May 23, 2001 Update.
At the beginning of this page is a short section which I included
to share with you the importance that I place on taking power away from the
black and white thinking. After that comes the introduction
to the discussion of black and white thinking - which for the first dozen
or so paragraphs is the same as the introduction to the first Discernment
in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility article. I
am doing this because I think that this section may be the most simple and
understandable description of how this polarized thinking works in our inner
process that I have ever written - and because it was the source from which
all of the channels flowed, and therefore also set the stage and the themes
of what is to follow.
The energy field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness on this planet was reversed in relationship to the Truth of the God-Force because of the polarization of the energy field of Collective Human Intellectual Consciousness.
The Lower Mind.
Polarization, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, caused humans to see life, both externally and internally, as a battle of warring polar opposites: black and white thinking.
The energy field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness is no longer reversed to the Truth of Love. That is why this is a New Age. It is why it is possible for us to Awaken Spiritually and do the emotional healing. A Transformational Healing Process has begun on the planet Earth
The Lower Mind - the energy field of Collective Human Intellectual Consciousness - is however, still polarized. That will change when enough people have done their individual healing so that the energy of the Lower Mind reaches critical mass in relationship to polarity (the hundredth monkey.)
To understand more about the physics and metaphysics of this, you can read the excerpts from my book on the page about The New Age. I am mentioning it here because the sharing I am doing here about how I take power away from the black and white thinking in my internal process, is at the core of the work that I refer to in the slogan / bumper sticker Work for World Peace: Heal Your Inner Child. What I am talking about here, is how we manifest Love into our internal process - how to integrate Spiritual Truth into our emotional relationship with life. It is The Work - not just to learn how to relax and enJoy life, which it does make possible - but The Work that will change the condition of polarization of the Lower Mind. It is through doing this work individually that we will change the world.
So, I guess you can see why I think it is pretty important.
One of the core characteristics of this disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization - black and white thinking. Rigid extremes - good or bad, right or wrong, love it or leave it, one or ten. Codependence does not allow any gray area - only black and white extremes.
Life is not black and white. Life involves the interplay of black and white. In other words, the gray area is where life takes place. A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine - recognizing that life is not black and white.
One Through Ten
I mention this because it points out what a tremendous impact something that I heard in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in my first 60 days of sobriety had to have on me for me to have a very clear memory of it all of these years later. It was obviously something that resonated as Truth so strongly that it cut through my fog enshrouded brain to my core.
This was in Lincoln Nebraska where I had gone through a 30 day treatment program after an intervention by my family on New Years Day. What I think of as a grizzled old timer (although I really have no idea what the guy looked like or how old he was) shared a simile about how his mind worked. He said, "My mind is like a dirt road out in the country that got really muddy - with some really deep ruts in it - and then the ground froze. It is real hard to drive down that road straddling those ruts without slipping back into them. And once I slip into them it is hard to get out again."
Having grown up on a farm on dirt roads in the part country where spring means lots and lots of mud - where snow storms and frozen ruts are common into May - I really knew what he was talking about. And obviously, the comparison to the way my mind works hit home with me.
The reason that this story has anything to do with Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility, is because those ruts are still there. They are not nearly as deep now, but my thinking will slip into some of the old patterns / ruts very easily without me noticing until something happens to draw my attention to it.
The old pattern/programming that is most fundamental is the rut of black and white thinking. Slipping into a perspective that only recognizes the extremes of 1 or 10. (The black and white perspective is the foundation of the blame them or blame me, victim of them or victim of my own shameful defectiveness, extremes that govern the dynamics of the disease of codependency.)
A conversation with a friend yesterday caused me to realize that I had slipped back into that old rut again in relationship to the idea of having a romantic relationship. The rut for me in respect to romance is for my thinking to be either (1) I will never have another romantic relationship, or (10) we will move in together and be fully immersed in the relationship. A watered down, less powerful version of the choices I learned in childhood from my role models - either completely unavailable or completely enmeshed.
My thinking in relationship to a relationship, is much healthier and more balanced than it used to be - but it still tends towards the extremes within the spectrum of what is I believe is possible. It feels more natural for me to completely let go of the idea of having a romantic relationship or to think in terms of what it is going to be like when we are living together, then to think in terms of getting to know someone gradually. Kind of like, either pretend the water isn't there, or dive into the deep end without looking first to see what may be just under the surface.
It is easier for me emotionally to not even consider going in the water than to gradually ease myself into the shallow water - because if I am even looking at the water it gets me in touch with grief about being alone. The abyss of wish-to-die pain and desperate loneliness from my childhood - the deprivation issues that I spent so much of my life either denying or allowing to run my life - do not have anywhere near the power they used to because of the healing I have done. It is relatively easy now for me to separate out the childhood feelings of loneliness - and they do not any longer have a life threatening feeling of desperation to them. But I also have been very deprived in my adult life - of Love, companionship, affection, touch, sexual fulfillment, etc. - because of my patterns. So the grief around those deprivation issues still has power because the deprivation is still happening.
The healthier we get, the more emotional healing we do, the less extreme our emotional reaction / response spectrum grows. The growth process works kind of like a pendulum swinging. The less we buy into the toxic shame and judgment, the less extreme the swings of the pendulum become. The arc of our emotional pendulum becomes gentler, and we can return to emotional balance much quicker and easier. But we don't get to stay in the balance position. Life is always rocking our boat - setting our emotional pendulum to swinging. By not taking life events and other peoples behavior so seriously and personally, by observing our process with some degree of detachment instead of getting so hooked into the trauma drama soap opera victimology that is a reaction to our childhood wounds, we learn to not give so much power over our emotions to outside influences and events.
I have choices today in regard to how I am relating to myself, to other people, to life. I am able to accept the things I cannot change much more quickly, and change the primary thing which I have the power to change - that is, my attitude toward the things I cannot change - so that I do not get caught up in a victim perspective. By not buying into the illusion that I am a victim - of myself, of other people, of life - my emotional swings stay on a much evener keel and I experience a much gentler emotional spectrum in my day to day relationship with life.
But it is still a spectrum, and as such involves swings between extremes. Those extremes are less powerful reflections / reverberations of the wildly divergent extremes my process used to involve. To maintain some balance in my life, to keep owning that I am not a victim - that I do have choices - it is important to shine some Light onto the gray area between the black and the white extremes, to be aware of the 2 through 9 options.
It is a wondrous gift, and a great freedom to not be so caught up in the victim / blame cycle any more. I am still human however. No matter that I know (and teach others - because I teach best what I need most to learn) how important it is to to feel the grief - all of my defenses still naturally and normally lead me to avoid and resist feeling it. No matter how much healthier I am in relationship to romance, no matter how much incredible healing of my fear of intimacy issues resulted from my last experience of romantic love, I still have a great fear of getting my hopes up.
"This was the first time that I have entered into a relationship - and exited also - without my self-esteem being involved. What freedom!!! I knew who I was going in and the events that unfolded only made me stronger and better - there was never any threat to me, to my self worth - really cool. This is truly a new and different way to do relationship - I might even try it again sometime soon."So many times I have allowed myself to hope, to dream - only to have those hopes crushed, the dream shattered, my heart broken again. Even though I did not experience that kind of crushing blow from my last relationship experience (because I did not buy into the shame and judgment, blame me or blame her - it did, of course, hurt a hell of a lot) - a part of me is terrified of dreaming again, of even considering the possibility of a relationship.
The reality of my situation is reflected in an AA expression: "The road gets narrower." As I grow and learn there are behaviors and attitudes, people and situations that I need to let go of. The more I heal, the less people there are that have a level of healing and recovery that compliments mine. I want a partner and a friend who sees me as an equal - not someone who would put me on a pedestal. I want someone in my life who will challenge me to continue growing and learning. Someone who I respect and value on all levels - intellectually, emotionally, Spiritually, and physically. I want someone who I like, love, respect, admire, lust for, can choose to fall in love with, and can access Love with. I need to practice discernment and stay in balance by not denying the romantic part of me, or letting the romantic in me - and my deprivation issues - cause me to dive into the deep water without checking what is under the surface.
(A note: There is nothing wrong (and it can be fun and nurturing) for one person in a relationship to treat another as if they were on a pedestal once in a while, as long as the other person reciprocates at other times. It is important that it is a two way street, that giving and receiving even out, because if not it can lead to resentment on the part of the one being short changed. What is dysfunctional and unhealthy is for the dynamic of the relationship to be based on one person being above the other in some way.)
Because the road has gotten so much narrower, because 98% of the women I meet are very obviously not even appropriate possibilities, because I resist feeling the sadness of not having a companion or touch or affection - it has been easier not to even consider the possibility of a relationship. It has been easier to focus on other issues: on health, on abundance, on my work.
In focusing on other areas, in arriving at more balance on other issues, I have been shoving the issue of romantic relationship out of my sight. Not out of my mind completely - since I have mentioned it, or alluded to it in recent newsletters. I knew that when the time came to look at it again, the Universe would bring it to my attention. It is not bad or wrong, not shameful, that I have been avoiding this issue, indulging in a degree of unconsciousness in relationship to this particular issue.
I also, have just gotten aware in the last couple of days that I may have had some denial going over the holidays. I thought I had sailed through the holidays without hitting any of those pot holes of grief over being alone - the pot holes that used to be huge abysses (is that a word?). I even congratulated myself on how I had succeeded in taking all of the emotional charge out the holidays - when I used to really feel lonely and have great sadness over being alone.The goal in recovery is not to be conscious of all levels of all issues all of the time - that is humanly impossible. The goal is to have some awareness of the issues that I am choosing to be unconscious to at any given time. To have my observer self, the control tower for my internal process, be conscious of the reality of the recovery process - and therefore quicker to let go of expectations. The reality is that I am not in control. Recovery is an ongoing process, in which the reality is: more will always be revealed; there is always another layer of the onion to peal; achieving more balance in the areas I am focusing my conscious attention on is going to change my relationship with other areas which will at some point require my conscious attention once more.
My job is to pay attention so that the messages the Universe is sending my way register on my radar screen. Incoming issue on the horizon!
We cannot go from unconscious to conscious overnight! This healing is a long gradual process. We all still need to go unconscious sometimes. Recovery is a dance that celebrates progress, not one that achieves perfection.
We cannot avoid some degree of unconsciousness, some of the time.
Just think of what your experience of driving your car would be like if every time you got on the freeway you were completely honest with yourself about, and conscious of:
how many drunks were probably on the road;were behind the wheels of vehicles weighing thousands of pounds, hurtling toward you (beside, behind, around you) at great speeds, often only separated from you by a little yellow line in the center of the road.
Fear is an emotion that exists to serve us. It provides a warning system to help us be aware of potential danger. It is appropriate and healthy to be aware when we are driving. To be conscious of potential threats. It is important for us to be in touch with our fear so that we can pay attention to it when it sends us a message.
What is not functional is to completely empower fear or to deny it. The 1 or 10 extremes of the disease.
Emotions are an incredibly powerful and important part of this experience we are having of being human. Emotions are a vital part of our being - and dictate the quality of our life experience.
Emotions have two vitally important purposes for human beings. Emotions are a form of communication. Our feelings are one of the means by which we define ourselves. The interaction of our intellect and our emotions determines how we relate to ourselves.The ego is the part of us that composed the score and conducts the music for our dance of codependence. It composed that score based upon the definitions, attitudes and beliefs it adapted in early childhood due to what our emotional experience of being a human child felt like.
For some of us, the wounding started in the womb where we: incubated in our mother's fear and shame; or got addicted to adrenaline because of the emotional volatility of our mother's life; or could feel our mother's waiting for us to arrive to give meaning and purpose to her life; or felt how unwelcome we were because she had already had too many children; etc.
We exited the warm nurturing cocoon of our incubator into a cold, harsh world. A world run by Gods (parents and any body else bigger than us - siblings, grandparents, hospital or orphanage personnel) who were wounded in their childhood. Gods who were not emotionally healthy, and did not know how to Love themselves. Our egos were traumatized - and adapted programming to try to protect us from the pain of emotional trauma that felt life threatening.
The people we Loved the most - our Gods - hurt us the most. Our emotional intimacy issues were caused by, our fear of intimacy is a direct result of, our early childhood experiences.
The part of a child's brain that is logical and rational, that understands abstract concepts (like time or death), that can have any kind of an objective perspective on self or life, does not develop until about the age of 7 (the age of reason.) As little children we were completely ego-centric and magical thinking. Our ego adapted itself to the environment it was experiencing. It developed emotional and behavioral defense systems in reaction to the emotional pain we experienced growing up with parents who were wounded codependents. It wrote the score for our personal dance in the way which would most help us survive in the environment we were trapped in.
Our fear of intimacy caused us to develop defenses to protect us from getting too close to anyone. Out of those defensive patterns, we set ourselves up to fail in romance. Every time we failed, our ego beat us up with the shame club - which reinforced and magnified our fear of risking love again.
My reactions to my emotional wounds dictated my life experience until I got into recovery and started to get conscious of how the old wounds and old tapes controlled my relationship with myself and with life. I wrote part of this article on the 15th anniversary of my conscious codependence recovery (June 3 - that story is in the first issue of my Journal.) Gratitude is not a big enough word for what I feel when I look at how much my life is changed - it is truly magical and miraculous.
It also pisses me off (I tried several ways of saying this, but this one was perfect - sorry if anyone is offended) that the process keeps unfolding. There is always another layer of the onion of denial to peel - and some more tears to shed. Uncover, discover, recover - is a recurring theme in our healing process - and something that it is very important to understand and accept. It is important to understand so that we can be more Loving to our self.
So there is good news and bad news. The good news is that a New Age has dawned in human consciousness and that we now have tools, knowledge, and access to healing energy and Spiritual guidance that has never before been available. We are discovering the rules of the game that we have been playing for thousands of years by rules that don't work.In the course of writing this Newsletter I uncovered some stuff that I really didn't want to see. I got to peal another layer of the onion and cry some tears. I am feeling a lot of fear as I write this and it feels like a pretty stupid game to me right now.
The natural healing process like nature itself regularly serves up new beginnings. We do not reach a state of being that is "happily ever after." We are continuously changing and growing. We keep getting new lessons/opportunities for growth. Which is a real pain in the derriere sometimes but is still better than the alternative, which is to not grow and get stuck repeating the same lessons over and over again.To return to the rut simile, but in a slightly different context - this time applied to our relationship with life instead of our mental process. It is much easier to drive down a rutted road with our tires in the ruts. It is difficult and hard to straddle the ruts - and it requires the driver to pay close attention, to be conscious and alert, to be constantly making corrections and adjustments. Fear of sliding off the road is generated, both pretty continuously and in surges of adrenaline. It takes more energy to be that conscious, and can really be exhausting - emotionally, physically and mentally - to be that present and actively responding.
Our ego craves safety and security, and fears change. Our ego likes ruts. On the level of ego self we are very happy to find a rut and furnish it - move in for the duration. On some level the rut is comfortable, because we are not having to put too much energy into being conscious, and we are not having to risk facing the unknown. It is kind of like: "This may be a pile of crap that I am sitting in here - but it is my crap. I am comfortable here because it is predictable. If I get up and try to get away from this pile, how do I know I won't fall into a worse one?"
It is not shameful to get into ruts - it is human. It is unavoidable - like expectations.
What is dysfunctional - in terms of learning to Love our self - is to accept living in a rut unconsciously without ever trying to understand the cause and effect involved. To allow ourselves to feel trapped, to feel like a victim of self or life, because of limiting black and white beliefs. Those beliefs - and the tendency to slip into those mental ruts - always have some connection to our subconscious emotional programming from our childhood.
In advanced recovery, when the quality of our lives has improved so much, when there is relatively very little crap (issues with levels that need more healing), we slip into buying into the belief that we have arrived. On some subconscious level, we slip into a rut of expecting that it is all going to be easy from now on - happily ever after has arrived. Consciously we know better - but it is so much easier to settle into the ruts and put it on cruise control. Human beings are like water in this regard, we seek out the course of least resistance, the easier softer way.
I have been in a very comfortable rut for the last few months - and I have been enJoying it immensely.
That is the good news, and shows how much progress I have made in opening to receive - knowing that I deserve. In my disease, I would judge and shame myself when it didn't feel good, and hold my breath waiting for it to be taken away - or sabotage it - when it did feel good. In recovery I get to stop shaming and judging myself, and I get to allow myself to enJoy life in the moment one day at a time.
The bad news is, the Universe just detoured me onto a different road. I was on cruise control, but I wasn't asleep - so I didn't have to crash and burn. I paid attention to the messages ("Would I be talking about enjoying life if I was in a relationship." Ha ha) and took the road less rutted - but there is a dark tunnel up ahead and I don't know what is on the other side.
Avoiding crashing and burning - forcing the Universe to use the stick on us - is one reason it is so important to have an observer self that understands the nature of the process. This too shall pass, is a statement of Truth about how the the Laws of energy interaction that govern life in human body work. Because we are co-creators of our experience, we can delay the passing of some phase of our experience by holding onto false beliefs and empowering fear. The quicker we let go, the more smoothly the process flows.
The flow of our process will inevitably take us through some dark tunnels. We will not be able avoid experiencing fear as long as we are in these human bodies. We can take power away from the dysfunctional, magnified levels of our fear by changing our relationship with fear. Fear is not a bad thing - but our relationship with it has been twisted and distorted. (see The Recovery Process for inner child healing - through the fear)
Changing my relationship with my own emotional process has helped me take a great deal of power away from fear. It used to have so much power that I had to stay unconscious to it completely. (One of those good news - bad news aspects of recovery, getting conscious means we get to feel our feelings.;-)
But no matter how much of the power I have taken away from fear, that doesn't mean I like feeling it. It is uncomfortable to be afraid. To feel that sword slashing around in my gut. I am very grateful that I no longer have to beat myself up with the club of shame for feeling fear - but that doesn't mean I will ever feel comfortable with experiencing fear.
In the first few years of my codependence recovery I had to force myself to take action a lot. I had to be willing to make healing my number 1 priority - to really focus my time, energy, and consciousness on uncovering and discovering. I had to be willing to really dig into issues to try to find out what the next level I needed to uncover was. The more I was able to make progress in reprograming my ego defenses to align with life being a Spiritual growth process rather than a test I was terrified of failing - the more I could just trust the process. There are still times that I need to force myself to take action - but it is much easier than it used to be because my observer self knows that recovery is the easier, softer way in the long run.
Recovery is still my number 1 priority, but now Spirituality and recovery define my relationship with life. I worked hard on learning to practice recovery principles because I was in so much pain. Now, I don't have to dig - I just need to pay attention to what is uncovered. I am so much quicker in catching myself when I am getting out of balance, or discover some area of imbalance - and I know now that taking the appropriate recovery actions is much easier on me than letting the disease be in control. Letting go, accepting, surrendering my way of doing things / my picture of how I want things to be - are now second nature to me because of the work I forced myself to do.
My willingness to align myself with change and growth are what have transformed my relationship with life into an exciting adventure - instead of a dreadful ordeal. My willingness to do the emotional work when the messages are strong enough - instead of forcing the Universe to use the stick on me - is a big part of the reason that my emotional spectrum has a much gentler arc between the extremes in my day to day life now.
The purpose of doing the inner child healing work - and what is so powerful and life transforming about the approach I was guided to discover - is to develop and empower the recovering adult within me to be in control of my inner process.
Learning to develop a level of consciousness, a perspective, from which I was able to observe my inner process as a detective so that I could discover the cause and effect between my wounding and my patterns / defenses - and learn how to develop internal boundaries;
committing myself to a Spiritual belief system that was supportive and Loving;are all vital parts of the process of integrating Spiritual Truth into my emotional relationship with life so that I could find some emotional balance in life.
A mature, responsible recovering adult who has absolute faith in the process and access to Spiritual guidance, is now the one who is making most of the choices in my everyday life - my recovery control tower. And even when, in moments and in choices that I make, that are indulging an inner child place, a wounded or ego defensive place within me (like going for something filling to eat) - I am making those choices with a level of consciousness.
I do not have to be perfect. Being imperfect is a perfect part of being a human being.
My codependence recovery over the past 15 years has made is possible for me to go from a person who wanted to die to one who enJoys being alive most of the time. The percentage of the time I am enjoying my life has steadily risen from 0 % to a majority of the moments of most every day.
In order to feel safe and secure in life it is necessary to be unconsciousness to a certain degree some of the time. It is not bad or wrong to be unconscious to some degree, some of the time. The need to indulge in some unconsciousness, like the tendency to have expectations, is just a unavoidable part of being human. When I am driving I can be in balance enough to day dream or follow the twisting trail of thought through my mind - and at the same time be conscious of where I am and alert for any danger.
(One of the minor factors in how comfortable I have been the last few months, is that I quit making a weekly 280 mile round trip to Santa Barbara. My car has 217,000 miles on it, and has been breaking down with some regularity for the last few years. I have talked in past newsletters about what a great example, of how successful I have been in reprogramming my relationship with life, my car breaking down has presented me - and how perfectly those break downs fit into the unfolding Divine plan for my life. That doesn't mean that I am not afraid the car will break down again. I know the plan is unfolding perfectly, but I do not always like the details of my Higher Power's plan. Not driving to Santa Barbara removed from my life one day of the week when I was having to consciously battle with my fear - of a breakdown which, of course, directly springs out of fear of financial insecurity. Just yesterday, my car generated some fear in me - and the financial insecurity fears have been growing for several weeks. I already miss my comfortable rut.)
The point is to be conscious about what areas / levels we are choosing to be unconscious to - and to be willing to do whatever it takes to heal that area when the time is right. Our Higher Power is the one who will let us know when the time is right. We are not writing the script. Our job is to pay attention to the best of our ability, to be conscious enough to pick up on the messages the Universe is sending our way, and to take action in the direction we feel is necessary. We need to suit up and show up for life today, and do what is in front of us - at the same time a part of us is observing how intricately and perfectly the process is unfolding.
God I Love this process!! It is so incredibly elaborate. A fascinating unfolding of an intricate mosaic. I can be an actor in the play - and at the same time, be the audience watching the story unfold. The audience part of my consciousness used to be booing and hissing, throwing tomatoes and yelling what a stupid loser I was. Now my audience is compassionate, understanding, and supportive - and even gives me a standing ovation once in a while.
In recovery what we learn to do is focus our conscious energy where it is most needed at the time - and not go too unconscious to the other areas. As I said above, I have been focusing my energy on some other issues - on health, on abundance, on my work. I have known that I was avoiding looking at my fear of intimacy issues ever since my October Update.
The moment I wrote the line about the October Update, I got to watch myself - the actor - go into terror. It set off a bunch of processing about the emotional intimacy issues that I have been letting simmer on a back burner, while I have been really enjoying the very comfortable rut that I have been in for some months now. The processing about the deeper issue that was revealed, involves a foray into the realm of Metaphysics and past lifetimes - and is the level of processing that I do not think is appropriate for this public part of my web site. I share that level of processing in my Journal.
The Goddess knows, there is enough for people to read here in Joy2MeU labyrinth.