Abundant Spirituality + codependency recovery + inner child healing + Love = Joy2MeULogo of Joy to You & Me Enterprises, publisher of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls Joy2MeU Home Page

This is an Update Newsletter of the Joy2MeU web site of codependency therapist, inner child healing pioneer, Spiritual teacher Robert Burney - who is the author of the Joyously inspirational book of Spirituality: Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.

In February of 2009 I am updating the copyright on all my Update Newsletter pages and removing the code that blocks search engines from indexing these pages.  The message on the top of this page originally was: "The search engines are blocked from indexing this page so I am not including the left hand column with all the identifying info and graphics."
This is part 1 of the Newsletter portion of the June 2003 Update.
(There are references in the writing below to that Update - so if you haven't read it already, you might want to take a look at it to understand the context.)

Joy2MeU Update Newsletter

June 11 to 15 & 18 to 24, 2003


Discernment is such a vital part of recovery - on multiple levels.  Discernment in the people who we choose to open our hearts to - whom we choose to trust.  Discernment in terms of our intellectual view of life - the attitudes, definitions and beliefs we are allowing to define life for us.  Discernment in our relationship with our own emotions - to be able to tell the difference between impulses coming from old wounds and the emotional energy of intuitive Truth. 

Codependency is a compulsively reactive condition that involves a black and white perspective of life - either/or conditioned reactions to life.  As long as we are reacting unconsciously, compulsively out of our emotional wounds and childhood intellectual programming then we have no choices, only reactions to extremes - right or wrong, overreact or underreact, blame them or blame me, either deny our feelings or allow them to control our lives, allow the magical thinking romantic child in us to choose our relationship partners or throw the romantic within into an inner dungeon.

It is through learning discernment - how to start separating the baby from the bathwater - that we start to access Love. 

 Discernment is having the eyes to see, and the ears to hear - and the ability to feel the emotional energy that is Truth.

We cannot become clear on what we are seeing or hearing if we are reacting to emotional wounds that we have not been willing/able to feel and subconscious attitudes that we have not been willing/able to look at.

We cannot learn to trust ourselves as long as we are still setting ourselves up to be victimized by untrustworthy people.  We cannot learn to Love ourselves enough to meet our own needs until we start to release the attitudes and feelings that tell us that we are unworthy - that it is somehow shameful to be ourselves.  We cannot learn to Love ourselves without learning discernment.

The black and white thinking of Codependence causes us to either keep the baby in the dirty bath water or throw out both.  Discernment is picking the baby out of the dirty bath water. - Quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

When I got into recovery I discovered that I wasn't alone - that I wasn't the only person who felt shameful and lonely and defective.  When I started to see life as a dance of cause and effect instead of sin and punishment, I started realizing how dysfunctional my relationship with life had been.  As I learned to be discerning, and stop allowing the emotional wounds and intellectual programming of childhood to determine my perspective of life, I could start seeing life with more clarity.  I could start to see how my relationship with self and life - and my relationship with the concept of romance - was being dictated by insane expectations based upon false beliefs such as "and they lived happily ever after." 

When I realized that I felt less lonely alone than I did in a relationship that wasn't working, I started to be able to separate the issues of being alone and feeling alone.  I started drawing a boundary between them in my perspective of them.  I needed to start seeing them as two separate issues in order to see them with more clarity. 

I could then began to dissect - peel away layers / separate different levels - of those issues.  I started to see that there were three major levels to "feeling alone/lonely" for me:  spiritual hunger;  inner child feelings;  adult feelings.  Taken all together, my feelings of loneliness were overwhelming and life threatening - a desperate aching need.  Separated, they became more understandable and manageable.  I could then address the needs and feelings of each level.  I addressed the feelings of spiritual disconnection / of my wounded soul, by working a spiritual program and focusing on developing a Spiritual belief system that supported the belief that I was Lovable and worthy.  I started learning how to stop judging and shaming myself for my emotional wounds by learning how to do the inner child healing work - how to embrace my inner children, take power away from the unresolved grief, and start building an ongoing Loving relationships with those wounded parts of me. 

It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child's experiences, honor that child's feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.

As I started to validate and understand my emotional wounds, and separate the levels and layers of them, I could then start to see my adult relationship patterns more clearly.  I could then see how the combination of feeling disconnected Spiritually and feeling unlovable to my parents in childhood gave power to the illusion that I was shameful and defective.  And because I felt shameful and defective I had good reason to fear intimacy.  That helped me to start understanding how, and why, my fear of intimacy had run my life. 

"All of my issues around abundance - of money, of success, of friendship, of health, of whatever - always come back to my fear of intimacy, my terror of being available for a Loving relationship.  The bottom line is always that toxic shame at the core of my being that says that I am not lovable, that I am defective somehow." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter 10-20-00 Part 2
By starting to take the shame out of my relationship with self, by addressing the different levels of "feeling lonely," I started to feel less lonely.  The desperate feelings of loneliness no longer ran my life by causing me to either settle for the illusion of not being alone by being in a dysfunctional relationship or withdraw into isolation.

I learned to separate what I was feeling from what I was thinking - draw an internal boundary between emotional and mental - which allowed me to start being discerning within the emotional.  Then I could start separating the feelings / emotional truth of the child I was - a child who opened my heart completely to emotionally crippled parents / higher powers - from the emotional energy of intuitive Truth.  Then I was able to start owning that I am never alone Spiritually, even though it may feel like it.  I started to see that I had been relating to the child's very valid feelings of being emotionally isolated and desperately lonely from shame and judgment - because I thought it was my fault that I didn't feel loved in childhood, and that it didn't feel like God loved me.  When I started to see how the emotional wounds and intellectual programming from childhood had dictated my adult life - started really getting on a gut level how powerless I had been to live my life differently - then I started to develop compassion for my self.  Then I started opening up to Loving my self. 

Life on Life's Terms

The more clearly I saw the cause and effect relationship between my childhood experiences and the way I had lived my adult life - saw how incredibly powerful and insidious codependency is - the easier it became to start forgiving myself.  Learning how to have some compassion for my self, forgiving my self, were acts of Love for my self.  Learning to set boundaries, to speak my Truth, to let go of people who were not capable of treating me in ways that felt Loving - were all acts of Love for my self.  As I started gaining the capacity to be more Loving to my self - actually treat myself in more Loving ways rather than just intellectually try to convince myself I was Lovable - then I was able to start owning that I deserve to be Loved and treated with respect, started opening up to allowing Love into my life by first relating to my self in more Loving ways. 

The sentence in the Update - from my journal processing - that described the process that has been vital in achieving some freedom from the past is this one:

Developing a detached, objective, observer perspective - my recovery control center - has been the key for me in learning to have internal boundaries so that I can separate out the different levels of my process, so that I can see my issues and my relationships with more clarity.
It is vital to start seeing our self and life with more clarity.  Then we can start learning the rules that really govern life - instead of trying to play the game by rules that do not work at all (find your prince/princess and/or do life "right" - and get to a destination where you live happily ever after.)   Looking at:  my self through eyes clouded with shame;  at other people with the belief that they had control over my feelings;  at life as if it were a test I could fail;  caused me to have a very dysfunctional relationship with life - a relationship with life that did not bring me happiness, fulfillment, or inner peace.  It didn't matter that as an adult I could see that "happily ever after" was a myth - emotionally it still felt like I had screwed up some how or something was wrong with me.  In recovery I started getting in touch with the Spiritual Truth - that I knew intuitively, could accept intellectually - that everyone was a child of God.  I started working on affirming that Truth even though deep down inside - and often right on the surface - I still felt like I was the exception, like I was junk.

It was in twelve step recovery that I started to gain the humility to escape from a child's egocentric perspective of life - and start to see life within a spiritual context.

"Humility is required both:  to see clearly and objectively enough to recognize and surrender the ego defenses that are not working;  and to tune into the Spirit enough to access a True Spiritual sense of worth as opposed to having ego strength.
"One of those principles - that really scared me when I first heard I had to develop it - was humility.  I equated humility with humiliation because of my toxic shame.

In Truth, humility really means to see clearly.  To see that as a human being the reality is that I am not perfect.  There are some areas I am strong in - that I have gifts, abilities, talents, skills - and some that I am weak in.  None of us human beings are perfect in our humanness - we are all perfect in our Spiritual essence." - Attack on America - A Spiritual Healing Perspective &  Call for Higher Consciousness  Chapter 2

One of the major issues for all codependents is opening to receive - believing we deserve good things.  I spent my life prior to codependency recovery reacting to life out of the subconscious beliefs that had been imposed upon me in childhood.  My relationship with my self, with life and other people was dictated by the toxic shame I felt - and the perspective of life that I learned in early childhood.  It did not matter what I believed consciously, intellectually - my relationship with life was dictated by my early childhood experiences.

As a result, when "bad" things happened, I would beat myself up unmercifully - at the same time I was trying to blame others for the "bad" things.  When good things happened, I was holding my breath - waiting for it to be taken away.  Often I would sabotage good things because I couldn't stand the suspense of waiting for it to be taken away - because at the core of my being I didn't believe I deserved it.

I did not understand that the fundamental nature of life is change - "this too shall pass."  I did not understand that life was a journey because that is not what I was taught in childhood.  The less I reacted to life as punishment directed at me personally for being defective (which is egotistical and arrogant) by changing the dysfunctional perspectives which were dictating my relationship with life, the more I was able to see life events and other peoples behavior as opportunities for growth - the less suffering I experienced in my life.  The more I used positive affirmations and other tools to demonstrate Love for myself and open up to receive, the more permission I had to really enjoy the good times - knowing that things were going to change and get different at some point, that this too shall pass also.  By learning how to stop allowing the ego-centric limited beliefs of childhood to define my life, I was able to start relaxing and enjoying my journey in the moment.  At first just a moment here and there, but then gradually increasing in the percentage of the moments during the day when I could be happy and joyous and free to be present today rather than in bondage to the past.

Through being willing to let go of doing life "my way," and start having enough humility to take the risk of believing that maybe, just maybe I might somehow possibly be lovable and worthy, my life changed dramatically.  By surrendering to change, to honesty, to feeling the feelings, I started living life in a whole different world than the one my perspectives had limited me to seeing prior to recovery." - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Chapter 6: ego strength and self worth

We can not start learning how to successfully live "life on life's terms" until we stop blindly, unconsciously allowing the beliefs and attitudes that we learned in childhood to define "life's terms" for us.  Twelve step recovery helped me to start getting in touch with the Spiritual meaning and purpose of life which then allowed me to start seeing human reality more clearly.  Then I could start discerning the difference between the things that I do have some power to change (my own attitudes, behavior, and feelings) and those that I need to accept (other people, life events, the past.)

It is by starting to take responsibility for our own attitudes, behaviors, and feelings that we can start to learn to get past the false beliefs and black and white thinking that are a result of the emotional wounds and intellectual programming of growing up in dysfunctional, shame based cultures - raised by parents who were wounded in their childhood.

Learning to separate "feeling lonely" from being alone and then processing through - and taking action to address - the different levels of feeling alone, helped me to have compassion for the parts of me that felt that desperate emotional neediness.  Learning to stop judging and shaming myself for my wounds allowed me to stop spending so much energy denying and repressing the unresolved grief from my childhood - which in turn allowed me to start addressing the grief from my adult life with more clarity.  Seeing the cause and effect dynamics between my childhood and my adult life allowed me to understand on a gut level that my relationship patterns were a symptom of my wounding - and not caused by some defect in my being. 

I could then start to learn to accept being alone.  By separating the different levels so that I could see my adult deprivation issues more clearly, I was able to see the silver lining to my relationship phobia - and actually be grateful for it.  (This newsletter has gotten too long for one page, so there will be a second page focused more on romantic relationships - I will explain this further then.)

I could start to understand that being alone was not shameful or caused by something that was inherently flawed in me.  In fact, I realized that being alone was normal in this human experience I was having. 

"Life is temporary and transient.  Ignoring that reality and denying it's inevitability, sets us up to be traumatized when something happens to break through our denial.  The Truth of existence is that safety and security are illusions that can be gone in an instant.

The reality of this human experience is that we are born alone, we die alone, and in between everyone in our life leaves us or we leave them one way or another.  Loss is an inherent and unavoidable part of human life.  That means that grief is also inevitable." - Attack on America - A Spiritual Healing Perspective & Call for Higher Consciousness

In starting to see reality with more clarity, I realized that this was another area where we humans have been doing life backwards.  It is very dysfunctional to judge and shame our self for feeling alone and/or being alone - and to betray our hearts by settling for the illusion of not being alone.  What is functional - what works much better - is to accept feeling alone as normal and then to really cherish, enJoy, and value the opportunities we have to experience feeling connected to other human beings. 

Grief is inevitable in life.  Expecting life to be something it is not, sets me up to feel like a victim.  Recognizing how my relationships were being dictated by "insane expectations" was a key for me in learning to take responsibility for my own emotions.  In my article Serenity and Expectations, I share a joke I had heard about the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic.  When I share it in a meeting or in talking to someone, I tell my version of it, which is "the difference between codependents and really crazy people."  A really crazy person truly believes that 2 + 2  equals 5.  A codependent knows it is 4 but can't stand it. 

"That was the way I lived most of my life, I could see how life was but I couldn't stand it.  I was always feeling like a victim because people and life were not acting in the way I believed they "should" act. 

I expected life to be different than it is.  I thought if I was good and did it "right" then I would reach 'happily ever after.'  I believed that if I was nice to people they would be nice to me.  Because I grew up in a society where people were taught that other people could control their feelings, and vise versa, I had spent most of my life trying to control the feelings of others and blaming them for my feelings.

By having expectations I was giving power away.  In order to become empowered I had to own that I had choices about how I viewed life, about my expectations." - Serenity and Expectations - intimately interrelated

It bothered me that life did not appear to be fair and just - because in I thought it "should" be.  I couldn't stand what I saw human beings doing to each other and to our environment.  I felt self righteously enraged when I saw so much suffering and poverty in the world and so few people with obscene wealth and all the power - and was even willing to commit myself to violent overthrow of the government for a brief time.  I saw the reality of human conditions on the planet as "wrong" and was willing to fight for what I thought of as "right."  That was my codependency.  Black and white thinking - us vs them, me vs the system.

I was stuck in feeling like the victim of life not being what I thought it "should be" as long as my perspective of life was limited and filtered through a black and white intellectual filter.  I had to start letting go of the limited beliefs I had been programmed with in childhood and open up to a larger intellectual paradigm - one based upon a spiritual belief system that gave life some larger meaning and purpose - in order to see life in a context which helped me to start accepting the reality of it.  As long as I could not accept reality as it was - as long as I was stuck in the victim perspective that is self righteous indignation - I had lots of good reasons to drink and use drugs. 

I needed to start being able to see life with more clarity in order, first to stay sober, and then to start changing my perspectives and expectations of my self and life.  By starting to choose to see the "bad" things in life as opportunities for growth, and the good things as gifts from a Loving Higher Power - I was able to start relaxing in the moment and being able to enjoy the journey some of the time.

My codependency caused my mind to always focus on the part of the glass that was empty, because I expected "bad" things to happen due to my imperfection - my shameful defectiveness - so I was always living in fear.  By learning to take responsibility for the expectations I was empowering - and the emotional reactions caused by those expectations - I  could learn to have more wisdom / discernment about the beliefs I was allowing to define my life for me.  I became empowered to change my emotional relationship with life by realizing I had the power to make choices about where I focused my mental energy - instead of just being the victim of how my ego was programmed to relate to life.

Living life on life's terms successfully involves learning how to have some balance / sanity in our relationship with life.  Some codependents were conditioned to go to the other extreme mentally - that is, to focus on the part of the glass that was full while denying the part that was empty.  Many people when they get into recovery and/or on a conscious spiritual path, think that is what they are supposed to do - pretend to be happy, joyous, and free by denying their feelings.  That is one of the components of codependency - keeping up appearances - trying really hard to convince our self and others that we have arrived at the destination where we are serene and happy all of the time because our programming causes us to believe that being emotional is shameful.

Unfortunately many famous "New Age" authors and spiritual teachers / practices teach people that if they are feeling "negative" emotions they are doing something "wrong."  This is something that I get quite upset about because of my expectations.

"I tend to give more emotional power to people who are supposed to be healers because I expect more from them.  This is, of course, my expectation, and is one that is maybe not as insane as expecting other drivers to drive like I think they should, but is - given my understanding of the disease dynamics - a bit insane.  The healers are wounded also.  The are - hopefully - open to growing and learning.  Anyone however who is still empowering black and white thinking subconsciously will sometimes give out shaming messages no matter how wonderful their intentions are - no matter how much wonderful Truth they teach most of the time.

Many spiritual teachers and New Age authors have accessed some Truth but have not enlarged their intellectual paradigm enough to stop empowering polarity.  There is no right or wrong way to do healing.  There are ways that work better, and ways that do not work as well - but right and wrong, and shame, are not part of the Awakening process in this Age of Healing and Joy.

In the online book I wrote about the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, I wrote a plea to some of these New Age authors, healers, and teachers to please stop empowering polarity and shame about being human.  Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective & Call for Higher Consciousness. . . . .

. . . . . . A statement that Love and fear are the only two choices is polarized and indicates a lack of discernment.  They have not expanded their consciousness enough to recognize the difference between vertical Transcendent emotions and horizontal human emotions.  They do not understand the human emotional process enough to be able to draw a clear boundary between intellectual and emotional.

Yes, we are trying to change our mental programming to be aligned with Love instead of with fear.  That is at the heart of this process.  The dysfunctional intellectual programming causes us to magnify and distort fear into a monster that has been causal in dictating the evolution of humanity.

But aligning ourselves with Love does not mean we will not sometimes feel the horizontal emotional energy of fear in our bodies.  Love is the only Truth on higher vibrational levels.  Here in human body, fear is something we cannot avoid.  We want to stop allowing fear to define us - but to imply that we cannot be aligned with Love and still feel some fear is a shaming message. . . . . ." - Attack on America: Chapter 5

. . . .. . Sometimes people get to be icons and we accept everything they say without discernment.  It is real important to learn to pick the baby out of the bath water.  To not just accept everything someone says (including me) because we have agreed with what they have said elsewhere.  Discernment is a very important component of healing and consciousness raising.  I personally, wish they would have been a little more discerning about what they said in their statement." - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Chapter 12: Codependency in New Age Movement
Denying that life often feels "bad" is not a balanced or sane perspective.  I can Know intuitively that I am never alone Spiritually - but I will feel alone often.  It is normal to feel that God has abandoned and betrayed us at times in this life journey we are on - when we experience the inevitable endings and loses that occur.  What is vital to maintaining some balance is learning how to honor the feelings without buying into the belief that we have been abandoned.  It is when I am feeling abandoned by God, and listening to the critical parent voice tell me how it is my fault because of my "mistakes" and imperfections, that I can crash and burn emotionally - go into despair and depression.  Loving my self involves having internal boundaries so that I can be compassionate and nurturing in relationship to my emotional reality, at the same time I am intellectually telling my self Spiritual Truth - this too shall pass, there is a silver lining, it is okay to feel the feelings, etc.

Learning to separate - to draw a boundary - between the emotional and mental components of our being is vital in learning to change our relationship with life and self into one that is more Loving, balanced, and enJoyable.

Feeling and releasing the emotional energy without giving power to the false beliefs is a vital component of achieving balance between the emotional and the mental.  The more we align ourselves attitudinally, and clear out our inner channel, the easier it is for us to pick out the Truth from amid the dysfunctional attitudes - so that we can set an internal boundary between the emotional and mental.

Feelings are real but they are not necessarily fact or Truth. 

We can feel like a victim and still know that the fact is we set ourselves up.  We can feel like we made a mistake and still know that every mistake is an opportunity for growth, a perfect part of the learning process.  We can feel betrayed or abandoned or shamed, and still know that we have just been given an opportunity to become aware of an area that needs some light shined on it, an issue that needs some healing. 

We can have moments where we feel like God/life is punishing us and still know that "This, too, shall pass" and "More will be revealed," - that later on, down the path a ways, we will be able to look back and see that what we perceived in the moment to be tragedy and injustice is really just another opportunity for growth, another gift of fertilizer to help us grow.

I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process.  Because "I feel feel like a failure" does not mean that is the Truth.   The Spiritual Truth is that "failure" is an opportunity for growth.  I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am.  I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me.  I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.

If I am feeling like a "failure" and giving power to the "critical parent" voice within that is telling me that I am a failure - then I can get stuck in a very painful place where I am shaming myself for being me.  In this dynamic I am being the victim of myself and also being my own perpetrator - and the next step is to rescue myself by using one of the old tools to go unconscious (food, alcohol, sex, etc.)  Thus the disease has me running around in a squirrel cage of suffering and shame, a dance of pain, blame, and self-abuse.

By learning to set a boundary with and between our emotional truth, what we feel, and our mental perspective, what we believe - in alignment with the Spiritual Truth we have integrated into the process - we can honor and release the feelings without buying into the false beliefs.

The more we can learn intellectual discernment within, so that we are not giving power to false beliefs, the clearer we can become in seeing and accepting our own personal path.  The more honest and balanced we become in our emotional process, the clearer we can become in following our own personal Truth. 

Learning to have discernment mentally and emotionally, while also integrating the Spiritual Truth we have discerned into our inner process, is the key to having a more functional relationship with life - and opening up to Love.  We need to develop a more functional relationship with our own emotions, because if we don't we will continue to be at war within ourselves.  Fear, grief, pain, anger, are all emotions that are part of being human.  Emotions are a vital component in this experience of being human that we are having - and changing our relationship with them is vital in learning to Love.

Intellectual discernment makes emotional honesty possible

Starting to learn how to practice some intellectual discernment - separate issues and look at different levels of an issue - was vital for me to start seeing life with more clarity.  It was necessary for me to start changing my perspectives and expectations of life and other people.  It was absolutely vital in starting to change my relationship with my self.  In childhood I got the message that it was shameful and bad to be wrong, to make mistakes, to be emotional, to speak my truth, to be a kid - to be an imperfect human being.  Until I started changing my perspectives and expectations of my self, it was not possible to start opening up to believing I was Lovable.

Learning discernment is vital - not just in terms of the choices we make about who to trust, but also in terms of our perspective, our attitudes. 

We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes.  By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work.  We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us - or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not. 

Once I started being willing to be open to changing my attitudes, to letting go of my black and white thinking, then I could start start owning that I had choices instead of being stuck in a victim perspective of life.  Then I could also start doing my emotional healing - I could start getting emotionally honest with myself.

"It was focusing on the dynamic of expectations that was the key for me in starting to get emotionally honest with myself.  Starting to understand the cause and effect relationship between my emotional reactions and my expectations was essential for me to start understanding why my relationship with life was so dysfunctional.  I, of course, in my codependency, had swung between the extremes of feeling, and believing, that it was all my fault because of my shameful defective being - and being angry and resentful at other people, the system, something or someone external to my being. 

The twelve step recovery application of the disease model in the treatment of alcoholism - the concept that I had been powerless over my past behaviors because I had a disease - helped me to take enough shame out of my perspective of myself to start seeing my life with a little bit of objectivity.  The spiritual approach of the twelve step program - that there is a Power greater than myself that is on my side, The Force is with me - helped me to shift my intellectual paradigm enough to start to see life as something other than a test I could fail by doing it "wrong."  The definition of insanity that I heard in my first days of recovery - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - caused me to start focusing on cause and effect. 

It was the concept of powerlessness that led me to start becoming empowered to take responsibility for my life.  Instead of viewing life through a perspective that was black and white - either I had to be perfect or I was shameful - I was able to start to see what my part had been in how painful and miserable my life experience had been.  How I had some responsibility - how I was creating cause in my life that had negative consequences - but that it did not mean that there was something inherently wrong with me.  I started seeing that my relationship with life was dysfunctional, was not working, and that I could take some action to change that relationship." - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Chapter 3: Emotional honesty

Learning discernment helped me to start taking responsibility for my life.  In order to start seeing my self, life and other people more clearly so I could stop feeling so desperately alone - stop feeling like the victim of them, or of my own shameful defectiveness - I needed to start picking the baby out of the bathwater.  Learning discernment - learning to separate issues from each other, and then peel away the layers of those issues - was vital to me in my recovery.  It is what allowed me to change my relationship with life.  It allowed me to develop compassion for my self and start being more Loving to my self. 

Discernment intellectually was vital for me to start seeing life differently - which helped create the space for me to start becoming discerning emotionally.

Recovery involves bringing to consciousness those beliefs and attitudes in our subconscious that are causing our dysfunctional reactions so that we can reprogram our ego defenses to allow us to live a healthy, fulfilling life instead of just surviving.  So that we can own our power to make choices for ourselves about our beliefs and values instead of unconsciously reacting to the old tapes.  Recovery is consciousness raising.  It is en-light-en-ment - bringing the dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs out of the darkness of our subconscious into the Light of consciousness.

On an emotional level the dance of Recovery is owning and honoring the emotional wounds so that we can release the grief energy - the pain, rage, terror, and shame that is driving us. 

That shame is toxic and is not ours - it never was!  We did nothing to be ashamed of - we were just little kids.  Just as our parents were little kids when they were wounded and shamed, and their parents before them, etc., etc.  This is shame about being human that has been passed down from generation to generation. 

Once twelve step recovery helped me to start escaping from the toxic shame at the core of my relationship with myself, then I could start learning to practice some discernment emotionally.  I realized that as long as I wasn't owning my emotional wounds I was incapable of being Truly honest in a relationship because my codependent defenses were still trying to protect me from opening my heart.  My behavior was driven by my emotional wounds no matter what conscious intentions and beliefs I was choosing to empower.  Gaining intellectual knowledge and remembering Spiritual Truth changed my relationship to life to some degree, but it did not change my core relationship with myself - and it did not stop my fear of intimacy from sabotaging my attempts to have an emotionally intimate relationship.

"I saw myself in alignment with the conscious self image that I was projecting - a sensitive, caring male who was so different from all those macho clowns that were not in touch with their feelings - but my behavior in intimate relationships was dictated by the subconscious perspective of emotions that I had learned from my male role model in childhood.  That paradigm dictated that a man could not feel sad or hurt or afraid - a man only felt anger.  In other words, I saw myself as, and talked the talk of, a sensitive caring male but when anyone got too close emotionally my behavior was that of a macho clown." - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Chapter 4: False Self Image
My relationship with my own emotions had been dysfunctional.  I had to start focusing some attention on what was happening with me emotionally - what emotional energy was manifesting in my body, below my neck - to start changing my relationship with my emotions.  In childhood, I had to disassociate from my emotions - learn to live in my head - because it was too painful to be in my own skin.  We cannot be present in the moment without being in our own skin - and we can not be consciously present in our bodies without feeling our feelings. 

In recovery I started to pay some attention to what was happening in my body.  I started to understand just how important it was to me, to start developing a more functional relationship with my emotions.

"Emotions are a vital part of our being for several reasons. 
1. Because it is energy and energy cannot just disappear.  The emotional energy generated by the circumstances of our childhood and early life does not go away just because we were forced to deny it.  It is still trapped in our body - in a pressurized, explosive state, as a result of being suppressed.  If we don't learn how to release it in a healthy way it will explode outward or implode back in on us.  Eventually it will transform into some other form - such as cancer. 

2.  As long as we have pockets of pressurized emotional energy that we have to avoid dealing with - those emotional wounds will run our lives.  We use food, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, work, religion, exercise, meditation, television, etc., to help us keep suppressing that energy.  To help us keep ourselves focused on something else, anything else, besides the emotional wounds that terrify us.  The emotional wounds are what cause obsession and compulsion, are what the "critical parent" voice works so hard to keep us from dealing with.

3.  Our emotions tell us who we are - our Soul communicates with us through emotional energy vibrations.  Truth is an emotional energy vibrational communication from our Soul on the Spiritual Plane to our being/spirit/soul on this physical plane - it is something that we feel in our heart/our gut, something that resonates within us. 

Our problem has been that because of our unhealed childhood wounds it has been very difficult to tell the difference between an intuitive emotional Truth and the emotional truth that comes from our childhood wounds.  When one of our buttons is pushed and we react out of the insecure, scared little kid inside of us (or the angry/rage filled kid, or the powerless/helpless kid, etc.) then we are reacting to what our emotional truth was when we were 5 or 9 or 14 - not to what is happening now.  Since we have been doing that all of our lives, we learned not to trust our emotional reactions (and got the message not to trust them in a variety of ways when we were kids.)

 4. We are attracted to people that feel familiar on an energetic level - which means (until we start clearing our emotional process) people that emotionally / vibrationally feel like our parents did when we were very little kids.  At a certain point in my process I realized that if I met a woman who felt like my soul mate, that the chances were pretty huge that she was one more unavailable woman that fit my pattern of being attracted to someone who would reinforce the message that I wasn't good enough, that I was unlovable.  Until we start releasing the hurt, sadness, rage, shame, terror - the emotional grief energy - from our childhoods we will keep having dysfunctional relationships."

I became willing to do the emotional healing in the summer of 1987 when I set myself up to be abandoned on my birthday one more time." - Feeling the Feelings - grief / emotional energy release
It was because of a broken heart that I started becoming willing to do the deep grief work.  It was beginning to recognize that the heart breaks of my adult life were connected to my childhood wounds and intellectual programming that started me on the path to freedom from the past.  Codependency recovery is what made it possible for me to stop being a victim of the symptoms and start focusing on healing my relationship with my self.

Fear of intimacy to be continued

This writing about discernment - that was meant to just wrap up the excerpt on "The Road Gets Narrower" in my Update - has gotten completely out of control on me.  There are so many levels and layers and perspectives involved in this recovery process that I just kept writing and writing.  I am not sure even how much sense it is making any more because I have been kind of lost in it.  I do have another page of it that I am going to finish and post within the next couple of days - focused more on discernment in relationship to romance and fear of intimacy - but I am going to post this today so I can get it out of my head, and get on with my next projects.

I want to make a point here that this process is not linear.  In describing it I may say, we need to be discerning mentally and that allows us to be discerning emotionally - but it is not a linear progression.  We are working on all levels simultaneously, and a breakthrough emotionally helps us see the mental more clearly as well as vice versa.  And through it all we are working on integrating Spiritual Truth into our process.

"I need to make the point here that Codependence and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena. What we are trying to achieve is integration and balance on different levels. In regard to our relationship with ourselves this involves two major dimensions: the horizontal and the vertical. In this context the horizontal is about being human and relating to other humans and our environment. The vertical is Spiritual, about our relationship to a Higher Power, to the Universal Source. If we cannot conceive of a God/Goddess Force that loves us then it makes it virtually impossible to be loving to ourselves. So a Spiritual Awakening is absolutely vital to the process in my opinion. Changing our relationship with ourselves on the horizontal level is both a necessary element in, and possible because we are working on, integrating Spiritual Truth into our inner process." - Learning to Love our self - Inner Child Healing / Codependence Recovery
This is a spiritual path we are being guided on - not self help.  Recovery is not something we have to do alone.  It can certainly feel like we are alone much of the time however.

I have mentioned elsewhere that I believe that romantic relationships are the greatest arena for Spiritual growth available to us - and how fear of intimacy is at the heart of codependency - so I do want to finish that next page.  My compulsion in writing this Newsletter almost certainly has more to do with what I am going through in my personal process right now than anything I decided I needed to write for the site.  But then that is normal for me.  As I shared in the very first Newsletter for my original web site (interestingly enough 5 years ago next week - an anniversary as it were) which I quote in several places on my site, including Choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment:

"Which brings me to the second thing, which I believe is a Spiritual Truth - I teach best what I need most to learn.  I teach people how to Love themselves because I am trying to learn how to Love myself.  I learned to always listen to what I was saying because, though I have no control whether anyone else hears me, I do have the power to choose to hear myself - and there is always something in what I am saying that applies to me and my process in that moment. . . . .  I am in process just as my clients are - just as we all are.  There is no hierarchy as far as I am concerned - just one wounded person/Magnificent Spiritual Being sharing what has worked for me with another wounded person/Magnificent Spiritual Being. I am doing what I need to do for myself, to heal myself - it doesn't have to do with anyone else - that it helps other people is just a bonus (and an opportunity to settle Karma)." - Joy to You & Me Newsletter I - July 1,1998
I am on a journey to learning about Love.  That is my Quest.  Writing about what I have learned in my recovery has helped me to make progress in my Quest.  That many of you find it helpful is a bonus and a gift.  So I will add another page here soon that deals with discernment in regard to my process of learning about Love - but first I am going to wrap this page up with a quote from the beginning of Chapter 13 of my online book in which I mention often how important discernment has been in my quest to change the music of my dance of life.

"When I was working on these two chapters focused on codependency and the New Age Movement, I got an e-mail from someone who had recently ordered my book that said the following:
"Dance, Dance, wherever you may be.  That's what the Lord of the Dance said He.  Dance, Dance, wherever you may be and I'll be with you in the Dance said He."

The trick is to change the music!  I got it!  The trick is to get free, so you can dance to a different music.  The freer you get the more you hear, or should I say feel or see the music.  You did a great job - Thanks

"The dance of life for humans has been grounded in shame and fear, empowered by belief in separation, lack, and scarcity.  These are lower vibrational emotions and beliefs based on the three dimensional illusion that humans experience as reality.  As long as the dance of humans harmonizes to music - vibrational emanations - that are rooted in shame, fear, and separation the only way to do the dance is destructively."

"It is on the Spiritual Plane that the highest vibrational frequency range naturally available to human experience is generated (by the Souls). This frequency range is the transcendent Emotional energy of Love. This Love frequency range also contains frequencies which are experienced as Truth, Joy, Beauty, and Light as well as sometimes being called; the God within, the Goddess within, the Christ within, The Holy Spirit, etc."

The later two quotes are from my page: The True Nature of Love - part 3, Love as a Vibrational Frequency.  The second one in a different color because it is a quote from my Trilogy that I used on that page.  I believe that the first part of the person's e-mail - up to "I'll be with you in the Dance said He." - is from a song called Lord of the Dance.

What is important about this e-mail I received is that the person did "get it."  We need to change the music we are dancing to - and in order to do that we need to change the subconscious intellectual paradigm that is dictating our emotional reactions.  And we cannot do that without doing the deep emotional healing.

"We grew up in dysfunctional families living in dysfunctional societies that were part of dysfunctional civilizations.  The definitions we learned in childhood about who we were, how life works, and how to relate to other people were false, distorted, and twisted.  Because the definitions, attitudes, and beliefs we were programmed with in childhood were false, they set us up to have emotional reactions to life that gave us inaccurate information.
Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind - by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality.  The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.  Attitudes, definitions, and beliefs determine perspective and expectation - which in turn dictates our relationships.  Our relationships to our self, to life, to other people, to The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit.  Our relationships to our own emotions, bodies, gender, etc., are dictated by the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that we are holding mentally / intellectually.  And we acquired those mental constructs / ideas / concepts in early childhood from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us.  If we have not done our emotional healing so that we can get in touch with our subconscious intellectual programming then we are still reacting to that early childhood programming / intellectual paradigm even though we may not be aware of it consciously. - The True Nature of Love - part 4, Energetic Clarity
Our emotions are what drive us, what propel us, through life.  Our emotions tell us who we are.  If our relationship with our own emotions is messed up, we cannot see reality clearly.

If life is a dance, then our emotions provide the music.  Dancing in the dark according to rules that are dysfunctional is not much fun.  Dancing through life believing that we have responsibility for the feelings and behaviors of others, doesn't allow us to relax and enjoy life very much.  Believing that we have to earn love by doing the dance "right,' by being perfect, in order to reach the destination where we will get to live happily-ever-after - sets us up to be unhappy and blame ourselves for being unworthy and unlovable." - Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 2 - codependence recovery 

It is through doing our deep emotional healing and changing the subconscious intellectual paradigm - changing the music that we are dancing to - that we can start having discernment internally that allows us to more clearly hear / feel the messages of our intuition.  There is a huge difference between our emotional truth - the feelings that are triggered by our emotional wounds and/or created by the perspective we are viewing life from - and intuitive Truth that is coming from our Soul.  As long as our emotional truth - what we feel - is being dictated by childhood emotional wounds and the perspectives of self and life learned in childhood, then our relationship to this human dance will be dictated by music provided by our damaged ego self rather than the intuitive Truth that is coming from our Spiritual Self. 

Truth, in my understanding, is not an intellectual concept.  I believe that Truth is an emotional-energy, vibrational communication to my consciousness, to my soul/spirit - my being, from my Soul.  Truth is an emotion, something that I feel within.

It is that feeling within when someone says, or writes, or sings, something in just the right words so that I suddenly feel a deeper understanding.  It is that "AHA" feeling.  The feeling of a light bulb going on in my head.  That "Oh, I get it!" feeling.  The intuitive feeling when something just feels right . . . or wrong.  It's that gut feeling, the feeling in my heart.  It is the feeling of something resonating within me.  The feeling of remembering something that I had forgotten - but do not remember ever knowing.

In this dance of life that we are doing there are different levels - even of Truth with a capital T.  There are ultimate Truths, and there are relative Truths.  The ultimate Truths have to do with the eternal, everlasting reality of the God-Force, the Great Spirit.  The relative Truths have to do with each individual's own intuitive guidance.  These are the messages we receive individually to get us from point A to point B on our individual paths.  The guidance we get from our Souls that tells us what the next thing in front of us is.

Our individual, relative Truths expand and grow as we expand and grow.  We each have our own unique path to follow - our own individual inner guidance system.  No one can tell you what your path is!  Your Truth is a personal thing.  Only you can know your Truth.

It is through following and being True to our individual Truths, as they relate to our path through this physical experience, that we reach balance and harmony with the ultimate Truths.

We have been dancing through life in disharmony and imbalance - in dis-ease.  It is by clearing up our relationship with our own internal process - so that we can change our core relationship with self and life - that we can start to dance with some balance and harmony to the music of the ultimate Truth of Love and Joy." - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Chapter 13: Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame

I will activate a link here, and announce on my New page when part 2 of this rambling of mine is posted. (It turned out that I needed to take some time to experience life and love before finishing the next page - so I am posting it on) July 7, 2003  June 2003 Update Newsletter Discernment 2  
Two hearts with an arrow through them symbolizing both Love and heartbreak.
HomeSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Site IndexSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' New PageSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Joy2MeU JournalSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Information Pages Index

Joy2MeU Update Newsletter 10-20-00Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Attack on America - A Spiritual Healing PerspectiveSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' The True Nature of Love - part 3

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is copyright 1995.  Material on Joy2MeU web site (except where otherwise noted) is copyright 1996 thru 2009 by Robert Burney  PO Box 235401 Encinitas CA 92023.