|This is the Newsletter portion
of the May 23, 2001 Update.
(The first section below refers to that Update - so if you haven't read it already, you might want to take a quick look at it to know what I am talking about.)
Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update
June 1 through 15, 2001To all the Magnificent Spiritual Beings reading this Newsletter,
This is second part of my May Update Newsletter - and actually will be posted in June. Oh well.
Before I get into some processing about some things that are happening in my process, I wanted to clarify a few points from the Update part of this month's Newsletter.
When I mentioned being alone, I was talking specifically about in person, emotionally intimate relationships. I was not talking about that desperate feeling of loneliness that I used to experience. That desperately lonely part of me involved my inner child loneliness - and beyond that, the hole in my soul that was about feeling disconnected from the Source. I have not felt disconnected from the Source for many years now. That Spiritual hole that I spent much of my life trying to fill with something or someone outside of me, is what I learned to fill by working a twelve step Spiritual program. I am never alone on that level. I have not felt alone in that way for a long time.
Through my inner child healing work, I have developed relationships with the desperately lonely, needy inner children within me - and those wounds have only a fraction of the power they used to have. The next time that I have the opportunity to explore a relationship with another person that includes the possibility of a romantic connection, those wounds will come into play / buttons will be pushed - and it will be an wonderful opportunity for further growth and healing. ;-)
So, in stating that I was very alone - notice that I did not say I was lonely - I was referring to an adult need for connection with other human beings in person. I do not believe it is possible to really connect with another human being on all possible levels without experiencing being in the presence of their energy. As wonderful as the internet is for reaching out and touching other beings, it is not a good medium - in my opinion - for developing true emotional intimacy. Developing emotional intimacy is only in part about the content of our communications - about what we say, or type. I think that the telephone is a little better than the internet - but that it still falls far short of actually spending time with another person.
A sad truth for many people, is that the emotional intimacy they have experienced on the internet is the most powerful intimacy they have ever experienced. This is a symptom of how wounded and starved emotionally we were as children - the reason for patterns of emotional deprivation as an adult - and a message from the Source about how important it is to develop compassion for self in recovery. Just as the first twelve step meetings I ever attended were the most intimate, honest, real, and safest places I had ever experienced up to that time - so for many people the internet was the first place to experience any kind of true emotional honesty and safety. As I grew, and learned to be more emotionally intimate with myself, my capacity for emotional intimacy increased - and after a certain point, the number of people who had a comparable capacity decreased, the number of places where it was really appropriate to share on the deepest levels became fewer. There are multiple levels to everything, recovery keeps changing and getting different - the road gets narrower as the horizons get broader.
I am certainly not alone on the internet. I receive wonderful support from people around the world sending me e-mails thanking me for my book and web writings. There are people that I can talk to on the phone who are supportive and Loving. What I do not have right now is anyone (man or woman) who lives in close proximity to me and is willing and able to be an emotionally intimate friend. And specifically, there has not been a woman who I feel a strong attraction / energetic connection to, who has been willing to explore a level of emotional intimacy that will really push my buttons.
So, it is good news and bad news. I am enjoying kind of a vacation from deep processing of my issues right now - and I am really enJoying it, which is great. In the long run, I need a person or several people in my life to whom I feel the kind of energetic connection that will push my buttons, that will help me to get in touch with my deepest issues.
In the area of the adult's human need for connection with other adults as emotionally intimate friends, I am pretty much alone - and have a bit of loneliness. In terms of the adult who has human needs and desires for affection, touch, companionship, sexual fulfillment, I have been very alone forever (it feels like) - and can feel real lonely in that regard when I focus on that specific area. A very important component of personal empowerment, and taking responsibility for what we are feeling, is to own that we have the power to choose where we focus our mind. The disease, our programming, will always automatically focus on the part of the glass that is empty - our wants that have not been met. In recovery we gain the power to focus on the part of the glass that is full - which does not mean that we ignore the part that is empty. As I say below, I have known that I was going to need to look at these issues once again when the time came - and that the Universe would let me know when it was time. By letting go of focusing my time and energy on an issue that doesn't need to be addressed today, I have more ability to be free to be in the moment and experience some Joy today - one day at a time. (For more on wants and needs, check out Gratitude - a Vital Tool in the Recovery Process)
I have a great deal of pain and grief around the issues of romantic relationships and being alone in that regard - and part of that pain involves echoes, reverberations, of my childhood issues - but it no longer has nearly the power it used to because I understand the childhood wounds are just a small part of my total being, and that the deprived romantic is also just a part of me. I no longer get stuck in looking at the part of the glass that is empty, the pain over my deprivation in this area, and letting those feelings define my reality. So, as painful as it is, it has very little power relative to how much charge it used to hold for me.
Oh, and one other thing I wanted to clarify. Some people wrote to me saying that I would get the kind of relationship I wanted. That is not necessarily true in relationship to this lifetime. It may not come until my next lifetime. There is no destination where all of our wants are going to met in this lifetime. As I mention in the suite 101 article I provided a link to in the Update part of this Newsletter, I need to set a boundary with the romantic, magical thinking child within me who wants to believe all of my dreams will come true. The purpose of doing the work is not to get to a place where we are rewarded. The reward for doing this work is that we can improve the quality of our life today. We do our part to open up to the possibility of having our dreams come true, to knowing that we deserve everything good - and then we let go of the outcome, of thinking that there is a destination to be reached. If it is part of the Divine Plan for us in this lifetime, then it will happen. What we can have - by accessing the State of Grace and Unconditional Love that is our Truest Reality - is the capacity to relax, accept, and enJoy today.
Dancing in the Labyrinth
Writing about this level of recovery for me is like exploring some kind of labyrinth at times - each twist and turn I follow leads to a new perspective, to a different facet - and just when I think I am finished, I turn a corner and am headed back into the maze.I have periods where I can't write at all - and then when I need to write, I have great resistance to getting started. (As I have talked about in past Update Newsletters.) Then I have periods that are a kind of creative frenzy, where it feels as if I can't write fast enough to get all that is pouring out onto paper (Computer screen.)
I have been in one of those creative frenzies for some weeks now. This most recent journey into the writing labyrinth has really gotten out of hand. Out of my control that is (as if I am ever in control of the process) - and that is why this Newsletter that I promised before the end of May is only ready now.
Once the floodgates open, what I try to do, is direct the flow of my writing towards the goal I have in mind. An article focused on a specific area, or my Update Newsletter or whatever. I have some points I want to make, and I choose a starting point and then leap into the labyrinth.
because of the multiple levels involved in the subject areas I write about;the flow of the writing often jumps out of my intended channel into a completely different, but intimately related channel. Same tree, different branch.
The result of this phenomena, is that the writing process for me is a reflection of my recovery process. I need to apply the same principles in my writing that I do in life. I have to be willing, open, and honest with myself, so that I can recognize when it is time to surrender and let go, when it is time to take action, when it is time to change my perspective so I can change my emotional experience of what is happening and see reality with more clarity. Recovery in microcosm.
For me, writing is very much like my experience of life these days. Most of the time I really Love it. I really love it when I get into a creative frenzy like I am in now. This writing process is very exciting and fulfilling for me - and also sometimes terrifying and maddening (as life can be.) It is maddening and frustrating when the flow keeps jumping out of my control.
About frustration, since I mentioned it several times. 10 years ago when I was in a 30 day treatment program for codependence (clinically called: depression) one of the counselors gave a definition of frustration that made me angry then, and still riles me when I am getting frustrated and I remember his words.The advanced levels of recovery that I have been writing about recently - and of course, the issues that I am dealing with in my personal recovery - are often very subtle and abstract from one perspective, but obvious and logical in another context. It can be very difficult to figure out how to communicate about these levels, and their interrelationship, in understandable terms.
My most recent journey into the writing labyrinth has produced the two articles focusing on Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility - which spawned a future article focused on the same topic in relationship to emotional intimacy in romantic relationships. This frenzy has also resulted in the Update and led to this Newsletter.
Writing this Newsletter (
As I have said elsewhere in my writings, my primary focus needs to be on my own process, on my recovery, on doing what I need to do for myself. The fact that sharing my experience, strength, and hope helps other people is a side benefit of the twelve step recovery process. I also believe, that it is important for me to share my humanness - my fears, my struggles, my denial - in order to role model that it is not shameful to be a wounded human being in process. I believe that is important because toxic shame - shame about being imperfect, weak, defective human beings - is such a crippling aspect of the disease of codependence, is such a block to learning to Love ourselves and others in a healthy way.
Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adapted by our egos in early childhood in response to emotional trauma.
We need to let go of the illusion that we can control this life business. We cannot. We never could! It was an illusion. And we need to let go of the false beliefs that tell us that we are bad and shameful. We cannot become whole as long as we believe that any part of us is bad or shameful.
That includes the ego - that bloated out-of-balance dragon within. . . . . . . now is the time to get things into balance - the time to bring ego-self into alignment and balance with Spiritual Self. . . . . . . The death of the ego is not an event - it is a process. It is not an act of violence - it is an act of Love. A process of learning to Love.
We are bringing ego-self into alignment with Spiritual Truth. We are reconnecting with our Spiritual nature and Spiritual purpose so that we can find some fulfillment and happiness in life.
Recovery is a process of disempowering the ego programming so that we can learn to Love. In order to start taking power away from our dysfunctional defense system and stop unconsciously reacting to life, we need to start disarming our egos. The vital step in doing that, is to get more conscious of our own inner process by developing a level of consciousness where we are observing ourselves instead of judging ourselves for being human. Once we start expanding our consciousness and learning to stop reacting, it becomes much easier to take power away from the primary weapons / tools of the ego.
As I was writing this, I got kind of an unfocused, fuzzy image of the ego as this monster coming at me with a viscous looking curved sword in one hand and one of those ugly war clubs with the sharp spikes sticking out of it in the other. The sword is fear. The club is shame. Fear and shame are the tools that the ego learned to use to try to control our behavior and emotions.
The key to the inner child healing / codependency recovery process is to stop buying into the shame because that takes power away from the fear.
And the underlying dynamic of the disease, the fundamental source that feeds, nourishes, and magnifies shame and fear, is black and white thinking.
That is what I am going to be talking about in this newsletter. The Universe has sent me some messages that brought to my awareness that I was buying into some black and white thinking in relationship to emotional intimacy and romantic relationship.
And the sword of fear slashes.
Just writing those words sets off the slashing sword in my gut. Because I am not just talking on a theoretical level this time. I am processing about my emotional intimacy issues and I am in touch with the feelings while doing it. Which means I have been feeling a lot of fear in recent days.
And I can't discuss these issues without talking about my emotional incest issues - a subject that I still have some discomfort in looking at.
There is not anywhere near the fear and discomfort that I used to experience in relationship to this arena, and much of the fear that comes up for me is flak meant to camouflage the deeper issue involved. The ego is real good at sending up flak - at presenting an issue as being the primary one, when in truth it is meant to distract me from looking deeper.
When I did touch on the deeper level in this writing, I got to experience some terror. This is such a fun process.
So, anyway, last evening - after thinking I had this newsletter all finished and ready to upload in the morning, and not being able to do it all day - I got in touch with something I did not expect to find.
Expectations have been such a key for me in unraveling the twisted, distorted beliefs that are the foundation of my codependence.
When I first started realizing how much my expectations were dictating my emotional reactions to life, I tried not to have any expectations. I soon came to realize that it was impossible to live in society and not have expectations. If I have electricity in my home I am going to expect the lights to come on - and if they don't, I am going to have feelings about it. If I own that having electricity is a choice I make, then I realize that I am not being the victim of the electric company I am just experiencing a life event. And life events occur for me to learn from - not to punish me.One of the reasons it is frustrating for me when my writing jumps to a different channel is because I expect something different. When I am losing the power struggle to make my writing go where I want it to, then I feel like a victim. I need to let go of the perspective that is causing my expectation in order not to buy into the belief that I am being victimized.
When I first started getting aware of how my expectations were setting me up to feel like a victim, I programmed into my observer self - my inner recovery control center of higher consciousness and a more mature recovering adult perspective on life - a red flag alert priority to detect any victim beliefs.
There are always going to be times when I feel like a victim - of life, of other people, of myself - but the key for me is to not buy into the belief I am the victim. This has to do with having internal boundaries and taking responsibility for the things I do have some power over - which I discuss in the two discernment articles that I mentioned above.
It is vital in recovery to stop buying into the belief that we are victims. Anytime that we are focusing on the situation at hand and giving power to the belief that we are victims . . . . . . . without looking at how that situation is connected to our childhood wounds - we are not being honest with ourselves.As little kids we were victims and we need to heal those wounds. But as adults we are volunteers - victims only of our disease. The people in our lives are actors and actresses whom we cast in the roles that would recreate the childhood dynamics of abuse and abandonment, betrayal and deprivation.
We are/have been just as much perpetrators in our adult relationships as victims. Every victim is a perpetrator because when we are buying into being the victim, when we are giving power to our disease, we are perpetrating on the people around us and on ourselves.
We need to heal the wounds without blaming others. And we need to own the responsibility without blaming ourselves. As was stated earlier - there is no blame here, there are no bad guys. The only villain here is the disease and it is within us.
I was feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin yesterday in the afternoon and into the evening. My mind was telling me that I had to get this Newsletter posted so I could get on to the next writing project, and all of the other things I "should" be doing - but my body was telling me that something was out of balance.
So, I held off posting this and waited for some clarity to come. As I was driving to the store to buy something for dinner (because nothing I had was sufficiently filling to stuff the feelings I was experiencing - the Universe works in mysterious ways ;-) the light bulb went on.
I realized that there was some victim perspective in the last part of what I had written. I realized that in talking about the black and white thinking, I had uncovered a place within me where the black and white perspective was setting me up to feel like a victim - a level where I was being dishonest.
This really is an amazing, fascinating process.
This morning I am rewriting certain parts of this Newsletter - which is now going to be in three parts because of all the channels that had to converge to get me to a place of more clarity. ~ Robert - June 12, 2001