This is the Newsletter portion - Part 2 - of the March 2006 Update
As I stated in the first part of this Update, thanks to the donations of close to a hundred people out there - the vast majority in denominations of $10 and $20 - I was able to keep my book in print. It was very gratifying that so many people value my book and work enough to make contributions to the cause. Thank you!!!
I did get to a point where I had no books to fill orders for a couple of weeks - and both Amazon.com and my national distributor New Leaf had no books for a period of time (which affected my income from those sources which pays my normal operating expenses - and which was compensated for by the donations combined with the kind loan that took me a little over the cost of the reprint) - but now things are back to normal. That is very good.
It is not optimal however. I have for years been grateful to be able to pay the rent and the most important bills every month. I have no savings, no 401K, no pension or retirement plan. I have not had an income that allowed me to save up for the next reprint - or to get the audio tapes put on CD - or numerous other things.
As I talked about in my January Update - and in my Metaphysical Law: Giving and Receiving ~ Donations / Love Offerings page - my path has been one of learning to surrender and practice faith. When I published my book I thought it was going to be a best seller because so many people out there were looking for the answers that my book provides. When I ended up bankrupt and without a place to live within 3 years of self publishing the book, it gave me a wonderful opportunity to Truly live in faith - as I mention towards the end of that January Update.
So, having a place to live and being able to pay the rent every month was a wonderful upgrade - and to me a very comfortable place to be since I had learned so much about letting go of the future and living in the now doing the next indicated thing on my Spiritual Path.
I talk in numerous places in my writing about how our ego fears the unknown and resists change. In one article (although I can't remember which one right now, probably in my Journal) I talk about how my ego likes to find a rut and furnish it because it doesn't like to take risks - it wants to hold on to the known and familiar even if that involves pain and/or deprivation instead venturing out on new adventures in the unknown. And in my article Loving and Nurturing self on your Spiritual Path I talk about the dynamics of the growth process and how the Universe forces us to grow by smashing the comfortable psychological box that we have created for ourselves.
In checking in my journal in the Joy2MeU Journal just now for the rut quote, I didn't find the one I was looking for - but did find one that fits in perfectly with what I am saying here (and with the spiritual integration formula I teach people and will be sharing in my Intensive Training Day), and is from the installment in which I had the insights that I share about in the next paragraph. (In this excerpt, I am responding to a query from a subscriber as to whether I had put myself into an isolated "recovery box" - text in this color added now.)
"I don't believe that recovery is a box - that it is limiting. I see twelve step recovery as a formula that we can apply to whatever box we are in - a formula that helps us let go of limiting boxes so that we can transition to a larger box.In the fall of 2002, in writing for my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal, I became aware that I had become too comfortable with living isolated and alone (it had been almost 4 years since I had had any type of interaction approaching a relationship) - and was not taking any action to open up to having a romantic relationship in my life. (That isolated period - that basically begin at the time I wrote A Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment in late December 1988 - was a wonderfully creative time when I wrote a majority of the articles that I share on Joy2MeU. Those writings were a perfect part of my process in working through my fear of intimacy issues - the progression of those articles is something that I shared in my November 2002 Update.)"This human experience is a process that involves inherent conflict between the continuously changing nature of life and the human ego's need to survive. In order to insure survival (which is the ego's appointed task) the human ego needs to define things. . . . . . As a result, the ego fears change and craves security and stability. But because life is constantly changing, security and stability can only be temporary.Boxes are limiting. Definitions are limiting. Trying to define the God-Force is ultimately impossible - because God / Goddess is unlimited. Part of what is vital on a Spiritual growth path is the ability and willingness to let go of our definitions when they are no longer working for us. This is where the twelve step recovery principles are invaluable. The Swan story I refer to above (from the Medicine Cards that I quoted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls and share on my page Choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment) has nothing to do with twelve step recovery. That story refers to beliefs that are part of the ancient wisdom of a culture that revered and lived in alignment with Nature and natural process. The spiritual principles of twelve step recovery are part of a natural process for aligning with the Great Spirit - the Universal Force. As I say in my book at the end of the Swan story:
The way it works is that the ego's definitions put us in a box - this is who I am and how I relate to them - and the life process keeps breaking up our box. Every time our box breaks we have to let go of some of our ego definitions in order to grow. The time when we break out of the box is the time we are the most scared and confused - because we have just had to surrender some of our old definitions and we do not know yet what is going to replace them - and the time we most need to nurture ourselves." - Loving and Nurturing self on your Spiritual Path
A "state of Grace" is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love. We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit. What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.
The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable. And we cannot do that without going through the black hole. The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief. The journey within - through our feelings - is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.
It is through willingness and acceptance, through surrender, trust, and faith, that we can begin to own the state of Grace which is our True condition.
We are all beautiful swans who exist in a state of Grace, in a condition of being unconditionally Loved. The dance of Recovery is a process of learning to accept and integrate the Truth of Grace into our lives.
Willingness and acceptance: surrender, trust, and faith; honesty, responsibility, and taking action; courage, humility, and compassion; openness, forgiveness, and Love; are ancient spiritual principles. They are part of every religion / spiritual belief system in some way. The brilliance of the mystical guidelines that are the twelve steps is that it brought these ancient spiritual principles together in a formula for application into day to day living.
So, I do not find twelve step recovery as I define it, limiting at all." - The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 18 November 2002
That realization led to me starting to take the actions that allowed me to work through my fear of intimacy defenses so that I was able to get involved in a really wonderful relationship a year ago. I have been sharing about that relationship in these Updates - as I have been sharing my life process in my Updates for the last almost 8 years since I first created a web site.
The comfortable rut / box I had created for myself living alone in Cambria got smashed in a wonderful way - with the entrance into my life of Susan, my mate / significant other / life partner. With her came a family that includes my precious god son / step grandson Darien. (Pictures of my family are included on the New page.) In order to provide for them in a way I want to, need to, I need to smash out of a box I have been trapped in in regard to money and abundance on the material plane.
Living the way I was living - with no extras, no savings, just happy to pay the rent every month - was a comfortable place as long as I was living alone. My life changed radically in the last year - it is so much richer and fuller now, so much more exciting. I faced my fear of intimacy issues enough to open up to Love - and have been rewarded with this wonderful family situation now. Now I need to face those issues once more, because my fear of intimacy issues caused by the toxic shame at the core of my being are at the root of my issues with money.
It is kind of ironic to me as I am writing this to see, how I was able to get the Love in an intimate relationship before being forced to deal with the next level of the money / abundance issues - which is kind of backwards. But it is also perfectly logical also - because, as I say in the quote I am going to share next, "I carried such a suspicion of money, and so much fear about the power of money, that I was afraid that if I got a lot of money before I found a Loving relationship with a woman - that I could never trust that she Loved me for me, and not for my money. That is a monster of a defense. Talk about powerful block - both to getting money and to being available for a relationship."
This next quote is from my Update Newsletter for October of 2000 - which was the first one I wrote after moving back to Cambria in September of that year, and having the security of a comfortable place to live for the first time in several years. It may be the most important Newsletter I have ever written in relationship to my process - because it really opened up my fear of intimacy issues for me to look at. Uncover, discover, recover - as the 12 step saying goes.
This is a rather long excerpt from Part 2 of that Update which I am including here because it is important to me and my process. Hopefully those of you who have the patience (and lack of ADD) to read it will find some value in it. I am going to be using another quote from Part 1 a little later in this Newsletter also.
"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.I am now being nudged by the Universe to peal another layer in regards to these fear of intimacy defenses - both in relationship to money, and to what I shared at the end of that October Update about my relationship to my own body and health.
Part of what I was trying to communicate, in the series on The Recovery Process for Inner Child Healing, was the intricate complexity this process. Issues are piled on issues. Each issue has levels and layers of effect - patterns, attitudes, subconscious beliefs, emotional grief energy, etc. - attached to it.
Complex and Convoluted
The outer, and most obvious layers, have levels and layers in and of themselves, that need to be worked through to the core issues. Each time I am at a point of needing to surrender to peeling another major layer, I get to revisit all of my old issues once more - because they are all interrelated and interconnected. Each time my growth process takes me to a new level - I need to surrender in a major way - I attain a deeper level of honesty, a higher understanding of Truth. So, my perspective of all of my other issues changes.
The dance of balance, that I talk about in those articles, is an ongoing, ever changing dance. When my perspective changes in a major way, my relationship with each issue changes also.
Undoubtedly the most telling example of this for me, is in relationship to financial abundance. For me money has been the most convenient scapegoat, the most potent distraction. As long as I don't have enough money in my life, I have a pretty good excuse not to deal with deeper issues. After all, survival is pretty important.
And the layers and levels of my issues in relationship with money are a convoluted labyrinth indeed.
First of all, I hated the injustice I saw in the society I grew up in. I am deeply offended by a society that can justify not just homelessness, but so much of the population living in poverty while a small percentage of the population has more money than they can ever possibly spend. The rebel in me used to get enraged at the callous disregard for individual human rights and dignity created out of the belief systems that underlie capitalism. (My rebel still can get pretty angry about it, but I have released a lot of rage over the years.)
It is, of course, not just capitalism that can be so cruel. I believe that it is the patriarchal nature of human civilizations that has created such heartless societies. Women, who because of the gift of being able to bring life into this world, are naturally more heart connected and innately inclined to have more respect for the gift of an individual human life than men. (Of course, the ultimate cause is the illusion of separation and the planetary conditions of polarization and reversity that I talk about in my book.)
On a personal level, I hated the power my father gave to money. My father grew up in the Depression and adapted powerful scarcity issues around money. So, it didn't matter that he was making quite a bit of money - he still related to money from a place of fear. He would spend money on me and my family - but would always have to tell us how hard he had worked for it. The message I got from his behavior, was that he was spending this money on me but I wasn't really worth it. My father never told me he loved me, he tried to show it by "bringing home the bacon" - but it was always grudging, he always complained. The relationship I formed with money in childhood had shame attached to it.
(To make a point, about the levels of complexity of our issues, I want to note here, how the issues of money were connected for me to being male. I hated and rebelled against the inhumanity exhibited throughout the history of civilization by the patriarchal system. I also resented and rebelled against my father who was my role model of what a man was. And I was taught that god the father (who seemingly endorsed capitalism, genocide, the debasement of women, etc.) would send me to burn in hell forever for being human. In unraveling my issues about money, I also needed to unravel my issues with my own gender - which also included my relationships with other men, with women, with my own sexuality, etc. A tangled web indeed.)
I spent much of my life, saying that money and material things didn't mean anything to me (the rebel's valiant stand) while giving money great power because I didn't have enough of it (the sabotaging shame and self abuse cycle of the disease.)
I have spent many years in my recovery unraveling and untangling all of my issues in relationship to money and abundance on a financial and material plane.
I first started to do positive affirmations shortly into my codependence recovery (in late 1986) when I realized that I had a pattern of living in deprivation in terms of living space, car, all kinds of material areas. The first affirmation that I ever did was not really a true affirmation. The truest and most powerful affirmations begin with "I am" because that is another name for the God-Force / Goddess Energy. The first affirmation that I did was: "God wants me to be happy, healthy, loved, and successful."
This was a really big thing to me, to think that God might want good things for me. It certainly was not what the God of retribution that I grew up with would want for me.
Within 6 months of starting this affirmation, I was driving a new car (new to me), had a good job, and was living in a nice apartment. I stopped saying the affirmation. I realized only belatedly that I stopped because I had been focusing on the successful part of the affirmation and I didn't really believe that I deserved to be happy, healthy and loved yet.
Over the years, I have: done lots of positive affirmations (at two different periods making tapes of affirmations and messages of Love that I would play as I was going to sleep at night); positive visualization (visualizing a pile of money on my bed when I came back from a walk, etc. - as a way of affirming that the Universe is capable of any miracle); bought lottery tickets (as an affirmation and to give myself hope that tomorrow might be the day the Universe showered money on me); engaged in activities as affirmation (played golf or gone to the movies when the illusion was I couldn't afford it, just as an affirmation of abundance to come); expressed gratitude in retrospect for not having money (to honor that in early sobriety it helped me stay sober, and other times when it taught me valuable lessons); paid attention to mental attitudes that supported scarcity and lack so that I could change them; worked to change my concept of money to thinking of it as energy that needed to flow; and many other actions to change my relationship with money.
And the thing that was so important for me to remember, was that money wasn't the issue at all. Money is a symbol and a symptom. A symptom of my wounds - of the causes in my childhood that produced the effects in my adult life. And a symbol of Love.
What I really wanted was to feel like I was Loved by God. The bottom line of all of our wounding is feeling separated from The Source. The only abundance that really matters, is the abundance of Love.
I want to inject here, that for me - and probably for a lot of people reading this - money was a symbol of the Love we yearned for, we felt deprived of. That doesn't mean that people with a lot of money are open to receive Love - or are doing something right that we are doing wrong. Financial abundance issues are very much tied in with Karma. Basically, people either have Karmic issues around money or they don't. If they don't then money flows into their life easily. Often this means that people with lots of money are not old souls. Many of them are creating negative money Karma in this lifetime that they will have to pay in another. Some of them are old souls who have settled their money Karma prior to this lifetime - or will in their next lifetime.
Karma & Past Lives
"The term "old-soul" refers to the stage of consciousness evolution an individual has attained by this lifetime - it does not mean better than, or farther along than, those who do not have to do the healing. There is no hierarchy in the Truth of a Loving Great Spirit - those who appear to have low, or no, consciousness in this lifetime are simply doing their healing in another space-time illusion parallel to this one. All old-souls are born at a heart-chakra level of consciousness and therefore have more sensitivity, and less capacity for denial, than other people. In other words, the gift of having access to Truth and Love carries with it the price of greatly increased emotional sensitivity." - Jesus & Christ Consciousness
It can be much easier in our capitalistic society to make a lot of money, if one is not heart connected. It is much harder often, to achieve a Spiritual Awakening if one has a lot of money to distract them and make them feel in control. And it can be a huge challenge for any old soul involved in the healing process to maintain balance once they start achieving financial abundance.
One of the issues which I uncovered in my healing, was a fear that having money would corrupt me. This was a response to the reality that I had been corrupted by money in past lives. Money Karma is something that I am settling in this lifetime.
I talk in my book, and in different places on my web site, about the need to not judge ourselves for our resistance and fear. We have that resistance and fear for a reason. It is an effect that has a cause.
"One of the reasons on a very deep level, at a soul/higher ego level, that we have resistance to doing our healing and owning our power is because of our past life experiences.
We have all been punished for owning our power in the past! Whether that was by being burned at the stake for being a healer, or drawn and quartered for being a teacher, or hanged for being a messenger, or whatever.
So we have very good reasons for not trusting God or this life business!
We also have very good reasons for not trusting ourselves because we have all abused the power in the past. We have had lifetimes when we were teachers who led our students astray, when we were healers or leaders or messengers who took the left-hand path and served the forces of darkness instead of Light.
We have very good reasons for being terrified of owning our power again!
Those are the reasons on the deepest level why we have resistance to the healing process. . ."
(All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)
All of our issues in this lifetime are reflections of issues that we have been dealing with through multiple lifetimes. It is not necessary for everyone to get aware of past life issues in order to heal. By doing your inner child healing, you are not only healing the wounds of this lifetime - but also settling Karma from the past. It is not necessary to be conscious of where that Karma came from, it is only necessary to be willing to heal our wounds from this lifetime so that we can open up to receive Love now.
A vitally important step in opening to receive Love is to stop judging and shaming ourselves for our issues, for our resistance and fear. The issues are an effect that had a cause, the fear and resistance are in reaction to past experience - we do not necessarily need to know what those experiences/causes were. What is important is to start choosing to have faith that there is some Loving Force in charge of this dance, so that we can start forgiving ourselves for being wounded humans.
I am not going to focus on money any longer in this Newsletter except to share three of the ways I was at least partially blocked in healing my fear of intimacy issues by my codependent defenses in relationship to money. Anyone who wants to know more about my evolution in regard to this issue can read my past Newsletters where I reveal the basics of my healing of this relationship. (Or Journal subscribers can read about it on a more intimate level.)
Blocks to Intimacy
I devoted what space I have here to money for two reasons. One, I have realized only belatedly as I write, this is in a way a follow up to my series on the Recovery process and how important it is to stop judging and shaming ourselves for some very complicated and deeply embedded issues. The other reason, is to set the stage for sharing with you the impact of recent events in my life.
In terms of my fear of intimacy, one very powerful defense that my codependence erected against me being available for an intimate relationship, was my focus on money - or to be more accurate my focus on scarcity, on the near poverty level of existence that has been a pattern in my adult life. The amount of time and energy I spent on survival seriously subtracted from the time and energy I had available to invest in life - in being Truly alive.
I lived most of my life as if it were a dress rehearsal - and my life wouldn't really start until I had money. (Although in my mind I would more often think in terms of getting the relationship, or the success, that would fix me - any fantasy future I entertained by necessity included money.) Destination thinking. A great distraction - that isn't just an excuse. There is a reality to believing that there is a certain kind of freedom that one does not have in this day and age without having some money.
This is another example of the complexity of these issues because scarcity is both a cause and effect - that causes other effects.
So, I got a lot of great practice in recovery in letting go of the future and just taking life one day at a time. I have gotten very good at that. But the reality is, that even though I was able to attain an amazing level of balance and serenity in my daily life in relationship to money issues, there was still a level of stress being generated by the situation. Even though my conscious stress was reduced to a minimum level by working my program, the subconscious levels of stress affected me emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Secondly, I carried such a suspicion of money, and so much fear about the power of money, that I was afraid that if I got a lot of money before I found a Loving relationship with a woman - that I could never trust that she Loved me for me, and not for my money. That is a monster of a defense. Talk about powerful block - both to getting money and to being available for a relationship.
The third way that money factored into my availability for an intimate relationship, was directly related to the Spiritually abusive concept of god that I grew up with - and with an issue that has been very dominant in this lifetime - and that I learned has been a theme through numerous lifetimes.
Here is another quote from The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.
"After that group, I was in a great deal of pain and went to talk to one of the counselors on the unit. She suggested that I do some right hand-left hand writing to ask my inner child about the pain. When I did that writing (my dominant right hand for the adult and my left for the child) the message that I got back was astonishing to me. What the child wrote back was about an incident that had happened in my childhood that I had never thought was important at all. What the child wrote was something like this: "When I got hit by the car when I was seven I wanted to die. They wouldn't let me. They made me come back."
September 19, 1999, almost 13 years since that day - and I sob with the pain of that wound, that child within me. I just wanted to die. The most familiar, most overwhelming feeling for most of my life - the feeling that drove me. From the time I was a little child until well into my recovery, I wanted to die to escape the emotional pain. It wasn't until 1990 that a shift occurred in my consciousness so that my desire to live became more consequential than my desire to die. Back then, in 1986, I don't think I cried very much - I really don't remember now. What I remember was my astonishment that something, which seemed to me so obscure and insignificant, should have come out of the left hand writing - and that it had so much pain attached to it. Later, when I was in treatment in the desert, more would be revealed to me about that incident." - Joy2MeU Journal 30 Days in the Desert - Falling Apart and Breaking Through Part I
What I got in touch with when I was in treatment was that the incident of being hit by the car was in fact a suicide attempt. What I realized was that I had gotten the message that day when I was 7, that I would not be allowed to commit suicide in this lifetime - and that I had been pissed about that for 30 some years.
My anger was acted out in the passive aggressive nature of my codependence with behavior that was "I'll show you, I'll get me." The way that I was "showing" the Universe was by punishing my body. I tried to commit suicide through alcohol and drugs, through dangerous behavior.
I blamed my body for trapping me here. I felt that it was my body's fault that I was separated from God. I have had incredible resistance to treating my body in Loving ways. After I got sober, I continued to abuse (often in the name of nurturing) my body with cigarettes and food.
I resisted getting healthier and developing a more Loving relationship with my body because of my anger at God for subjecting me to this painful experience. And in recovery, I resisted changing the relationship with my body - and through it my relationship with being alive - because the Universe wasn't supplying me with enough financial abundance.
To some very powerful level of my being - probably predominantly the rebel (who often has a strong alliance with the addict) - for me to get healthier before God had proven to me that I was Loved by supplying enough financial abundance, sounded way too much like Catholic crap about earning God's Love.
I wanted to feel Loved and supported by the Universe before I started to take action to get healthier - so that it wouldn't feel like I was trying to reach a destination where I earned the Love of God by becoming perfect enough.
It was kind of like I set a boundary with God, that I would get healthy when God supplied me with some financial abundance - so that it felt like God really loved me.
When one is in a power struggle with God that involves refusing to treat self in more Loving ways until I had some proof of God's Love that involved money - is another monster block to being available for intimacy." - Joy2MeU Update October 2000 Part 2
Well, nudged is probably a mild term. Forced is not the Truth. In between nudged and forced is where I am at right now. Knowing that I need to venture into the unknown, but with great ego resistance coming up to doing so. Alcoholics are notoriously resistant to change - but then so are codependents who are not alcoholic. Rather codependent alcoholics are more resistant or not, I don't know. I do know that I do not usually surrender to major changes graciously, or easily.
In fact - though I have become very good at living one day at a time surrendering to doing what is in front of me day to day - in terms of the really major surrenders I have had to become willing to make in my recovery, it is usually the stick the Universe has to use rather than the carrot.
"The way I think of it is that my Higher Power works with the carrot and stick approach: like a mule driver trying to get a mule moving, he can either dangle a carrot in front of the mule and get the mule moving after the carrot, or he can take a stick and beat him until he gets moving.
It is a lot easier on me to follow the carrots that my Higher Power dangles in front of me than to force the Universe to use a stick to get me moving. Either way I am going to get to where the Universe wants me - but the carrot method is a lot easier on me."
And as I stated several times in that October 2000 Update, it is so important to stop judging and shaming ourselves for our fears and resistance - for having some very complicated and deeply embedded issues. In my March 2004 Update, I talked about how powerful our fear of intimacy is - and how dealing with our issues is not something that we want to do, is not as I say in this quote, something we do as a hobby.
"I have had the courage and the faith to keep plunging back into the fray (although sometimes taking a few years off in between plunges;-) each time I was battered and bloodied and crushed by this mutated, malformed, hideous manifestation of my codependency - my terror of intimacy. Fear of intimacy is a magnified version of codependent fear.As I tell people all the time, the ego is not an inherently negative or bad thing, it just got programmed really dysfunctionally. It is trying to help us survive in ways that do not work to help us get our needs met or enjoy life - in ways that will ultimately will kill us one way or another.
Fear of the unknown is a normal human reaction that is part of our survival programing - it is not the monster. The monster is codependent fear."This fear is not a normal human fear of the unknown. It is codependent fear: a distorted, magnified, virulent, mutated species of fear caused by the poisonous combination of a false belief that being human is shameful with a polarized (black and white, right and wrong) perspective of life. This self perpetuating, self destructive type of obsessive thinking feeds not only on fear, but on shaming ourselves for feeling the fear." - Obsession / Obsessive Thinking Part 1Our fear of intimacy has a strength in direct proportion to the amount of pain and shame we felt in early childhood - because that is what caused our ego to build up a fortress around our hearts. The first people we opened our hearts to - opened them completely and unconditionally to - were our parents, or whatever adults were in our lives. Because those adults were wounded, our hearts were crushed."Our parents were our first loves - and we were wounded in our relationships with them because they were wounded. We internalized and incorporated the conditioning from those initial experiences of opening our hearts to emotional intimacy into our relationship with self.I have been intermittently, actively working on healing my fear of intimacy issues through writing ever since receiving a strong message about my need to focus my attention on those issues while writing my Update of October 2000. I plunged into those issue with a vengeance in my Update of May 2001 - and followed that up by doing many pages of processing in my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal in June of 2001 and then in July and November of 2002.
It is not our relationship with our parents that we need to heal in order to open to Love, it is our relationship with our self - the self image we formed because of our relationships with them. The healing we need to do is internal, in our relationship with self. Our ego adapted defenses to protect us in the environment we grew up in. In order to change our relationship with self we need to change our childhood ego programming." - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 5: Codependency = conditioned reactive programming
It takes great courage and faith to face our emotional wounds. Being willing to heal our wounded hearts is a courageous journey through treacherous territory. Of course, those of us that are in codependency recovery did not get into recovery because we wanted a new hobby or something."Our ego desperately fights to hang onto denial and rationalization - because to the ego it feels like a fight for survival, literally a life and death struggle. No one wakes up one morning and says, "Hey maybe I will do some emotional healing today - that sounds like fun." We start doing this healing work because we are in so much emotional pain. We start doing it because we have hit an emotional bottom where rationalizations and denial no longer work. We start doing it because we have reached a point where emotional dishonesty is killing us - literally." - Chapter 5: Codependency = conditioned reactive programmingMost people have a misunderstanding about courage. They think that courage is something that feels strong and powerful and confident. That is not true at all. Courage is when we are scared to death and we move forward anyway. A example I have used over the years to help people understand this is: that a person who charges a machine gun nest and does not feel fear is not courageous - they are insane.
What courage feels like in actual experience is: "Oh crap, I have to do this." Courage is a soul compulsion. It is when our soul, our Spirit, is telling us that we need to do something no matter how scared we are - no matter how terrifying it appears to be.
Courage isn't necessarily about doing something we want to do, it is definitely about doing something we need to do. We become willing to move through our fear of the unknown because our intuition guides us, our soul compels us, to move forward - to take the plunge.
I did not want to get sober. I did not want to start doing codependency recovery. I did not want to open up to feeling the feelings and doing the deep grief work. I did those things to save my life. I did them because my intuition told me I had to do them to be True to my Self. I did them despite incredible resistance and fierce guerilla warfare waged by my ego attempting to sabotage my recovery. The number one tool of the ego is the magnified mutant codependent fear of making a mistake. It bombards us with messages that we can't trust ourselves and presents the "evidence" from the past that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this Update.
We do not have to trust our self. This is not self help. This is a Spiritual process and we will be guided - we can trust our Spiritual guidance, our Higher Power. There are no mistakes or failures - just things that feel that way because our codependent programming is defining our experience of life from a black and white shame based perspective. Developing a detached, objective observer perspective - a recovery control center, as I describe in explaining my approach to inner child healing - allows us to learn to define our experience of life from a perspective aligned with the Spiritual Truth of Unconditional Love instead of fear and shame.
We need to start taking the risk of having faith in the process. We need to start taking action based upon faith instead of fear. I learned to "act as if" I had faith in a Loving Higher Power in order to access the courage to start moving though my fears. I started to "fake it til you make it" - that is, to take leaps of faith in order to allow the Universe the opportunity to demonstrate to me that there was Truly good reason to have faith." - March 2004 Update Newsletter
"The damaged ego responds to it's programming by generating fear of the things we learned to fear as a child: making mistakes; doing it wrong; being emotional; speaking our Truth; taking risks; being alone; not being alone; whatever. We then empower the fear by focusing on it, magnifying it, and generally giving it the power to define us and our life - or by denying it, which also gives it power because in denying our fear we are denying our self and reality. Going to either extreme results in the inability to see the situation clearly.When I say in the quote above that I surrendered to being in, and doing recovery, "despite incredible resistance and fierce guerilla warfare waged by my ego attempting to sabotage my recovery" - it is not that my ego is actually trying to sabotage my recovery, that is the effect, the symptom. The cause is that the ego interpreted emotional pain as a threat to survival in childhood, and it is trying to help me survive by trying to avoid emotional pain in dysfunctional ways.
Because our ego was programmed to react to life from fear, negativity, scarcity, and lack (again due to emotional trauma we experienced, and the messages and role modeling of the adults around us) the disease focuses on and magnifies fear - and then it scrambles around trying to find something to cover up and repress the very fear it is generating. The disease blows the fear way out of proportion and then leads us to addictive and/or compulsive behavior as a way of stuffing the fear.
This is the essence of the dysfunction. We live our life reacting to fear, and the shame, that the disease empowers and then "helps" us avoid by causing us to focus on something outside of ourselves as the cause and/or the cure for the core place within us where we feel empty - where we feel unlovable and unworthy. - The Recovery Process for inner child healing - through the fear
Living my life in deprivation - deprived of money and material things, in isolation without close personal relationships - was safe to my ego. To my ego programming, opening up to abundance - in money, love, success, whatever - was an unacceptable risk because my ego is trying to protect me from of the toxic shame at the core of my relationship with myself. The emotional behavioral ego defense system that is codependency is founded upon the feeling that I am inherently shameful and defective - and ultimately I will be punished, will fail, will lose whatever it is that I value.
My father raged at me for making mistakes - and the message my ego programming got was that I was not good enough, that I would screw up anything I tried to do, so it was better to not take the risk. I got the message in numerous ways in childhood that there was something wrong with me that made me unlovable and unworthy - so the ego is trying to help me avoid setting myself up for the ultimate failure which must result from my shameful, defective being.
My ego resists change because it is trying to protect me from a lie. It is a dysfunctional defense system - and battling against the deep seeded, fundamental programming from early childhood is an ongoing process, a continuing struggle to try to consciously empower Love and Joy instead of fear and shame.
The very good news is that I have come so far in my recovery. I have so many moments of being present in the now and feeling Joy - despite the fact that I do not have financial security. The great news is that I have done so much healing of my fear of intimacy terror that I do have a Loving relationship in my life now - not just with a significant other, but with a whole family.
The news that I am not so crazy about, is that once more in my recovery it is time to take some risks - to venture into the unknown. I have enlarged my box enough to include a Loving relationship - and now it is time to open up to a little more success. It is time to adjust and align my behavior and attitudes a bit more with the higher Truth - that God / Goddess / Great Spirit does indeed want me to be "happy, healthy, loved, and successful."
The line from the Kris Kristopherson / Janis Joplin song about freedom that is the topic heading for this section, is one I always resonated with - probably in part, as a rationalization for my deprivation.
To my ego defenses, it was better not to take the risk of succeeding - of opening to Love and success and abundance - because then I would just be setting myself up to lose something I valued. That to my damaged ego, would be worse than never having anything worth losing.
I have written in several places about my resonance with the song The Rose including the second Newsletter page of my June 2003 Update.
"It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance,Since my ego defense is set up to protect me from the lie that I am inherently defective, that there is something shameful about my being, it operates from a place of believing it is better to not love, then to love and lose. My codependency is trying to protect me from opening up to abundance - of all types - as a way of trying to keep my shameful, defective being a secret.
It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes a chance."
It doesn't want me to take a chance, to really go for it.
The work I have done to open up to Love brought me to a place where I was willing to surrender to the relationship experience that I am gifted with today. That relationship has been a challenge to my ego from the very start. I knew the first night I met her, that she was a teacher who had come into my life to teach me about surrendering - as I mentioned in my June 2005 Update.
Susan, my significant other (who is now the Marketing Director for Joy to You & Me), has challenged my ego defenses in relationship to multiple levels and issues - but lately, most especially in regard to the limitations in the 2 areas I mention in the long excerpt about my fear of intimacy issues above: money and health.
In relationship to health, her presence in my life spurred me to lose over 40 lb. last year - and to get much healthier in many ways. She continues to challenge me to go the next level, in terms of working out and changing some habit patterns that are not healthy.
In regard to money, she has been pointing out how my fears have kept me in deprivation financially. How I am spending so much time and energy in counseling people one on one in my telephone counseling, when there are so many people out there who desperately need to hear what I have to share with them.
Once she saw me in action, speaking at the CoDA conference in San Francisco in October, and saw how dynamic and passionate I am in teaching people what I have learned - she started pushing me to set up more workshops / appearances. It was that appearance that really helped her to understand that what I teach people is how to radically change their relationship with self and life into a more Loving experience - and that what I do has very little to do with traditional counseling or therapy.
As I talked about in the Update portion of this Newsletter, the formula for integration and inner healing that I developed is the missing piece that so many people have been looking for. I knew that when I published the book, and that is why I thought it would be a best seller. When it wasn't - and I ended up in such a desperate situation financially that I guess I got gun shy.
I have never charged enough for workshops, or my counseling services. I have always come from a place of fear. Each of the several times I raised the telephone counseling rates, I have been afraid that I would lose all of my clients. Each time I have set a price for workshops, I have set it very low. The exception to this was the retreat I did on Ibiza last year - and that price was set by the people who organized it there.
When I say, I haven't charged enough - I don't mean charging what the teachings are worth. I don't think it is possible to set a price tag on what I teach people. Helping a person completely change their relationship with self and life is something that is invaluable. Many people have told me over the years, that it wouldn't possible to pay me enough for how much I had helped them improve the quality of their life. [An incident comes to mind that happened several years ago in an airport. I ran into a person who had been a client of mine in the early 90s when I was doing inner child healing groups with people. (I talk about those on my biography page.) I had not seen her in 7 or 8 years probably - and the first thing that she said to me was, "Thank you for my life!" She had done the work with me before I published my book, and years before I had a website - before I had really refined the approach as much as I have in recent years.)
What I mean, is charging enough so that I can start having a little more financial freedom. So that I don't have to ask for help in getting the book reprinted. I do deserve to have more financial freedom and security in my life.
On the Donations / Love Offerings page, and the Help page, I talked about working the third step and how important it was to become willing to ask for help - how important it was for me to open up to receive. It has been the result of my recovery and growth that I have been able to do that - that I was able to open up to receiving help, and to role model that asking for help is vital part of the recovery process.
In that October 2000 Update, I spoke about how it was much easier for me to be a channel for Love to flow through, than a vessel for Love to flow into.
"Anytime I have a chance to speak my Truth, to share the beliefs and knowledge which I so passionately embrace, I get to touch the Divine. I get to be a channel for Love to flow through. (One of the things I want to talk about in this Newsletter is that it can be easier to be a channel for Love to flow through than a receptacle for Love to flow into.) - Joy2MeU Update October 2000This beautiful teacher Susan has come into my life to help me learn to be a vessel for Love to flow into - not only on a personal intimate relationship level, but also in terms of helping me break out of the limiting ego boxes that have restricted my ability to carry the message that I have been given to carry. She is a teacher who has come into my life to help me learn how to respect and honor my self/Self and my gifts more fully.
The next step is to start setting some prices for what I do that will allow me to have some more freedom financially to keep spreading the message - that demonstrates that I do honor and value what I do, and that I do have faith that I deserve more abundance in my life. Thus the Intensive Training Days that I have started. I have set a price for them that I believe is reasonable and that will bring more financial abundance in my life if they are successful. I have set them up as an affirmation of the value of what I have learned, of the work I have put into nurturing the gift of being able to communicate and teach others what I have learned - and as an attempt to open up to allowing more financial abundance to flow into my life.
They are also an attempt to spread the word, and to facilitate future appearances to carry the message of Love and Joy that has been given to me to share. As Susan has pointed out to me, I can be of service to a great many more people doing these workshops than I can by putting so much of my time and energy into speaking to people one on one on the telephone.
I have never been good at marketing myself. My new Marketing Director put it this way, "you are the kind of artist that a manger gets so frustrated with while trying to get them to promote themselves."
When I self published the book and was marketing it myself, I did have some experiences where I lost money on workshops. That has been the evidence my ego has been using to hold me back for years - that I couldn't afford to invest the money to set something up if there was a chance I would lose money on it. Now I am attempting to break out of the limiting box my old tapes have had me trapped in.
I set up the Intensive and have been praying that this first one will work so that it can become a series of events around the country - and overseas also, one of these days. I have now had enough people sign up that the expenses are covered. That is great news! How many more people will sign up is in the More Will Be Revealed category right now.
My job is to plant the seeds and take the action - the outcome is in my Higher Power's hands. Hopefully my Marketing Director's prodding will help me to open up to new ways to carry the message, and to being a vessel for the symbolic money energy to flow into in a much more abundant way.
What I realized in writing this, is that I have reached a point where it is time to take my own advice from one of the earliest columns that I wrote. As I spoke of above, part of the purpose of the October 2000 Update was to reinforce the message I had shared in an earlier series of articles about how hard it is to break out of the vicious self perpetuating cycles of the disease / condition / ego defense system that is codependency - and how important it is to stop shaming our self for being wounded.
I begin the article that came to mind with this quote from my book.
"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."
Codependency involves vicious self perpetuating cycles of self-abusive behavior - as I talk about in this article, which I wrote in 1997.
"The pain of being unworthy and shameful was so great that I had to learn ways to go unconscious and disconnect from my feelings. The ways in which I learned to protect myself from that pain and nurture myself when I was hurting so badly were with things like drugs and alcohol, food and cigarettes, relationships and work, obsession and rumination.The first part - removing the shame from our inner process - is done by learning how to set the internal boundaries that are part of the Spiritual Integration formula that I teach people, that I will be sharing in the Intensive Training Day. Taking the risk of setting up the first Intensive Training Day is taking an action (the second part) I have been resisting because of my fears, because I was relating to money out of the limiting box my ego had created. I had broken free enough to be able to ask for and receive help - now I taking the action to show that I value what I have to teach people - and that I deserve to receive more than just a little money in return for sharing what I have learned, developed, and refined with of the gifts I have been given.
The way it works in practice is like this: I am feeling fat; I judge myself for being fat; I shame myself for being fat; I beat myself for being fat; then I am hurting so badly that I have to relieve some of the pain; so to nurture myself I eat a pizza; then I judge myself for eating the pizza, etc. etc.
To the disease, this is a functional cycle. The shame begets the self-abuse which begets the shame which serves the purpose of the disease which is to keep us separate so the we don't set ourselves up to fail by believing that we are worthy and lovable.
Obviously, this is a dysfunctional cycle if our purpose is to be happy and enjoy being alive.
The way to stop this cycle is two-fold and simple in theory but extremely hard to implement on a moment-to-moment, day-to day basis in our lives. The first part has to do with removing the shame from our inner process. This is a complicated and multi-leveled process that involves changing the belief systems that are dictating our reactions to life (this include everything from positive affirmations to grief/emotional energy release work, to support groups, to meditation and prayer, to inner child work, etc.) so that we can change our relationship with ourselves at the core and start treating ourselves in healthier ways.
The second part is simpler and usually harder. It involves taking 'the action.' ('the action' refers to the specific behavior. We have to take action to do all of the things listed in the first part as well.) Changing the behavior that is giving us a reason for the shame. Just saying 'no' - or 'yes' if the behavior in question is something like not eating or isolating or not exercising. And even though it may sometime work in the short run to use shame and judgment to get ourselves to change a behavior, in the long term - in alignment with our goal of having a more Loving relationship with ourselves so that we can be happy - it is much more powerful to take that action in a Loving way.
This involves setting a boundary for the little child inside of us, who wants instant gratification and instant relief, out of the Loving adult in us who understands the concept of delayed gratification. (If I exercise every day I will feel much better in the long run.) True pride comes from action taken. It is false pride to feel good about ourselves in comparison because of looks, talent, intelligence or for being forced to become spiritual, healthy, or sober. Those are gifts. True pride is taking credit for the action we have taken to foster, nurture, and maintain those gifts.
The way to break the self-destructive cycle, to stop the dance of shame, suffering, and self-abuse, is to set Loving boundaries for ourselves in the moment of that desperate need for immediate gratification and to know that - though it is not shameful if we can't do it perfectly or all the time - we need to 'just do it.' We need to stand up for our True Self to our wounded self in order to Love ourselves." - A Dance of Shame, Suffering, and Self-abuse - the codependent three step
I also need to be willing to take the actions that are necessary to get healthier - and I make a commitment to doing that as well, as I finish up this Newsletter on March 8, 2006. I hope to see some of you at the Intensive Training Day.
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