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  • Sacred Sorrow: The Sacred Wound Part One

    Apologies to all who felt I’d left them hanging at the end of the last post. I’m told they wanted to know how I was wreaking inhumanity upon myself. I reread it and thought perhaps it wasn’t enough to know that a person feels this way. Or do we have a fascination for the methods of a person’s undoing? It seems so when we glance at the covers of any women’s magazine or tabloid newspaper. In the wake of the undoing what do they do to rebuild their lives? Noting that the Sacred Wound was the next installment in this series of posts I felt that the hanging was a perfect segue into it.

    The Sacred Wound for me is a tear in the fabric of the soul caused by a traumatic event. This could occur at any time during our lives and open us to what may seem initially to be a Pandora’s box of experience and yet also contain that which remained in her box – hope. Hope of an increased soul consciousness, of heartfelt connection to all divine sparks that exist in this universe.

    The best discussion I’ve found on the net in regard to the Sacred Wound is at Lightworkers.Org. It gives a comprehensive outline to a subject that is really an abstract concept. Anyhow….

    Spring is in full swing, new beginnings, new life sprouting. A time to trim the threads lank and frayed by the depths of winter, cutting away that which has served its purpose and splicing what is still strong back into our lives.

    All this talk of threads and hanging has me considering rope more deeply. Ostensibly the twisting of hemp firstly into strings and then three strands are twisted together to form rope. Metaphorically I see the whole rope symbolising our physical existence and the three strands representing the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual attributes we all carry with us. Life is a constant twisting of the strands together allowing ourselves to be fully connected. It reminds me of the helical nature of DNA. Rope is used to bind, to secure, to attach. And it tangles.

    My obsession with MASH at present has not left me and I find I’m seeing threads in the stories that have left me feeling that those episodes were somehow unfinished.

    I‘ve been guilty of leaving things hanging. I have attached threads to those I have been in relationship with and have not had the sense to consciously detach myself from them. I have become entangled in these threads and by allowing this I have metaphorically hung myself in my relationships. The threads I’ve left hanging in the external have been the unravelling of my inner world.

    In New Zealand we have the Plunket Society who provide support services for children under 5 years old. Families had a Plunket Nurse who would monitor the development of the child. Their progress would be written in up in a Plunket book including graphs of their growth. A few years ago my mother gave this book to me and browsing through it I noticed that from the age of 6 months my graph went into a decline. Until then the graph described a straight line upwards, after, it began to fall off. I asked her about this. She said that at the time they’d left me with my grandparents while they attended a wedding in another part of the country. I imagine this to be my sacred wound. A sense of abandonment perhaps. I have no recollection, no memory of it except this record of a decline. And yet I have a strong sense this played out in my relationships. That when I felt a sense of abandonment or neglect, a severing of a bond, then I would go into a decline and seek that bond in someone else. I see now that it became the end of my marriage and other relationships into which I entered.

    I remember during my marriage developing an emotional though unrequited attachment with a co-worker. But not consciously detaching from that previous entanglement I came to point in a subsequent relationship where the thought of meeting her again and the hope of reciprocated feelings led me to exit that relationship. It remained unrequited and a period of grief followed.

    Grief for what? Grief because this was my Sacred Wound insisting I look more closely at it? Grief because I had betrayed the essence of love? Grief because love requires me to love myself first before surrendering to relationship for a fuller expression? Or all of these things?

    I return to MASH and one episode sticks in my mind…. In it they explore a soldier afflicted by hysterical paralysis. Nothing is physically wrong with the patient but he is unable to move his lower body. He has feet of clay. In face of an enemy attack he is absolutely frozen with fear. The method of treatment is doing nothing for the patient until he breaks through and begins to take responsibility for himself and goes back to the fighting. The fear is that if sent home instead of returning to the front guilt will overwhelm him and affect the rest of his life. A line at the end of Black Hawk Down fills this out further – one of the soldiers says to another that war is not about politics or ideologies, its about the guy next to you. This was the wound experienced by the soldier in the MASH episode, doing nothing to look after the guys next to him, the guilt of this causing his hysterical paralysis.

    Having not experienced war first hand this is all supposition from me and yet I get the feeling that war is a collective sacred wound.

    I’m aware that this is somehow unfinished but there is a second part to come….




  • Bless you Ellen Burstyn

    A new wind has blown through my reading habits. Prior to finding Ellen Burstyn’s “Lessons in Becoming Myself”. I had been trawling through myriad self help books gaining some insights here and there but without finding much that touched my soul. I seem to find the books that connect me to something deeper on the bargain tables in book stores and it happened again. There was something in me that just had to read this.

    As in “UP” here was a shining example of what I like to think of as Creative Mythology. On the first page there was a reference to Mnemosyne, the Greek Goddess of Memory, mother of the 9 Muses fathered by Zeus. Somehow fitting as each of them seemed to touch her life in some way. Music, dancing, history, love, comedy, tragedy, epic and lyric poetry, and astronomy were all under the governance of the Muses.

    The book worked on different levels. Ellen appears to follow a couple of perspectives, that of her spiritual journey and also her journey as an actress. Both combine to evoke a profound life. Simply read as autobiography it gave wonderful insight into Ellen Burstyn and if I’d been unaware of who she is I might have thought I was reading a novel.

    Ellen models beautifully the way to craft a life, showing the way to follow a dream, of letting go of the riverbank and moving into the flow. Sure, along the river there are rapids where the ride holds peril and Ellen’s story is not short of those. There are stretches where the river slows and the flow is gentle, allowing her be more conscious of how life is unfolding and she recounts these with keen attention.

    I was moved by her struggles with addictions and relationships and how they mirror my own. She spoke of them with detachment observing them from the writers perspective seeing how she was touched by them at that time but now no longer. I’d like to say that for the me that’s still working with them.

    I was enchanted by her life. So much so that I had to read it a second time. I noted passages and pages that spoke to me. The one that is sitting with me now is one I didn’t note. She talks about working with and being mentored by Lee Strasberg of the Actor’s Studio. The feeling I got from the passage was that what is happening in the moment whether part of the performance or not, is perfect not only for the performance but also perhaps for the actor’s life outside of her art. And so it is for all of us being able to perceive the perfection in the present moment. That was brought home for me as I watched the trees from the kitchen window seeing them in the early morning light noticing a nuance I hadn’t seen before and reflecting on Ellen’s perceptiveness as she notices the nuances of characters as her roles evolved.

    In another profound passage she tells of being drawn into learning through doing crossword puzzles and as she discovered new words she was initiated into study. I can imagine there was a sort of a family tree evolving as she was led from a reference in one book to seek out another. Looking always for what might be the ultimate truth, that truth that will allow us to live fully in the present. And being aware, as Sartre said, of a “God-shaped hole in my heart.” Wow.

    Ellen confronts her fears and has epiphanies on her journey. She meets some of the 20th century’s more famous people outside of the acting fraternity and is touched by these encounters.

    Her strong connection with Sufism as a spiritual path because it honours the wisdom of all religious traditions again mirrors my own experience.

    Ellen never shys away from seeking help in understanding herself when confronted by an aspect of her psyche with which she was uncomfortable and thence taking another step to becoming fully alive, fully present.

    The photos from her personal collection show Ellen’s evolving radiant beauty while her roles show the diversity of characters she played.

    The latter stages of her path were spent without companionship. It was a beautiful ending to find her under the auspices of the god Eros.


  • Working with Aspects of the Soul: Detachment

    Learn the growth of that inner detachment which will enable you to merge yourself in the consciousness of your brother and so know and ascertain the best way to help him and stimulate him to renewed effort. Cultivate true humility to force yourself to give all you have in selfless service and then to forget you have given this of yourself.

    I had woken a little later than I anticipated and hurried through the discussion of the previous days activities with my previous post. The painting was continuing and I finally got there just after 9. We were expecting the weather to be super hot and it didn’t let us down. I was putting the finishing touches to one end of the house and then carried on with the work I’d begun a the front of the house. I’d imagined that the front of the house was going to be a little cooler after lunch because the sun would be moving round to the back. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I started to burn.

    I was frustrated because I’d been hoping to finish the work that day. Having said that it was ok we decided to finish early and enjoy the sun. I was able to catch up with a friend who is going through a disputes tribunal at the moment so was able to render him some assistance with paperwork.

    It is interesting to watch as the world mirrors our intentions. Here we were both facing challenges in our lives and yet both cultivating an air of detachment to it. Doing the best we can with what we have.

    It has been so easy going through the last couple of aspects. I’ve had no one at home so it has been relatively easy to maintain my composure. Any turmoil I’ve had to cope with has been my own inner process and though the fear comes up it also passes.

    Something I allowed myself to do a few years back when I was living by myself and thought I was going mad was to go deeper into the feeling. To consciously plumb the depths of that particular feeling/mindset. The deeper I entered the experience the less heavy it seemed until eventually I began to laugh. A joyous laughter. The laughter of a discovery that what I’d imagined was real was actually false. The discovery of paradox, of contradiction in the moment. It was the ultimate slapstick where you kick yourself up the back side and fall in a puddle of mud.

    Let life be funny, it is one way to detach from worries.


  • Living in Soul: Aspects – Part Two

    Aspects of the Soul

    Sharing, Loneliness, Neutrality, Impersonality, Detachment

    This is week two of the process. Like last week I’ll be posting as I form a daily intention based on the each of these five aspects.

    The characteristic of sharing is a principle which covers all realms; the physical (food, shelter, goods); the mental (information, learning) and the spiritual (things that nurture our soul, beliefs around the sacred, ideas that fill us with enthusiasm for life). Whatever we possess can be shared. And when shared graciously will nuture all souls that have been touched by the act. Sharing is the synthesis of giving and taking it touches both parties. It increases the power of that which is shared. If one has discovered what they imagine to be some sort of elixir, something with life enhancing properties why would one not want to share it. The act of keeping it for himself and holding tightly onto it would have him withering and eventually dying.

    The following is in snippets from The Soul The Quality of Life.
    Bailey’s words better illuminate loneliness from a spiritual perspective. The understanding for me was more meaningful and I didn’t want to dilute the power of her words. The first comes from the chapter “Relationships of the Soul” the second from “Characteristics of the Soul”.

    (a) One of the primary conditions that a disciple has to cultivate, in order to sense the Plan and be used by the Master, is solitude. In solitude the rose of the soul flourishes; in solitude the divine self can speak; in solitude the faculties and the graces of the higher self can take root and blossom in the personality. In solitude also the Master can approach and impress upon the quiescent soul the knowledge that he seeks to impart, the lesson that must be learnt, the method and plan for work that the disciple must grasp. In solitude the sound is heard. The Great Ones have to work through human instruments, and the Plan and the vision are much handicapped by failure on the part of these instruments.

    (b) …..Loneliness comes when the disciple steps out of a life of physical plane concentration and finds himself in the midway place between the world of outer affairs and the inner world of meaning…..from the tangible world to which he is accustomed must, he knows, be superseded by the intangible world of values and new responsibilities…… He is breaking loose from the mass consciousness with which he has been merged, but has not yet found his group, into which he will eventually be consciously absorbed….. Be not afraid of loneliness. The soul that cannot stand alone has naught to give…… In this solitude there is no morbidness, there is no harsh withdrawing and there is no aspect of separateness. There is only the place where the disciple stands, detached and unafraid and in that place of utter quiet the Master comes and solitude is not.

    Neutrality is one of the suggestions I found useful in the HeartMath Solution. The authors propose that when you’re unable to find anything to appreciate about a situation imagine feeling neutral toward it. The Bailey material referred to this as Spiritual Indifference. It involves not getting caught up or attached to feelings or moods that stimulate pain, distress and also excitement within our bodies. While our bodies are our vehicles for this earthly experience and need to be nurtured, constant negative feelings can be unhealthy. From a soul perspective, while their shade provides a richness in the colour of life, the negative needs to recognized as a pointer without getting caught up in or attached to it.

    Confusing mood, feeling and sensation within our bodies as spiritual reality can lead first to illusion and then addiction. Though addiction prevents the soul from making itself known in our lives it can be a signpost to soul consciousness.

    I think about addiction as habitual behaviour embedded in our personality. We may be conscious of it but it has become a trap. A trap in that we imagine it is needed so that our lives may continue as normal. Addictions to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes can be life-threatening and there are also what Judith Wright calls soft addictions which may include moodiness, surfing the internet, gossip, cellphone usage, television, overeating, procrastination.

    When I catch myself sinking into a soft addiction adopting an attitude of neutrality is useful to ease my way out of it. By introducing a more positive attitude, focusing on purpose or vision for my life, the addiction gradually loses it hold.

    When a man is beginning to live as a soul, and when his consciousness has shifted away from the world of illusion, then he can be useful……. The true picture of the world’s need releases you from your own ambition and sets you free to work with no thought of self or of spiritual happiness and with no desire for any self appointed task; with no longing for glittering promises of future success and with no demanding ache for the tender touch and contact with those greater in consciousness than ourselves……. You need to learn the lessons of accepting guidance from your own soul and of learning to work with harmony and impersonality on the physical plane with the group or groups to which your destiny impels you.

    The idea that comes to mind as I read this is presence. During my Holistic Life Coach training one of the catch phrases we heard often was…. Your presence is enough. To be present with the client without wanting to fix them, without feeling you need to do something. Within that presence I am connected to soul and if I hear my heart calling that is the time to offer myself to the process.

    The other idea that comes to mind is from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. One of the Agreements he encourages readers to cultivate is taking nothing personally. Each of us is doing the best with what life has gifted them. If we are experiencing something challenging it is about our own internal processes rather what anyone may be doing or saying to us.

    One of the processes of meditation is that of witnessing. Becoming the watcher of what is happening within as I endeavour to quiet the mind. I become a trainspotter following the train of thought, though not being attached to it. The carriages of thought can contain a cargo of emotion and this observational attitude is useful so I don’t get hooked into the feelings thought may generate.

    When I bring this witness with me into everyday life I don’t get caught up in other people’s stuff. I am able to allow their process to unfold and just be with them in that and as before let presence show the way.

    By standing serene there is no more waste motion, no more mistaken moves, and no more false interpretations, no wandering down the bypaths of daily living, no seeing others through distorted and prejudiced vision and – above all – no more misuse of force.


    D.K. through Alice A. Bailey:
    The Soul The Quality of Life

    Doc Childre & Howard Martin:
    The HeartMath Solution

    Judith Wright:
    There Must Be More Than This:Finding More Life, Love and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions