• Tag Archives shadow
  • 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….




  • Sacred Sorrow: Powerlessness 1

    “Did you come here for forgiveness,

    Did you come to raise the dead,

    Did you come here to play Jesus

    to the lepers in your head?”



    This morning before I got up I entered into a shamanic meditation, a guided meditation to my medicine place. A place of spiritual solace gifted by the Creator, however you perceive him to be. A place to receive guidance, to connect with teachers and guides

    Over the past months I have neglected this source being too focused on the tasks in front of me as a Catering Manager. Whenever I have entered the space it has only been experienced superficially – no real depth to the communications within. And again this morning this was so. No depth of experience. While two of my guides were present I felt largely ignored by them, something that I have patently been doing to them.

    One of the stimuli for this exploration of Sacred Sorrow was a dream a few weeks ago. In it I had found a piece of land I felt I wanted to buy on a corner in my old neighbourhood. It was an empty section with mounds here and there and hedges in the middle and the surrounds. I went away to source the finance. When I came back there was a bohemian couple living on it. I felt aggrieved that I’d missed out on this property. Not only that but the man came up to me and reached into my pocket and removed a shiny glass ornament, dripping wet, from my pocket with a red and blue symbol embedded in its centre. At the same time a piece of pounamo (jade, greenstone) with crocheted wings flew out of another pocket and alighted on the nearby hedge. I was noticing a sense of deep sadness within me as this unfolded. Underlying the sense these items were being taken away from me was another feeling of them being still present.

    There’s a sense of powerlessness in some of the imagery. I know I’ve not been doing myself any favours in other areas of my life. Allowing my addictions a greater hold – TV, computer games, cigarettes, email, coffee. I feel powerlessness as I consider them and the ways I can break the habits.

    As I ponder the last thought I see that by transferring that sense of powerlessness on to the objects themselves there are ways to divert myself from the sense of addiction. Seeing the objects as powerless diminishes their hold on me and my sense of personal power grows stronger.

    Addictions are certainly manifestations of the “lepers in my head”. The verse in “One” those words come from also include references to forgiveness and raising the dead. By playing Jesus to the lepers in our heads we’re able bring to life that which may lie dead or sleeping within our psyches. Unable to forgive my own faults how can I expect to forgive the faults of others.

    How often in the silence of my mind do the lepers take up residence and I hear myself saying I should do this, I should do that, I should have done this, I should have done that!? It occurs typically when feeling a need to confront my addictive ways. I have heard it described as “the tyranny of shoulds” or “shoulding all over myself”. There is a sense of doing things on a whim when should is mentioned. Powerlessness kicks in when I add have to the mix. I missed an opportunity. Poor me and into a downward spiral!

    And yet “ONE” holds a positive message as well. As I consider it from a point of powerlessness I see the lyrics pointing towards an impotence in relationship not only with another but also with the world itself. Perhaps the “raising of the dead” can be acknowledged as we work with those parts of ourselves that we have left for dead in the aftermath of shoulds. Can I forgive myself for not standing up and being definitive in the path of a storm of shoulds? Can I hear myself saying I AM or I WILL when a “should” is like looking on the face of the Medusa, poisonous serpents flailing about her head, threatening to turn me to stone.

    One love, One blood

    One life, you got to do what you should

    One life with each other

    Sisters, Brothers

    One life, but we’re not the same

    We got to carry each other, carry each other

    Can I find the power within to help myself in turn offering the same to others struggling.


    Going Home to Your Medicine Place Guided Meditation. Academy of Shamanic Studies

    ( http://www.shamanic.ac.nz/index.html )
    Click on Products in left sidebar then navigation bar on page.

  • Sacred Sorrow

    “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”
    – Henry David Thoreau

    I have to say that I’ve been in denial about this post for some time. Avoiding it like the plague. Endeavouring to keep my self safe. I should be happy shouldn’t I?? I felt like taking a restraining order out against my psyche and yet Sacred Sorrow seems to be burning a glowing branding iron into my soul. Encounters with people, places, books, movies, myself keep it in the forefront of my mind.

    I first became aware of this concept about ten tears (freudian slip or what?) years ago when I granted it visitation rights to my soul. It manifested as a poem.

    Keeper of the Sacred Sorrow

    From how many lifetimes

    Has this holy melancholy

    Followed me.

    Where is it taking me,

    Past and future

    Wrapped up in the now?

    I make a vow

    To follow my heart.

    Why has this arrived

    To be reconciled?

    Where will it lead?

    What might it heal

    Without knowledge of the wrong

    Being righted?

    As my soul is laid bare

    I gaze upon its naked form

    With love.

    I see it glowing warm

    With the embers of learning.

    Knowing that as I perceive the love within

    So I can perceive the love without

    In the other who is myself.

    A choice is no choice when I live in fear,

    No choice is a choice when I live with care.

    Within that fear I ask a humble why?

    Care creates unclouded sky.

    This occurred a couple of years after I was gripped by a serious grieving process following the ending of a relationship. I was barely functioning for months. Work at the time was all I could manage. At seemingly random moments I’d be stricken, waves of grief washing up on my shore. Tears arriving from my as yet uncharted depths. Emotions welling up. I’d imagined previously that maybe I’d had some deeper connection to life and here was an indication that perhaps there was an element of superficiality to my existence. It pushed me further into areas I hoped would answer the questions this grief had posed to me. Counselling, psychotherapy, shamanic practices, life-coaching.

    So why at this time have I become acutely aware of sorrow and sadness again? I have narrowed it down to three or four ideas that are present for me: powerlessness, man’s inhumanity to man and his fellow beings; the perception that I’m not in a place or job that is nourishing to my soul’s evolution; and possibly the reopening of what is termed the sacred wound. It is not a grieving process but probably indicative of something amiss in my psyche. Am I once again living at the surface of my psyche rather than exploring the depths.

    Seems a good opportunity to explore those concepts in the following posts.


  • Haunted by the Future: Part 3

    I sometimes feel the need to make a grand statement about who I am. And this post was going to be one of them. I imagined writing about the Collective Consciousness, Unconsciousness and Conscious Evolution. These are abstract concepts and it is really in the details of our lives that we may find the precious gems of grandness.

    Yesterday I was struggling with what to write here. It has been a fortnight since I last posted and life has been extremely busy. I’ve been working long hours preparing for functions both at AMI Stadium and at the Christchurch Convention Centre.

    Last week we had the Ellerslie Flower Show here and the work was intense. I don’t think there was a day I did less than 12 hours. The most I did was 16. And others worked longer than me.

    The event was held in Hagley Park luckily not too far from the Convention Centre where the food was being prepared and then transported. There was an army of workers providing food from upmarket restaurant and cafe fare, to pizza stands, stands offering steaks, pies, fries, coffee, sandwiches, muffins, scones. Most of the time it felt like a battle to keep the food flowing from the Convention Centre kitchens to the Flower Show.

    Over the first couple of days the queues were huge. It started on Wednesday the 11th and went through ’til Sunday 15th. By the weekend things seemed to have got a little less busy or was it that we had adjusted to what had been chaos the first couple of days? By working through the chaos had order begun to make itself present? There were aspects though that could have been more efficient through better organization.  Attention to communication around the different areas could have averted overruns in production. This was already being discussed for the next one by management.

    Associated with overruns especially around food is waste and the disposal of. In such a tense and busy atmosphere conscious disposal of waste is the last thing on everyone’s mind and mostly whatever has been finished with is thrown in the nearest bin. There are recycling programs and receptacles but this becomes secondary to getting the food to the customer.

    The aspect of waste created by the event was most haunting for me. It is something that needs to be more embedded in consciousness. Systems need to be put in place so it is both user and environmentally friendly.

    9781438905686_cover.inddI am reading an interesting book at present called Who Owns The Future? by an ex-pat Kiwi who in one of the chapters uses the analogy of a caterpillar gorging itself on food before it enters the chrysalis state on its way to becoming a butterfly and likens it to the state we find the world into today – perhaps unconsciously gorging ourselves before entering the pupa stage of a new state of being. Working a large event such as the flower show certainly brings a consciousness to that idea though on a smaller scale.

    Light & Shadow
    Light & Shadow

    And how does the picture to the right figure in all of this? I took the picture on the left only yesterday. The one on the right was taken on Feb 6 for my post Waitangi Day. In it I refer to what I witnessed in the sculpture (image on left) then as a shyness.  And as I look at it now I see an element of fear, of trepidation. Interesting that I experience two different feelings about the same object on different days. I imagine that is engendered by the hauntedness that I’m supposing for this post and the fear that often goes along with the concept of haunted. Am I looking at the future with trepidation?

    Anyway to the light and shadow of the event. What people attending see is the light. The creations, the exhibits, stall holders, food outlets, etc. These are where their eyes are drawn and yet behind the scenes, in the shadow, other elements or persons are working to bring the event, the stall, the exhibit, food outlet into their immediate consciousness. And in some cases deeper in the shadow there are others providing service to those servicing the event.

    Not only that there is also the work done after the gates shut and then open the following day. The tidying of the site, removal of rubbish, replenishment of stock. All create a pleasant atmosphere for the event to unfold.

    Also in the shadow lie the unfortunate happenings – dehydration, cuts, burns, exhaustion – problems the public doesn’t get to see. One of the interesting stories I heard following the event was of one chef who had been rearranging her kitchen and putting items in her oven in her sleep during the proceedings. We laugh it off as an extraordinary circumstance. Had it gone on any longer though I’m guessing it could have turned into a mild form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Exhaustion of workers was apparent and it was interesting to note the effects of it. For some their coping mechanism was anger and others became funny, laughing sometimes uncontrollably at the smallest of things. Its great when two of the funny get together, not so good when a funny person and an angry person are in the same space especially for the angry one. It brings to mind the amusing drunk and the violent drunk and how what may be going on in their psyche comes to the surface when the liquor takes hold. I’ll side with the funny people as I get that way myself though I do hold concern for what maybe hiding within the person who gets angry or violent when their defences drop away.

    With the onset of exhaustion a person can also become more open if they connect consciously with that space. That funny or comic self, angry or violent self are coping mechanisms and yet as I experienced through VisionQuest exhaustion can be a portal to the whisperings of your heart.


  • Working with Qualities of Soul: Shadow

    I opened my email this morning to find one from Debbie Ford who writes the Shadow Blog. In it she discusses the fall from grace of two prominent American public figures and how its a reminder for us to be more aware of the how the Shadow may play out in our own lives.

    My shadow was certainly present yesterday as I prepared for my first temping assignment at a restaurant. An event came back to me that I hadn’t acknowledged for quite a few years. Another assignment at a large cafe in Devonport, Auckland where I hadn’t coped at all with the requirements of the job and I lost the plot completely. I didn’t know where I was and didn’t know what to do.  So much so that the managers had to call in the Head Chef who was supposed to be having the day off. I left there completely lost. I  returned to the safety of my career as an Air Force chef. I think I may have completed one more assignment for that temping agency and that was it I never went back to temping. Until now. I felt compelled to explore this option once again as the casual employment I have engaged in for 18 months dried up and debt began to throw its shadow over my days.

    My assignment got off to a reasonably good start. Following the tasks that had been given me by the chef there. I felt I was on top of it – dinner service was due to start at 6.30. At 5.30 the first order came in and I wasn’t ready for it. I could feel panic setting in. Consequently that first dish wasn’t my best. I needed the help of my assistant who had more experience in this particular environment. She encouraged me all the way through and while I didn’t feel completely in control we got through the night without much fuss. I felt better about turning up today. Her support made all the difference. Though its not how I aim to be living in an inspired way it is what is happening in the now. Opening up to a new experience can have a chaotic prelude but if we stay with it the rewards are worth it.

    It has been said that the closer we get to a life of living in an inspired fashion the more the shadow conspires to darken our steps. I’m feeling this right now. While I am seeing the light at the end it seems I’m in the darkest part of the tunnel. And I’ve heard it said that night is darkest just before the dawn.

    From my experience of VisionQuest I had been, during the final night of a 96 hour Quest (fasting and meditation alone in nature), imagining I was hallucinating. The fasting and meditation produce an altered state that opens participants up to receive vision. The “hallucinations” had something of a dark nature and I was awake most of the night uncomfortable, checking to see if dawn was finally beginning to break. The days had seemed interminable and now this final night also. Sleep finally overtook me. The next time I awoke I saw it was lighter and dragged myself zombie-like back to the camp.

    I was received with open arms by the Quest protector and his assistant and proceeded to tell him that I’d been hallucinating. His answer to that was, “that is what we call vision”. Later that day vision called upon me again, this time without the darker images, this time with a message of hope.

    Myers Briggs

    I’m trying to remember how I got there and can’t. Probably something to do with the archetypal information I shared yesterday in regards to cycles. Anyway found myself at this little gem: Jung Typology Test ™. When I first took this test I was surprised at the result and how indicative of my personality traits it was. This is not to say that because we have a certain type we are going to be just like everyone else that has a similar type. All said and done each of us has a unique gift to bring to the world.

    I kept following this trail through sites and the next stop was this. The PersonalityZone. When confronted by our shadow it is often useful to remind ourselves of our intrinsic potential. What is good about me? What do these tests tell me regarding my innate qualities? What am I affirming or validating by reconnecting with these qualities?

    Watching Men in Black yesterday gave me some food for thought. Here are these two agents played by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith who are working for a covert government organisation that deal with alien beings that have found their way to Planet Earth. Most of these beings are quite content with their lot here but there are some that have a malevolent attitude. That have a shadowy, destructive presence.

    This has parallels to what may going on in our own shadow. What is in there may be the greater unfulfilled potential of our lives co-existing with more malevolent aspects of our character. The parts of us that seek to sabotage our well-being. These parts have built themselves through years of conditioning and the bonds of this conditioning may be difficult to break.

    Again I come back to the night is darkest just before the dawn. How dark does my life need to become before I choose to break from darkness into the dawn of a new day.