A New Hope: Forgiveness

Juniper Natural Therapies Paintedhorse A New Hope Therapy Writing

Spending time with ‘Hope’ a gentle soul at Paintedhorse

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain” – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

This poem came to mind recently as I left Dorset for pastures new in Glastonbury. This time the part of the poem that jumped out was the bit about betrayals – have I been opened by them?  I am not shrivelled or closed, my heart is still open to people, but was I opened by those betrayals? What does that mean?

Last week I sat in a lay-by pondering my circumstances and options.  I had just managed to get up a winding forest hill road and find a safe place to pull over as my clutch finally burnt out. I was 2.1 miles from where I would be counselling someone in 3 hours.  I was early as I had arranged to meet a friend for a catch up first.  I texted her to let her know and she came to find me. My bladder decided it also wanted in on this drama.  I smiled, no point crying, this is life – see the thread of humour George.  I knew the moment my car died would eventually come, but I had no money to replace the clutch and even if I did this little banger would not make its next MOT due to the amount of welding. Another ‘Dorset’ relationship, over.  My friend met me in the lay by with a drink of water and was amazingly quick at helping pack my car belongings into bags and into her car – my car is like a home so there was quite a bit of stuff!  A local garage agreed to come out and tow away Noddy2 and I watched as he left my life 15 minutes later.  It seemed like the last page of the Dorset chapter had turned and was now closed.  There is a clip in a movie that came to mind for this moment – ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks who after yet another mishap on his money pit house begins to laugh in a ridiculous way, its hilarious. I am not sure how long this link will last but here.  That was me last week.

Before I left Dorset a few things occurred to test my resolve.  One of which was I heard something that once would have angered me – yet another persons betrayal – but it did not anger me in the same way.  Not since a special equine therapy session last year, where a wise horse told me to make friends with my anger as its not going anywhere.  It was innate emotion, there to protect and there for survival.  Sometimes we are told we are not allowed to show anger, as children anger is not usually tolerated by adults around us.  Some of us are even told its not ‘lady-like’.  So it becomes suppressed within us in different ways, and this is what causes the issues not the anger itself, which if you think about it is quite transient.  To reflect further, I was once quite passive and over many moons eventually learnt that it doesn’t pay to be passive, as in response people were quite nasty towards me or took advantage in one way or another. An art history performance called Rhythm 0 in 1979 conducted by artist Marina Abramovic disturbingly showed what could happen to a passive person with no boundaries.  Reading what happened to this performance artist was chilling, someone tried to rape her, whilst another cut her neck and drank her blood. Interestingly when the performance was over and she became her ‘normal’ self the audience ran away as they couldn’t face her.

How some people treated me upset me, particularly family or those close at one time, my feelings grew into a despair, and at some stage anger surrounded my despair in a layer of protection.  Stored-anger often surrounds grief and sadness and I wonder if at this stage is more accurately called resentment, one that can have an explosive state of rage. Anger if expressed at the time of hurt is usually released quickly and does not cause the injury that suppressed anger can.  Releasing compressed-anger safely has been quite a journey for me.  I have acknowledged all those times I have not spoken up for myself, all those times I have remained silent, all those times people have stepped over my boundaries because I did not make them clear enough, all those times I have put my dreams/goals/wishes to one side for someone else’s. My self-belief that ‘I am not as important’.   I re-wrote my self-belief from childhood scripts, and got under my stored-anger layer. I am now working on releasing grief and despair – so really what better time to have some betrayal?

I recently came across two books and I love the way that happens when you are seeking answers.  In ‘You can Heal your Heart’ by Louise Hay and David Kessler there was a perfect paragraph “every relationship is assigned to you for your healing. Grief after any relationship gives you the window to heal your wounds and begin anew. Each relationship gives you an opportunity to face your fear and anger, they give you the chance to come closer to authentic healing and true love“.   In ‘Returning to Oneness, the seven keys of ascension’ by Leslie Temple-Thurston, I was drawn to chapter three  – ‘the second key: Forgive all betrayals‘.  How apt I thought as she explained ‘forgiveness’ clearly in a way I had not been able to comprehend before.  Having the experience of betrayal and being third dimensional – so therefore in our ego states or analytical mind – we often ‘feel hurt, a sense of loss, breech of trust and even victimised’. We attract more of the same.  I certainly did. The ‘tension of these experiences build up in the diaphragm’ – which is where I grew my cancer tumour of resentment – and this ‘tension-hardened’ muscle acts as a barrier between our 3 base chakras (worldly consciousness) and our 4 higher chakras (spiritual consciousness).

By meditating we can tap into our spiritual consciousness so we can explore further where we maybe holding the hurt of betrayal, as it can store beyond our consciousness. I wondered if this is why we can take emotions such as grief with us into other lifetimes?  I suspect I may have done this, which is why betrayal is being presented to me again – for healing.  Can I be opened by it?  See it as an opportunity to let go of it all and move forward to align to my souls purpose?  Betrayal and resentment, hatred even, has no value to my soul, only love is real (which is another fantastic book by Dr Brian Weiss). Under parental control we became either; ‘dominant/ rebellious/ assertive’ or ‘passive/ submissive/ victimised’, I did fall into the latter, but became more rebellious and outspoken as life went on and my anger grew. When we are born it does not take long before we are plugged into what I refer to as ‘The Matrix’ – yes, after the movie of the same title in 1999.  This matrix is one of control, of separation, and of games and drama of our own making. If we believe something was done to us, we feel separate – this is third dimension stuff.  But we are also fifth dimension beings, vaguely aware that we are trapped in time and space in the third dimension but knowing there is something more than this, and perhaps questioning if any of this is even real?  The truth is that we are all unified, part of each other, oneness.   So I betrayed myself as much as I was betrayed, I chose to come here, I chose to create or be involved in all of my experiences, I chose my parents, friends, relationships – each presenting for an opportunity to heal the soul (from a fifth dimension perspective).  The process of unplugging from the matrix of the third-dimension can be hard, and if we don’t ‘take the blue pill’ and look around its all very familiar, we know this on some level. Can I unlock the second key and forgive myself as well as others?  Can I be opened by life’s betrayals?  As I sat in the horse field most of this week, car-less, with a wonderful herd of ponies feeling anything but separate, I suspect I may have turned the key of forgiveness.

In its place I have begun to create a new business venture with a friend, one who incidentally – for those of you who like to tie up loose ends – got me to my counselling placement in good time so I could complete my final session with my client and then drove me back home to Glastonbury.

The Dance between Dark and Light

jonahshaferlightdark


Art by Jonah Shafer

This is probably the oldest story we know, told and retold in some of our favourite stories of all time, stories that have become classics. Classics because they are timeless, and timeless because they are still relevant. The story of dark and light seems to strike a chord within us perhaps because we realise its not a story, but an ancient wisdom.  It is not quite as straight forward as some tales tell, we are neither dark or light but we are both. On any given day, the percentage of time we spend between the two depends on us as individuals, and what is going on for us internally and externally, or at least how we perceive it to be. Our perceptions of what is ‘dark’ and ‘light’ may also differ between us as we are guided by our own cognitive experiences; values from our upbringing, ancestors, culture and society; ethics, morals, and inner compass which includes our consciousness and sub-consciousness and our higher self. However, if we are all connected at a level beyond ourselves, it is probable that there is a common thread of what is ‘dark’ and what is ‘light’.

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are” – C.S. Lewis, The Magicians Nephew.

If we look at our relationship with self and others in terms of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ energy, things can start to become clearer, far more simple and hopefully far less personal. It may surprise us when we listen to our own voices in our heads (if we can all admit we all talk to ourselves) that some, if not the majority of those messages, are quite dark (unless of course you have great self awareness, received ideal conditions in childhood which helped you to reach your full potential – in a self actualised way). Merging Light and Dark energy with Transactional Analysis (TA) we have our ‘parent’, ‘adult’ and ‘child’ ego states within us and they all have a certain amount of talk time, and they seem to have a connection with either dark or light energy. The ‘critical/controlling parent’ for example, can berate us, humiliate us, embarrass us, control us, limit us; therefore engaging with dark energy. We could have a critical parent that engages with light energy thereby coming from a place of caring when it barks ‘don’t stick your fingers in that socket!’. I may have won a few Darwin awards in my time without that critical parent. My dark energy parent puts me down and disempowers me. If separate to me we would not be friends. Despite counselling training and absorbing Louise Hays work, if I happen to do something ‘stupid’, that voice is quick to highlight how stupid. I am now able to catch it however, and change what I am saying to myself. Dark energy could also be present in our unhealthier side to ‘nurturing parent’, (sometimes known as the ‘smother mother’), and with the child ego states – the rebellious ‘free child’ who may be a wayward teenager, or the ‘adapted child’ who may have learnt to be quite manipulative with adults. If you are spending time with your extended family this holiday season it may be interesting to observe yourself and see if you revert into any of these ego states. You may also observe others doing the same as they interact with you. It may be of use to note the energy of dark and light within you and within others.

“To defeat the darkness out there, you must defeat the darkness in yourself” – C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

These darker characters within us seem to be triggered when certain situations or people present themselves in our lives. Often they push older buttons in us – though we may now be in a different time, circumstance or surrounded by different people. It seems the same life lesson is presented because we haven’t learnt what we needed from it. So maybe the bigger lesson is about not engaging with the dark energy, unhooking from the trigger and staying with light energy.  If we stay with light energy, we are more likely to be in our adult ego state, although we could also be in the healthy side to parent or child ego e.g. nurturing/caring for self and others, and enjoying life with our pure childlike and innate emotion of joy.  If we stay with light energy, we can often align ourselves to our souls purpose for being here, awaken our passions and our unique gifts and talents (that are not ego derived) that are intended to radiate love and light out to the rest of the world. When we dance back to the dark side, and we will because we are both, we can feel blocked, dissatisfied, or perhaps not worthy enough to shine. We can become jealous of others that do shine, and we can become involved in gossiping about them, sending out our darkness in the world instead. Darkness creates misunderstanding, hurt, separation, isolation, chaos, anarchy, wars – it engages with our innate emotions of fear, sadness and anger.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering” – Yoda, The Phantom Menace.

When looking at our interactions with others, a useful piece of theory to take on board is the ‘drama triangle‘ again from TA. The positions we can play are: Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer – all engage with our dark energy. With more self awareness we can change our interactions with people to play positions on the ‘winners triangle‘  – Vulnerable, Assertive, Caring – engaging instead with our light energy.  It can be hard sometimes to switch from the drama to the winners triangle especially when those around you are still acting within the drama and keep pulling you in. Again, if we step back and observe it all as energy, it is not really people hooking us in, but their dark energy is, and it creates more drama combined with your dark energy. If we can stay with our light energy, we can stop playing the drama roles that we may have played for quite some time.  I have been playing in the drama triangle, and I have played the rescuer role mostly. When I was younger I made assumptions that the victim needs my help so I would rescue. In truth the victim played this role because it served them with a purpose, and that purpose was none of my business and they had not requested my help. The victim would switch roles to persecutor and attack me for my inept rescue and I would become the real victim, often to feel devalued and hurt. I did attract victims who requested help, and again I would respond. I thought they would then be able to help themselves next time, but they never did. I realised I was in the drama once again. Protecting a victim from perceived persecutors was my more recent role on the drama triangle, and so many persecutors joined the game. I became exhausted fighting a never ending battle with institutions and systems that ‘attacked my victim’. I was so angry. Sad. Fearful. My lesson being, that I can not protect ‘my victim’, they are not ‘mine’ nor are they my responsibility. I observed that whilst I was in ‘low spirits’, I was consumed with my dark energy, in the drama, and therefore not putting my light into the world instead.

“We have all got light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are” – Sirius Black, The Order of the Phoenix.

‘There are two kinds of people in life’ someone once said to me, ‘those that wish to help others, and those that wish to make a profit’.   In energy terms – those that engage mainly with their dark energy could appear greedy, materialistic, make decisions based on profit not welfare, involved with self interest maybe to the known detriment to others. Those that engage mainly with their light can be observed genuinely caring about others, choosing roles in life that are not necessarily well paid, but chosen to make a positive contribution in the world, regardless of recognition. You may have heard the phrase ‘unsung hero’, I apply it here.  I have observed people engaged in their dark energy that can become threatened by competition, perceived or otherwise, even if it would not have any financial impact. I have observed people engaged with light energy shine brightly in the work they do, and sadly they then become targets of dark energy, as some of my friends are right now. If you are going through something like this, remember to look at it as energy, so you do not take it personally and get drawn in. If their dark energy hooks into yours, you may spend a great deal of time worried, defending yourself or ‘fighting back’ and whilst you are engaged in your dark energy creating drama, you are not with your light giving your gift to the world. You could take it as a compliment that dark energy is so threatened by how much your light shines that it continues to push against any of your darker doors to stop you in your tracks. The more illogical the attack, the more ludicrous and nonsensical…the greater the compliment. Figure out your triggers, most will be from childhood things connected to conditional love (not unconditional). Once you acknowledge and deal with your triggers, the doors that let dark energy in are sealed and lessons completed. Dark will (of course) look for another door, but that is part of the dance.  How you move across the floor is up to you.

“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways” – Mother Teresa

 

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Janet Williams (MBACP) for her enlightenment and inspiration, and also for putting up with me for my 40 hours of personal counselling. 

Anger

Juniper Natural Therapies Anger

Those who know me, know that I pressed pause on my business in August 2014 to begin a difficult journey which for me has centred around the emotion of anger.

I fostered my niece several years ago when she was 11 years old, both her parents were unavailable to her. The conflict I had with social services to get her back to family was immense and took a long drawn-out 11 months. For me it involved loss of a job, the end of a relationship and selling of material possessions. It involved a lot of conflict with persons that had forgotten professional standards within their roles. As this chapter closed, things seemed to settle down for a while. In hindsight, I don’t think I ever released my anger from this time.

Then came the next chapter of conflict with social services, which seemed harder to deal with than the first. It was actually more unbelievable than the first. I could not express this added anger and disbelief to the people involved as by the end of this chapter they had moved on/been moved on. The best way to describe my feelings was that I had enough energy for a physical battle, but there was noone on that battle field but me. I know from my Army career how important physical exercise would have been if I could have engaged with it, but I could not. It may have helped to use up this energy physically and consequently would have improved my mental well-being. I was in a much darker place emotionally and not able to take time to heal self. My focus was on my niece and I did not heed useful advice once given to me…

fit your own oxygen mask before fitting other peoples‘.

In addition to this conflict, my niece was paralysed whilst at school, by something, later diagnosed as Transverse Myelitis. I spent days in hospital with her as doctors tried to figure out what had gone wrong. It took a whole year for a full recovery, it also took a lot of therapy, most considered ‘alternative’: chiropractic, reiki, nutrition, equine therapy and homeopathy. It also took self belief in the healing process from my niece.  It left me very reflective of her healing journey and realising I had neglected my own. I had ignored a nagging voice about a mole for some time, when I tried to remove it in my sleep I decided it was time to see the GP. It turned out I had a small non-spreadable cancerous tumour. Why had I not listened to my intuition sooner? It’s not like this had been the first time it had been right.

Louise Hays talks about emotions and their link to dis-ease. Cancer she discusses is resentment, anger that has not been released but repressed. This hit a chord with me. Stepping into Transactional Analysis for a moment, anger is one of the four emotions a ‘free’ child has innately. Most of us become an ‘adapted’ child as anger may not be an acceptable emotion to display to our parents. Adapted anger is displayed by children in various ways: withdrawal, boredom, moping, petulance, sulking, tantrums and rebellion. Certain situations can trigger many adults to enter their ‘adapted child’ ego state and anger is not released freely. I was perhaps displaying ‘withdrawal’. Expressing anger when it comes up, reflecting on why it has come up and also releasing old anger has probably been my biggest challenge to date.  Studying Therapeutic Counselling, having personal counselling and practising meditation has been helpful in this pursuit.

I recently gained my Reiki masters and was reminded of one of the five principles…

Just for today, I will not anger‘ –

I realise now, that this does not mean suppression of anger. Anger can be used as a powerful stimulus to achieve many positive things. This principle (to me at least) is about not allowing external stimulus to effect me internally to trigger an anger response. That I am in control of my own emotions and I can create a space around myself and allow what comes in and out. This is a ‘work in progress’ as I get used to looking at things in a different way.