Why do we wait until something has happened to express GRATITUDE for it?
Instead of waiting until after something has occured that brings about feelings of GRATITUDE try PAYING IT FORWARD. Give thanks every day for this life you have chosen to live and for those who have agreed to share it with you. Your GRATITUDE must include those who you feel have hurt you in some way for they are your greatest teachers. I can hear your disgust at the thought of being GRATEFUL to such a person but GRATITUDE doesn't discriminate between good or bad - you do.
To be able to know GRATITUDE intimately you must first accept all things that come to you in this lifetime are for your LEARNING and APPRECIATION. Why do we only APPRECIATE and give GRATITUDE for our own lives and the lives of those we cherish when they have been put in jeopardy? What if we gave thanks every day for the wonderful opportunity to live this life we have chosen and for those who have chosen to live it with us. It is a good place to start.
I invite you to start your day by depositing UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE into your SOUL BANK. Begin your day by unconditionally thanking the DIVINE CONSCIOUSNESS, to which we all belong, for everything that will happen that day no matter what it may be. By doing this we are acknowledging our appreciation for the life you are living, the learning in all things; for the people we share it with and opportunities that this life as you affords you. Most importantly for what you can and cannot yet understand.
My gratitude bank has been in need of some deposits recently and nothing brings that more to my attention than the years of earthquakes we have experienced here in New Zealand.
So many of my fellow NZ citizens lives are forever changed after the large earthquakes large and small that shook the Canterbury region of New Zealand starting in September 2010. 58,808 in total.
We are no strangers to large earthquakes and their devastation. Earthquakes are like losing loved ones to death, they don't get easier or better the more you experience them and sadly there has been loss of life.
We have recently experienced further devastating quakes in a region neighbouring ours so I started checking in with gratitude again.
It's challenging to feel grateful that your own life is free from loss and all is seemingly normal when others are suffering so much. There is an element of guilt in there somewhere combined with a lot of relief and trepidation that this state of being ok could change at any moment, if the ground decided to move violently where I or my loved ones are standing.
So I am making frequent deposits into my gratitude bank again now.
I say, " Thank you God for everything." I don't mean God in any religious sense more 'The All That Is' "Divine Consciousness' that we are all a part of, but God is shorter to say and simpler to write.
It's easy to be grateful with hindsight. In 2011 I was guided to adjust my beliefs about Gratitude which meant that rather than being grateful after the fact, I may want to now give thanks before anything takes place; create a Gratitude bank and put into it daily. To be grateful for 'everything' no matter whether it is deemed good or bad: a tough challenge in the face of what was happening at the time.
The day I received this insight was June 13 2011. Canterbury was still in the grip of aftershocks following both the September 2010 and the hugely destructive February 2011 quakes. This day was no different to any others. By the time the 6.4 quake arrived we had already had 14 quakes that day the smallest being 2.2 mag and the largest 5.2. A fairly normal day for us.
Our children were at school in the city just like they were that day in February and that morning I had been given the guidance to be grateful no matter what. To give thanks for this life no matter what happens, unaware that I would be challenged that very day, to put this new found wisdom into practice.
The 6.4 arrived at 14.20pm, shaking us all to the core. We managed to contact the children and decided that it was better if they caught the bus home, rather than clogging the roads to go and pick them up. That was not an easy decision, as my first reaction was to rush in there and rescue them just as we had done in February.
They arrived home eventually safe, sound and sadly worse for the wear from their ordeal. I was so grateful to have them home; to be together again so that I could protect and keep them safe.
It wasn't long before we were putting them on the bus so they could return to school in the shaky city. My gratitude bank got some huge deposits and mammoth withdrawals during the next few years.
As time went on the constant shaking happened less and less lulling me into a false sense of security allowing complacency, to take place of the gratitude and vigilance.
I realised how little I had in my gratitude bank on Monday 14 November 2016 at 12.02am, when the earth once again moved us all around reminding me that all we have is now - right now. This is it. This second and this one and this one, because when you live with earthquakes as a daily occurrence you realise that in any second the ground beneath you can start to shake and you don't know how big or small it will be. While it might be small for you it could be big for someone else. It depends where the epicentre is.
This life is a fragile existence. We build our lives on a ball in space which is a living breathing organism and when she decides to shift we can only go along for the ride.
No matter who or what we are, when the Earth does her thing, we are but rag dolls at the mercy of her immense energy. Being reminded of this has given me a much needed kick in the pants, to refine my quest to be truly more of who I am and to appreciate more and more all of the gifts of people, health, home, and life that I have right now. Not to waste a moment of it. I thought I was doing that, but I now realise that it goes deeper and higher than I ever imagined.
Don't wait another second to pay into your gratitude bank and be more of who you really are and express appreciation for what you have no matter how big or small. Your present awaits you.
I am rocking my little ball in space and my gratitude bank is filling up again so I want to share some of it with you.
From the fullness of my heart I say "Thank you for everything. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And so it is."
Until next time when something comes "Write From My Heart."
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOU THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS BELOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.
Do you remember the first Superman Movie? Many of you probably weren't born when this movie was made. I still think Christopher Reeve was the best version of Superman. His gentle nature and modesty showed through the superhuman character he brought to life and then into the latter years of his life when he tragically fell from his horse, becoming a quadriplegic. Even in his altered state of disability he was a superhero of the human kind.
My 5th and final 'voice in my head' is not a naysayer or even a critic of any kind. She is a wanna be superhero of epic proportion. It was her need to rescue every sad, lost, homeless, hurt, bleeding, needy person on the planet that allowed all the other characters to exist. You may have an intimate relationship with one yourself. She is the Rescuer.
Who rescues the Rescuer? I use the analogy of Superman rescuing Lois Lane as she plummets to her imminent death, as a perfect personification of the rescuer. He says, "Easy Miss. I've got you." To which she replies, "You've got me? Whose got you?"
I will let you in on a little secret... no one. Not because it is not possible but because the Rescuer does not want to be rescued. They don't want to be saved. I mean, who would they be without their superhero status.
There are those who use their Rescuer archetype to good use and become real life heroes and enter into occupations to rescue people from danger, while putting themselves in harms way. Their work maybe with people who are underprivileged or harmed in some way. They may be acting out their strong Rescuer archetype in an obvious way but they are still in danger of having it take over their lives and their relationships suffer, because they cannot separate their work from their life. How could they when it is innate in them and a huge part of who they are? Keeping the Rescuer under control is a constant challenge.
What happens if your Rescuer self-hides behind a kind, giving, generous person, who is always there for everyone else, selflessly doling out good deeds like lollies and being the ultimate shoulder to cry on?
Don't get me wrong, doing good for others is not unhealthy when done for the right reasons and in the right proportions but when it becomes the be-all and end-all, then someone needs to plan an intervention on your behalf.
One of my many expressions of the Rescuer archetype was as a Funeral Celebrant officiating at funeral services for 15 years and I can't remember how many eulogies I listened to over that time, delivered by family and friends, of women who had died young aged 30 - 60+. Yes women! Superwomen, who were selfless, devoted, caring and always there for everyone no matter what time of the day or night. The irony of it was not lost on me, that while their virtues of selflessness and service to others were being extolled without reservation, they were dead. Should the dots not be joining up right now to create a picture that perhaps being 'that selfless' was not such a good thing?
Ironically, when the Rescuer is in the driving seat not even a speeding freight train can stop them and like the Mermaid calling the fishermen to their deaths the Rescuer calls to all lost souls to come forth and be saved so they can feel better, valued, worthwhile and liked. Death is a big price to pay for being a Superhero. Ultimately it is the greatest honour we can bestow upon the Rescuer, to have died in the line of duty. Not so great for those who are left behind to clean up the mess.
So why do we become Rescuers?
To answer this I have to introduce another archetype into the mix, who is a constant companion of the Rescuer. The Victim. If you had a coin with Rescuer on one side then the Victim would be on the other.
Every Rescuer needs a Victim. Like the Knight in shining armour who went out in search of a Damsel in distress or good deeds to perform, the Rescuer likes to save helpless people from their plight, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
I can speak from experience and say that I did it because I needed a rescuer myself. From an early age I would run into harms way to save my family members from harm. What I really wanted was for someone to rescue me. I needed a Superman to swoop in and say to me, "Don't worry Olwynne. I've got you." I could then look in awe at them and feel safe and loved.
That didn't happen so I became the Rescuer. I wanted to be the Super-heroine for people just like me and I did. Not everyone wants or needs to be saved. You know the analogy of the boy scout helping the old lady across the road, because he has been told that helping old ladies across the road, is what boy scouts do, even if the old lady doesn't need or want it? That was me and many other Rescuers I have met. We need victims to save.
How do we find them?
We tell our story and they tell theirs. We have stories of our victim-hood and we tell them to others looking for other victims with whom we can be kindred spirits and rescue.
It took me decades to discover my Rescuer character. I had fallen victim to so many rescues, which is the most common outcome, when one is unqualified to go into swollen choppy waters after a sad soul who is drowning in the misery of their own lives.
I would rush into the raging sea to rescue a drowning soul, they would grab onto me, push me under a few times to keep their head above water, cling on for grim death until we were on safe ground, stay around awhile until they got their breath, then leave me standing on the beach feeling exhausted and abandoned.
I was deaf to my own cries to stop being the life guard to every drowning person I ran into. I felt akin to their sad stories of how life had treated them.
My parents had a white cat called Rinso. She was deaf. Rinso would go out stalking birds as cats do and just before she was ready to pounce, all pent up and excited at the prospect of the catch, she would stick her little white head up and Meow! Her prey would fly off having had a narrow escape, leaving Rinso most bewildered by what had taken place. How did that happen?
That is what being a chronic Rescuer is like. As with Rinso, we are unable to hear our own verbal or inner voice, and are consequently left bewildered by the actions of those we have rescued who in turn are just as baffled by our reaction to them. We feel misunderstood and abandoned. Life is not fair! And so enters the Victim. It's like being a mouse on a wheel. The cycle of Rescuer and Victim, one perpetuated by the other.
Through the process of self discovery, I uncovered my Rescuer self and I didn't like what I found.
She was way out of control, needy, sad and was preceded by a trail of destruction.
How do we identify and give our Rescuer/Victim self a makeover?
We have to hear our own voice. Listen to how we speak about everything. Monitor how we spend our time and who we spend it with.
Look deep inside ourselves for the part of us that needs rescuing and why. We also need to ask for help from the right people and accept it when it is offered.
I staged my own intervention. As with my Gatekeeper, Petal my lizard self, Critical Critic and Drill Sergeant Major, my wise, strong, insightful self stepped up to the plate and took charge.
How did I do this? I retreated. I gave up Funeral Celebrancy and took stock of my life. For how ever long it took I shut myself away from the outside world and went on an internal journey of self discovery. It felt like walking The Camino. A pilgrimage of releasing the old and exercising forgiveness; allowing myself to feel vulnerable like a snail without a shell.
Being authentic and practising Maitri - unconditional love and acceptance for oneself.
When I came out the other side I decided that if I came across another victim, I wouldn't grab my life preserver and run head long into the waves. Nope, not any more. I would stand on the beach dial 911, 111 or 999 or whatever emergency number was relevant and save myself. Sounds really selfish doesn't it...
Well, I suppose it is. I want to clarify something here: this doesn't mean that if I saw someone drowning or in danger I would leave them there or not try to help in some way. I am talking about the Rescuer in my psyche.
Instead of plunging myself into perilous situations, I decided to express my healthy Rescuer through my work as a Therapist, Teacher and Writer. Through these mediums I can create healthy boundaries for myself and those I wish to help.
My new Gatekeeper helps me to keep the boundaries in check because rescuing is also akin to people pleasing, so I have given up trying to please everyone so they will approve of me. The late Dr Wayne W. Dyer's words ring in my ears - "Live your life independent of the good opinion of others." They are very powerful words and I intend to be prepared to disappoint everyone but myself, a vow I made 12 years ago. There is so much freedom in living with that intention.
What or who saved Superman - was the antidote to Kryptonite? Love. Unconditional love. It's saves us all.
I have just reminded Petal of Superman's words to Lois as he leaves her after her brush with death via a helicopter accident - "Statistically speaking, flying is still the safest way to travel."
She flaps her wings and smiles her sweet smile. We all hug the Rescuer, reassuring her that we have her back and will keep her safe from harm. You've got us and we've got you.
My merry troupe of archetypes are signing off now. We look like the Clampetts heading off in our rumptey old truck singing "Three Little Birds", by Bob Marley.
See you next time when something comes "Write From My Heart."
Please feel free to comment below...
"You are a lazy worthless SOB! You need to smarten up and get a real job! All this stupid follow your dreams stuff is for fairies, sissies and lunatics. You are lazy, plain old lazy do you hear me?"
There he goes again, the Drill Sergeant Major. He shouts his rhetoric as he marches up and down in front of me with his baton under his arm. Buttons highly polished, shoes shined to within an inch of their lives, not a crease out of place and his hair cut to within a centimeter of non-existence. His face is red, with jaw set in his determined self-righteous way. Eyes squinting and widening as he spews forth. We will call him DSM for short. He won't like that!
There is not much that he does like. If fact his world is very small. He is a lot like Donald J Trump in his beliefs, being a first class bigot and know-all, know-nothing. He has an infallibility that is beyond measure and when faced with anything that opposes his own view of life, will dodge and weave with all the expertise of a trained soldier evading enemy bullets.
There is no point even trying to be a creative soul around this fellow. He scoffs and snorts at anything that is outside of his realm, which is most things.
It was a relief to finally meet him face to face after years of feeling sick to my stomach about following my dreams. My journey into the performing arts really spun his wheels.
When I found my spiritual mojo in 1988 he upped the ante, strutting his stuff in my psyche to the point that I have run off and hid in the closet many times for fear of reprisals.
I have had physical representations of him in my real life who have played out the DSM role to perfection. At soul level I totally get why they showed up. They were playing the part of my nemesis. I got great joy out of defying them and doing it anyway. At soul level I am grateful; my human self is not in the least bit forgiving just yet. I am working on it.
So why do I have a DSM as one of my troupe?
He is a survival archetype. When we are children we have to abide by the rules of those who have our power of attorney which are figures of authority. Family, carers, teachers, leaders.
We have to bow down to their regime in order to have the basics of life: food, shelter, clothing and safety.
For a creative soul, a daydreamer, visionary soul such as myself, I was never destined to be stuck in a nine-to-five job doing the same old stuff day in day out. I dreamed of being an actress and performer. That did not fit in at all with the DSM's in my inner circle who emphatically dissuaded me from following that path, of course to no avail.
My desire to follow my heart was greater than my fear of the DSM's and that is the key to keeping one's DSM in line.
Is my desire to do whatever is in my heart greater than my fear of it? Or is it just a possibility that I may play with for a while then leave it on the conveyor belt for someone else whose desire is greater than mine?
Every archetype has a shadow side and a light side. The shadow side tells me to get a haircut and get a job; to give up my fanciful notion of working for myself in my spiritual calling. The light side of my DSM is like a inner life coach, albeit a very loud and OTT (over the top) one. Instead of being a naysayer he confronts me to decide how much I really, really, really want to do what I am doing. Do I have what it takes? How much do you want this? How much huh? Do you really have what it takes? What the hell is that anyway? Do you know yourself? How can you teach others to truly be themselves if you are a coward and run back into the closet every time it gets a bit scary?"
I can hear some of you saying that surely there is a more gentle way of doing this and you may be right. For now though, he and I are working on finding a middle ground.
He was the one who when I wrote down what I needed to get done today told me to write beside all of the items - 'Just do it!' Those three little words written with such powerful intent spurred me to get them done. I have achieved three of the four today, this blog being one of them.
He is the one who tells me to 'show up'. To exercise my 'self-discipline' muscle. When you work for yourself with only yourself every day, it's challenging to find the impetus and motivation to do what needs to be done when there is no one overseeing your work and progress.
He is also the one who knows what to do in a crisis. I am mostly pretty good in a crisis although he, like me, is not great in earthquakes or coming across a spider.
Like all the voices in my head, DSM serves a higher purpose and is more than happy to be my ally rather than my enemy. Once in a while he gives me a smile and a pat on the back which I take as being that I have done well.
He's gone off now to rally the troops, the cast of characters that he is the self-appointed leader of.
They all huff and puff at him. Petal snorts and takes to the skies. She has no intention of being one of the gang. He is telling them that I am writing about HIM today and that he is mostly pleased with what I have told you.
He is tapping his watch and telling me that I have to get this out to the world or risk being put on report. You can thank my DSM for you receiving this blog today. I might have spent the day procrastinating.
If you are procrastinating about taking action on something, get in touch with your light sided DSM and hopefully they will tell you to - 'Just Do It!'
Signing off now until I get something 'Write From My Heart.'
Over and out.
What is a Gatekeeper you maybe asking?
My personal experience of the Gatekeeper is an archetypal guardian who stands at the threshold of your personal boundaries and vets everything and everyone that wants to enter your personal space. They are your energetic intuitive personal PA, Manager or Chief of Staff. Their role is vital for your well-being and your safety on all levels.
Like the medieval Gatekeepers of old they call to whatever and whoever wants to enter your space to identify themselves and their intentions, "Who goes there and what do you want?" If the prospective enteree does not meet the criteria, they are sent packing, the drawbridge remains in place and the portcullis stays lowered.
For many years of my adult life I struggled with agoraphobia. To describe it briefly, it can manifest as a fear of the outdoors, public places, being in crowds. Sometimes it's so severe that it brings on panic attacks. Agoraphobia can shut you down at many levels. Mine ranged from mild to full blown panic attacks. It was so bad at one stage that I couldn't go out to my clothes line or the mailbox.
To others it seemed irrational, that I was being stupid or a drama queen. For me it was absolutely terrifying and very confusing. I didn't want to be this way, I wanted to be able to function normally. My children were young and I needed to be able to take them to school, go to sports days and on school outings. The supermarket was an ordeal.
Along with the agoraphobia I experienced medium to strong claustrophobia and when they arrived together, internal hell would break loose.
On the outside I appeared to be a confident, eloquent, full of life young woman. I was directing/producing theatrical shows and going about my life in what seemed to be a normal way. I hid it from my family and friends for fear they would think I was mad.
I knew that it had deep roots embedded in my past somewhere. When it first began, I was not on my spiritual path and had no idea about past lives or archetypes.
After my out of body experience in 1988, I started going to mediums and psychics and I met a wonderful lady who, like me, was agoraphobic.
She had employed the skills of a hypnotherapist who was helping her take small steps towards a normal life, so I signed up for sessions and they made a huge difference. They didn't cure me but they helped take the severity out of the situation and enabled me to have some power whenever I found myself in an agoraphobic situation.
It wasn't until I read Caroline Myss's book Sacred Contracts around 2009 and was charting my archetypal wheel, that I met up with the Gatekeeper part of my psyche. I had no idea that I even had one. There was no mention of the Gatekeeper in her book, but none the less I had one.
My Gatekeeper was almost running my life. To describe this to you I have to draw a mental picture of how this archetype showed itself to me.
Visualize if you will a large castle complete with moat, drawbridge, battlements, towers, courtyards, sentries, dining halls, ballrooms and lots and lots of guest rooms. Everything that any self respecting castle could have.
You would think I would be living the high life with the best bedroom in the house and access to the full grandeur of this place that was mine.
Far from it. Instead, I lived in the tiny room at the top of the small tower with just enough space for a bed, a tiny dresser, no wardrobe, no clothes, no gold or jewels and was cold and damp.
Everyone else, God knows who they all were, occupied my castle. They ate all my food, drank my wine, wore my clothes, took my horses etc. In short they ran riot in my castle and used up everything I had. When it was all gone, they moved on to the next sucker who had an unhealthy Gatekeeper issue.
I would do what I could to replenish everything with the little I had, until the next intake of uninvited guests would arrive and do the same again.
Why and how did this happen? It happened because my Gatekeeper was a 'hail fellow well met' which according to Wikipaedia is a somewhat archaic English idiom used when referring to a person whose behaviour is hearty, friendly, and congenial. I will add to the description from Cambridge Dictionaries Online - sometimes in a way that is not sincere. He would let anyone in to my castle. The sentries were less than useless. Instead of being on duty looking out for anyone approaching, they were all down in the guard house playing cards and drinking ale with women on their knees having a rollicking good time. The drawbridge was permanently down and the portcullis was up which gave access to anyone and everyone. The Gatekeeper was sitting in his room with his feet up waving to everyone who went past, inviting them to have a great time and to make use of anything they needed.
The other part of this story is that while others could wander freely into my castle and leave when they wanted, I on the other hand could not.
Whenever I tried to leave, the Gatekeeper and the Sentries, would appear from their revelry on high alert and bar my way, telling me vehemently that if I went out there, they could not keep me safe. I would surely perish and something bad would most certainly take place.
So there I was, for many years, a prisoner to my beliefs, locked up inside myself, fearful of the outside and being sucked dry by my need to save everyone else from their darkness.
I couldn't say no to anyone and was a sucker for a lame dog and the homeless, helpless people whose needs were more important than mine. Somewhere along my souls path I had developed the belief that if my needs were met then someone else had to go without.
I was outraged at my gatekeeper when I discovered what had been going on. The first thing I did was fire him and his sentries, sending them on their way. It was such a relief. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could begin to take control of my life.
From that moment on I decided I would be in control of whomever came through my gate. I had no need of sentries. I kicked everyone out and began the journey of being my own best friend.
The agoraphobia that had plagued me no longer ruled my life at all. I realised that I had manifested it to draw my attention to investigate the larger issue of my powerlessness and its source.
Where did this stem from? Firstly from my tribe/family. We learn from our tribe very early on about personal boundaries.
When we arrive our tribe takes care of everything for us. They decide where we will live, what we will eat, who we will like and dislike, how our hair will be cut, what we will wear... the list goes on and on. Our survival depends upon conforming to their ways and beliefs. This happens from inside the tribe although it is very different today from when I grew up, with so many children going to daycare centres when they are weeks old, looked after by nannies or having preschool education from an early age, but our tribe are predominantly the ones who teach us about personal boundaries.
Hopefully our family/tribe have good personal boundaries and we inherit their healthy ways of looking after ourselves. However, if they are not and at an early age in order to survive, we have had to allow our personal boundaries to be breached, we will then go on to allow this to continue into our adulthood and live our lives accordingly.
My Gatekeeper had been set up to ensure my survival. That was the only way I could make sure that I was looked out for and that some of my basic needs were met. I was unaware that I needed to reset the parameters of my survival boundaries to accommodate my grown-up self. Thankfully I have now. It is never too late to redraw your boundaries or to learn what is healthy and right for you.
How proactive is your Gatekeeper?
A healthy Gatekeeper archetype will protect your boundaries, alert you to possible unhealthy situations or people and give you the option for a situation to continue or be aborted before it has a chance to take place.
In a nutshell... you are in control, aware and conscious of your personal space, your life choices and why you are making them. You will say yes and no and mean it.
An unhealthy Gatekeeper archetype can be determined by answering the following questions.
Do you give more than you have? Do you feel used up by everyone and everything? Having trouble saying yes or no when you really need to? Is other people's time more important than yours? Do people bend your ear for hours on end while you smile sweetly, nodding in what you hope are the right places because you zoned out ages ago, but don't want to be rude? Do you put everyone else's needs first and throw yourself under the bus to maintain peace and equilibrium? Do you give your resources away, even though you really need them yourself, so that people will like you? Are you afraid to go out or take part in activities outside your home or narrow comfort zone?
If you answer yes to any of these questions then you need a Gatekeeper makeover.
Whatever job description your Gatekeeper is working under needs a lot of revision. If they are resistant to change, then it's time to get your HR division to find you a new Gatekeeper and put the old one out to pasture.
Or maybe hire one for the first time. You may not have one in place.
Whatever is playing out at your castle I suggest you check in on your Gatekeepers job description and decide whether that part of your archetypal psyche has your best interests at heart.
I am my own Gatekeeper now and I most definitely ask "Who goes there and what do you want?" before I allow anyone to come across my drawbridge and into my inner sanctum and I can go out freely with joy and without fear. It makes for a healthier, happier life and better relationships with others and most importantly with myself.
It's time to love yourself and put yourself first - you deserve it.
The drawbridge is going up now and I am having an at home this evening, I hope you are too.
Catch you next time something comes 'write from my heart.'
I know fear intimately. We have had a long association which means that my fight and flight system is a well-oiled machine. During the Canterbury earthquakes it got a real work out; I still prick up my senses and react like a Meerkat when I hear a rumbling noise. I consider that is a positive thing as I may need to flee, seek protection or take action. But my unhealthy relationship with fear started at a very early age to deal with the rigours of my home life and the carnage that followed.
Fear has been a constant companion, holding me in its grip, masquerading as an invisible dark presence that would take over without warning, sabotaging so much of my life.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I have two women to thank in part for my sanity, rescuing me from the abyss of fear - Martha Beck and Caroline Myss.
They inspired me to create a set of characters which enabled me to see fear for what and who it really was. Through this process I have been able to shine a light on the darkness that so often pervaded my being.
Martha Beck, who is a Life Coach of worldwide repute, writes in her book, Steering By Starlight, about our 'lizard-self' and suggests to her readers that we give our lizard-self - our fight and flight personality, a name. Thanks to Martha, I was able to put my over active imagination to good use and visualise my lizard-self.
In a previous blog, I introduced you to the Critical Critic. Here is another of the troupe, I would like you to meet Petal. She is a resplendent, iridescent, winged, fire breathing dragon. Her mantra is, "We are all going to die. The sky is falling, the sky is falling."
She looks very much like a combination of Dame Edna Everage and Patsy & Eddy (Absolutely Fabulous). She is a drama queen.
Petal was in her element during the Canterbury earthquakes and when I am a passenger in a car. Her nostrils flare and she pulls herself up to her almost fullest height, puffing and snorting; ask anyone of my family about how much they 'love' me being their passenger. But Petal is at her most resplendent when I get on board a plane.
Flying or the thought of flying before I discovered Petal, was an event that brought on severe anxiety. When on board the plane the only thing preventing me from running screaming and yelling during the flight was that there was nowhere to run to.
Poor Jon... my hubby. His hands would be squeezed within an inch of their lives especially during take off and definitely when landing.
Me... Olwynne... I love the 'thought' of travelling to other parts. I even like the 'idea' of flying. Petal however does not. That all changed a few years back, when we travelled to Australia to visit family. We boarded the plane at Christchurch Airport and the aircraft had just pulled away from the terminal when Petal turned up in full force. She had been lurking around in the background huffing and puffing about how I was putting her in danger by taking her on the plane.
The irony of this is that she flies all by herself. She has enormous wings and like Petal, I have had many amazing flying dreams throughout my life and I love them. The feeling of soaring the skies and the freedom that comes with it. She loves that too. Neither of us like someone else being in the cockpit and us not being in control.
Back to the plane. She comes into my view anxiously looking around and cocking her ear to one side then the other, "What was that? Did you hear that? OOo there was a bump."
By this time my heart is racing and my palms are sweating, but I am wise to her by now.
I stop her in her tracks and talk to her with a firm voice. I really surprise myself.
"Petal, you have to stop this. There is nothing happening here that requires your attention. We are taxing to the runway. Everyone is going about their normal business. If that changes and the cabin crew or captain tell us that we need to act, I will need you, but otherwise until that happens, go back to sleep. You are spoiling what is a great experience for me."
She looked hurt for a bit and then she nodded in acknowledgement that I was right and everything was ok. A few times throughout the flight she poked her head in to see what was happening and I would reassure her that all was well. We landed in Melbourne and I can say in all honesty that it was the first time I had ever flown and hadn't wanted to abandon ship mid-air.
Since that day I have flown to Australia by myself and it was great. She was there with me, only this time she flew alongside the plane and loved every minute of it.
Having her with me reminds me of the wonderful movie Pete's Dragon. Petal is my Eliot. Like Pete, I needed her when I was a child because there was a lot of reason to fight or flee.
But I am a big girl now, I wear big girl panties and I just needed to let Petal know that I am all grown up and can take care of myself.
We go flying together and watch each other backs. She still does the 'what was that' stuff but not as often and we laugh when she overreacts and it is nothing.
She has helped me to see that if something is going to happen there is not a lot I can do about it and what I imagined, might never happen. If I continue to live in fear, then I will miss what is happening and that would be the greatest travesty of them all.
We're off now. We have our Biggles goggles and flying helmets on. The wind is up and the sky is blue. Off into the wild blue yonder!
See you next time, when I introduce you to another of the voices in my head.
Please feel free to post your comments below. I love knowing your thoughts, insights and ideas.
The Critical Critic
Being more of myself has been the MOST challenging thing I have ever done and I chose a life full of challenges this time around.
I have received brickbats and bouquets in equal amounts and the brick bats really hurt. I am told you have to grow a thicker skin. Mine is still thin and I bruise easily, but I am not going to grow a thicker one, because that will mean that I have to be someone I am not.
The world is full of critics. I learned about the critic archetype early on in my life. Then I joined the theatre fraternity as an actor, then as a Producer, Director, Choreographer & Writer. Being critiqued is an integral part of the journey. I have also been the critic and dished out my fair share of brickbats and bouquets. Those on the receiving end were either dashed to the ground or buoyed by my comments.
The external critics are pretty easy to spot. The Inner Critic - I call her the Critical Critic - is the one who has the most to say and does the most damage. I have a pretty active one of those myself.
She is part of a troupe of archetypal characters who play out in my psyche daily, dishing out their brand of 'words of wisdom' to me through their authoritarian personalities, resulting in my feeling crushed and ready to give up, give in and run for the hills.
One of my earliest critics was my Mum. She believed she didn't receive much praise in her early life from her mother either and so she transmuted her experience on to us.
When I would tell her about how I felt or what I saw, about my dreams and fantasies, she would tell me with her tone of derision, that I had an overactive imagination, which meant that she didn't believe me and that I was being stupid.
Bless her for challenging me in that way. Her actions just made my imagination grow even bigger and brighter. It has guided me through some seriously daunting passages so far and still serves me today.
Through my overactive imagination, I began to see Critical Critic and her ensemble cast of naysayers, as characters who operated either as individuals or banded together as a team.
They took shape in my mind as larger than life characters strutting around in my psyche having their say whenever they felt like it, at their most satisfied when I gave them attention and completely justified when I gave them my power by believing what they said about me.
When I allowed this to happen on the inside, then I would manifest someone externally who would reiterate what they had been saying to me. Spooky aye. At first I would be floored, shocked and hurt and then I realised that these willing souls were just playing their part too, by delivering me the message from the outside so that I could feel it at a conscious level. What was really spooky was that it was always what one or more of my inner troupe was saying to me about myself.
What does my Critical Critic say to me? Firstly she doesn't talk to me in the first person, only in the third. She is talking about me not to me. That really pushes my buttons because it is as if she is gossiping to someone about me and running me down behind my back. I really dislike that.
This is the kind of thing she says, "She will never amount to anything. She has had so many opportunities in her life to do something with her life but she always blows it."
"She is a has been." "She has not credibility."
I can see her in my minds eye. She is average height. Average build. All around she is pretty average. Looks like your typical 50's housewife. Goes to all the right groups, clubs. Is in the clique of all the other average people in the world. She fits right in. She is not liked or disliked by anyone. Conforms to everything and everyone. Has little ambition and most certainly wouldn't step outside the norm.
If by now you Googling psychology 101 to see what kind of kook I really am, you can save your energy. I am not your average person on any level and am most certainly certifiable. But through my madness I know who and what she represents for me. Critical Critic is who I have felt I 'should' have been so that my life would be easier and supposedly happier.
But you know what; I would have really lost my mind being her and it wasn't in part of my souls journey to be her. Doesn't mean she didn't try her hardest to live through me.
That brings me to the word 'should'. Ban it from your vocabulary. It is filled with obligation, regret, conformity and blame.
Where did she come from? She is a manifestation of the era I was raised in. My parents and grandparents mantra was 'what will people think.' They all judged each other on so many levels. Women knew their place and weren't encouraged to be anything more.
I believe women born in 50's 60's & early 70's are the bridge builders for the new generation of women who are now offered mostly unlimited opportunities to live their lives however they wish. When I was at high school, my option subjects were Home Economics - that is cooking and how to run a household - for those who don't know. Clothing which was sewing. Shorthand Typing. Typing on its own. Bookkeeping and French for those who were really bright.
We were being funnelled into office work, homemaking, teaching, nursing and shop assistants.
That was until we were either married and or pregnant, preferably married first. That didn't happen for me. Then we left the workforce and became the homemaker. Women didn't have ideas above their station as my mother would remind me with regular monotony, and yet she was far from the norm herself.
So how did I deal with Critical Critic? I talk with her now and tell her that its ok to truly be her.
If she is happy being her average self that is ok, but not to try and change me to make herself feel better. She told me that she wants to be more like me! Can you believe it!
The rest of the troupe are all sitting in the corner tut tutting calling her a traitor, but we will work on them too.
I will introduce you to another one of them next time. Until then, be kind to yourself and make friends with your 'inner critic.' Doesn't mean you have to agree with them or like what they say or do, just try to see them as someone you have created to teach you something very important about your inner self.
Until next time, this is Critical Critic and me signing off. We are going to do something out of her comfort zone. That'll get the tongues wagging.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT BELOW. I LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK.
My children would often hear me tell them, "if you want to see who you really are then have a look at your friends." I wanted them to learn that they will attract to themselves that which they are being. Whilst sharing this pearl of wisdom with them, I was also learning to apply it to myself. I can truly say that it served both me and my children well.
I believe that we attract people to us to reflect us back to ourselves, so that we can see who we really are being at any given moment. I told them that if they were leaning towards the dark side then they would be attracting people who reflected that aspect of themselves. If they were living in the light they would attract light minded people.
There are some grey areas in this too. It's not all light and dark. However, if we are not sure about where our life choices are leading us, then best we take a good look around us and see who is in the river of life with us right now.
My hubby Jon and I had a spirit friend called Jim, who came and shared his wisdom with us. He was incarnate here until about 20 years ago, having spent of most of his life as a clergyman.
I spent time with him this morning and this is what he had to offer.
"Tell people to be more of themselves. Tell them they are not broken or out of balance.That they are having a normal human experience. No one needs to be fixed or healed.
Q: I asked Jim - what if they are sick or in a very dark space?
A: Tell them to look into themselves and see what this experience is really trying to show them.
No one came here to feel well and blissfully happy all of the time. If they wanted that experience they would have remained in spirit. Tell them to check in with their hearts. That is where their true purpose lays. Be more of themselves and less of what they perceive others want them to be.
Actually no one wants another person to be something or someone they are not. That is only a perception. What we are really looking for is something or someone to validate us to be truly ourselves.
That being so, we try to get others to be like us and believe what we believe, which only leads to pain and disappointment especially when people move on from where we are or we grow and change leaving them behind.
Have unconditional relationship experiences with each other, without fear, conditions and expectations.
Come together with likeminded souls or don't. That is your choice. You can choose to have superficial associations with others who also choose the same experience. There is nothing wrong with that. It is, like all things, a personal choice. Or you can seek deep meaningful experiences.
In other words, whoever you are being, you will attract those who are like minded, so it is important to decide who you want to be and what sort of relationships you want to experience. Whatever path you choose, welcome each person into your life without any expectation of what they or you need to change, in order to be together and that organically you can build a relationship experience that is joyful, fulfilling and soulful for both parties."
Thank you Jim.
May you always shine brightly
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I always know when something in my life has come to an end, because I find myself on the outside of a door that has no handle on it.... in other words there is No Way Back.
What do I do now, plays in my head. To add to the angst, I find myself standing on a ledge with mist around me. Not just a little bit of mist but thick mist and you don't step in any direction when you can't see your hand in front of your face.
How do I find my way from this place? I relax. I go inside. I listen and feel. I pay attention to what is around me intuitively and when something appears through the mist I feel my way into it and let my heart tell me if it is worth stepping off my ledge for.
The other way I converse with my higher self in times of confusion and crisis, is to go inwards and sit by my fire. I build a fire in a clearing by a lake or on the seashore, and sit there contemplating/reviewing previous events and letting them go. Through this process, insights come to me and I allow myself the grace and time to be in the stillness by my fire.
Before I know it I am up and walking towards my next life experience.
I recently organised a reunion with some special people whom I had shared a theatrical experience in 2001. These wonderful people hold a special place in my heart. I have considered writing a sequel to the show we created together with the knowledge that I can't go back and recreate what we had. However, if my heart is willing I may choose to create a new and exciting project into which I can invite these amazing people and those that feel it is right for them will get on board and those that don't won't.
The thing to remember is you can't GET BACK TOGETHER. The important word there is BACK. You can REUNITE but you can't go back.
Let's apply this to a relationship. However the relationship has ended, by death or parting of the ways, then the only way now is to go forward. If your relationship was wonderful and filled you with love then you can have that again maybe not with that person but with someone else. There is never just one person for us. If it wasn't great BACK there why would you want to return to how it was before?
I have clients who come for coaching and insights into their often complex and challenging lives.
Some have their Let's Live In The Past belief systems on and are most often looking at themselves as failures or at other persons faults and failings, instead of looking inside themselves and bearing witness to the glaringly obvious fact that they have changed.
The door has shut on their old relationship/job/friendship/life in general long ago and they have been spending their precious time trying to craft a door handle so they can go back, because going forward is way to scary.
Life is calling you into the unknown. Your inner voice is saying, 'turn around and look into the mist. You are attempting to fix what is not broken; be patient with yourself. Stop trying to fashion a door handle out of a shoe lace and your cell phone charger, because you won't succeed. Out there in the mist is your new life. The one you detoured off from, all that time ago, so you could learn and grow from the experiences of the path you chose. Now you are at the crossroads again and again you have choices to make. Do you follow your heart, or your fears and beliefs that no longer serve you?
We applaud your choice to struggle and sweat because you believe that it builds character and makes you stronger. However prolonged periods of such activities will make you weak and frail. You will lose heart for your life, resulting in a loss of belief in the wonder of your existence.
Turn around and look into the mist. There is a light there. It maybe small and you have to blink a few times to allow your brain to acknowledge its existence, but the more that you focus on it the brighter it will become to you.'
You can't get your life wrong. There is no wrong. There is just you and your souls journey through time and space. Stop, reflect. Keep it simple do it really well. Enjoy. Relax. Celebrate. Contemplate and most of all be kind to yourself.
There you go. Put down your feeble escape tools and surrender to your inner peacefulness. Build a fire. Sing a song, write, draw, imagine, create, fantasise. Give your heart and soul some well needed attention.'
When there is no way back be grateful because out there in the mist is your new adventure. It's longing for you just as much as you are for it.
Go well and go in peace.
~Author~ Olwynne Cade
Olwynne is a Spiritual Teacher, Spiritual Past Life Regression Therapist, Certified Holistic Life Coach,
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