************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Motivates You?

At my CoDA meeting tonight, someone said something that really stood out to me.

That’s not a surprise. I figure I’ve been to almost 200 meetings at this point, and I don’t believe there has been one that didn’t give me something to think about.

Tonight, a woman said that the opposite of love is fear, not hate. She said that one could love and hate the same person, but that it was very hard to both love and fear someone. Once fear enters the picture, it becomes everything. All your motives become about that fear – whether it is fear of abuse or the fear of losing the person or the fear of losing a financial situation you need, or even the fear of letting someone else find out who you really are – fear becomes the driving force and love goes out the window.

The reading that led to her saying this was in the CoDA blue book. It was a story about denial. The woman who wrote the story (I believe her name was Annie) talked about owning your motives.

I had actually read this story once before, when I had only been in CoDA for a couple of months. I know I read it because I had things underlined, but I don’t remember reading it, probably because what I got out of it now was completely different from what I saw a year-and-a-half ago.

Owning my motives feels like a new and important piece of the codependent puzzle. It means that even when we are doing what we think we are supposed to do, we need to see what is really motivating us.
 Am I doing something because I hope to gain something in return?
Because I am afraid of someone else’s anger?
Because I think someone else is not capable of doing it?
Am I saying yes to sex because I feel it is an obligation?
Am I sitting here writing this article because I want to write it or because I am avoiding something else?

So, first I need to identify my motives.

I do not do this so I can judge myself for my motives. I am supposed to OWN it, not beat myself up with it.
It's a matter of being honest with myself.I am supposed to admit to myself why I'm really doing what I'm doing , let that knowledge settle inside me and- the hope is - eventually I will begin to see the motives BEFORE I act.

If I am aware of my motives I wiill be able to make a conscious decision about what I want to do - living actively instead of reactively.

It really all comes down to one word –


We always have a choice.
Sometimes it feels like we have to do something, but in reality we choose to do it.

My therapist is always telling me I have a choice. She has said almost this exact thing to me numerous times... but it never seemed to mean this, before.

Everything I do is a choice I make... and every choice has a driving force of some kind and wouldn't it be great if the driving force was my sincere understanding of the situation instead of a motive I'm not even aware of?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Random Thoughts of a Five Year Old

Putting on a show with my brother
Making up commercials to juke box songs

The key was on top of the door frame, too high for me to reach

If you learn to cross the street you can go to the park by yourself.

Time for school
New pattened leather shoes
Shiny black and pinching
Kids in the school yard

Go say hello to that little girl
I don’t want to, but I do
I turn around
Mommy's gone

I'm different
I don't know why
The teacher doesn’t like me
The kids don’t, either
I don't like them, back

That damn dog never shuts up.
Piano lessons
Bartok and Mozart

Clean your room!
Empty all the drawers and clean them out

Under the gun

Look at the drawers
Which ones will he check?
Put the socks in the middle drawer
He wouldn't look in there

Don’t go in there.
That’s Daddy’s room.

Whispers in the dark
Something hidden.

You stay out of there.

Wanna come over to my house?
Upstairs to an apartment
Her mommy said it was time to go
Do you know the way?
Are you sure?


Wandering alone
Don’t cry

Getting dark
Where is the school?
If I can find the school I can get home.

So many cars
So many people
I don’t know anyone

Mommy's face
Where were you?
I went home with a friend.
Don’t ever do that again

He left the key in the lock.
The door is open.
What is it?
Is it real?
Don’t touch it!

Socks in the middle drawer
Tuck it in there

Ballet lessons
Cold outside.
And then winter is over

Now that I'm five I can go to the park
All by myself
I don't like to be all by myself.


I heard them running in the attic
Little feet on the ceiling

Damn racoons.
Keep breaking into the attic.

Little squeals in the dark

Playing with my brother
Pretending the bunk beds were being carried into the night
It was so real when we played pretend
We were orphans
All alone in the wild

And I loved my little brother
But I tried to hurt him
A lot
So many times

Damn racoons.

I pushed him down and told him to ride his tricycle down the stairs
And bit the heads off the little plastic soldiers and left them in the box
And carved HAM in big letters in the banister
And everyone thought it was him because it was the only word he knew

Damn dog!
Spaghetti for dinner
And all my things
Barbies with no clothes
and no heads

I'll take care of the racoons.

Heavy footsteps on the attic stairs, right next to my room
Bang! Bang!
Thud thud
No more little feet on the ceiling
Bunk beds and a dresser.
Underwear on the left
and socks in the middle drawer

My brother, only three
He wrote HAM everywhere
From the Seuss book

They will think it was him

Carving in the banister
Nail against the wood

Smoking gun

Mommy’s face

Where were you?
I was worried sick
Don’t ever do that again
You'll send me to an early grave

My sister dancing in the kitchen

Walking to the park
Swinging on the gate

Where’s your mommy?
Are you here all by yourself?

Birthday cake
And candles
Blow out the candles

Black and white
Old movie
Playing over everything else

Did you make a wish?

Washed out
Blocked out

But he didn't get in trouble
They knew it was me
Can’t hide anything, really
Not even in the middle drawer

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Could Be a Rainbow

A couple of weeks ago, C wore a beautiful green jacket to our session. I thought several times that it was a lovely jacket and that it was a good color on her, but I didn't say anything.

For some reason this has been popping up in my head a lot, lately. I'm sure that it is completely beyond her awareness that her choice of color inspired me to put some color into my own wardrobe... which is usually made up mostly of black, white and gray.

And even that is interesting, isn't it? Black and white - the way my world has always been - and gray - the middle ground I have been searching for.

The first time a counselor told me I had "black and white thinking", I was well into my forties and had no idea what he meant by the term... so, just in case there is anyone out there who doesn't know what it is, I will try to explain it.

Black and white thinking turns the whole world into a coin toss. Every thing that happens is either heads or tails, every decision is either good or bad, every choice is right or wrong, every issue is either completely perfect or there is no redeeming quality in it at all. The only thing that exists are the two outer edges of the coin.

And that's how I see just about everything. Telling me to find the gray area is like asking me to stand that coin on its edge. I've flattened the world into a thin little pancake and how on earth can I get inside it, that way?

Black and white thinking is what makes me so critical of myself. If I don’t do things perfectly, then I am bad because there is no middle ground in my mind.
It is what makes it so hard to make a decision. So much is riding on every choice because one way will be absolutely right and one way completely wrong.
It’s what makes it hard for me to see the good in people who I have labeled as “bad,” or vice versa.
It’s what makes it so hard to forgive and accept others and myself.

When people talk about black and white thinking, the answer is always, "you need to find the gray area."

But what about color?

Doesn't it make more sense that if we could move beyond black (which absorbs all color) and white (which reflects all color) we would find ourselves in a rainbow?

Middle Ground

Okay, kind of a silly little thought, I guess, but in my very concrete way of thinking, finding the gray area has always seemed like a boring solution to life's problems. I mean, if there is anything more boring than black and white, it would have to be gray! So, that's how I'm going to look at it, from now on. When I can see that I am existing in a black and white world, I am going to look for the rainbow.

Oh, and about that jacket... I am making it a goal to tell people when I am thinking something nice about them. Who doesn't want to hear a compliment, after all?

So, to my friends and faithful readers, know that it gives me great pleasure to read your comments and your blogs and to know you are out there muddling through it all, with me

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stuck on the Third Rung

Yesterday was one of those rare therapy appointments when I didn’t have an exceedingly pressing issue or anything that felt really unresolved from the last few appointments. I talked about some current things in my life. I love the fact that C is able to both help me with the past and work with me on the present. I know some people have said that they get only one or the other from their t.’s. It’s a blessing to be able to work on whatever needs working.

So, since we ran out of things to talk about with fifteen minutes still left in the appointment, she opened up my (very thick) folder and started going through papers she had paper-clipped – her way of marking things that we had not finished. She found several DNMS sheets that we never completely finished, but when she refreshed my memory about the parts of self and problems we had identified in those sheets, they already felt resolved.

Finally, she pulled out a sheet that was from an actual “ladder rung” of the DNMS process. Honestly, I had almost forgotten that this is how the process is supposed to work.

In DNMS there are four “rungs”. There is a fairly involved protocol for each one, and the idea is to go through them all, in order, to resolve childhood issues.
When I first started working with C in this DNMS process, we completed rungs 1, 2 and 3a in six months.
(Keep in mind that the following is my interpretation from what I remember and what I have in my old email and word files, and not directly from any DNMS book or guide.)

• The issues on the first rung are about existence. They are about knowing you exist and believing you have a right to exist.
• The second rung is about safety. It is about feeling safe and knowing you can keep yourself safe.
• The third rung comes in two parts. 3a is about owning your personal power.

When I look at those ideas, now, I can see how far I've come.

I spent a most of my life with a sense of unreality. On a deep level, I didn't understand that I existed at all. The idea that I had a right to exist - that the world was meant for ME as well as everything else in it – seemed ludicrous the first time it was presented to me. On some level, I knew it was true, but on a much more personal level, it did not feel true. I felt like an impostor .. a hanger-on in a world of the deserving.

Working through that first rung gave me a clear sense that I am real and that I am here for a reason. My existence is purposeful in a way it never was before.

For most of my life, I lived in such fear that I didn't even know I was afraid. Fear was my natural state, my norm. I honestly thought that’s how it was for everyone. I thought it was just how life is, to wade through every experience in states ranging from anxiety to panic. Now I know that is not true. It is my spirituality that helps me keep my fears at bay. Knowing I am connected to everything, that the energy within me is eternal, helps me understand that nothing that happens to me can hurt me. I exist. I will continue to exist in whatever form I am meant to have. No matter what happens, “I” will be okay! That was an amazing revelation that came from my most adult self and my spiritual core. It makes life so much more manageable.

Next we come to 3a – personal power. I did not remember that this was the last rung we completed, but it made so much sense when my therapist refreshed my memory.
I believe I have found my personal power. I have learned how to look inside myself, determine what I want, decide if it is appropriate to go after, and if it is appropriate, I give myself permission to go for it.
There. One sentence to describe an enormous process. I suppose it makes sense that it was at this point that we stopped working through this protocol because I believe I needed time to fully process this before I was ready to go on to the next part.

Apparently I needed a LOT of time. We finished rung 3a in June of 2008! Now, 21 months later, I have gone through major changes in my life, accepting things that I couldn't even allow myself to remember, before that. It seems like a lot of time, but that’s how much time I needed and I’m glad y therapist didn't rush me or allow me to rush myself.

I assume she now believes I'm ready to move forward, which is why she pulled out rung 3b, yesterday.

3b is about self worth.

If there is a piece of the puzzle that I still struggle with, this is definitely it. To me, this is proof that the process is working. We didn't have time to delve back into it, this week, but I’m excited about starting it again, next week. Although we have done a lot of DNMS and EMDR in the last 21 months, it has all been a kind of side road. It was all necessary, but it feels good to think I have made it back to the highway, again.

I wonder if it’s possible that I will look back at this rung of the ladder in the same way I can the others, at some future point, and say “yes, I now understand that I have self-worth.” I hope so. Before she pulled this out, yesterday, we were talking about my writing. She said something about my writing having innate value just in my doing it, even if no one else saw it or commented on it.

While it seems that should be true, I still can't really believe it.

She asked me, “If you wrote a hundred blogs and ninety-nine times someone gave you a positive comment, but on the hundredth time no one did, would that make the hundredth blog less valuable?”

I said, “I would wonder what I did wrong.”

So, since she is certain that it doesn't change the worth of something just because someone sees it, and she gave examples that make sense, I can see that I still have a ways to go on the self-worth idea.

And, in case you’re wondering, the final rung is about relationships with others. I'll get there...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Happens TO you Does Not Define You

Yesterday, two different people talked to me about being afraid of finding out what “really” happened in childhood.

I remember that fear. For most of my life, I told myself I didn’t want to know. I convinced myself that it didn’t matter what happened. I knew things were not right. I knew I'd been controlled, enmeshed, restricted, held back… what difference did it make what the details were?

Now that the worst is behind me, I'm a big advocate of “knowing”. I believe people have to decide when they’re ready, it shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but I wish it was more commonly known how helpful it is to "know".

We are each made up of a unique recipe. The ingredients vary,the way they were added varies - the way they were mixed and prepared, the care or lack of care - all vary from person to person. This makes us each an exceptional dish with subtle flavors and complex textures that can’t be found anywhere else.

We have a sense of which parts of the dish we like best and which parts we would prefer to push to the edge of the plate and ignore… but if we don’t know the recipe, how can we possibly make more of the good stuff?

That's part of what I got from therapy in two and a half years - I learned that there is good inside me, and am coming to understand how to magnify those things while diminishing the things I would rather live without -
but the biggest part is fear.

I have been afraid for as long as I can remember. I was so scared all the time that it had become my normal – I hardly knew there was any other way to be. Call it nerves, anxiety, worry, concern, apprehension dread, or panic, its all just fear.

Why am I less afraid now? Why does the world seem more manageable since I have “remembered and processed” my past?

Imagine you are going to horror movie. You are expecting it to be scary, and it is. All through the movie, the suspense builds. The monster lurks in the darkness. You hear the screams of those who have to face it. You see the look of terror on their faces, but the monster hides in the shadows.

The movie nears the end. You know, any moment, you are finally going to see the awful creature. You scrunch back in your seat, cowering in anticipation.

Then, the moment of truth.
The monster is right there, in front of you!
Look at it!
It's... it's
It's a guy wearing a stupid costume.

That’s the thing – the unknown is scarier than the reality.
It just is. Our minds create so much more than the real world ever could.

The thing that goes bump in the night can't hurt you in the daylight!

So, I'm glad I've made this much progress and pushed through all I've faced, but I can’t tell my friends to take that step. I know that if they watch the end of the movie they will see that they are stronger than any monsters they find, but it has to be their choice, their decision, or else they will just close their eyes and miss the moment of truth.

All I can do is give them support - heartfelt support, because I have been there.

Yesterday, when one of my friends was talking about not wanting to face her demons, she also said, "I prefer to be around other crazy people because I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not.”

I told her, “You don’t need to hide who you are. You’re awesome. You just need to remember that the things that happened TO you do not DEFINE you!”

And that is the core of it, isn’t it? Yes, the recipe is important – all the things that have happened have made us who we are and all the things we do with it now are going to create our future.

But, the monster isn’t the chef! He’s just a guy in a costume. Once we see him for what he is, we can kick his ugly ass out of the kitchen and create the gourmet meal we were meant to be.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Infinite Love and Gratitude

Last night I went to a Lifeline Technique presentation.

The Lifeline Technique was created by Dr. Darren Weissman of Chicago. He studied various modalities: Chiropractic, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Ayurvedic Medicine, Total Body Modification, Neuro Emotional Technique, Shakras, Muscle Reflex testing, and others.

Using pieces from all of these he developed the Lifeline Technique which is described as “Conscious Body-Conscious Mind Training.”

He asks, “Are you ready to stimulate your senses, open your heart, and be empowered with practical tools, strategies, and support to live a purposeful and meaningful life?”

It sounded interesting, and it was a free presentation. I went in with an open mind. I can’t say I was convinced that this is the answer to all my problems.... but it was interesting.

The basic concept is this: If we can send “Infinite Love and Gratitude” (their key catchphrase) to everything – all things physical, mental and emotional, all things past, present, and future, all things that exist, have existed or may one day exist in the universe  – then we will find peace and live happy, healthy lives.

There is a long protocol used to get to this point of "infinite love and gratitude." Eric, the man who was giving the presentation was trained by Dr. Weissman. I felt as if he truly believed what he was presenting.

Here’s what I took away from it:
On the negative side::
• Like many spiritual and religious people, he had a tendency to speak in absolutes. He would say, “This is how it is.” If he had instead said, “This works for me,” or “This is what I believe,” it would have been easier to keep an open mind.
• This seems to me to be a concept that could be applied to groups of people, or even to “everything in the universe” as he claimed. However, instead of presenting it as a tool to help bring positive energy to all living things (something that was mentioned in passing at the end when someone asked about it directly) it was presented as a “quick-fix” for life’s personal problems – like fear, trauma, grief and even life-threatening diseases. Perhaps its true that the body can heal itself, but telling someone who is sick that this is the only thing they need to get well seems like a dangerous thing indeed.
• There was talk of "Intention" - which I understood to mean that the group could focus positive energy together in a way that could be healing to the universe. This is a concept I've come across before. I would have liked to have heard more about that and less about how to fix personal issues.

On the positive side:
• There were times when I closed my eyes and opened my mind and heart to what he was saying and could feel the positive energy in the room in a way that I rarely have.
• When I tried to apply what he was saying to my personal life and history, I had a “revelation of the obvious”.
Revelations of the Obvious is a term I invented a couple years ago, in therapy. I have had these so many times, now, that I couldn’t possibly remember them all. Maybe you have had them, too?
This is what happens: I  have an “ah ha” moment. Something becomes crystal clear in my head and I feel pieces fitting together in a way that makes sense. Then, I try to explain it to someone but I realize that there was no way to explain it without saying exactly what I’d heard from others in the past! It isn't a new idea at all, but a new way to understand something I've heard before.

Last night, I had this "revelation of the obvious": As we were going through the protocol, he would pull out something and ask how it pertained to us, personally. I would think of something – it might be an an emotion or an event from the past, a current physical sensation, thought or emotion, or something I wanted in the future. I would close my eyes and visualize the "issue". Then, he would do his “Infinite Love and Gratitude” thing – whether the "issue" was something positive or negative. We would all say it together and I would focus on sending infinite love and gratitude to whatever I had been visualizing.

Then, suddenly, it dawned on me that if I completely accept ALL aspects of myself – the things that I think of as good and those that I think of as bad – I could find peace.!Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to leave things the way they are or that you have to like things the way they are. It only means that you ACCEPT that this is how they are or were or may be. Once you accept it, you can send it love and gratitude. Infinite Love and Gratitude! You can do this because all things are equally valuable – things that are good and things that are not good. They are equally valuable because every tiny detail of the past is necessary for us to be in the present we find ourselves in and every single detail of the present is going to contribute to the future we will one day be in.

So, I haven’t been able to come up with a way to say it and not sound cliché... but this is it in a nutshell: My revelation of the obvious is that love, gratitude and acceptance are the answer to everything.

Others have been saying this kind of thing to me for years, but I think it’s impossible to explain this to someone else. If we could explain it, we would have all the answers, already, but the only way to understand it is to experience it.

Some time ago, I came up with a “roads to Rome” theory. You’ve probably heard the expression, “All roads lead to Rome.” In Europe, a couple thousand years ago, all roads DID lead to Rome. The Roman Emperor was very powerful and had the resources to build roads. Consequently, roads were built from Rome to every place the Emperor deemed worthy.

My theory is that if God wants us to find him, then he’s built a lot of roads. I believe we each have our own road and it is our life’s work to find our own path. There is no one, right way, but I enjoy being in the room with someone who has found their road. That was the best part of the presentation. I was in the presence of someone who was confident and comfortable with the road they were travelling and that gave me hope and inspiration to keep searching for my own road.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thoughts on Life, the Universe and Everything

No, I do not think the answer is actually 42. (If you don't get the reference, don't worry about it.)

Recently, I had an awesome discussion with one of my favorite spiritual gurus. She said:
The Spiritual Core Self - the breath of life, the light of beingness, the core of goodness - is the essence of us all.
We all have it.
This material life experience has us fall asleep to that, and we all then struggle to wake up out of the distortions, the untruths about ourselves. The innocence and freshness of small children remind us of who we really are. They aren't “asleep” to who they really are. They are in the moment, in joy.

As we heal we get more and more glimpses, moments, then extended periods of knowing our true essence. In my view, this returning is essential to the planet.
This is something I have thought about on my own, but her words sparked a fresh flow of ideas and concepts that brought a new depth to my understanding of what feels true to me.

What feels true to me about existence:: 
• There is a kind of Universal Awareness.
• In general, babies and young children do seem to have more connection to that Awareness than young adults.
• Many people seem to long for a connection to something bigger, to themselves, and to the universe.
• As they enter the stage of life that is not about procreation, many people seem to find a new level of connectedness.
What feels true in my life:
• I think I was born "awake."
• I’have a longing to feel connected to something and a yearning to find myself.
• It feels important to return to that Universal Awareness.
• It was necessary to "fall asleep".
I  assume there is a  reason  this world exists. Therefore, it is important that I invest myself in it, entirely.There is some greater purpose to this form of existence or why would "God" - in whatever form you picture God - put us here and put us through the trials of life?

If I was always aware of my connection to the universe, I would never fully invest in this life. If I always saw this world as an illusory conduit to something greater, "I" – as I am in this body - would become meaningless. Would I bother to form attachments, procreate, raise children or do anything else which seems to be only of this world? Or would I Instead spend all my time in that spiritual world - and ignore the one here?

So - "falling asleep" to who I really am seems important and inevitable.

I accept that what I do here is important and also transitory.
Many people will say things like "forever" when they are talking about relationships, but I don't see that I will continue as an individual with the same attachments to other individuals when I leave this life. I can't reconcile that idea - of retaining this individual identity - with the concept of rejoining the "all" or the "one" (which is the same thing). If the individual identity is really an illusion then so much of the "work" we do seems unimportant. Why does it matter if we are happy in this life? Why does it matter what the relationships we have are like? Why does the planet exist at all?

I accept that everyone - or every aspect of The One - has a purpose. Each life is significant and adds an important part to the cosmic soup of Allness or Oneness. I don’t believe that there is “one true path” or that people who do not follow specific teachings or a specific set of rules will be punished or cease to exist. Instead, I believe that we are all the same entity and when we hurt each other, we hurt ourselves. When we cause harm to others that pain is carried over into the cosmic collective and we all (which means the ONE BEING we are) suffer for it.

It's as if this physical world is a hologram, a story we tell ourselves, a shared dream. To me, it’s like we are one and the same... not just "the same under the skin" but the same exact single thing.

So imagine that You and I are part of something much bigger. When we return to that, we will not need to be individuals any longer. What we are will be added to the mix, and everything in the mix will be added to "us" and we will cease to exist as we are but will continue to exist as part of something else, something greater, something eternal.

The one.
The all.
The Universal Awareness.
The infinite God.

We feel alone, in these bodies. There is a constant struggle to connect with others to fill that void.
There is a struggle to find a connection to God and the infinite.

The last important part of my new revelations is this:
In the past I worried because I felt that if we were all part of a universal entity, and there is only ONE being, then:
  • I am talking to myself here.
  • We are interacting with ourself on a grand scale.
  • This is all one big illusion of friendship and intimacy and connection when, in reality, we are all alone - the only one.
If we are really the only one, there is no connection to anything but "ourself" - and then there can be no end to the lonely feelings of life or the struggle to find "connection".

As I reconnected with this idea, I found a possible flaw in that logic. "Loneliness” is a human condition. It is just part of the illusion.

Loneliness would not have existed before because if “we” were aware of a connection to everything all the time - if we were part of the cosmic ALL - we would not "miss" anything.


Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.