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

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Small and new to the world, she looked up and found that the sky was summer-blue. The brilliance of it took her breath away. 
Such a vibrant, living sky! 

She stared at it with wonder, knowing this was where she was meant to be. All day she played in the azure glow.

And then it was night and the sky grew cold and black. 

She went inside and closed the door against the longing, mourning the summer-blue.

A little bigger and a little less new, she opened the door. She took just one step beyond the door, but nowhere was the summer-blue. A vast storm covered the world, horizon to horizon.
Gray and swirling.
Anger rumbling.
A flash of terror!
She slammed the door.

But she remembered the summer-blue.

In dreams and reverie, the warm memory of the azure glow ached inside her.  She pushed it aside, aside, aside and then, one day, she opened the door again. She wasn't so brave as to step outside, but even from the doorway she saw no summer-blue. Instead, the sky was dressed in white, attended by a frigid wind. Snow swirled and blew so hard she could barely close the door to its frantic appeal.

This time she shuttered the windows, closing herself more securely in her safe little room. She painted the ceiling blue. This is the sky, she told herself. Here, it will never change. I will always be safe.
She closed her eyes and waited for the warmth of that still-remembered glow. When it didn't come, she became one with the ache and told herself there was nothing beyond the door.

She became an adult within the shuttered windows and a closed door. Even as the seasons passed, she was safe. Even as her inner sky yellowed and pealed around the edges, she was safe. Even as the longing grew, she was safe.
And desperately miserable.
And wondered why?
Wasn't her inner sky every bit as good as that distant memory?
Didn't she have everything she required to survive?
Wasn't this room with its perfectly shuttered windows and impenetrable door exactly what she needed?

“Outside isn’t safe,” she told herself. “I have blue right here. Right here in my safe little room.”
She scowled at the dull and lifeless ceiling and then at her own reflection growing 
And it filled her up and her misery grew and finally she said, “Fine!" She flung the door wide and stepped through her fear, through her gritted teeth, through her resolve. She walked through the cold and through the darkness and through the constant barrage of her own misleading mind and then she saw it.
Had it been there all along?
The sky was summer-blue. And she remembered 

And fear.
Fear was the illusion that kept her safe and she was so afraid to see. Too afraid to know know the summer-blue. For knowing it was to risk a return of the cold and the dark and the painful wind.

She returned to her safe little room and closed the door, falling deep into her delusion of safety in the one place where nothing would ever truly be safe... in her own private and unidentified hell. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We Get What We Give


I've been in CoDA (codependents anonymous) for almost four years now. I sponsor several people in this program and find it to be an extremely rewarding part of my life. Relating to people who are growing, learning, really trying to figure it all out fills a place in me that needs refilling often.

Recently, one of these young women came to me with a question about a relationship. I'll call her Carol because she looks remarkably like a friend of mine from years ago, with that name. (More remarkable, this sponsee has the same birthday as Carol--neither here, nor there, really, but interesting to me, none-the-less.)

So, "Carol" is having an issue with a friend. The details aren't important. what is important is that she is at the point of having to confront this friend about some rather hurtful behaviors.

Turning around the statement by the Dalai Lama, Peace brings peace, sure, but Hurt brings hurt, and resentment breeds resentment. How can Carol set boundaries with her friend, keep herself safe, and stand up for herself without furthering the cycle of hurt and resentment?

Well it's not easy. I know. I have been on both ends of this scenario in the last four years and it is not fun. It can backfire, but when both parties are open, it can be very rewarding. The hard part is, when I feel hurt it feels natural to lash out and spread that around. Hurt bringing more hurt.

I found four things to suggest to Carol. First, stick with "I" statements. Instead of saying, "You did this and it hurt me," say, "I felt hurt when this happened." There is no accusation of intention here. There's only a statement of my hurt. The second thing, take three seconds to respond to whatever her friend replies. Three seconds gives us time to notice our reactivity and--possibly--avoid saying something that will make it worse. The third thing, go in with NO expectations. Expectations are premeditated disappointments. Fourth, if her friend starts the "I did this because you did that" stuff, I suggested she say, "I hear what you're saying and I do want to address that, but I think it would be more helpful to address one issue at a time. Can we finish this first?"

So - I statements, Three seconds, No expectations, and Stick to the topic at hand.

Those are four steps I've learned for dealing with the stress of confrontation, but the biggest, overall piece is to stay in respect and love. That is love and respect both for yourself and the other person. If things are deteriorating to the point where I can't stay in that respect, I say, "I'm getting too emotional to do this rationally right now. Can we continue this a little later?" Then I can take time to get my thoughts together. It's important not to let this tool become a way to avoid confrontation. I sure have developed a lot of ways to do that! Nothing gets resolved if I put it off indefinitely, so I try to find time to finish as soon as possible.

And, as to expectations, if the other person is not responsive and will not discuss the topic rationally, let that be as it is. We have no control over others. It may be time, at that point, to begin grieving the loss of the relationship as it's been. We have complete control over our own actions, over who we choose to spend time with and who we stay away from, but if the other person doesn't hear us there's no way to change that. They may get there eventually, but, as hard as it can be to let people go, it can also feel incredibly validating of our most authentic selves to do just that. Being in a relationship in which we get hurt over and over is worse than being alone.

Hurt bring hurt
Love brings love
Respect brings respect
Peace brings peace

Sometimes, the peace, love, and respect we provide others and ourselves comes from stepping back from the relationship long enough for the other person to gain perspective. Everyone has their own journey, their own lessons. The love and respect we need can only come from healthy relationships that appear as we are open to them.

To me, it seems that we're all in different places on the same path. Some are ahead, some behind, and some are walking right with us, but may not be walking at the same pace. People come into step with us for a moment or a lifetime. Each brings something important, something we need. Looking for the lessons in a relationship can make it easier to move on when it's time, and can bring intimacy to relationships that weather storms and continue through years.

Ah life is good!

*image found on facebook - source unknown

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Long Awaited Integration

The integration of the eight-year-old is finally at hand. taking place. All the littler ones are within her, now, having gradually been brought home over the last few years. She's kept them safe all this time - and it's been such a long time. It's intense and exciting and overwhelming..

I feel as if I've reached a destination I've been moving towards for five years. I want to shout it to the world, but it is not that easy - who would understand?

So, I'm telling you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Do you believe that someone other than you should decide what's best for you?

Neither do I. Whether we call it God, Spirit, intuition, or conscience, we all have our own guidance system. Yet I've seen many intelligent, educated people become blind followers.  Do you know anyone who gets their "news" from sources as unreliable as forwarded emails, "viral" Youtube videos, or Saturday Night Live?

In a recent interaction with a friend, I was astounded once again by how someone I know is open minded and intelligent could be easily swayed by societal pressure. She posted something on facebook which she'd gotten from another friend (a re-post that had been making the rounds.) She added this comment: "This is why you can't ever trust any drug companies, hospitals or doctors!"

I pointed out that her comment felt a little strong. Actually, I called her a bigot. I admit, that might not have been the best way to handle it, but I felt a volatile word would get her attention, and it did.

Her response was, "I'm not a bigot, but doctors don't get any training in nutrition. How can I trust them?"

I didn't point out that saying any entire group of people shared a specific trait was indeed bigotry. I just told her what she said about doctors having no training in nutrition sounded like propaganda. Yes, I know - another volatile word.

She said, "It's not propaganda if it's true!" and with this comment she posted a link to the Harvard Medical School Curriculum where indeed there was not one single class that dealt with nutrition. "See," she said, "They don't teach nutrition in med school!"

I posted a link to the Cornel Pre-Med program in which one can find several classes that deal directly with nutrition, with the comment, "That's because they have to know this stuff before they can get in to medical school."

Her reply, "Jeez, Sharon. I just want to post some shit on facebook."

I left it alone at this point. My need to push my belief that we all need to be able to trust doctors with our lives at times and that the propaganda she was spreading was bringing fear without any just cause was pushing me to behave in ways that were outside of my integrity. Osho, an Indian spiritual philosopher, would tell you that truth is truth no matter what we believe. We can't change what's real, we can only change our perception of what's real. Neither her post nor my inflammatory words would change truth. While I felt very much as if I was right and felt determined to prove it, it is not my responsibility to force my beliefs on others. If others want to find truth, they will.

As I've matured, I've come to a place where I try to live in integrity and admit my mistakes when I see them. I recently had to send an email retraction to about thirty people because my first email was sent out before I knew the entire truth. In our need to fit in it seems we can sometimes jump on the bandwagon without looking to see if it's actually carrying a band, or possibly is instead full of manure. I suspect we can all say that we have fallen into defending a position we were not entirely certain of, at some time or another. There have been times when I - like my facebook friend - have been more concerned with protecting my self-image than the truth.

Anyone, and therefore any leader, is capable of making a mistake. Not all are willing to admit it. Religious leaders are not exempt. Maybe they have come to know great truths. Maybe they have a great desire to spread this wonderful knowledge to everyone. Even so, that desire can be the exact thing that leads them astray. When spreading the word becomes more important the the word itself, things can get misconstrued.

I've found a spiritual path that works for me. The fact that it's right for me does not mean it is the one-and-only path. So - even if you're 100% certain that someone else knows where they're going, can you be certain it's where you should be going?

I'm not saying we all need to reinvent the wheel. We can listen to what others have to offer and learn a great many things but all the while we need to be checking our own compasses. We may forget we have one, but it's always there. The doctor who is treating me may be very knowledgeable AND he can make a mistake AND this doesn't mean that we can never trust anything a doctor says. This is where that inner guidance comes in. Whether a little glimmer of the universal truth is coming from a minister, rabbi, shaman, or yoga instructor, a street prophet, college professor or bartender, we can listen, evaluate and then assimilate only that which feels in line with our own inner guides.

One of the things my inner guide tells me is that humility may be the most important trait in any teacher. If my teachers are driven only by the desire to pass on truth and not by the need to have others believe it, I feel safer in trusting what they say. From my experience, it seems as if our greatest spiritual teachers (think Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Mohamed, Buddha, etc.) did not tell us they had the one and only answer. They preached love and acceptance and their own version of "stay the coarse".

Over time, their words have been translated by others who have been translated by others who have been re-translated and re-translated and so their words have come to our modern ears through many folds of interpretation. In some cases the original message is so misconstrued it's completely lost in the darkness of time.

Two examples of this are the words “sin” and “evil”. These words, from ancient Aramaic, were actually archery terms.

An archer aims his arrow at a target. Whoosh! It just misses the bulls eye.
A spotter calls out, “sin” to indicate that he was close, but missed his mark.
The archer aims again. This time he misses the target altogether.
The spotter announces, “evil” because the archer's aim is way off.

That was the original meaning of sin and evil. Were they judgments of character? Did they indicate that the archer was being led by the Devil? No. They were objective terms. Being “evil” didn’t indicate a need for punishment. It indicated a need for a change in coarse.

If you were to read the Bible, the Talmud, and the Koran, applying the original meaning of the words “sin” and “evil,” how might your interpretations of these ancient texts differ from what you might hear in a place of worship?

I believe these kinds of misinterpretations have led us to our modern-day belief in dualism. We take it as a given that there are opposing forces of "good" and "evil" pulling at us, all the time. I think there is only one force, sort of like gravity. Nothing is suddenly going to  take hold of us and pull us off the planet. To do that, we have to work hard to defy gravity.

In ancient times, "Earth-based" religions were practiced all over our planet. These Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, African tribes, and Pagans and Shamanic belief systems in Europe and Asia did not teach dualism. There was no God-and-Devil battle. Instead, there was a universal spirit that lived inside each of us and in everything around us. Spirit could be found everywhere and you were either seeking it, turning towards it and following your true path, or you were turning away. If you were turned away it was of your own doing, and therefore was easily corrected. You simply opened your eyes and found the right coarse. No exorcism necessary. No punishment required.

I also like the common analogy of God or Spirit as light.
The word darkness describes only a lack of something, a nothingness. In my knowing, "the Devil" is like darkness. It doesn't really exist. It's only the absence of light.

When darkness surrounds me, I turn on a light and the darkness disappears. By tuning in to my inner guide, I can shine my light in front of me and safely navigate around obstacles, find doorways, and make conscious, educated decisions. If someone tells me I'm going the wrong way, I can look around and determine whether or not it's true.

There's no need to fear darkness because my inner light is always there. All I have to do is remember to turn it on.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


She is within, but tomorrow I hope to open the door, once and for all. 
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Know Your Truth

Ten Simple Steps Towards Awareness of Your Truth

For ten minutes each day:

Find a place to be by yourself.
Turn off the computer.
Turn off the TV.
Turn off the ipod/radio
Turn off your phone.
Put the dog/cat in another room.
Close the door.
Be completely alone.
Sit comfortably but stay alert.
Breathe in the stillness and observe your thoughts and feelings.

Yes. It really is that easy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In the Beginning

As I begin to write my memoir in earnest, I am going back, trying to remember when I first became aware of my dissociative tendencies. There are a few, clear episodes from age nine, and this is one of them:

I am nine years old.

I’ve been summoned by my father. He holds court at the kitchen table, the remains of his lunch surrounding him on half-a-dozen dishes. I try to catch Mom’s eye as she scurries about the kitchen with exaggerated concentration. She picks up two of my father’s empty dishes and carries them to the sink before moving past me to the stove. She picks up a faded and scorched pot holder - one I made with the little loom she bought me when I was sick, a few years back – and uses it to lift the lid of a bubbling pot. Steam rises between us.

My father says, “Sit down.”

I sit, still focusing on the pot holder.

“Do you know why I called you down here?”

Mom hangs the pot holder on a hook. She comes closer, cleaning up more of my father’s lunch-mess. She replaces lids on jars, re-wraps a bit of cheese, and stacks the dishes.

“Look at me!”

I turn towards him; lift my eyes to his face which he’s moved very close to mine.

“Where are the library books?”

My shrug and the shake of my head are so slight, I wonder, in the ensuing silence, if he has even detected them.

“All right.” He presses his lips tightly together.

It is obviously not all right. Something happened yesterday, on the way home from the library, but I have no idea what. Yesterday afternoon is gone.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

He gave me a reading assignment so I could do something productive with my summer, not squander it all away. I walked to the local branch of the public library and selected two books. Somehow the books never made it home.

“Where are those books?”

Mom is washing something in the sink. The sound of running water distracts me, but I keep my eyes on my father’s face and press my useless, floating mind for the all-important answer-of-the-day.

I can almost know it... bigger kids from school…
It’s right there, so close, but I can’t pull it all the way to the surface.

Mom turns the water off and dries her hand on a well-worn towel. I’ve seen it a hundred times. I picture it in my mind, her soft, wet hands on the faded ivory linen.

The previously-undetected hum of the refrigerator stops. The clock ticks… ticks… ticks…

“Just tell me what you did with those books?”

I’m safe I’m safe I’m safe

He moves even closer. “What’s the matter with you?” He is red and shaking, and his breath, smelling of onions and blue cheese, is hot on my face. “They don’t just give those books away!”

Mom is fading, fading, fading away.

“They cost money.”

I have no words. I can’t look at his eyes. I don’t want to see the twist of his mouth as he waits for me to respond. I concentrate on the pores in the crease beside his nose.

He whispers, “Where is that money going to come from?”

The sudden softness of his voice is somehow more threatening. I burst through the mercifully thin membrane of reality, and fall away from the kitchen, the big white house on the corner, beyond this town and the whole known universe, and I’m free.


I wake in dark confusion. Something shadowy and steamy, loud and then very quiet, sits at the edge of reality. Its several breaths before I know that I’m in my bed.

I’m safe I’m safe I’m safe

I asses my body as I wrestle with flashes of truth intermingled with dream, hanging tightly to those things I can clearly know. There is no pain. Soundless night has come to my house. The whereabouts of the library books are still a mystery to me, and I’ve lost another afternoon.


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.