Chocolate doesn’t work nearly as well as love

Actually, I didn’t eat any chocolate yesterday, the title was just to see if I could get WordPress’s attention so they’d put me on the front page.  You see?  Even WordPress doesn’t like me any more.  Am goomed – well that’s a good word.  Gloomily doomed.  Oh, but what if WordPress is reading today?  Now they’ll never put me on the front page.  I’ll be branded as a phony, a liar, a – what?  A marketer??  Ooh, v. bad.   But I thought WordPress wants you to market yourself so they get more famous and rich.  Oh I give up.

As for yesterday, I let myself be, took the pressure off, and didn’t say “you have to fix this, this is bad, look for the silver lining, go and do a good deed”.   I just stayed and didn’t fight it.  Was  kind to myself.  Played the piano, did vocal exercises – but easy stuff – and work.  Backed off on the pressure to achieve and get it all right.  Then I watched Educational TV and went to bed with a book by Donna Leon, set in Venice.

I said to myself all day “it doesn’t matter what you achieve, I love you just the way you are, when you’re happy, when you’re sad, when you’re angry, when you’re scared.”.  My therapist said the same thing.  Putting too much pressure on yourself can really turn the world into a black place.  Today everything looks clearer and my inspiration and my-life-is-meaningful buckets have mysteriously filled up.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be uninspired and empty.  It’s uncomfortable is all.  Think about when a plant wilts.  I don’t try to intellectualize it out of its wilting.  I know the wilting is a symptom that the plant needs something.  More water, less water, more sun, less sun…   If I don’t interpret the symptom properly, I and the plant are out of luck, it’s not going to revive, doesn’t matter how clever my theories are.

I don’t think people are any different.   Emotions are wilting-symptoms.  When they’re really uncomfortable it’s because I need something desperately, and I haven’t been listening, or I’ve been telling myself I can’t have what I need.  Yesterday Robin didn’t say let’s find something to be happy about, he didn’t try to lead me away from my emotions, he led me right into them, so that I could really know what they were telling me.  He let me rage, and then cry my eyes out, go where I needed to go.   He encouraged me to be completely real; he listened, and held me – in a parental way, you understand.

It told me with actions that no matter what my emotions, no matter what the level of my worldly achievements, no matter what I’ve done or haven’t done, my failures, my successes; no matter where I’ve come from, where I am and where I’m going – I’m deserving of love, kindness, attention, protection, nurturing.  Experiencing it in that unconditional way hit the spot.

Wouldn’t you know it, the symptoms went away and I revived.   Chocolate doesn’t come anywhere close to love.

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Pointing Fingers

When I posted my narcissist article yesterday it I revealed the identity of the Narcissist.  I got some wonderful and helpful support for it, but obviously nobody was on the Narcissists’s side.  I didn’t want them to be, I wanted the support, but I started feeling uncomfortable with myself.  Basically I’m setting this person up to be judged by the whole world in a forum where they don’t have the ability to present their side of the story.   Mmmmm not so comfortable with that.  Not really.

She said through gritted teeth.

It just got me thinking.  And while I was mulling it over, I removed the identity of the narcissist from my article.   I don’t want to set somebody up to be persecuted or judged.   When I’m angry and hurting I need to be able to yell and scream and say all manner of persecuting things – in private, where it can’t hurt anybody.  First it gets rid of the energy, and second it gets me in touch with what I really need at a deeper emotional level.  And it’s great to take it to therapy.

But I don’t want to do it in public.  I’m sure there’s a whole lot of Catholic stuff about being good and angelic and saintly mixed up here, but there is some sanity, and it’s this: pointing fingers, “I’m right and you’re wrong, I’m good and you’re bad”, makes me feel very grandiose and justified for about one second, but it doesn’t bring me what I need.  I don’t need to hurt somebody else, I need to receive love, to be heard and shown where and how to find it.  I need the attention focused on me.

When I point fingers at somebody the attention gets deflected to them, so I set myself up.  Imagine a person gets run over by a drunk driver.  They’re lying by the side of the road, bloody, badly injured.  But everybody goes running after the driver.

Put it like that and it’s pretty clear.

So probably a fairly accurate definition of a narcissist is that they don’t have the consciousness and skills to ask for what they need in a straightforward way.   They don’t believe they deserve love at all, or that they’ll receive it unless their situation is the worst in the world, unless they’re more important than everybody else.  Their need is so great and so unmet that they can’t see beyond it.  From their perspective and in some place way way beyond the reach of their awareness and their thinking brain, they’re on the brink of extinction.

That’s why they fight so.  I don’t think it’s about being bad or sick.  I really don’t buy the mental illness thing.  When a person is physically starving, they’ll either lie down and die or they’ll kill for food: they have no capacity to discern or care about their victim’s needs.   I believe it’s the same with emotional needs.  I may not be able to understand the level of emotional deprivation that drives a narcissist to their behavior – but I can thank my lucky stars that I can’t, because it means I’ve never experienced it.

There but for the grace of God go I.

Alas, the saying that if you point a finger at someone you’ve got three pointing back at you is uncomfortably and wretchedly true.  I know my narcissist can’t give me the love that I need.  If I keep going back there to try and get the love I need, I’m deliberately walking into an accident that will leave me emotionally bloody.  If I then try to get my attention by pointing fingers at the narcissist, I’m setting myself up to not get what I was looking for in the first place.   Isn’t that what a narcissist does?   Eugh.  I hate having to look at myself.  It’s not always a pleasant sight!

One final word – well, a few, actually.  Just because somebody can’t meet my needs, does that make them sick or bad?  No it doesn’t.  Everybody has their own story, and the right to their own journey.  I don’t have to like people’s behavior; my emotions and experience are valid as are my needs.   But if I want the right to those needs being met and to making my way towards a better awareness and experience of quality in life, then I must grant that right to everybody else in the whole universe with no exceptions.  Otherwise I’m a fraud.  Eugh again.

Honoring

Thinking about symptoms today, and balance and being out of balance and what it all means.   The theory that seems to make absolute sense to me is that emotions and physical symptoms are part of the same continuum, and they’re just signposts pointing us to something primary that we need.

Emotions are the first wake-up call we have that we’re out of balance.   Since the purpose of them is to make us listen, if we don’t, they become more powerful, and we get more uncomfortable.  Depression.

Still don’t listen to them and something else kicks in.   The part of you that needs something says okay, she’s not listening to emotions, so let’s try something else.  How about aches and pains.

Ignore the aches and pains and the part of you that needs something starts getting desperate.   Hey!  When are you going to listen?   Aches and pains become dis-ease and medical crises.

Ignore those, be brave and the body just gives up the ghost altogether.  Dead.  Well that went well, didn’t it.

I see lots of opinion that the problem is the emotion or the physical ailment, but it isn’t.  The problem is whatever I need that I’m not giving myself, or allowing myself to go looking for.  And that goes back to my not believing I’m entitled to it.  I don’t know how to honor myself, take myself seriously, listen to what I need.  I don’t know how to identify my needs.

Goshwin Stone, a writer on Searchwarp.com, said something beautiful in reply to an article I wrote there.  “I think the balance creates itself if we honor our worries and fears.”

If we don’t honor ourselves when we need to, we feel a symptom.  Easy to figure out the theory of it.  But here I am, with my heart doing loop-de-loop and it’s not because Jack suddenly walked into the room.  What have I not been listening to?

In the past couple of days I’ve become aware of the red-alert level of panic I haven’t been dealing with.  Trying to, but not succeeding.  Not listening properly.  It’s a relief to stop and say okay, I’ll listen, I’ll honor myself.

Because I want to be able to get to the end of my life and say truly, without sarcasm, but with pride and pleasure “that went well, didn’t it?”

I’m fixated on earthly things and just fine with it

I read an article on somebody’s opinion about what causes stress the other day.   Insofar as I understood, the author believes that the problem doesn’t lie in situations or circumstances but in our need to try and control when we’re unsure of an outcome.   Up to that point I agreed.

But then he said that we need to let go of our fear and of our need to hold on to earthly things.

That’s where we diverge.   Why have we got fear if it’s no use to us?   Evolutionarily – good word there – when we don’t use something it disappears.   Well, we do our best – and have for ever and ever – to ignore or suppress our emotions but they don’t go away.   They get stronger and more impactful, more uncomfortable and increasingly difficult to ignore.

I’m more convinced than ever that emotions are symptoms of a need.   Just like the dashboard lights on a car.   When the gas light comes on you don’t try to meditate it away, or force the car to “let go”.  You recognize it’s a symptom, and you do whatever it tells you needs to be done.   If you don’t, the car grinds to a halt.

Same with emotions – fear, anger, sorrow, happiness.   They require something – expression and sometimes an action which is about giving yourself something or getting it from somebody else.  Accurate information, love, protection…    If you do that, the emotion goes away and you don’t have to deliberately “let go”.   It’s just natural.  Moreover your head clears, your heart and soul feel shiny and new and you have a whole lot of energy.

If I stick my finger in a flame it hurts.  The pain tells me get your finger out the flame and fast! I can’t meditate the pain away, I have to listen to it and take my finger out the flame.

Yes?   When something unexpected happens to me, I get scared that there won’t be a solution.    In fact I positively believe there won’t be one.

My fear tells me I need reassurance that I can access protection or whatever I need, that solution exists for me, that god hasn’t forgotten me, that I’m still loved by real people, that I’m not alone.   When I get enough of it – and from somebody I believe and trust – my fear goes away and I stop trying to control.   I let go.   And solution comes towards me.   Letting go of fear?  I think it’s a consequence, not a deliberate action.

I’ll put my head on a block on this.

I think we judge our emotions because we don’t know how to read them, don’t know what they really represent.   They’re scary and exceptionally uncomfortable.   But they don’t have to be.

My debate the other day about whether my current levels of stress are about slipping too far down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs  has cleared up.   The stress is about believing things aren’t going to change.

But some friends of mine gave me some warm clothing, and some wool fabric I can make a warm coat out of.  They also gave me some delicious food which has lasted me three days.   The experience turned my world around.

So it’s a mix.  I’m responsible for my ideas and what I believe, and for taking my fear to somebody who can reassure me.     But I’m also responsible for making sure I eat properly.    When I do both effectively my stress is relieved.

To go back to the author who believed we need to let go of our earthly fixations.   Why are we on earth if being earthly is a bad thing?   I like it.   I love my earthliness, my emotions, my trials and tribulations and my triumphs, my highs and my lows.   I’m not anywhere near ready to give them up.

Moving on for real

I’ve been thinking about the concept of moving on, today.   When people say you have to force yourself to let go and move on, I always wonder, why?  What’s wrong with being where you are?  Why can’t you just be here, do what you need to do, until it evolves naturally into another place, another state of mind?

I wonder if it’s because when we’re stuck we have a lot of emotions, and generally we aren’t very good at dealing with them.  That makes them very uncomfortable, so it’s natural that we should want to force them away.  Many people think we shouldn’t have emotions at all, that they are negative.

I don’t believe it.  We have got them, and we don’t generally have anything that’s useless to us.  Evolution takes care of that.  Usually, the less we use something the smaller it gets until it disappears – this is true of all living organisms on this planet.  However, no matter how little we use emotions, how much we repress or try to ignore them, they keep getting stronger and stronger!  So perhaps they’re actually very important.

I think they are anyway, especially when it comes to this business of moving on.   I think we stay stuck in the past because we need something, which is what our emotions are telling us.    If we figure out what that something is and give it to ourselves the emotions dissipate and we naturally move on.

Imagine you have a garden and you go away for a month.  When you get back, the person who was going to water for you didn’t keep their promise.  Some plants are okay, but others are wilting.  Wilting tells you there’s something wrong in their history (the past month) and their current status (they need water NOW).  Well, you don’t tell the plants to move on, do you?  Of course not, you give them water.  Then they move  on naturally, they stop wilting.

Plants wilt, we feel.  I think when we can’t move on our emotions are telling us we need something.  We stay stuck until we figure out what that need is.  When we give it to ourselves or get it from someone else, our emotions go away of their own accord, we stop being uncomfortable.  Before we know it, we’ve moved on.

And we have no need to come back.  Moving on.  I think it’s a consequence of identifying what I need and getting it.  I don’t think it’s a positive action in and of itself.

When someone holds out their hand

3rd blog of the day. 

I just re-read Anonymous’s comment, and realize didn’t even read it properly the first time. I think my paranoia kicked in.  Scary.

First of all, Anonymous said I know it helps to analyse… so the criticism is all in my head.  What’s new. 

Secondly, thanks again, Anonymous, for your kind words.  I want to tell you, though, it’s true that when I’m experiencing deep emotion, I don’t ever believe I’ll be happy again, but I always come out of it when I’ve done whatever I need to do.  I don’t remain in that dark place the way I used to.  Only until I’ve moved the energy and met the need, whatever it is.  Sometimes it’s to figure things out in my head, sometimes it’s to know I’m not alone, sometimes I have to reach out….  I never let myself stay there for very long any more.  Doesn’t mean that my emotion when I’m in the dark place isn’t very powerful.  It is.  In fact it’s more powerful now than it’s ever been before – but that is exactly what prompts me to move the energy and meet my need, and return to a good space.  Well-being.  I don’t think I want to do away with that, I just want to get better and better at hearing my emotion, letting the energy out, and meeting my needs.  That way I can stay present and conscious of everything that’s happening in my world.  And return more and more frequently to well-being.  That’s where I am at the moment.

I’ll tell you something, though, Anonymous.  Next time I’m blogging and finding my way out of the dark place, I’ll remember that you took the time to say something kind and helpful, and it’ll make a difference, it’ll make it a little bit easier to find the light.  It’s a big stroke for me, knowing that somebody cares. 

It’s a big deal when somebody holds out their hand.  I hope to hear from you again.