TrueHeartWork | rejection
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rejection Tag

Don’t You Remember?

When a lover,  close friend, or  family member refuses to discuss their unilateral decision to break off  a treasured relationship, the sting of rejection can reverberate for years, plummeting us into the abyss of depression. Our agonising why spins soundlessly like spokes on a rusty wheel.

When  the One we love is not willing to speak to us – she distances emotionally, he blocks our calls or leaves our empassioned emails suspended in cyberspace – the answers we long for, the amends we pray for, hang like dust motes in the cold silence of separation that strains over the history we’ve shared. To be silenced, shut out, triggers a primal wound of rejection that may bleed for years.

We all need a story to comfort us in the cold bunker of our loss. Our narratives become a soft blue blanket to wrap our lacerations as we weave some meaning that resonates with our core values and beliefs about the world.

For some, the tale of the despicable Villain assuages the pain for a while. This is a tale full of sound and fury that keeps us tied to the railway track, the hapless Victim, powerless and immobilised. We remain in rigor mortis, clutching the self-righteous umbilical cord to the person who silenced us, trampled brutally on our trust. We may not really want the other person to understand how we are feeling, or to excavate the reasons why they behaved so patronisingly or so sadistically. The subtext may be that we want them to suffer the way we still suffer. The people who have wronged us may never realise or even care to understand how much they’ve hurt us. Nothing we can do or say can make someone love us the way we want them to. Stay when they want to go. Nothing we can say can make them understand our hurt and sincerely apologise. Their own feelings may make them unavailable for an authentic exchange, so we will never hear the words we long to hear – and if we do, will we really be willing to drop the black rose of blame? So they remain a corrosive presence in our lives – lovers, friends, relatives – blocking out the light, crushing the bud of joy, a deadly rot that blights our courage to love again.

Rebecca and Johan had a long distance relationship that had bridged three years. When she received an email from Johan saying he loved her but was not “in love with her”, was sorry for hurting her, but did not want to discuss it further, she felt as though she had been disembowelled. Rebecca pleaded and implored, and Johan stalled, blocking all her requests for an explanation. So the messages on his answering machine remained unanswered, the heart-felt emails floated like confetti in cyberspace… the silence stretched into weeks, months. “I just need to understand why he left me so suddenly. Why he broke it off by email, why he would not give our relationship a chance to grow?” she said tearfully a year later, still weighted with the burden of her loss. “My friends are losing patience with me. They say it’s time to “move on”, “let it go,” “what goes around comes around,” but I just cannot stop myself obsessing, trying to understand what went wrong, why he did what he did.” Negative emotions pickle our attachments; preserving our sense of togetherness with those we once loved so intensely, those who meant so much in our lives. Anger is the glue that keeps us stuck in the obsessive, self-harming thoughts and traumatic events of the past. Nailed to the impotent “whys”.

Neale Donald Walsch advises, “stop looking all over the place for “the answers” – whatever they are – and start looking for the questions – the inquiries which are most important in your life, and give them answers. You do not live each day to discover what it holds for you, but to create it.

There must come a time when we ask ourselves what we gain by giving  the villains of our story so much power over us. Why our energy circuits are still attached to an event which happened so long ago, allowing the vampire of the past to sink its fangs into our life blood, leaving us to float, ghostly spectres between worlds? Why is a useless question. It disempowers, keeps us in stalemate. What I am going to do about my thoughts, my feelings, my own life, has a impetus that is far-reaching and empowering. It implies choice, and control. Our challenge is to retrieve our energy and plug it into the wall socket of present time. To invest in a future where we can courageously love again.

Perhaps Johan did not have a rational explanation for breaking up the way he did. Perhaps he could not tell Rebecca what he did not know himself. Perhaps he did not allow himself to feel regret, guilt or sadness. Rebecca will never know. When she was ready to step aside from the pain, release the fantasy that Johan might one day see things the way she did; when she was willing to acknowlege that what she wanted to hear was her own truth, she vowed to take from her own experience this priceless pearl: she would never diminish or disregard another person or leave someone breathless, waiting to exhale… she would weave a new story of compassion for this soul-mate-teacher-lover who had come to bring her the gift of Truth. Says Marion Woodman, “Don’t talk about being true to yourself until you are sure to what voice you are being true.”

Adele soars as she sings Don’t You Remember

 

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No White Flag

Nothing is more abrasive to the human spirit than being ignored or invalidated by the one you love. When a lover, or cherished friend makes a unilateral decision to abort a relationship, and “move on”, we remain behind, emotions cauterised: unheard, unseen, invisible. Very few of us journey through this lifetime un-scalded by the sting of rejection.

“She won’t return my calls,” Jeff told me, despondently stirring a third spoon of sugar into his cappuccino, as if to sweeten the sorrow in his heart, ameliorate the loss of his dream. “She says it’s over. She’s in love with someone else. There’s so much I feel I still want to say to her!” he says, staring despondently into the dark chasm of a future without his Kathy.

Deep attachments are excruciatingly difficult to release lightly, to unravel effortlessly. Especially if they come, not in a fit of pique, or a defensive cold shoulder, but as a deliberate closure, or when some fated event cracks us open, catapults us into the thunder ball of rage and grief.  Of course, we can embalm the Love that once was. Conceal it like a precious pearl in our hearts. Defiantly refuse to raise the white flag and surrender. Or we can accept that these sudden jolts are critical moments in our spiritual life, in our evolution towards a new level of opening.

If we allow ourselves the Grace to experience the raw pain of loss and the darkness of depression, to sit, for as long as it takes, in the stinking sewer of our own self pity and anger, to allow the salty moisture of our tears to cleanse and heal – then, and only then, will our Wise Woman self emerge  to garner the fruits from the dark Mystery of this experience.

Pathos, rather narrowly defined in the modern dictionary as “suffering” was understood in a far more sophisticated and subtle way by the ancient Greeks. For them, pathos embraced the profundity and enormous scope of human experience. We feel the breath of pathos when embraced by a powerful unexpected bolt of passionate love. Or when someone we love dearly leaves us or dies. Or when cataclysmic change occurs in our lives to shock and disorientate us, to fling us into the dark abyss of unknowing. Pathos is something outside us, bigger than ourselves. Joseph Campbell said, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

Our ancestors knew Pathos. They knew Necessity. They embraced the Mystery of Fate that realigned their lives and personalities.  The shaman would travel to the Underworld to enter into the temple of the soul, to be dismembered by pain and suffering, to be born a-new. With our fundamental either-or beliefs in “facts”, our dumbed down, literal world-view, when Fate intrudes in a coldly detached way, we are so often left, entrails dangling, disorientated, stumbling in the darkness, searching outside ourselves for logical answers.

In my interpretation of astrology, I see pathos acitve in the birth charts of clients who are visited by fate in the form of life threatening illness, a devastating love affair, loss of a child, the seemingly inexplicable ending of a long friendship. It is a visitation of something non-ordinary, impersonal, supernatural. It is a breaking open. We face our own Armageddon  when we succumb to our hidden longings, unfurl our crumpled wings, and free fall into the unknown – a new relationship, new job, a courageous move to a new country. Broken open, we allow our soul to shine through.

“White Flag” – Dido
I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn’t say it, well I’d still have felt it
where’s the sense in that?

I promise I’m not trying to make your life harder
Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

I know I left too much mess and
destruction to come back again
And I caused nothing but trouble
I understand if you can’t talk to me again
And if you live by the rules of “it’s over”
then I’m sure that that makes sense

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

And when we meet
Which I’m sure we will
All that was there
Will be there still
I’ll let it pass
And hold my tongue
And you will think
That I’ve moved on….

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be 

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