TrueHeartWork | unconscious
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unconscious Tag

Torn

 

dancing_feet_by_lucidcarbon-d303tqsZen master Thich Nhat Hahn has said that “usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.”

In the conundrum of our humanness we cling like drowning sailors to the life raft of stories that have worked for us for years. Some stories portray us as the hapless Victim: our mother was an alcoholic, we were bullied at school. Some give our lives a heroic dimension that lifts us above the rest and spurs us to remember our Greatness: the great grandfather who was the illegitimate son of the king. We were always daddy’s favourite child. We inherited our uncle’s business acumen. Tyra Nur Athirah girl on balcony

We can “Om” ourselves into the Power of Now, root at our past hurts and grievances during hours of therapy, affirm all we like that we are OK. But if our negative narrative is on the repeat button, we stay becalmed in a polluted sea.

Inner work requires the courage to strip naked. Our past will insist on a Full Monty – the meat and two veg – served up cold and often congealed, mostly unpalatable. If we are to understand why we stonewall our best friend, overreact in the workplace, shut down and exit  in our relationships, we are required to broaden our tunnel vision – to open our eyes as we trip over the dusty baggage from our past that clutters the hallway of every new relationship.

The one constant we bring to all our relationships is ourselves. Yet as the psychological model  proposes, much of ourselves is incarcerated in the unconscious – our orphaned  hunger for love, our shame, our worthlessness wander like itinerants in exile. Our relationships will mirror back our own “intimacy issues”. Birds of a feather will always stick together.  If we are out of touch with how we feel about ourselves we will say, “my husband cannot show his emotions” as we unwittingly diminish and confine him to the small airless box we live in ourselves.

Moving from a place of stuckness into a place of hope and new vitality takes courage and commitment, much like the decision to climb a high mountain. To look back or down the steep slope renders us wobbly, weak-kneed. Neale Donald Walsch admonishes, “Move forward with no second-guessing, no guilt trips, and no hesitation. Your purpose is to recreate yourself anew in each moment.”

Our subconscious mind accepts whatever we believe is our truth –  those limiting ideas about the world we have breathed in to our lungs and uttered in moments of fear. Our brains store our memories in files marked “explicit memory” which is all the conscious, intentional. The  who, what, where and when recall of our experiences, stored away in the hippocampus area of the brain. We store our misty, water-coloured “implicit memory” in the amygdala. The diffuse memory of the emotional climate, always unconscious and unintentional.  Science suggests that if we are not given enough time or space to process our experiences, our emotional resonances will remain locked in the amygdala, like unexploded bombs, activated in our daily interactions. That the unconscious clouds the present moment, drags our energy into the past, clutters our minds with circular thoughts, judgements, conditioning, so we shine like low-wattage light bulbs never fully present in the Now. When we still our minds and really hear something new from each other, we may find an echo within ourselves that resonates with a new way of being in the world.

It takes an act of will and enormous courage to be fully present to ourselves and to the Other. Says John Bradshaw, “when we are present, we are not fabricating inner movies. We are seeing what is before us.” We can make sacrosanct a space for ourselves each day. Commit to watching our thoughts and words vigilantly.  Commit to listening with empathy and compassion when our partner expresses a frustration or a desire. Commit to accepting our responsibility in the mess we find ourselves in and doing our bit to repair the ruptures in our relationships. We can heighten our awareness of our self-talk – the babble of criticism and judgment, the scaremongering. The knee-jerk response which says, “I’m not too bad,” that lodges the bad into our consciousness when someone enquires how we are doing. We can work at truly loving ourselves so that we are able to love another with all our heart. Scottish mountaineer W.H. Murray describes this gathering of intention and focus so beautifully: “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that moment one definitely commits oneself, and then Providence moves too.”

May Providence move for you this new day.Mount Whitney, California

Natalie Imbruglia’s  Torn

Photographs by Galen Rowell and Tyra Nur Athirah

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It must have been love

Sooner or later we encounter the bully boss,conniving colleague, abusive lover, controlling sibling or friend. Our relationships can be fonts of deep joy and growth; mirrors of our dis-owned shadow, as well as sharp shards of glass that make us bleed, and leave.

For five years now, Jenny and Ron have been locked in an abusive relationship. They fling criticism and blame at one another like poison arrows. Their marriage is a battlefield and they, the walking wounded.

It feels familiar on an unconscious level, to repeat family patterns. We glue ourselves firmly into unhappy relationships, because the reptile brain wants to keep things as they are. So an abused child may cling to the abusive parent, a battered wife may open the door that one last time.  In chronic stress, we mistake the familiar for love. We abuse ourselves by not acting in our truth or our integrity. We deceive ourselves – we cannot make it alone, we will not survive financially, we  will fail. Often the more painful a relationship is, the harder it is to walk away, even though it poisons us and stunts our growth.  Instead, we circle each other like snarling tigers, or dim our Light, become invisible.  In our stress response, adrenaline pumps through our bloodstream, devastating our body.

The drama triangle is a much-cited psychological model. Every painful emotional drama in our lives emanates from this triangle, so the theory goes.  Most of us unconsciously choose to re-enact childhood dramas, and replicate a template of neglect, criticism, martyrdom, insecurity and fear – the neurochemistry of pain. So, if you are locked in a power game of attack and defence (two people can play a role in this triangle) you might be playing either one of these roles: Persecutor, Rescuer, or Victim. We all have these inner voices. The Persecutor is the critical parent; the Rescuer is the over-responsible parent, and the Victim is the powerless little child.

Venus, planet signifying our relationships, is in Virgo, with the Sun and the New Moon (August 29th) suggesting that we go within, look at areas in our lives where we are out of integrity. Where do we deceive ourselves, make ourselves right, the other person “wrong”, deny our instincts and the signals from our bodies?  Only we can change the dance of destruction in our homes or offices. We can walk away, or we can choose to begin to learn the steps of a new dance this new Virgo Moon. The counterpoint to Virgo is Pisces, which can hold the energy of Victim, Martyr, and the sacrificial one.  Use the energy of Virgo –  self-containment, essential right mindedness, and purity. She is Goddess, honouring all living things – and Herself. 

Human beings are infinitely complex, mysterious and defy labels. Einstein is often quoted as saying that you cannot solve a problem from the same level of thinking that created it. So as we make a decision to shift from fear-based, battle mentality, to a new expanded awareness, we can today embrace a creative solution that opens up the possibility of respectful, loving relationships.

It must have been love, but it’s over now
It must have been good, but I lost it somehow
It must have been love, but it’s over now
From the moment we touched till the time had run out.  Roxette

 

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