Wednesday, 10 July 2013


How easily we go to war chasing dreams and demons;
how smoothly do we follow lies into realms of hell,
while telling those who listen, and ourselves,
that it is in a good, just cause and it is something
which is being done for  the benefit of all. As if
good could come through dull, dead eyes and shreds
of decimated flesh. As if good could come from lives
dismembered, as no more, than mounds of  bone and
meat; as if good could ever come from suffering and death.
But deception is a determined friend and cannot
be easily dismissed; although it can be easily denied.
And even as we stand by watered gutters where
the blood runs forcefully on its way, and the shadows
of gaunt, bitter, broken buildings cast their dark
shapes upon our faces, still we can hold the hand of
deception and smile into the crippled depths
of our belief. Still we can tell ourselves that what is
being done, in our name, for it is always in our name,
is just and does have purpose. Although, in the
splintered shatterings of night and reason, a small
voice murmurs it cannot be so. But small voices
are easily made silent, even though, they will echo
through time and mind, in ways which bring in
sickened, stark relief, images of remembering.
But deception is always there; cold fingers clasping,
holding firm, to the dying warmth of conscience;
whispering that it is not for us to change the world,
but to trust as the world is changing. However terrible
that change might be. The longer one believes in
the words which deception casts upon the ground
of cold compassion, the easier it is to keep believing.
It is only when the Soul sighs, deep and grieving,
that some will gather themselves up, from the rutted
furrows in which they have been planted, and demand
change. But the sigh of Soul is so like that of
whispered deception, that one must listen very carefully,
if it is ever to be heard, or not mistaken, for the wind.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Finding a path through panic and depression

It is decades since I have had a panic attack but anyone who has experienced them always remembers the experience and has deep sympathy for those who encounter them; or rather, are called  into or captured by those realms.

What I took time to learn was that the panic attacks, like the depression, anxiety and fear, all had purpose and meaning and if they were approached as a guide, instead of as an enemy, and embraced with practical pragmatism, as well as courageous curiosity, the time would pass and they would become a thing of the past.

The modern medical approach to such experiences is to drug them away. That can certainly be useful for a couple of months to get you over the hump but it is no cure and in fact just delays the changing and the healing which the psyche is demanding and which is expressed through such symptoms. I was not aware of Homeopathy when I was experiencing panic and depression, but, if I had known then what I know now, I would have made use of it.

Having said that, there is no doubt that being forced to find my way through has taught me valuable things. I would not take medication because I knew enough about the psyche and psychology to know that it could only ever be a ‘bandaid’ and temporary and so I had no choice but to do the ‘hard yards.’ I am sure, doing it ‘hard’ gave me greater confidence and trust in myself and it certainly ensured that I developed practical ways of dealing with or managing being me.

There is no doubt that Homeopathy can have a profound and lasting balancing and healing effect because it acts on the body to heal at all levels – emotional, psychological, physiological and spiritual – but, I also believe that facing the lessons through the worst of it, is a crucial part of the healing process and invaluable in terms of coming to know one’s self.

We are all different and no experience will ever be exactly like that of someone else, but I do know what it is like to have panic attacks which can last minutes or hours. I know what it is like to wake up in the morning and to be engulfed in a wave of terror which makes putting one foot out of bed almost impossible.  I know what it is like to be engulfed in cold fear at the thought of going to work, going shopping, seeing people. But I did find ways to work with them and through them to reach a point where I never had another one again.

They happen for a reason of course and ultimately, to move beyond both, it is usually important to do the inner work, but there are practical management techniques which can help.

The first thing I realised, which got me onto more stable ground, was that it was not so much the panic attack which was the problem but the fear of having one and the fear of experiencing one. The fear of having one can trigger them, because you are already in a state of high alert and heightened tension, and the fear as one experiences, exacerbates.

The goal is to diminish or remove the fear – when I reached that point, and it did not take too long, I never had another one. And that was 30 years ago.

The second thing I realised was that in order to reduce the fear of having one, I needed to find meaning in it and to understand the physiology. A panic attack is something sourced in our primal or reptilian brain, the Fright, Fight, Flight response. Fear triggers it, conscious or unconscious, and then our adrenal system gets ready to fight and to help us run away, but of course there is no-one or nothing to fight and sometimes nowhere to run. The desire to run, to escape, increases the sense of panic.
The feelings are exactly the same that one would experience confronting a charging lion – but what messes with our heads is that we are feeling this way while sorting the washing or driving a car.

Our body is having a major physiological reaction and we are not doing what it needs, which is either to walk for a bit or to even run or jog; or, if we cannot, to trust the process as an experience of feeling – releasing the energy. I know, the thought of standing or sitting still and allowing that feeling to wash over you where you feel you might collapse, die or lose complete control is terrifying…. but when you do it, you realise that it does pass.

I remember reading that the physiological response to fear is the same as that for excitement – the difference being how we interpret it. People who bungy jump or parachute, experience what we call panic attacks, but they enjoy the sensation and so there is no fear – just the massive rush of energy and its release. It helped me to think of this.

The other thing which helped me was to think – fine, if I fall on the floor, frothing at the mouth, scream hysterically, piss or shit myself, die of a heart attack, who gives a fuck……at some point I will just pick myself up and get on with it. And the fact is that with panic attacks you don’t do any of that …. and you know what, a lot of the time no-one else is even aware of the terror and turmoil inside. I remember years after the worst of my time, talking to people, probably acquaintances more than friends, about my experience and they were astonished to believe a. that I reacted like that, and b. that I hid it so well.

As a reformed ‘control junkie’ who relapses regularly, :) I would also say that panic attacks usually happen to those who feel a need to be in control – it is if you like the ultimate loss of control – well, it isn’t, but it sure as hell feels like it.
I also found that if I saw the panic attack as an expression, like weeping or sobbing, another skill I mastered, including doing it in front of others – Quelle Horreur – and as a releasing of feelings, emotions, physiological responses I did not understand, it also helped.

My other approach, combined with the rest, was to tell myself that I would allow the feelings of panic to be felt for five minutes, just sitting or standing with them – this is of course best done at home where you can set a timer – and then, bring the cerebral into it and observe what is happening. Make notes even. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it? What images come to mind – what thoughts – write it all down. The process of observing detaches you from the feelings but, having honoured them initially, they won’t mind.

Seeing the panic attacks as your psyche trying to communicate with you – as a guide – also gives the experience meaning and when we can find meaning we feel calmer. Panic attacks terrify because we cannot control them, we don’t understand why they happen, and we fear we will die, lose control or lose our minds.

We are all different but the goal was to remove the Fear factor from the panic attack. And I found, once I stopped fearing them I stopped having them. In time I did the same thing with depression and got the same result. From decades, until my late thirties, when depression would swallow me up for weeks and months at a time, into the darkest most horrible of places, I reached a place where depression would come to visit and I would welcome it and it would stay for perhaps hours or a day…. no more.

My journey was a long one, beginning in a place where I feared the sort of insanity which swallowed my mother, but taking me to an understanding of myself and the psyche which has enriched my life. I read a lot and found therapists less useful than one might hope; psychiatrists not much use at all because they pretty much do drugs which can certainly help get over a crisis period of a few months but are not a long-term answer and sought the support of others who had been there. Books were my companions, guides, angels and friends and the ‘right one’ would appear just when I needed it.

It’s a bit like being an 18th century explorer in deepest Africa where there is not much of a map, most people have never been there, you don’t know what you will find, or if you will survive.

I guess I am just saying, for anyone who finds themselves in this place, it is worth it, there is a point and a purpose to it, and you will find your way through it. And, while I was reluctant to talk too much about my psychological state for some years  when I did, I was surprised at how many people had experienced similar things.It is often shame and embarrassment which keeps us silent and yet both of those things are sourced in ego and have no place in Soul work. For it is soul work. Only by sharing can you bring insight, comfort and companionship to others who might need it.

It is the leap of the Fool, as the Tarot Deck, describes, into an unknown which is the beginning of an adventure which leads you on – life, love, light and understanding. Such experiences are a calling to Self and at the end of the day, more rewarding than most might imagine.

Monday, 1 July 2013

On growing old .... the only way to avoid it and wrinkles is to die young.

Growing older is a skill which takes commitment and practice if one is to do it well and become the best that one can be as the years pass, continuing to grow, as opposed to shrinking into the smallest (safest?) parts of Self as so many do.

From observation I have formed the view that many people as they grow older, become more rigid in their habits and views, locking themselves away in essence, into ways which give some illusion of control. This is hardly surprising given that age brings with it greater uncertainty and experiences of less control; but it is not healthy and rarely leads to someone expressing or becoming the best they might be.

If nature demands that we 'loosen up' in a physical sense and 'soften' in appearance and form, then it is highly unlikely that what nature requires is that we 'harden' emotionally or psychologically. And yet this is what so many do; or rather, what so many either allow to happen or create.

Growing older demands that we experiment with less form,  not more; less control, not more; less rigidity of opinion or habit, not more - in other words, it calls upon us to practise trust, acceptance and flexibility for these are the skills I am sure which death demands if we are to pass from this world to the next as easily and harmoniously as possible.

It is ironic that we live in a youth-obsessed age when, if one lives to a reasonable age, as most can expect, say 85, the majority of one's life will be spent as an adult who is not 'young' per se: or 'young' as society defines it.

If we take adulthood as 18, then we have say 20 years before our body will begin to register what we see as signs of aging, although there are individual differences in that process.

That means we will have 50 years, half a century and perhaps more, living as someone who is 'not young,' and continuing to see physical evidence as we grow into our mature selves; as women, our Crone selves.

It is yet another reason to have children in your twenties or thirties because age can bring with it, not as an absolute but as a possible, less energy and having and raising children requires energy. It is nothing to have weeks of sleepless nights and demands 24/7 when we are in our twenties or even thirties, but the situation changes for most once they get into their forties in many ways.

Fertility declines in both men and women from the thirties; of course there are exceptions but it remains a factor. In a youth-obsessed society we have begun to indulge in denial that it doesn't matter when we have children and a reliance on a procedure, IVF, which will remain truly unproven for at least three generations.
So, having children naturally and having them young is wiser if it can be done. What many people today do is ignore the reality of the numbers. Have a child at 25 and you will be 45 or so when they are off your hands, and, depending on their lives and destiny, a grandparent sometime between the age of 50, if they have a child at the same age, or 65 if they leave it later, as so many do.

However, if you have a child at 35, you will be getting them off your hands at the age of 55; probably within the menopausal phase, where your parents are in their seventies, eighties or nineties depending on when they had you, and, if they have children young, you will be a grandparent somewhere between the age of 60 or 80.

If you have a child at 40 and they have a child at 40 you will be a grandparent in your eighties. Let's just say, in a world where mostly both parents work and the help and support of grandparents is vital if not crucial, being in your sixties is, for most, better than being in your eighties. When it comes to age, numbers matter more than wrinkles.

Even if we have the luck or the genes to remain looking 'youthful' or 'beautiful for our age,' we will still carry the signs of age and not look as that which is defined as 'young and beautiful,' beyond 50. So, at best, we will have 35 years as an someone who is not 'young and beautiful,' although we may well be beautiful, the young will have long passed.

So whether it is 35 years or 50 years, depending on how kindly the years treat us, we will spend most of our lives as 'not young,' or, as the young will see us and society might label us, 'old.'

Deciding who we want to be and how we want to be during these years is probably the most important thing we will ever do, for living the years as 'not young' when there is less time ahead than there is behind; when some dreams whether of people or profession or just life become less likely; and when it becomes harder to deny the reality of aging, which of course walks hand in hand with mortality, is not easy unless we can bring full acceptance to this irrefutable fact of life and embrace all that it brings.

The more we know who we are and the more we can enjoy all we become as the years pass, the better our life will be lived and the greater our contribution to Self and others.

Logic suggests, that given we will spend most of our life in this phase, we should put our focus on it sooner, not later. In a youth-obsessed world that is hard to do and harder for women than for men because of the hold which patriarchy and sexism still have on cultures, but, the stark reality is that there is only one way to avoid getting wrinkled and getting old and that is to die.

'Dying' to Self and Ego and physicality is a much better alternative and makes for a life well lived no matter what age we may be.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Time between selves - or depression

I am familiar with this but it is a long time since I have been in the depths of it.
To anyone who does feel this way however I would just say: This too shall pass. It represents a time of grieving and that needs to be honoured.

In this superficial and ‘quick-fix’ age, such experiences are labelled depression and people are advised to remove the symptoms as quickly as possible with pills, attitude, or some kind of treatment. But this just disguises and denies the experience itself and drives it deeper.

Although I would add that if we suddenly find ourselves in such a place, some people, not all, might find a prescribed drug can be useful and necessary in the short-term. It can get us over the hump for three to six months, but that is all. It merely allows us to gather our strength and muster our reserves to do the work which must be done.

When we deny and ‘hide’ the experience, we end up in a ‘no- wo/man’s’ land where we are neither one thing or the other – not who we once were and not who we are called to be. That truly is the path to madness.

These times are akin to the snake shedding its skin, or the crab, its shell – who we are, or who we have been, no longer fits and that Self must be discarded so a new one can ‘grow.’ It is during the time between Selves, when we are vulnerable, without our ‘skin’ or our ‘shell’ that we feel this way – but it is temporary and it is necessary.

 I likened it to jelly melting, and the liquid time is the hardest of all, when you feel as if all that you are has been reduced to something insubstantial, uncontrollable (as it has) and that you are ‘sloshing’ dangerously around in your life (as you are.) But slowly the jelly begins to ‘set’ and in time, long or short but always hard, you can feel and know the substance of yourself.

Much of this work must be done alone, for that is the nature of true growth as all of the ancient mystery schools knew.

But we can find help along the way in someone to talk to – preferably someone with whom we do not have baggage; homeopathic remedies, which will act on physiological, psychological, spiritual levels and help us to re-balance as we make our way; herbal remedies which can sooth our physical pain; Reiki and acupuncture which can ease our energetic imbalance and creativity, which can help us express that which needs to be expressed – through painting, writing, craft, cooking, gardening, music, meditating.

Remembering always the words of Hildegard of Bingen: All is well and all is well and all manner of things are well.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Some thoughts on God

God stretched

God stretched and in the doing,
released the servant Good;
bright lamp in dark unknowing,
soft smiling as she walked.
And when the light grew brighter still,
banned shadow, welcomed truth
it laid itself in homage low;
God's heart revealed in full.

God laughed and in the smiling
the servant joy was born;
warm hope the way was showing,
close shadow to her tread.
Light-stepped she roamed the centuries,
a timeless, ageless sign
that Joy was our deliverer-
too often left behind.

God's image

The minds are many,
grains of sand,
and yet they make
the whole;
each one exists,
it can be seen
and yet seems
trivial small.
But with each grain,
such image grows
and vision stretching
far, along the coast
of God's great love,
a beauteous beach
is born.
A place to rest,
for every soul,
where hearts can
lie in peace;
a place where God
may pause and leave
an image printed


N.B. I use the term God not  in any religious sense but as an intelligence at work in the world.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Mistaking self-obsession for self-awareness....

There is a view that Asperger's Syndrome is more common in these times. Perhaps the real syndrome is people who are so self-obsessed that they are incapable of taking the feelings of others into account - the me now, my needs, my wants 'syndrome' where old-fashioned courtesy, consideration, not to mention kindness goes out of the window.

Good heavens, do something which I don't find convenient or which does not give me 'warm fluffies' or 'meet my needs,' or which intrudes on the boundaries I use to control my world? Heavens above, what are you thinking? Perhaps it is only when people who live this way find that their children grow up to treat them this way, they will realise there was and is a reason for 'old-fashioned' courtesy, respect and 'doing the right thing.'

As that song went about a father who was too busy for his son and when he had time for his son, his son had none for him. The most powerful messages a child receives are non-verbal. If you don't take the feelings of others into account then the child when grown will not. If you are not courteous and kind then your children will not be. If you only do what 'suits you' and 'works for you' then so will your children. You will reap what you sow so be careful of which seeds you select.

What you give out is what you get back and what you do unto others will be done unto you. What a pity that so many, perhaps particularly in this age, lack self-awareness - or rather, mistake self-obsession and self-focus for self-awareness.

The difference is simple. Self-obsession leaves no room for anyone but Self; self focus leaves little room for anyone but Self and Self-awareness leaves a lot of room for others and their needs and allows the individual to know why they do what they do and say what they say and to take responsibility for everything that happens.

A child when grown may, as adult, go through these times but they will not be the character of the person and they will get to the other side. A child when brought up this way will have its character made by it and is unlikely to become anything other. Perhaps that is an often overlooked demonstration of karma at work.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

What exactly do same-sex couples want

Maybe I have not followed the issue closely enough but given the proliferation of posts regarding same-sex marriage rights, perhaps someone can articulate exactly what is meant by this.

My understanding was that most if not all developed nations, including the US, had allowed civil union marriages for more than a decade and same-sex couples in de-facto relationships had the same rights in law as any de-facto couple.

So is this or is this not the case? From any research I have done it seems to be the case, but perhaps I have not been thorough enough. If it is not the case then I can understand but if it is the case, and from what I can see it is, then what is the issue about? What do same-sex couples want? Is it the right to be married in a church, mosque, synagogue or temple?  If it is then they are probably pushing for something which has as much chance of happening as all sporting codes being required to admit either sex as players.

And while one may disagree with much about religion, and I do, surely they have a right to decide what their beliefs are and people may choose whether or not to become a member of that religion. In reality, no-one has the freedom to choose to be married in any religion unless they fit certain criteria.

I would love to see a clear articulation of exactly what it is same-sex couples want as opposed to 'fluffy' posts and images presenting it as a human right.

Personally, if religions can be forced to change their teachings to force same-sex marriage through, I would have thought a more important issue to be forced through was gender equality!

Remaining gracious in the face of rudeness

It is hard to remain gracious when people do things which are insensitive at best and unkind at worst but perhaps therein lies the lesson - learning to resist being pulled down to the same base level and remaining compassionate in the face of rudeness and sometimes, cruelty.

It's easy to do the right thing when people are nice to you and  act with consideration and courtesy, and so much harder when they are not.... but therein lies the spiritual path which lives love and doesn't just talk about it.

It is a practice which is important not just with those who play a major part in your life, but with everyone you meet. It's a spiritual workout where your 'love muscles' will just grow stronger. Although it will probably take years of practice.

I read the following story a long time ago and have just found it:

There was once a newspaper vendor who had a rude customer. Every morning, the Customer would walk by, refuse to return the greeting, grab the paper off the shelf and throw the money at the vendor. The vendor would pick up the money, smile politely and say, Thank you, Sir. One day, the vendors assistant asked him, Why are you always so polite with him when he is so rude to you? Why don't you throw the newspaper at him when he comes back tomorrow? The vendor smiled and replied, He can't help being rude and I can't help being polite. Why should I let his rude behavior dictate my politeness?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Stay and do the work

Removing ourselves from what we call negative or that which causes pain or makes us feel uncomfortable will achieve nothing unless we have done the inner work.

The same lesson will simply present itself in similar form in another person, house, job, city, country or circumstance.

At a physiological level 'pain' is a signal that we need to take action and it is no different when the pain is emotional or psychological. Seeking to merely remove the symptom of pain, whether physical or mental, will simply drive the 'cause' deeper.

Do the work which will enable you to reach a place of balance and then move on to the new person or circumstance. That way you will 'travel' freely, with no baggage and no demons to project onto new people or situations.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

We can't always walk away and we can't always be happy .....

It is interesting reading some of the spiritual posts which go up and I like many of them but equally, sometimes they just sound trite and unrealistic.

One suggests that we should respect ourselves enough to walk away from that which does not serve us, does not help us grow and does not make us happy. The reality is that if we did we would spend our whole lives walking away.

Surely if one could walk away from anything then we would but often we cannot and it has nothing to do with a lack of respect - it is just the way it is! We can have difficult situations with our children for example and we may find it impossible to believe it serves us, let alone grows us, feeling crushed as one can and it certainly does not make us happy but we would never walk away.... and should never walk away.

Equally with parents who are deserving of our honouring no matter how hard it might be to remain in a relationship; or our siblings whom we have chosen to be with in this life; or our close friends whom we have known for many years and who, because of what is going on in their lives, no longer 'serve' us, although my question is, who says they should ?

And what does it mean to say that someone or something 'grows us' that we can define  as growth anyway? How would we know what is growing us and what is not given that often it is only when we look back over many years that we can see that difficult situations were in fact just what we needed and the best thing for us? The difficult people and situations are our greatest teachers so says another spiritual maxim.

And then there is the illusion of what makes us happy, when often, what makes us happy or makes us feel happy or think we are happy is the worst thing for us. Ask anyone who is addicted to drugs, drink, sex, work, exercise, food.....

If we are in an abusive relationship there is good reason to walk away but generally such relationships are long lasting and the decision to walk away comes very late in the piece. One could argue that if a woman does not walk away the first time her partner is physically violent toward her then she is accepting the situation and the problem is as much hers as his. Obviously it is not always easy to walk away and that is also the point. There are many things which don't 'serve' us, which are painful, which make us desperately unhappy and we feel we cannot walk away just yet, perhaps never. If we do walk away from an abusive relationship for instance then we still need to remember we cannot walk away from the part of us which got us there in the first place and kept us there; in other words we have to do the painful work or we will just put ourselves in the same situation again.

We may not always get what we want but we always get what we need. Sometimes we have no way of knowing what serves us until many years later; sometimes what grows us the most is pain and courage and suffering; sometimes what makes us happy is the most destructive thing.... ask any drug addict ..... life is what it is and sometimes we cannot walk away and if we do, life just presents us with the same lesson in different form.

If you run from your demons they will follow; turn and face them and they dissolve.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Never drink on a full heart

Image: Repairing with gold adds opulence to beauty

Cracks in this earthenware bowl were filled with lacquer, and then gold powder was sprinkled on the lacquer before it dried. This technique is called kin-zukuroi (repairing with gold). The artisan, Hon’ami Koetsu (1558-1637), intended the repaired part to represent water flowing from melting snow. (Akaraku ware tea bowl, named Seppo. Property of Hatakeyama Memorial Museum of Fine Art)
Sometimes when life is painful thinking about others who are worse off just makes you feel worse - my 12 year old son first told me that.

 Sometimes when life is painful believing it is a lesson you have chosen in this life just makes you feel worse. I learned that myself.

Sometimes when life is painful all the spiritual mantras ring hollow and make you want to vomit.

Sometimes when life is painful all you can do is feel the pain and wait for it to pass knowing it will and 'shit happens' and loving people means you will hurt sometime or another and there is really nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes when life is painful, after you have felt the feelings - never drink on a full heart - the only comfort is God's gift of a stiff gin or large glass of wine at the end of the day.  Or maybe two stiff gins or three glasses of wine!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Communication and the Wall of Silence.....

Photo: Oil on Canvas, Paddocks and Dark Sky, Roslyn Ross, 2013.

Communication is a core component of connection. As human beings we are designed to communicate and to connect. Connection is the instrument of Love.

This world and everything in it is part of a process of connection. I have come to believe that what we call Love is a greater form of connection. What we call God is the ultimate form of connection. Love in its greatest form is the ultimate in connection and is therefore God.

As human beings we have more ways to 'connect' than do many other forms of life. we are given the gift of words which may be used in speech or in writing. Research shows that people who 'connect' in relationship and society are healthier; psychologically, physiologically, emotionally and I would say spiritually.

We are meant to connect. We are drawn to connect; we desire to connect and we are driven to connect because this is the way that we make manifest Love in this world and for those who believe in God, make manifest God in this material world.

Connecting is Soul Work and that is not to say that sometimes we may need to 'separate' from situations or people for a time or perhaps permanently but that we need to know why we are doing it and we need to do it with a level of consideration, courtesy and maturity.

When people choose not to communicate they are severing or limiting connection - they are limiting Love. The only reason to do this is Fear. Many things may be soothed by separation but nothing is ever healed; only Love heals and that means connection and that means communication.

While it seems increasingly common in this internet world to meet with what I have come to call The Wall of Silence, where a communication is sent and not only is there no reply, there is no acknowledgement either. You hit Send, off it goes and there it goes into some deep void or Black Hole of relationship.

I am fully aware that this may be an experience I am likely to have more than many because I am at heart a communicator, I am a writer and I feel I express myself better this way often than with the spoken word, and because I believe in and am driven to open and frank communication, having found it to be the most effective way of maintaining and healing relationship. I have known people, intimately, who would seek to deal with problems with silence and I have learned from experience how, when they find the courage to talk about a situation, how much more readily it is resolved or at least set on a path of healing.

I suspect one notices The Wall of Silence more because communication on the internet is so immediate and there are very few reasons, probably none, why the recipient cannot or should not reply, even if only to acknowledge and request no more communication.

Courtesy demands, or it did once, that when people communicate with us we respond. Well, if we are mature adults we do and if the person who seeks to communicate is someone with whom we have a deep relationship such as a close friend or family member and yet, so many choose to do nothing.......

It is one supposes, a statement in itself, that you write to someone in a bid to discuss something with them and if the topic is personal and important and deserving of some sort of answer, even, 'Thankyou for your note but I really do not feel ready to discuss this,' then you are expecting an answer. To be greeted with silence is no doubt the 'slap' it is intended to be. It feels like a vindictive punishment and yet in essence it is simply terribly rude, not to mention inconsiderate, unfeeling, insensitive and most importantly, unnecessary.

It reflects on the person who has chosen to erect the Wall of Silence to deal with a situation which they feel unable to deal with in a mature way, rather than the sender. To my mind, anyone who writes to me is offering a gift and one which I need to respect if not honour, if I am to maintain any sort of integrity. I may not like what they say but the act itself, of seeking to connect, to explain, to discuss, is one of courage, caring and maturity.

No doubt in times past letters were delivered via what is now called snail mail and they never had a response. But somehow it seems worse, and I believe it is worse, when an email gets the same reaction. It is, after all, so much easier to write something even if it is a two-word acknowledgement such as Thank You. And letters could and did get lost so one could argue, to one's self, that there was a reason for the Silence. Not so with the internet. Emails do not get lost and as often as not, while pondering the yawning vale of silence, it is pretty clear that the recipient is online, is active, is writing and is perfectly capable, or was perfectly capable of responding to what you wrote and chose not to.

I did ask someone once, what the Wall of Silence was about and I got a response that 'not replying' stopped the 'back and forth nature' of such correspondence which was found to be annoying. Back and Forth? Isn't that a conversation? And here was idiot me thinking back and forth was communication, that there was a sharing of thoughts, views, perspectives which hopefully would lead to increased understanding. An understanding which could not exist without the 'back and forth' unless one were psychic! Which most of us are not.

As a mature adult, if I found myself in a situation where I wished to bring a halt to such correspondence I would have written to the 'sender' along the lines of: 'Thank-you for writing as you have. I do appreciate your efforts but I do not feel up to engaging in this discussion at this time. Perhaps I will later or perhaps I will not. But I just want you to know I have 'heard' you and I am listening but have nothing to add.'

What is lost with such a response? To my mind nothing. It is courteous, considered, gracious and deserved. And yet for some people it is just too much. Which really does make one think that the Wall of Silence is meant to be a punishment and that is even sadder for it is incredibly immature at best and in some instances, simply cruel.

I truly believe that keeping open the doors of communication and being prepared to hear or listen, even if we have no wish to respond is crucial to our relationships. It is also the only way to healing and the only way that we can maintain integrity.

I am not talking about instances where people become abusive because that has not been my experience, and is certainly not how I communicate, but even there, if the person is a close friend or a family member, surely the fact that they are communicating in some way means they want or need to connect? And surely that means if we come from a place of Love we should do our very best to hear them - to listen even if we choose not to be drawn into the debate?

Seeking to punish or control others is what the Wall of Silence is about and that can only ever come from a place of Fear. Choose from a place of Love not Fear and while the road may be rocky, the ride tempestuous, it will always be rewarding, fulfilling and the way to resolution and true healing.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

When love is letting go

Watercolour, Psyche's Ocean, December 2012, Roslyn Ross.

Sometimes we are not right in people's lives and stepping back is a gift to them and Self - both theirs and ours.

At such times what matters is knowing you have done all that you could to work on the relationship and when soul paths take different directions there are no regrets about what you might 'have said' or might 'have done,' because you have said and have done all that you could. This does not mean there is no grieving for as long as we love, we feel, but there are no doubts that we could have done more than we have done.

Real love contains within in it the power and grace to set free those you care about deeply, even when, with every fibre of your heart and being, you would wish it to be other.

It is always so very much harder to do this when family is involved than when it is a friend but perhaps there, the depth of love is greater and so too is the power to do what needs to be done.

And sometimes, these parting of the ways, in truth, have nothing to do with you. Relationships are not always equal and responsibility is not always shared although it is better to approach in the beginning, as if this were so.

People change. People become wounded, or their inherent damaged-ness is re-awakened by life and what you are to them or appear to them or seem to them, just adds to the hurt. It doesn't have to be your fault. In truth it does not have to be anyone's fault - they cannot help what has happened to them and they are struggling to heal and learn in their own way. The fact that you now get in the way of that healing and learning is just the way of it; a turn in the trap of life.

Hanging in there in any active sense with someone you love is required - but only for a time. If the path does not show hope of resolution and the hurts you feel and no doubt the hurts they feel, continue to grow, then it is time to step back.

It is not that the door is closed but rather that you set them free to continue their journey alone, hoping that in time, their path will lead back to where you are. It may or it may not and it is the fear of the latter which often keeps us holding on beyond the place where pain is bearable.

All of life is a journey and such journeys are made in various forms from the physical and literal to the emotional and psychological and on to the spiritual. We stand in airports waving goodbye to those we love, crying often, as they head to distant and often unknown lands, sometimes for a brief visit and sometimes for a long one and sometimes for the rest of their lives or ours.

Journeys of the soul and psyche are like that. Some things we need to do alone. Just as many cannot die while those they love remain in the room, so too perhaps, many cannot die to Self in order to be reborn, while those they love and who love them in return remain in the 'room' and so unconsciously begins, a process of rejection.

I liken this to the adolescent need to learn the shape of her or his Self; to step out from the shadow of the parent's tree in order to stand strong, independent, and to gain enough 'sun' or light of consciousness, to send down sure, stable, certain and individual roots. The child cannot reject the parent - the psyche will never allow it a- and so the child challenges the parent, torments, hurts, attacks the parent, so the parent will push the child away. In time the child as adult can and should return, but the original breaking away must be done by the parent for it is the parent who has the power; the parent who will always have the greater power. The parent, or anyone in your life who has been 'given' that role by you, consciously or unconsciously, will always have a greater capacity to hurt the 'child.' It is the nature of the dynamic.

And so it is with relationships. When we love it is because we are drawn together as Souls - whether familial or friend. And when someone we love, demonstrates, for it is often demonstration in the beginning in subtle ways, by a word, or lack of word, by an expression or lack of expression, by an act or lack of an act, that somehow they are not comfortable with us in their world or they are not comfortable in our world, then so is beginning the process of disconnection which the Soul and Psyche require for their journey of becoming.

The first 'signs' are akin to those of someone who begins to talk about taking a journey far away. This may not be a modern journey where technology allows communication to continue wherever they might travel, but more like a journey of old where a loved one sailed away to distant lands and might never be seen or heard from again - or where occasional 'words' came back from them or others, that they were still 'alive' and had thought of you.

It is when the 'ticket' for this journey is purchased that the one who is 'left behind' must accept the inevitable and take a deep, grieving breath to wish them good voyage, safe travel and farewell. The 'ticket' for such a journey usually comes in the shape of anger or even rage. They fear we will hold them back; they fear our power over them and just as the last dying breaths will be held off until we give them permission to 'leave' so too, in such times of 'death and rebirth' we need to let go; to accept the inevitable no matter how much it sears our heart and wreaks havoc with our mind.

For they are being called to 'distant lands' within; places where we may not travel. We cannot go with them. We may not even know where they are going, when or if they get there, nor what they find if they do arrive safely. We may never 'see' or 'hear' from them again.

Just as our ancestors watched their loved ones sail on oceans of tears in order to 'make a better life for themselves' in a material sense, so too, are most of us called, at some time or another, to do the same in a spiritual sense. For that journey to Self is a spiritual journey and some are drawn or called to it more than others.

We can only 'see' the shape of ourselves when we are alone and unconsciously that is what we will be driven to achieve. What holds us back more than anything is 'love' or those bonds of connection which we fear, unconsciously, will keep us trapped and beholden. They have no need to of course, but for some, the fear is so great, that breaking free is the only option.

You can only ever prepare yourself for their journey and do what you can to prepare them, if they should wish it, and then accept that they have gone and only the breath of prayers and the eternal drape of your invisible love will go with them.

To 'sail' beyond the bounds of the 'known world' still happens, but it is done within the mythic realms of psyche and often will require a physical demonstration of their commitment to the Path - they will 'leave' and the only comfort is knowing that they must!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Synchronicity and cosmic reminders

Photo: White-headed Black Chat.

In August of last year I wrote about a small blue and yellow bird which keeps banging on our lounge room window which, lined with a film of reflective sun protection, is in essence a mirror - trying to connect with what it believes is another bird but which is really itself.

At the time I said:
Synchronicities abound in life and more so when we become aware of them. There is a little bird, gloriously, shimmeringly blue, which bangs on our lounge-room window at various times of the day.

And now, as of this past week, we have another bird doing the same thing but this one is black and white and much larger.  The closest I have found to it is the White-headed Black Chat although I am not sure it is this bird. It looks like a version of our Australian magpie, akin to the size of the Piper Magpie.

The noise as it bangs against the glass and the image of itself, mistaken for something other, is much, much louder. It is three times the size of the small blue and yellow bird. Is the cosmos upping the ante on the message it is sending me? I am beginning to think the answer is yes.

Black and white are opposites and birds are believed to be symbolic of a link between heaven of earth; between the material and the spiritual; between ego and psyche.

Given that my ponderings of late have been around beliefs, rights and wrongs, blacks and whites, Self and other, this 'message' may well be a reminder that when I 'bang my head' against the 'mirror' which is my life, I am doing so because I see the image as 'other' when in fact it is me. This fits of course with the philosophy that we are all connected and what we do unto others we do to ourselves. It also fits with one of my favourite maxims: 'That which we condemn in others is that which we deny in ourselves.'

So given the pointlessness of the bird banging at the glass because it wants to connect with what it believes is another bird, the message for me perhaps is that 'banging away' at the 'glass' of division which I see as a separating barrier between myself and others in terms of belief, is just as pointless.

There are many aspects of my life at present where this is relevant. Just as the bird is mistaken in believing the image is 'other' so I am mistaken in believing in a similar image whether it be of individual or belief. I would not have thought I was like this but the cosmos is wonderfully frank and blunt when it speaks to us and this is the language of synchronicity, just as it is of dreams.

We talk about 'banging our head' when we are trying to be understood, to be heard, to bring about change and in essence that is what the bird is also trying to achieve. He or she wants to connect, to join with the image, which is perceived as other - it is in essence a reaching out but one which achieves nothing because there is no 'other' and the image is mere illusion.

The world is a magical place and never more so than when we see through the language of symbol and meaning. Jung said symbol was the lost language of the soul and given my almost desperate search for answers to current problems, well, perceived problems, and issues, in recent weeks, and given the lack of anything approximating an answer, perhaps this is it and my cosmic guides are saying;' turn away from the false image, the mirror reflection, the illusion that something is other and return to the certainty and the centre of Self.

The language of Soul has never been so precise, nor so beautiful.

NB: It is Sunday and the same bird is now flinging itself against my bedroom window which I can see from my desk when the door is open. There is no sun-protective film on this window, so no mirror reflection, but s/he kept at it for a while. Perhaps I did not heed the message well enough. And it does fit with an experience last night where I pondered who and what I was and wanted to be and then had a dream about being pregnant and giving birth which always reflects a birth of Self, particularly at my age.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Science and religion are two sides of the same coin.

Oil on Canvas, Roslyn Ross, Canada Coastline, 2013

My only opposition to science is where it claims to have the only answers or the only way of finding answers. I have great respect for the scientific methodology and its achievements within the limitations of its paradigm. I take the same view of religion.

Both are systems which are limited by their mindset but which, each in their own way, offer valuable insight and some answers and many more potential answers as a result.

Many of the supporters of science say it would be a bad idea to accept anything without rigid testing.  But this means rigid testing as defined by the current scientific materialistic and mechanistic mindset and I would say that while that can work in some instances, it cannot work in all.

The fact that a materialistic, mechanistic mindset cannot adequately ‘test’ everything is a reality and to dismiss things which do not fit into that narrow belief system is not only unwise, it is irresponsible.

Two often the defenders claim that there are ‘two’ approaches on this issue – that of questioning and that of trusting. I question everything and the only ‘trust’ I exercise is in a belief that one needs to keep an open mind and that more often than not, everything works as it should. Life is a process, not an absolute. I have no faith either. I take what is of value from religion, just as I take what is of value from science, but I am an acolyte of neither.

What I believe is sourced in a process of discovery and change where one applies common sense, logic, reason and personal experience to the ‘pot’ and arrives at conclusions which may be temporary or may be permanent.

The world and everything in it has more ‘grey’ than ‘black or white’ and both the religious and the scientific systems think in terms of absolutes and are therefore found wanting as the source of many answers.