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Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by OnTheRoad, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Peer Supporter

    Yesterday a memory kept surfacing of being age 3 or 4 and being left for the weekend with a caregiver. I remember that I finished dinner (spaghetti), licked my plate clean, and...feeling very proud of myself for being so conscientious...put it away in the cupboard. The caregiver said it was not clean, it was dirty, and had to be washed. A terrible shame washed over and through me. Then I felt so sad, missing my parents terribly. I knew they were coming back, but I "couldn't bear it". To cheer me up, the caregiver pointed out the window at the railway we could see, and told me that the train they'd be coming home on would pass by us so I could see them. I stood at that window feeling so forlorn, heart-broken. Now it occurs to me that this is my first memory of grief; and it is twinned with my first memory of shame. Perhaps it was easier...more acceptable?...somehow to feel sad, like a victim, "left", abandoned, than to feel like a bad person, to feel shame? I am pondering this.

    Meanwhile this morning I remembered my second feeling of grief, listening to a Harry Belafonte record my father put on, at age 7 or 8 now, and when the verse: " Sad to say, I'm on my way, won't be back for many a day, my heart is down, my head is spinning around, I had to leave a little girl in Kingston Town" came on I went into the bathroom to cry. Because it was "not acceptable", I felt, to show my grief to my family. None of them cried at "sad" music. No one did! I felt it was a weakness that I couldn't control myself. Later in life, my mother used to laugh at how I cried, watching ballet (I was a budding teenage ballerina at the time) and tell her friends in a somewhat taunting and astonished tone, "Barbara cries at the ballet!". She was NEVER cruel in any other way, she was a truly excellent mother. But she told me once, "I don't have these deep feelings you do. I don't have a rich inner life." I have always felt divided...that she was "better" than me for being so "strong" and stable, emotionally...and at the same time, a kind of contempt (oh, that hurts, to say it!) b/c she did not "feel" like me, did not have that uncontrollable access to duende. I have also felt a great sorrow at the repression of sorrow! and other feelings in our culture, that people blunt themselves with alcohol and drugs and distractions because they have no "safe", i.e., culturally acceptable, outlet for feelings.

    No wonder we speak of having a GOOD cry. I am feeling washed clean, telling myself I love and accept and APPRECIATE myself for my duende, my soft, tender, open heart. I have felt this before, but not so deeply. The difference is I allowed myself this morning to feel all the ANGER I've repressed at my mother for "making" me stuff my feelings, and FORGAVE her. As for my physical pain, it has been coming and going as I write this, but as usual when I go deep, my body feels softer all over and I feel less or no pain.

    Thank you Dr. Sarno.

    One final thought: a musing from yesterday, and a question about finding balance:
    When I am in my heart, I am not beating up myself, or criticizing anyone or anything else. It is all about softness. But this journey also requires great courage, which is about finding inner steel, a steel I can actually feel when I think about being brave...my core engages. (No wonder so many people turn to exercising their core for back trouble...it works both ways, engage the core and courage arises). I am looking for the right balance of hard and soft, the inner steel with the soft heart.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, On the Road. How wonderful that you had a good cry and felt so good afterward. The best thing may be that it helped you to forgive your mother for making you repress your emotions.

    Don't beat yourself up. Love yourself.
    OnTheRoad likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi OnTheRoad,

    I feel so relaxed and comfortable reading your post. I am so happy for the inner learning you are having. Great pondering above. In my experience "being softness" requires a lot of courage. A kind of implicit courage which opens the door to humility, and the human condition as it is in me, in the moment. For me, nothing really matters when I am in my heart, feeling this softness. There is an intimacy which my soul craves. All the rest is thinking. I appreciate how you feel your courage too. Maybe each arises when it is needed, and there is never any conflict... I sometimes experience a fierce defender making safe space for my tender heart. There is the term "wrathful compassion." I think the two elements you are inquiring about are related.

    Not to overthink it, but what also occurred to me is that the experience of being shamed brought out an urge for your mother, and being connected, loved, and when that was not forthcoming, sadness. In my experience, sadness is more fundamental than shame. There is less conflict, less effort and activation in sadness. There is just sadness.

    I appreciate your sharing.

    Andy B
  4. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Andy B. I like that, "relaxed and comfortable", our goal, n'est-ce-pas? I know that separating softness and courage is an artificial thing. I am trying to find the words to describe that feeling of steel combined with a melting heart. I have come up with some mental images for myself, anyway.

    As for being shamed bringing out an urge for my mother, actually it was more for my father. My mother was an excellent mother by any standard imaginable but my father was the one with whom I shared a deeper emotional bond.

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