Archive for November, 2007
I’ve been having troubling dreams the past few days so I knew that something was coming up to the surface and this morning there it was: I’m totally pissed off at my uncle. He’s the closest thing I’ve had to a spiritual mentor AND he was the only person who’s told me family history in an honest way. I’ve only had him in my life very sporadically until this summer.
I enjoyed spending time with him because he’s been through things like me and has an outlook on life similar in very many ways to mine (I don’t know anyone else besides us who claim to talk to trees…) and he helped me to see the historic background for aspects of myself that always seemed so alien from what I knew/experienced of my family. It was good finding that kind of peace with myself and with my family history.
Then he had to be a fucking asshole and try to rape me. Not only is that sick and horrible in itself, but because of it I’ve lost a family member I connected with (I’m not speaking to or seeing him), a chance to learn more about my heritage, and a spiritual bond I’ve never had with any person let alone any man.
I’m pissed that he put that sort of perverted ruination on what was so much positivity in my life, but now is something I can hardly bare to think about and when I do, I’m always inwardly wincing about it. Anyway, this is my next issue to work through. I’m sure I will be grouchy until I do.
What’s up with spiritual role models being sex perverts?
My boyfriend and I re-potted a couple of our plants this weekend, including the one that my work sent to me after my most recent miscarriage. I named it Priscilla. She was in had one strong healthy shoot and two smaller shoots that were just starting to grow, but were stunted by lack of growing room. The move was supposed to let all of her parts grow to their full potential. At least, that’s what my plan was.
But when I put Priscilla in her new pot one of the baby shoots just fell off and I saw that it had been rotting from the roots up and didn’t have a chance. I was sad, but not very much since Priscilla was still alive and doing well overall and that’s what mattered most. The next day my boyfriend came in from the other room where the plants were basking in the sunlight and told me that the other baby shoot had died as well.
And then I had a moment of revelation.
My big problem with claiming my fertility fully was that I’d mentally put physical fertility in a box and labeled it BAD. Thinking about it that way, all I let myself associate with this part of my self was negative especially after my first miscarriage when I felt like I had essentially decayed as a human being. But actually seeing something that is fully vital (i.e. Priscilla) experience these small deaths and yet be no less for them finally opened the box for me mentally.
I had a vision of my creativity/fertility like rolling fields of prairie covered by a blue sky with large clouds moving across it. (In my personal mythology, the prairie is a symbol of joy, love and power). I realized that all that BAD I’d associated with fertility was nothing more than a cloud moving across something so much wider and deeper and BETTER.
Plus, instead of feeling like my miscarriages were nothing more than LOSS, now I feel I can accept them into my sexual ‘landscape’ as EVENTS. There’s a power that comes when you stop believing that you are less than yourself and I’m reveling in it just now.
A friend recently examined my character through the Enneagram: a system of sacred psychology that affords insight into the workings of human consciousness. One of the world’s oldest ways for understanding how people relate to each other, the Enneagram identifies central motivations of a person. Additionally, the Enneagram suggestions methods of turning psychological vice into spiritual virtues. I’d encourage anyone to take and Enneagram test. It can be quite revealing.
My Enneagram revealed that I am a type 8: the leader, protector, provider, entrepreneur, maverick and rock.
Basic fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others, of violation
Basic desire: To protect themselves, to determine their own course in life
Superego message: You are good or okay if you are strong and in control of your situation. [I'd personally like to replace 'your situation' with 'your self']
General: Needs to be in control; very protective of self and friends; combative, openly displays anger; self-confident; authoritarian
Focus of Attention: Power and justice; protection and control
Core belief: Life is hard, only the strong survive. [I'd rather say, life is hard, only the aware thrive, but whatever.. this is supposed to be stuff that was formed when I was 3 so I should stop arguing with it when it doesn't reflect my current feelings]
Primary avoidance: Vulnerability, weakness
Best: Self-confident, authoritative, loyal, protective
Worst: Domineering, insensitive, aggressive, controlling
Childhood: Exposed to adversity at a very young age; learned to be aggressive & combative to survive; learned to hide vulnerability and weakness
Suggestions for growth: Learn constructive ways to deal with anger and aggression (which, thankfully, I have done at this point because it used to control my life in a really bad way)
Realize that others may be intimidated by what seems ordinary to you
Be willing to explore being vulnerable
Karma Repair Kit: Items 1-4
1. Get enough food to eat,
and eat it.
2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
and sleep there.
3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.
A wonderful resource from Karen Bishop is called “What’s Up On Planet Earth.” Karen discusses world-wide energy vibrations and examines the impact that is having on individual lives. I subscribed to this service a few weeks ago and have found her insights to be extremely helpful as well as deeply encouraging.
Here’s an excerpt from her latest update, which I found particularly relevant to my current life situation:
“When we reach the higher realms we truly do have to step up to the plate. Living in community means that even if we do indeed know what our special gift and contribution is, we have to do it well. We have to be it, express it, and take responsibility for it in all ways. We need to take our contributions seriously, because if we do not, we then jeopardize the whole.
“With this latest shift upward and into yet another higher vibrating space, we again begin at the bottom rung. We start over, in essence, as we have gone as far as we could where we were before, in any given spiritual hierarchy. When we graduate to a higher vibrating community, everyone is on equal turf, so to speak. There are no leaders. Each individual has a vital and important contribution to make, and each individual must then, express their gifts with the highest responsibility and commitment required. It is a far more serious situation than I would have imagined, but rightfully so. So in this regard, we will be called on the carpet and held to task, humbled, and put in our places so that we can more easily and rightfully serve and contribute where we need to. All part of the squeezing effect. Squeezing out the peripheral energies and tendrils which no longer have a place.
“Many are being handed their perfect “job,” or responsibility. The arena that we have dreamed about, just for us, is now available to many. In this regard, we have to again be ready to step up to the plate. Are you ready to take your designated responsibility seriously? Are enough of your lower vibrating “issues” or mis-perceptions cleared away so that you can operate in the most pure form, therefore benefiting those around you the most? Have you finally reached that space where you do not take things personally?
“For those who are ready to go to their next level, there will still be opportunities that will arise for adjustments and “humblings” to occur, and even opportunities to “go back” until another opportunity arrives when each individual is more poised to match their chosen arena or space of contribution to the planet and the whole.
“What does all this mean? For many, the waiting is over. It is time for the torch to be handed over to the creators of the New Planet Earth. Many will thus be given a palette, just waiting for each creator’s own individual blueprint to manifest upon it. It is then that our individual dreams and visions of how things could be, can now be brought into form.
“But these new creations are not easily created in the old world, as it is most assuredly crashing and deteriorating at a rapid rate. Part of our roles and responsibilities involved transmuting darkness or lower and denser vibrating energy. This is why so many of us were born into situations of abuse and suffering, with much darkness present. It was our job to transmute the energies through ourselves. And this, then, is one of our entrance tickets to the higher realms. If you are one who has diligently and consciously worked at transmuting your own darkness (which is the darkness of the whole that we readily agreed to embody), then your admission to the next hierarchy is easily granted. In essence, we have to “earn” our way to the higher realms. So then, creating our own new spaces away from the old will be our salvation.”
Read the rest of the article here.
Friday night as I was walking home from work, I was thinking about this baby stuff and since there was no one around, I started talking out loud to myself: “It’s okay for me to be afraid of having babies. It’s okay for me to be afraid of motherhood.” Or something like that. Saying it out loud gave me such relief I felt like a load of my own self-judgement slid off my back.
It helped even more that I was continuing to read the chapter about pregnancy in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. I was at the part where Northrop is discussing how modern medical technology does everything it can to separate the woman from her body at the time of childbirth. Since Northrop is an M.D. that helped me feel that 1) my fears of childbirth in a hospital are grounded, 2) that I WILL use natural methods and positions when I do have kids and 3) some of my “irrational fear” of childbirth disappeared after I accepted my fear and chose a course of action to address it.
And THEN my man and I had a discussion just yesterday about how this miscarriage was the best possible outcome in the situation given our newly-started commitment to each other and, well, everything about our lives right now.
Being able to talk to myself and to him calmly and rationally without any judgment and being okay with feeling the feelings I’m uncomfortable dealing with… it’s all helping. I’m really encouraged by it.
I read this in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom the other day and promptly started crying for a good half hour or so…
“An existential depresion can be felt by people who have been gestated and born under circumstances in which they are not wanted. One woman described feeling ashamed for breathing the air and for taking up space – she had a sense of never belonging, that she was causing someone else pain simply by being there. She told me that she had felt this as far back as she could remember. She knew that she hadn’t been wanted. “
This affected me so deeply because one of the only three stories my mom has ever told me about my birth and babyhood is that her doctor told her I was a boy when she was pregnant with me. She told me that this made her 1) angry and 2) not want me. That kind of thing just doesn’t go away either. Like the woman in the above example, I’ve felt it all my life, which is why I think my mother has so much more effect on my emotional and spiritual life than just about any one else. It’s hard trying to process this in terms of my own motherhood. I’m completely terrified of becoming a monster upon getting pregnant and/or birthing a child… which has made my previous pregnancies (which both ended in miscarriage) that much more difficult to deal with.
I know I need to work through all this and I’ve been doing a lot to do so. I still just feel like I have so far to go that the end isn’t anywhere in sight. I love my self and my sexuality but I can’t seem to connect sexuality with fertility. I’m sure there’s a key somewhere that will twist everything in my mind just right and let all of the pins fall into place and, of course, it’s in my mind or, more likely, in my body-mind. Eventually I won’t be too afraid to find it.
Continuing with Starhawk’s views of our war-based society as discussed in her book Truth or Dare, today I bring you excerpts on compliance and resistance of power-over. If you missed yesterday’s post, I suggest taking a look to catch yourself up.
“Authority relieves us us of the responsibility of independent action. Instead, we react in set and patterned ways. Systems of punishment generate four basic responses. We can comply, rebel, withdraw, or manipulate. All confirm the power of the system because they respond rather than challenge the reality the system has created.
“Another sort of response is possible. I call it resistance, or empowered action — action that does not accept the terms of the system, action that creates a new reality.” (pg. 75)
“Awareness is the beginning of all resistance. We can only resist domination by becoming and remaining conscious: conscious of the self, conscious of the way reality is constructed around us, conscious of each seemingly insignificant choice we make, conscious that we are, in fact, making choices. Resistance becomes a discipline of awareness, akin to any spiritual discipline that demands we remain present to our experience. When we resist domination, we must practice magic — the art of changing consciousness at will.” (pg. 79)
“Compliance destroys the unity of resistance. When we accept the authority’s reality, when we blame the rule-breakers, blame the victims, we cannot see our own victimization or act against it. Resistance demands clarity. We cannot mistake the rule for the reality; we must continuously search behind the rules for the assumptions they represent and the power relations they enforce.” (pg. 80)
“A life of compliance is a life of denial. We deny the body. We feel sick – yet we go to work. We feel hungry – yet we don’t eat. We deny feelings – for the jail requires that we suppress our emotions, especially our anger and our rage that might lead to rebellion.
“Obedience has its cost: the destruction of the self. To be good is to be a slave, unfree. When we comply, when we aid the system in its ultimate disregard and destruction of us, we hate ourselves. We know that we have been stupid, blind, weak. And so we cannot comply all of the time and live. At times, we must rebel.” (pg. 80)
“Rebellion is the desperate assertion of our value in the face of all that attacks it, the cry of refusal in the face of control.” (pg. 82)
“Rebellion is our very life asserting itself, willing to settle for nothing less than freedom. But if our rebellion is to have any hope of achieving that freedom, it must transform itself into resistance. … To resist domination, we must act in ways that affirm value – even in our opponents.
“We can begin by valuing ourselves, refusing to administer our own oppression, refusing to poison ourselves or numb the pain with substances that soothe but incapacitate, preventing us from making any serious trouble for the system.
“We can also refuse isolation. To connect, to build bonds of caring and community, to create structures of support that can nurture us and renew our strength, are powerful acts of resistance.” (pg. 84)
This weekend I was reading more of Starhawk’s Truth or Dare. Part of what she discusses is how war has changed society, because everything is defined in terms of Punishment for Wrongdoing. For the next few days I’ll be posting excerpts on this subject because it is both compelling and important.
Today’s exerpt: Foucault‘s 5 Ways that Systems of Punishment Function
“In Discipline and Punish, Foucault describes five distinct ways in which systems of punishment function:
- ‘The art of punishment…refers individual actions to a whole that is at once a field of comparison, a space of differentiation and the principle of a rule to be followed.’ Judgment itself is part of the operation of punishment. When we are valued for how closely we approximate and imposed standard, we are not valued for who we are. So, for example, the operation of an ideal feminine beauty sets up a field upon which all women can be rated and compared. A student told me she once polled her male friends on what a woman should weigh. They all answered ’110 pounds.’ She then asked them what a man should weigh. ‘That depends,’ they all said, ‘on his height, his body type, his musculature…’ Our value becomes dependent on how closely we conform to the rule; our unique beauty is rendered invisible, worthless. A woman’s own body becomes her enemy, her betrayer, by its insistence on shaping itself according to its own organic imperatives.
- Punishment ‘differentiates individuals from one another, in terms of the following overall rule: that the rule be made to function as a minimal threshold, as an average to be respected or as an optimum towards which one must move.’ When our organic individuality has been devalued, we are given back a false indignation. We can tell who we are not because we hear the song of our bodies or love the largeness or smoothness or hairiness of our flesh, but because we know our measurements and how they compare to the standardized charts.
- Punishment ‘measures in quantitative terms and hierarchizes in terms of value the abilities, the level, the “nature” of individuals.’ It is not jus that we pass or fail; we are given ‘grades,’ A’s or B’s, a 96 on the final or a 75. So we strive for graduations of improvement: we work to achieve a B+ even when we know we cannot aspire to an A. The hierarchy gives us many shades and subdivisions of value, finer grades of comparison, the illusion of more individuation that becomes a more refined means of control.
- Punishment ‘introduces, through this “value-giving” measure, the constraint of a conformity that must be achieved.’ We attempt to live in the illusory world where all women weigh 110, where all children learn at the same rate, and where differences are seen as deviations.
- Lastly, punishment ‘traces the limit that will define difference in relation to all other differences, the external frontier of the abnormal.’ Every hierarchy has a cutoff point, a mark beyond which one is no longer part of the whole, where you are no longer acceptable in the school system, on the job, where your failure to conform to the rule may relegate you to the worst place: the mental hospital, the back ward, skid row. That fear, of finally being forced out from the circle of value, makes us all work harder to keep a safe cushion between ourselves and the pit of worthlessness.
“Going to jail is a succinct way to learn about punishment. In jail, there are no clouds of daily details and none of the substances we use to soothe ourselves. The bare strategies of power-over are revealed, clean as gnawed bones. So are the patterns in which we respond to systems of punishment. For human beings are creatures of context. Although we imagine that our choices are free, our responses are greatly determined by the situations in which we find ourselves.”