This is an excerpt from my March 2007 Update Newsletter in which I am sharing my processing about healing my relationship with my own masculine energy and with being male – a subject that came up after I published my previous blog about traditional gender roles.
“Hello Radiantly Beautiful Spiritual Being,
As I am sitting here trying to get clear on where to start in writing this Update, I leaned back in my chair and gazed upward – and my focus went to the calendar on my wall. The picture on that calendar for the month of March is of a magnificent buck deer. Therein lies the tale. . . . .
. . . . What I realized this morning though, was that what I really need to focus on is something much more fundamental – that is, in fact, a cause of my fear of intimacy. That is, my relationship with myself as a man. That is the tale I need to tell – the message that came from looking up yesterday morning and seeing that magnificent buck deer on my calendar. . . . .
. . . . . As I mentioned here in what I wrote on the 5th, I am needing to focus some attention on my relationship with myself as a man, with my relationship with my own masculine energy. . . .
. . . . Now I am going to do some processing about my issues with my own masculine energy – but first an explanation of the importance, and meaning to me, of the deer.
One of the very valuable tools in my recovery – as I say in this quote from my book – was the Medicine Cards.
“When I was willing to hear and see the messages – and take action based upon them – I began to discover the Truth around me. There were certain books of Truth that I was led to that were especially important in my consciousness raising, in my Recovery process. I am now going to quote a story from one of those books which means a lot to me. It is a story from a book called Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. This book deals with the Medicine Wheel, and the totem animals of the Medicine Wheel Spiritual beliefs of certain Native American tribes.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
Though I don’t actually use the cards themselves in my life very often now, the totem animals – and the messages that they symbolically represent – are still very important to me. Those totem animals have been a factor in the calendars I have selected each year for many years. When I lived in Taos New Mexico, I was able to get a calendar that had different animals of the Rocky Mountain Region for each month – and most of those animals were totems in the Medicine Cards, and thus would give me a message / theme to focus on for the month. Once I moved back to California, it became difficult to find that type of calendar – and for several years I chose calendars that had one of my totems – the wolf – on them. In this quote from my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal – in which I am talking about my relationship with a male friend during some processing I was doing about my relationships with other males – I mention the significance of calendars in my recovery experience.
“When we communicate by e-mail about golf, I call him Arnie (as in Palmer) and he calls me Tiger (as in Woods.) In my replies, I found myself referring to myself as Tigger. I believe I mentioned some place in my writing, how a couple of years ago, when it came time to buy a new calendar, I bought a Winnie the Pooh one. The year before (I believe it was 1999) had been pretty rough, and I wanted to get a new calendar and mouse pad that was somewhat frivolous. For several years I had gotten a wolf calendar to go along with a wolf mouse pad. Wolf is one of my totems in the Medicine Cards – and symbolizes the Teacher. The first line in the Medicine Card book about the Wolf is “Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan to teach and share medicine.” Pretty appropriate for the role I seem to be playing in this lifetime. Also, wolves mate for life – a connection to my romantic fantasy issues.
While shopping for a calendar for 2000, I decided that, though wolf is a powerful totem for me that I honor and affirm, it was perhaps a bit too serious a theme for the coming year. I decided I wanted to affirm “lightening up” for the coming year – put out a request to the Universe for a year without quite so many difficult opportunities for growth. When I found the Winnie the Pooh calendar, it seemed to be a perfect symbol of having a lighter, more frivolous and happy year. And I got a mouse pad to match.
I don’t really remember reading Winnie the Pooh as a kid. I do have this feeling of connection to Tigger however. I think it is because of that song he sings, about what a wonderful thing it is to be a Tigger – and about how he is the only one. Something that a lonely, isolated boy could identify with – feeling different and unique, though I certainly didn’t think it was a wonderful thing.” Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 17 November 3, 2002
. . . . I referenced the calendar connection again in some writing I did in early 2004. In the processing I had done in my journal in November 2002, I had gotten honest with myself about how my acceptance of being isolated and alone was keeping me from being available for a relationship. In this quote from my journal in January of 2004, I make reference to the efforts I was making to get more involved with other human beings – and talk about another of the totem animals that is very important to me.
“Well, I get to start this morning looking above my computer at my new 2004 calendar. I had actually spotted the calendar I wanted before the end of last year – but was waiting for it to go on sale. I have this thing about paying full price for a calendar when I know they are going to go on sale soon. Probably a reaction to my old poverty consciousness. Choosing to wait, meant creating some irritation for myself when I would look up and see December instead of January for the first week of the month. Oh well.
I finally got a chance to get into San Luis on Friday and get the calendar I wanted – another Winnie the Pooh one. I talked in one of these installments (I think it was here) about opting for Winnie the Pooh calendars the last couple years as symbol of wanting the year to be more on the light and whimsical side. They actually had a Tigger one – Tigger being an “only one,” and thus the character I identified with the most because I felt so different and “not a part of.” But I decided that since a large part of the focus of my recovery these days is to learn to interact and play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest, that I should stick to the Winnie and friends calendar.
I don’t actually have any memories of reading Winnie the Pooh in childhood, but my inner children relate to Tigger. In recovery I also relate to Winnie, who is after all a Pooh bear. Bear is one of my totems in the Medicine Cards, and is described as going within to access Truth – which pretty well fits my mystic role. It is in fact a West totem that is my East totem. East being the place of the rising sun and illumination. In other words, my illumination – my Awakening to the Light – comes primarily from looking within.
“The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection. It lies in the West on the great medicine wheel of life. Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree. In the winter, when the Ice Queen reigns and the face of death is upon the Earth, Bear enters the womb-cave to hibernate, digest the year’s experience. It is said that our goals reside in the West also. To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary.
To become like Bear and enter the safety of the womb cave, we must attune ourselves to the energies of the Eternal Mother, and receive nourishment from the placenta of the Great Void. The Great Void is the place where all solutions and answers live in harmony with the questions that fill our realities. If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us. Each and every being has the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence, and know.
Many tribes have called this space of inner-knowing the Dream Lodge, where the death of the illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of eternity.” – Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson
I will probably be talking some more about the Medicine Cards soon.” – Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 29 January 12, 2004 Monday 5:30 AM
It has been important for me in my recovery, to make choices and take actions in alignment with what I have been guided to focus on in my growth process. Even something as small as choosing the Winnie and Friends calendar instead of the Tigger calendar has power on a metaphysical level – in terms of bringing Spiritual intention into everything I do. Part of what I need to get clearer on in this processing, is the areas of my life that I need to bring more focused Spiritual attention to right now.
The processing I did in my journal and Update Newsletters – from the May 2001 Update that I mention at the beginning of this Update (which actually threw me back into the Pandora’s box of my fear of intimacy issues that I opened with my October 2000 Update) through the November 2002 journal installments – lead to me taking the actions that have put me in the relationship situation I am in now. In that same Dance 29 installment, I make clear reference to a lesson I am still working on learning today.
“It is very easy for me to write about how important it is to communicate in an intimate relationship – how vital it is to work through tough issues by talking about them. It is much harder in practice. The old theory versus actual experience conundrum. The very thing – that emotionally intimate relationships get messy – which makes it is so important for me to be willing to play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest. The “messy” gift in my life today that has been made possible by the fear of intimacy processing that I have been doing here in this journal ever since writing my May 2001 Update put those issues in my face.
“The reality of my life circumstances right now, is that I am at a stage in my journey where I am pretty isolated and insulated. I am doing a lot of writing and a lot of phone counseling – so that my life in many ways is like being in a 12 step meeting almost all of the time. It makes it real easy to maintain a conscious contact Spiritually. Having relatively little contact with other human beings, beyond the superficial, makes it much easier to stay in serenity. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but interacting with other people gets messy. ;-)” – Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update – May 23, 2001 quoted in the Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 29 January 12, 2004 Monday 5:30 AM
I am no longer living in comfortable isolation writing theoretically. I am in the Enchanted Forest interacting with other human beings. And it is much easier for me to focus on interacting with the 2 year old Darien kid than it is with the adult kids in my life. Sigh.
Now about the importance to me of the deer totem in the Medicine Cards.
“I just went outside and saw a hummingbird. In the Medicine Cards hummingbirds symbolize Joy. I stood telling him/her how beautiful she/he was – and it flew to a flower so close to me that I could hear it’s wings humming. Majorly cool. Anytime I see a hummingbird I take it as a direct message from my Higher Power to remember that Joy is the point, the goal, what healing is all about. Joy and Love.
Animal totems have a very special meaning for me. The place where I walk by the ocean, is a place we call locally the East West Ranch. When I first moved to Cambria back in late 1989, it had been a ranch that went bankrupt. It is something like 600 acres, and sits between two of the main residential sections of the town – on the ocean side of Highway 1. Back then, it was posted with no trespassing signs, but there were spaces in the fence to climb over and get through – so the effect was that the signs protected the owners from liability but people could walk on the ranch as they pleased.
I Love this ranch space. When I was living in a place near the back edge of it in 1990, I would go for walks on the ranch all of the time. Near where I would enter the ranch, I could cross a small stream and come to a meadow in the woods. The meadow was a mound – and felt like sacred space to me. I would commune with the meadow and then walk up the hill through the woods. Coming out of the woods I could see the ocean and then walk down the hill to the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Along the part of the ocean that the ranch runs along there is no beach. There are bluffs with rocks and tidal pools below.
It brought me great pleasure and serenity to walk through my meadow and up the hill – or though a passageway through the trees that came out in a different part of the ranch. There was a place just after this passageway, where a tree stood alone. A tree that was bent over almost double, creating what looked like kind of a portal. I would visualize that being a portal to other dimensions or to the future where I was done with all the pain.
As I would walk through the woods, I would see deer. Deer in the medicine cards are about gentleness. Whenever I see a deer, I take it as a direct reminder from my Higher Power to be gentle with myself. I get to see lots of deer around here – to help me remember gentleness. (My landlady doesn’t like it that they come into her garden at night and eat the flowers – but I think it is cool.) As I came out on top of the hill where I could see the ocean, I would sometimes see whales. A whale – again in the medicine cards – is the record keeper, the keeper of ancient knowledge. It was symbolic for me because I felt that I was accessing ancient knowledge while writing my Trilogy.
1990 was a year before I first gave the talk that became the Dance of Wounded Souls. The only book that I was working on then was my Trilogy.” – Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 9 July 12, 2000
I don’t actually miss Cambria that much – although I do miss my walks on the Ranch. And I miss getting to see deer all the time. That is the reason that I chose a Deer calendar this year. The move to San Diego we made in September, is a perfect part of my Spiritual Path, and is working out quite nicely. Getting to do the Intensives regularly is a very important to me – and I am sure the grief groups are going to be a perfect part of the journey also – but I do miss the deer.
Among the gifts that Susan has brought into my life is encouraging me to do the Intensives, and moving to San Diego. I will be exploring more of those gifts on my fear of intimacy processing page.
Magnificent Buck Deer
In alignment with how this writing processing unfolds perfectly for me, the last line in that last quote mentions my Trilogy. That work: The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .” is A Magical, Mystical, Spiritual Fable which is a book that probably will never be finished – and certainly won’t be part of a Trilogy. But it was the first writing that I did in 1988 after I had gone through treatment for Codependency. That body of work is what I thought of when I looked at the calendar with the magnificent buck deer on it. That Trilogy writing formed part of the foundation of what was later to become Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.
“I started writing my book (what I hoped was just going to be one book because I really did not like writing 😉 The Dance of Wounded Souls in a cabin at 11,000 feet elevation on Taos Mountain in the fall of 1988. . . . .
. . . . . . That book evolved into being the first book of a Trilogy, and over the next few years I worked on it intermittently. Meanwhile, I was working on my emotional healing, and started working with others in helping them to access and release their grief.
I was looking at the work I was doing on internal healing, and the work I was doing on the mystical book as being two separate things. It never occurred to me to connect them. And then suddenly in early 1991, they came together. In some speaking engagements to talk about codependence, I heard myself answering questions with mystical statements that I had never even considered that I would make in public.” – Attack on America – Chapter 7 (Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective is an online book that I started writing a few days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. I published it online as I wrote it – but subsequently moved the bulk of it to my Joy2MeU Journal. It is also now available in the Dancing in Light pay to view section of the site.)
In my Joy2MeU Journal two part installment about publishing The Dance I talked about how the events unfolded.
“In the next month or six weeks, I also spoke publicly at a couple of other places. One was at the County Drug and Alcohol satellite office in Cambria – and the other was at a Speakers meeting for CoDA for Helping Professionals. (This was a short lived version of CoDA for counselors, therapist, and various other helping professionals who thought it would not be okay for them to share honestly in regular CoDA meetings – a manifestation of the codependent programming of keeping up appearances in my opinion, which I shared with them when I spoke.)
It was in those public speaking engagements that the inner child work I was doing merged with the mystical information that I was writing for the Trilogy. I can remember two examples of hearing “myself answering questions with mystical statements” – that I refer to in the quote from my Attack on America book above. One was while speaking here in Cambria – which was not a meeting but an informational event the satellite office was offering for the general public. In it, I shared my view that everything was unfolding perfectly from a cosmic perspective. Someone asked me if that meant that I believed that everyone who died in a plane crash was meant to die that day. I answered that yes that was what I believed.
The other one I remember was in the CoDA Speakers meeting in February. I have a memory of talking about the clinging creatures story I paraphrase from Richard Bach’s Illusions in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. The one where the creature that has learned to let go and go with the flow of the stream is viewed as a messiah by clinging creatures he flies over down stream. . . . .
It was in those talks that the seeds of my book sprouted.
“In the spring of 1991, Robert Burney was asked to speak in several different venues on the subject of Codependence. In the course of those speaking engagements he heard himself making statements to a general audience that he had never considered saying in public because of their controversial nature. To his surprise he found that the practical process level tools and techniques that he utilized in his private therapy practice were merging with mystical and magical knowledge he had acquired writing a book that was an adult fable about the history of the Universe – the first book of a trilogy.
Although he experienced a great deal of fear about making such controversial statements in public, he was compelled to further explore this message that he felt coming through him. He arranged dates in June of 1991 to give a talk in Cambria and Morro Bay, California. He then found he was unable to write the talk. The message that he was formulating was multileveled and nonlinear so that he found it impossible to organize his thoughts into a coherent presentation. His anxiety mounted as the date for his talk approached until in a burst of inspiration born out of desperation he wrote almost continuously for the last 48 hours prior to the talk. The presentation was scrawled on yellow legal pages that first time he presented the talk.
As he got ready to give his talk, he was overwhelmed with feelings of dread and experienced emotional memories of being stoned to death by an angry mob. He was convinced the audience would not be able to hear his message because of the outrageously controversial aspects of it but was compelled to go forward with it because of his personal Karmic need to take responsibility and stand up for his Truth. To his amazement, the audience not only heard what he was saying but cried tears of Joy in recognition of the Truth he was sharing.
That talk formed the basis for the book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. The message evolved and expanded over the years as he refined the techniques he was developing to facilitate Codependence recovery, but the basic structure of the book was essentially born in those two days of desperation. Robert made a trip from Taos New Mexico, where he was living at the time, to the Central Coast of California in the winter of 1995 in an attempt to raise funds to publish a book based on the talk. Because of that trip (which was a real leap of faith) he did receive the financing to start the publishing process in the summer of 1995. He returned to Cambria to set up his publishing company, Joy to You & Me Enterprises, in the fall of 1995. The official publication date of the book was January of 1996.” – Biographical information page
That first time I did the talk, at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria on June 16th 2001 before a crowd of over 50 people, it was literally on yellow legal pages.” – Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul Leap of Faith ~ Publishing The Dance
The Trilogy alternates between a narrative story line and a History of the Universe told tongue in cheek (including a recently discovered transcript of God’s thought process in deciding to create the Universe.;-) The narrative story involves my Higher Self appearing to me in the form of a unicorn running off a picture on my desk in Taos New Mexico in early 1989. My unicorn / Higher Self then takes me on a journey through time and space to help me learn the things I needed to learn. In one of the later chapters of that work, my Higher Self transforms from a unicorn to the form of a woman representing the Goddess Energy / Feminine Principle. During the course of my interaction with my Higher Self, a doe and two fawns had been playing a part in the unfolding story. After we had discussed some of the levels of healing that were affecting me and had caused my fear of intimacy, came this passage.
“Sorry about that,” I laughed. It was wonderful to laugh about where I had been – and was going back to – and not feel any shame about it. It was after all, only a part of my evolution. There Truly is no need to judge where I have been, or am, because it was/is just a step in my becoming process.
Just then my attention was once again caught by the deer. The doe and both fawns had turned and were looking back into the trees at that south end of the meadow. And what came walking out of the trees at that point was the most magnificent Stag deer that I have ever seen. He was tall and regal with the most magnificent set of antlers I had ever seen. I counted fourteen points in his incredible rack.
I . . . . . . stood up, staring in awe at this magnificent male animal. I was moved somewhere deep within my being, and tears sprang to my eyes from the emotions that the grandeur of his presence stirred up within me.
“Yes,” said my dream woman softly by my side, “he is magnificent. And he is you, that is that he is a symbolic representation of the magnificence of your own masculinity.”
I turned and looked at her, feeling an emotional surge in my chest as her words sank in.
“You see,” she continued, “you have, up to this point in your recovery, put much effort into healing the feminine within and your inner children – which are symbolically represented by the doe and her two fawns. But you have almost completely ignored the healing of your masculine. Your relationship with your father, and your disgust over the sins of man-kind, have led you to disown to a large degree, your own masculine energy. A very large part of your journey in the coming years will be to focus on the healing of your masculine so that you can own and honor what a magnificent male being you are.”
Tears were freely running down my face as I stood there looking at her. Then I turned and gazed once again at the magnificent creature. All four of the deer were standing there looking back at me with Love in their eyes. I could feel the Truth of her words, and along with the Joy that I was experiencing from the sight of this regal animal, there was a profound sadness at the realization of the depth of my masculine wounds. I was too overwhelmed with feeling at that point to speak. I just stood there gazing at the buck and feeling the urgency of my need to own my masculine self.” – The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .” Chapter 10
It is now 3:07 AM on the morning of the 13th of March 2007. It was on the morning of the 4th that I looked up at my calendar and got the message from the Universe that I needed to look at a new level of healing my masculine – healing my relationship with my self as a man – in the context of the processing I already knew that I needed to do about my fear of intimacy issues and how they were affecting my life and relationship now. I will be doing that on the page (could even be more than one page) that will follow this one. I want to wrap this one up and get it posted – and my e-mail announcements sent out now. When I will have the next page ready to post, I really have no idea right now. Hopefully by the 25th, which will be the day after my next Intensive – the day I will be posting an Updated Intensive Testimonial page, as well as changing the Intensive page to raise the price for the next workshop.
There are 4 spaces still available for that next Intensive, by the way – so perhaps it will fill to capacity. More will be revealed. More will also be revealed about where my fear of intimacy processing will lead me. I know that I need to get clearer on where I am at, and what areas I may need some action, in order to get cleaner and clearer in my relationship with Susan. And I know that I need to take some steps to own my own masculine power more fully.
One of the key insights for me years ago, when I first started to focus on my issues with myself as a man, was one I mention in the following quote from my journal – that I had never had a clear image of what positive, strong and powerful masculine energy looks like.
“What I remember that morning was that I needed to own my powerful positive masculine energy. Years ago I had come to a realization (and I can’t believe I haven’t written about it somewhere – but can’t find it right now) that I had spent years working on healing my inner children and my feminine without even considering that I might need to heal my masculine. Like Duh! That was a time when I started reading authors like Robert Bly and starting to focus on healing my masculine. One of the things I realized then, is that I had no image of strong positive masculine energy – that I associated strong masculine energy with violence and anger and rage. That was when I came up with or discovered (maybe in Bly’s book Iron John the term “fierce determination” as a trait of powerful positive masculine energy. Focused power and fierce determination in doing, manifesting, standing strong – that was the masculine energy I discovered back then. That was the masculine energy I needed to rediscover and own on the morning of March 30th.
I started to see that I needed to start using my will power to stop playing small in my relationship with myself. To stop giving the pain so much power and to own that I have the power to have more positive control of my own internal process. I realized that I had gone out of balance in my relationship with myself, towards the feminine, feeling side of me – and that I wasn’t standing in my Truth with powerful Masculine positive energy. I needed to start being the Alpha male in my own internal process. In recent months I have noticed myself explaining the process of setting boundaries with the critical parent voice to phone counseling clients in an interesting new way. I would tell them that we don’t want to argue with the critical parent voice, we want to SLAM it with spiritual Truth. I have been thinking about the process of setting boundaries in a way that is like establishing who is in charge internally – who is the Alpha force. And that it was necessary to slam the critical parent voice – to own positive powerful force in my own internal process. This was a wonderful insight that is the key to taking control of my own inner process in a new more empowering way. In a way that will be more outward directed and focused on external manifestation and action than inner focused.” – Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance35April 8, 2004
So, there are some areas in my life where I need to stop playing small and start focusing some fierce determination in making changes that need to be made in how I am relating to myself and life – so that I can start being clearer in my relationship. I have some idea right now what that might look like to some degree – and more will be revealed as I continue to process.
There is one additional thing that I am going to be including on this page – and that is an excerpt from Chapter 15 of Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life (the last chapter I have written so far of that work.) That is a chapter that is focused on masculine and feminine, and explains the difference in my understanding between different levels of masculine and feminine – and how those terms are related to the genders male and female. I want to include it in order to bring more clarity to the processing I am doing – for those of you who actually read this far and beyond.;-)”
As I said this is an excerpt from my March 2007 Update Newsletter – the actual Newsletter is much longer and I am going to include a link here to the excerpt about Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 15 Masculine and Feminine
The Joy2MeU Journal and Dancing in Light are subscription areas of the Joy2MeU website. There are special offers available for them on this page.
The Medicine Cards (This link and the one on the graphic will take you to the page it is offered on Amazon.com) have been a very valuable tool in my recovery process. Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls from: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, copyright 1988, Bear & Co. Reprinted by permission Bear & Co., P.O. Box 2860, Santa Fe, NM 87504. (Since the book was published they have moved to P.O. Box 3876, Gettysburg, PA 17325)