Bringing Codependency Recovery Pioneer to the UK in 2017

 

Robert Burney Trip to UK 2017

Book cover

Robert Burney is an author, spiritual teacher and counselor.  His first book “Codependence – The Dance of Wounded Souls” has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time” and he has been referred to as “a metaphysical Stephen Hawking.”   He is a counselor /coach and Spiritual Teacher whose work has been compared to John Bradshaw’s “except much more spiritual” and described as “taking inner child healing to a new level.”  His book “The Dance”  is an insightful, clearly written narrative that has helped countless people to understand and heal from the shortcomings of their relationships with self and others.  Robert’s work resonates strongly with those that have been fortunate enough to come across it.

Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing Formula

A pioneer in the realm of codependency recovery and inner child healing, Robert discovered and developed a pioneering holistic approach to codependency recovery – an inner child healing paradigm – that offers a powerful, life changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional experience of life – a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life.

This blueprint can be invaluable to people just starting the recovery / healing process, and is often the missing piece that people who have been healing /  recovering / on a spiritual path for decades have been seeking.  What is unique about the approach is that all of the tools are brought together in a focused system for achieving integration and balance – and even someone who has a very good therapist (or is a very good therapist) right now, can still find it very beneficial to attend one of his workshops.

Creating the Possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK

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Robert Burney

In order to share his experience, strength and hope – and teach others his integration formula – Robert has offered intensive workshops and retreats in the US, Canada, and twice on the Spanish Island of Ibiza, as well as on cruises in the Caribbean.  In spite of having a healthy following in the United Kingdom Robert has not physically presented his work in a similar fashion.

Several years ago Angel Morrison (who had both attended a retreat in Ibiza and been on a cruise with Robert) suggested the idea of working to bring Robert Burney to the UK.  Angel understood the importance of expanding the knowledge of Robert’s work.  Rachel Hawadi who had read Robert’s work (and done phone counseling with him) agreed and the two agreed to volunteer and commit to making this a reality.  This has then given birth to a Facebook Group which aims “To make the possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK” in 2017.

As of February 14th, 2017, initial plans are being formulated.  The goal is to make this trip happen in September 2017.  This page is being created to survey people who might be interested in meeting and/or attending an appearance by Robert, to ascertain what formats people would like to have available and where it would be best to offer these opportunities.

Location

It is assumed that London would be one of the locations – and both Birmingham and Nottingham have been proposed by people interested.  Email us to let us know if you could attend in London or want to suggest another location in the UK.

Formats

In order to make the best use of Robert’s time the following mixture of sessions could be offered during the tour.

  • 1 to 1 sessions: These could either be face to face/Telephone and Skype sessions for those in the UK.   Depending on availability these can be 1 hour sessions.   Given that the unique selling point of this tour is being able to see Robert face to face it would seem that a “face to face” would be the main offering.

  • Weekend Retreat: A residential retreat in a comfortable, peaceful setting starting on Friday with a 6:30 arrival, dinner and a session until 10 pm.  An intensive session on Saturday which would end on Sunday around 4 pm.  It would be important to ensure that those attending have excellent food and a general feeling of being cared for.

  • 5-day Retreat: A transformative retreat for those needing a radical overhaul in a similar setting as the weekend retreat but going deeper with more workshops, 1 to 1 sessions.  The setting will also be comfortable and nurturing.   There should be an additional offering of holistic therapies e.g. massages, reflexology, yoga, deep breathing, walks etc.

  • 1 day Intensive workshops: These would follow the exact same formats that have been offered and could be done both during the day or evening.  More than likely, evening sessions could be more successful in London – although it would need to be for 3 evenings in order for Robert to teach the formula that he teaches in his Intensive Workshops.  There might be a requirement to juggle between different towns in the UK.

Please send us some feedback so that we can ascertain the amount of interest and what people are interested in so that we can know if we can make this possibility manifest this year.  Email us to let us know.

Here is some of the feedback from the Intensive Training Workshops / retreats that Robert has done in the past.

“I found this session to be very useful in seeing the what & the why of “my” reality.  The understanding I have gained gives me hope in my future.  This has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.”

“I really enjoyed Robert Burney’s Intensive Training on inner child work. . .  I had many revelations about my inner child and how I can reparent and stop the critical parent that has followed me my whole life. . . Thank you so much Robert.  You are a truly unforgetable person. So glad I said yes to attending.”

“Exceptionally understandable; very clear.  This was LIFE Changing – I am so thankful.  I would Absolutely recommend it.”

“Robert Burney’s training day was so inspirational and enlightening.  He was loving and warm and presented profound life changing material in a very not intimidating way.  Magical!”

“My life has been much better since I went to your seminar.”

“Brilliant.  Liberating.  So profound it is sometimes ! hilarious  I feel you completely get the dynamics of the human experience and the truth you teach can set people free.”

“It was very empowering, uplifting and gave me new hope.  The information was invaluable.”

“Robert is a very , compassionate intuitive, and intelligent soul who shares his insights to you in such a clear, fun, and poignant way that your life will be forever changed.” –  Testimonial Page for Robert Burney Seminar

Email us to let us know if you are interested.

Sacred Spiral

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site:   A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries –  is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level.  Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.  I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.   (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend.  Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1

The Dance

“Learning discernment is vital – not just in terms of the choices we make about who to trust, but also in terms of our perspective, our attitudes.

We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes. By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work. We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us – or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not.

One of the core characteristics of this disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization – black and white thinking. Rigid extremes – good or bad, right or wrong, love it or leave it, one or ten. Codependence does not allow any gray area – only black and white extremes.

Life is not black and white. Life involves the interplay of black and white. In other words, the gray area is where life takes place. A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine – recognizing that life is not black and white.

Life is not some kind of test, that if we fail, we will be punished. We are not human creatures who are being punished by an avenging god. We are not trapped in some kind of tragic place out of which we have to earn our way by doing the “right” things.

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. We are here to learn. We are here to go through this process that is life. We are here to feel these feelings.” – Text in this color are quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

One Through Ten

When I first got sober in early 1984, my mind was mush. I couldn’t read and comprehend a page in the AA Big Book for months. After three or four months, one of the signs I got that my mind was coming back was that I was able to start working crossword puzzles. It was a tremendous relief to find out that tequila hadn’t killed so many brain cells that my mind couldn’t recover.

I mention this because it points out what a tremendous impact something that I heard in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in my first 60 days of sobriety had to have on me for me to have a very clear memory of it all of these years later. It was obviously something that resonated as Truth so strongly that it cut through my fog enshrouded brain to my core.

This was in Lincoln Nebraska where I had gone through a 30 day treatment program after an intervention by my family on New Years Day. What I think of as a grizzled old timer (although I really have no idea what the guy looked like or how old he was) shared a simile about how his mind worked. He said, “My mind is like a dirt road out in the country that got really muddy – with some really deep ruts in it – and then the ground froze. It is real hard to drive down that road straddling those ruts without slipping back into them. And once I slip into them it is hard to get out again.”

Having grown up on a farm on dirt roads in the part country where spring means lots and lots of mud – where snow storms and frozen ruts are common into May – I really knew what he was talking about. And obviously, the comparison to the way my mind works hit home with me.

The reason that this story has anything to do with Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility, is because those ruts are still there. They are not nearly as deep now, but my thinking will slip into some of the old patterns / ruts very easily without me noticing until something happens to draw my attention to it.

The old pattern/programming that pops up the most is the rut of black and white thinking. Slipping into a perspective that only recognizes the extremes of 1 or 10. (The black and white perspective is the foundation of the blame them or blame me, victim of them or victim of my own shameful defectiveness, extremes that govern the dynamics of the disease of codependency.)

A conversation with a friend yesterday caused me to realize that I had slipped back into that old rut again in relationship to the idea of having a romantic relationship. The rut for me in respect to romance is for my thinking to be either (1) I will never have another romantic relationship, or (10) we will move in together and be fully immersed in the relationship. A watered down, less powerful version of the choices I learned in childhood from my role models – either completely unavailable or completely enmeshed.

My thinking, in relationship to a relationship, is much healthier and more balanced than it used to be – but it still tends towards the extremes within the spectrum of what is possible. It feels more natural for me to completely let go of the idea of having a romantic relationship or to think in terms of what it is going to be like when we are living together then to think in terms of getting to know someone gradually. Kind of like, either pretend the water isn’t there, or dive into the deep end without looking first to see what may be just under the surface.

It is easier for me emotionally to not even consider going in the water than to gradually ease myself into the shallow water – because if I am even looking at the water it gets me in touch with grief about being alone. The abyss of wish-to-die pain and desperate loneliness from my childhood – the deprivation issues that I spent so much of my life either denying or allowing to run my life – do not have anywhere near the power they used to because of the healing I have done. It is relatively easy now for me to separate out the childhood feelings of loneliness – and they do not any longer have a life threatening feeling of desperation to them. But I also have been very deprived in my adult life – of Love, companionship, affection, touch, sexual fulfillment, etc. – because of the patterns caused by my fear of intimacy. So the grief around those deprivation issues still has some power because the deprivation is still happening.

The healthier we get, the more emotional healing we do, the less extreme our emotional reaction / response spectrum grows. The growth process works kind of like a pendulum swinging. The less we buy into the toxic shame and judgment, the less extreme the swings of the pendulum become. The arc of our emotional pendulum becomes gentler, and we can return to emotional balance much quicker and easier. But we don’t get to stay in the balance position. Life is always rocking our boat – setting our emotional pendulum to swinging. By not taking life events and other peoples behavior so seriously and personally, by observing our process with some degree of detachment instead of getting so hooked into the trauma drama soap opera victimology that is a reaction to our childhood wounds, we learn to not give so much power over our emotions to outside influences and events.

I have choices today in regard to how I am relating to myself, to other people, to life. I am able to accept the things I cannot change much more quickly, and change the primary thing which I have the power to change – that is, my attitude toward the things I cannot change – so that I do not get caught up in a victim perspective. By not buying into the illusion that I am a victim – of myself, of other people, of life – my emotional swings stay on a much evener keel and I experience a much gentler emotional spectrum in my day to day relationship with life.

But it is still a spectrum, and as such involves swings between extremes. Those extremes are less powerful reflections / reverberations of the wildly divergent extremes my process used to involve. To maintain some balance in my life, to keep owning that I am not a victim – that I do have choices – it is important to shine some Light onto the gray area between the black and the white extremes, to be aware of the 2 through 9 options.

Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility

The purpose of this article is to shine some Light on the gray areas of emotional honesty and responsibility. Until we get aware that there are choices in between 1 and 10, then we don’t have a choice. As long as we bouncing between black and white, we miss the gray area entirely. The gray area is where life takes place. It is important for anyone in recovery to become aware of all of their choices – of 2 through 9 – so that we can see ourselves and life as clearly as possible.

We all have a set of ruts in the pathways of our mind that cause us to slip back into old thinking patterns and perspectives, that cause us to give power to old tapes. Those ruts do not change as we heal – they get shallower and easier to get out of – but they don’t go away completely. As we heal our basic underlying patterns don’t change substantially, we just get healthier in those patterns.

“We are never going to meet someone who doesn’t have red flags, who isn’t wounded – the healthy behavior is to pay attention and take responsibility for our choices. To take calculated risks that will not be “mistakes” or “wrong” but lessons. The more conscious we get of our choices, the more we release the grief energy / take power away from the childhood wounds – the more we can trust our self to listen to our intuition instead of the disease yammering in our head.

And we are never going to completely change our basic patterns – we get healthier within those patterns. If you are attracted to alcoholics – then progress is getting involved with a recovering alcoholic. We are attracted to certain energies for reasons in alignment with The Divine Plan – our choices in the past felt like mistakes because we weren’t aware that we were at boarding school learning lessons.” – The Emotional Dynamics of Dysfunctional Romantic Relationships

“We, in our Codependence, have radar systems which cause us to be attracted to, and attract to us, the people, who for us personally, are exactly the most untrustworthy (or unavailable or smothering or abusive or whatever we need to repeat our patterns) individuals – exactly the ones who will “push our buttons.”

This happens because those people feel familiar. Unfortunately in childhood the people whom we trusted the most – were the most familiar – hurt us the most. So the effect is that we keep repeating our patterns and being given the reminder that it is not safe to trust ourselves or other people.

Once we begin healing we can see that the Truth is that it is not safe to trust as long as we are reacting out of the emotional wounds and attitudes of our childhoods. Once we start Recovering, then we can begin to see that on a Spiritual level these repeating behavior patterns are opportunities to heal the childhood wounds.”

Romantic relationships are one issue that can be discussed in relationship to the rutted perspective of black and white thinking. All of our issues can be discussed in relationship to certain dynamic patterns of the disease – polarized black and white thinking is the primary, foundation rut upon which the dynamics of codependence and recovery can be examined.

In my first attempt at this article it spiraled off into the realm of Metaphysics – specifically an explanation of the vibrational dynamics of the growth process from an energetic perspective. An explanation of how our repeating patterns are in fact a reflection of the Octave Principle (do, re, me, fa, etc.) in energy interactions dynamics. In our disease we keep repeating the same octave over and over again – and sometimes even descending to lower octaves. In recovery we are spiraling upward to new levels – so that each “do” feels somewhat like the “do” before it, but in reality reflects a higher vibrational level – a Higher level of consciousness, a more enlightened perspective.

Interesting stuff, that is a more complex, higher level perspective of the topic – but not really functional in relationship to the goal of this article. I want to communicate about some specific facets of discernment regarding emotional honesty and responsibility as clearly as possible in a web page of reasonable length. So, that information will be part of another web article about Higher Consciousness and Enlightenment. When I will finish it is in the more will be revealed realm, since I have so many different writing projects percolating.

The point that I want to make about this however, is that in recovery we are spiraling upward. We go through different levels, different stages in our growth process. The “do” I hit upon in my discussion of romantic relationships above, is probably quite a few octaves higher than where I was when I started recovery – but it still feels somewhat like, resonates with somewhat the same vibration, as the “do” from over 17 years ago when I got into recovery. (Actually, though the basis for my codependence recovery was laid in my first few years of recovery from alcoholism, my conscious codependence recovery began on June 3, 1986 – so it is possible that my relationship to romantic relationships didn’t start ascending until then.) I mention this to emphasis how important it is to not shame and judge ourselves for how we feel – because sometimes when we break through to a new level, a new octave, the familiar feeling / reverberation of it causes the critical parent voice, the old tapes, to feed us the lie that we have slipped backwards, that we are at the bottom of the whole process again and have made no progress. The feeling of shame, of having made a mistake, of failing because we feel like we are in the same place again emotionally, is a product of the old wounds and the dysfunctional perspectives of the disease.

We are Spiritual beings having a human experience. Life is not a test that we can fail. It is a process of learning to accept that we are Lovable and worthy no matter what we feel. Life is a journey that we are being guided through, not punishment for being unworthy – or something we have to do “right” in order to transcend. Recovery is a process of learning to own that who we are is Transcendent Spiritual Beings so that we can integrate that Truth into our emotional relationship with life.

“I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process. Because “I feel feel like a failure” does not mean that is the Truth. The Spiritual Truth is that “failure” is an opportunity for growth. I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am. I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me. I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.

If I am feeling like a “failure” and giving power to the “critical parent” voice within that is telling me that I am a failure – then I can get stuck in a very painful place where I am shaming myself for being me. In this dynamic I am being the victim of myself and also being my own perpetrator – and the next step is to rescue myself by using one of the old tools to go unconscious (food, alcohol, sex, etc.) Thus the disease has me running around in a squirrel cage of suffering and shame, a dance of pain, blame, and self-abuse.

By learning to set a boundary with and between our emotional truth, what we feel, and our mental perspective, what we believe – in alignment with the Spiritual Truth we have integrated into the process – we can honor and release the feelings without buying into the false beliefs.

The more we can learn intellectual discernment within, so that we are not giving power to false beliefs, the clearer we can become in seeing and accepting our own personal path. The more honest and balanced we become in our emotional process, the clearer we can become in following our own personal Truth.”

Stages in recovery

“Writing this article (which appears to require at least three web pages) has been difficult because of all the levels involved. I received some e-mails with some basic questions that I wanted to answer in as complete a manner as possible – but answering some of the basic questions takes me into some quite advanced levels of recovery. I realized that I had never really written previously – except for a line or two here and there in the middle of something else – about such issues as: the misconception of many recovering people that emotional honesty means we are supposed to be emotionally honest with all of the people in our lives; or, specifically about what our responsibilities are in relating to others.” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 1

Emotional honesty is the bedrock upon which codependence recovery is possible. Until we start learning to be emotionally honest with ourselves, we cannot began to see ourselves or life with any clarity.

The key here is learning to be emotionally honest with ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we need to be emotionally honest with all of the people in our lives. It is often not safe or functional to be emotionally honest with people who are not being emotionally honest with themselves, who are not on some kind of healing / recovery path. And even with people who are also in recovery it is often not safe to be emotionally honest.

If someone is in recovery from alcoholism/addiction, it is possible for them to focus on the black and white issue of rather or not they are drinking and using. This makes it possible for someone to be clean and sober for many years without being forced to become emotionally honest with themselves. Many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are not safe places to be emotionally honest. It is a sad fact that it is very possible to be shamed and judged in AA meetings by people who are reacting out of a rigid, black and white, right and wrong belief system.

It is also unfortunate that some people, who are involved in codependence or Adult Child recovery, use emotional honesty as an excuse to be abusive. I have encountered people who claim to have years of codependence recovery who will use a question like “Do you mind if I share something with you?” as a way of getting my permission for them to be verbally abusive. People who will say something abusive, shaming, and/or judgmental – and then say “Hey, I am just being emotionally honest.” These are people who think they are being emotionally honest but have no concept of emotional responsibility.

We need to learn to be emotionally honest so that we can take responsibility for our feelings – not so that we can inflict them on others. When I first got into recovery, I mistook being rigorously honest in working my program with being vigorously honest in sharing with others my insights into their issues. It took me several years in recovery to realize that sharing my advice or opinions with others – without being asked – can be abusive.

It is not healthy or appropriate in recovery to use being emotionally honest as an excuse to abuse other people – including the people who abused us. Going from being abused to being the abuser is swinging from one extreme to the other.

Now, we all go through stages in our recovery – as I mentioned in the first article in this series.

“Discovery, recognition, that we have been victims of abuse is vital. Rather that is emotional abuse, or any of the other kinds of abuse that also cause emotional abuse – physical, verbal, mental, sexual, spiritual. etc. It is vitally important to own our own victimization – and at some point start getting angry about it. Getting angry about how the behavior of others has wounded us is a vital step in owning ourselves – of honoring our Self.

I have often told clients that going from feeling suicidal to feeling homicidal is a step of progress. It is a stage of the recovery process that we will move into – and then at some later point will move beyond. An incest victim transforms into an incest survivor. Owning the anger is an important part of pulling ourselves out of the depression that turning the anger back on ourselves has created. It is often necessary to own the anger before we can get in touch with the grief in a clean and healthy way. If we haven’t owned our right to be angry, it is possible to get stuck in a victim place of self-pity and martyrdom, of complaining and gathering sympathetic allies – instead of taking action to change.

So, it is very important to own our right to be angry. That is a stage of the process that also needs to be moved through so we don’t get stuck in an angry victim place. In order to heal, it is usually not necessary to confront our abusers. For some people it is an important part of the process to confront their abusers with their anger. Hopefully this can be done in an appropriate therapeutic environment – although sometimes that is not possible. What is important to emphasis, is that we can heal without confronting our abusers directly – because the relationship that needs to be healed is within. To go to a place where we are lashing out at our abusers will often be just going to the other extreme – where we abuse the people who abused us.

There was a point in my codependence recovery where I would rage in AA meetings at old timers who were shaming and emotionally abusive out of their untreated codependence – their rigid, controlling, black and white thinking. That was a stage in my recovery that I outgrew – that I realized was not healthy. It was not bad or wrong (although the behavior was sometimes something I needed to make amends for afterwards) – it was a stage in a growth process. I learned to confront that kind of behavior in a gentler, kinder – and more effective – way as I grew.

Sometimes in our growth we find ourselves lashing out and being abusive. When that happens we can make amends for how we expressed ourselves – we never have to apologize for having the feelings. We cannot go from repressing our feelings and being emotionally dishonest to communicating perfectly in one step. Communicating in an appropriate way is something we learn gradually – and something we will never do perfectly every time.” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 1

Sharing my opinions and advice without being asked in early recovery was a stage I went through. Raging in Alcoholic Anonymous meetings was a stage I went through. Getting in touch with our feelings can be a messy process. It is vitally important to learn to own ourselves and our feelings. While we are doing that, there will be times when we express our feelings in ways that we later need to make amends for. We will sometimes need to apologize for the manner in which we expressed ourselves, and/or the timing of our expression – we do not have to apologize for our feelings.

We are not responsible for other peoples feelings. We do have some responsibility in how we communicate and when we communicate.

For example: if we use abusive language, profanity, or name calling in our communication; if we scream and yell; if we throw or break things; if we communicate in front of other people instead of to that person privately; if we express ourselves at a time when the other person is particularly vulnerable; etc.

We also have responsibility for the perspectives which we are empowering that are causing us to react emotionally to the other person. We have responsibility for separating out grief and rage caused by wounds from the past that the other person is triggering, from the part of our reaction that is about them now.

We may need to go back to that person and say something like these examples:

I want to make amends to you for how intensely I expressed my feelings to you. What you said to me was inappropriate and abusive – and was not acceptable to me, but the intensity of my reaction was caused by the fact that you triggered an old wound from my past. Thank you for helping me get in touch with the old wound that needs some more attention and healing – but also know that that saying things like that is not OK. I will not allow you to talk to me like that.

I want to make amends to you for reacting out of a victim place. Your behavior was unacceptable to me, and I had a right to be hurt – but I reacted by blaming you for my feelings and that is something which I am learning to stop doing. So, I am sorry my reaction came from such a black and white perspective because it was not helpful in communicating with you about why your behavior bothered me.

These are very general examples, and in actual practice it is best to use the guidelines that I talk about in my page on setting personal boundaries.  That is: describe the behavior specifically rather than our interpretation of the behavior – both their behavior and our own.

I am sorry I called you a ____ (profane name) when you told that joke about ____. I felt hurt, discounted, put down, violated, angry, and shamed. I found what you said offensive and unacceptable – but it was not appropriate for me to use that kind of language in expressing myself.

Responsibility

In early recovery, I used to refer to responsibility as the R word. It was a trigger word for me that carried shame and judgment. I thought of it as having chains hanging off of it because being responsible to me seemed to mean being what society (and my parents) wanted me to be. That I wasn’t living up to those expectations seemed to reinforce my feeling that I was unworthy and defective. It was only in my codependence recovery that I came to realize that such behavior as not getting the grades I could have in school was in reality a passive aggressive retaliation towards my parents – the “I’ll show you, I’ll get me” battle cry of codependence. And I came to understand that not fitting into society’s idea of how to live life and define success, was in reality being true to myself by not conforming to standards that did not resonate with me.

It was a big relief for me in recovery to encounter another perspective on the term responsibility that allowed me to change my relationship with the word and the concept it embodied.

“As long as we are reacting to old wounds and old tapes we cannot respond to the now. The more we heal, the more responsibility we have – that is, ability to respond. The ability to respond in the moment.”

As a little boy I got the message from my father’s perfectionistic standards and raging verbal abuse, and from my shameful inability to fulfill the role of surrogate spouse and protector for my mother, that there was something wrong with me. I was raised in a religion that taught me that I was born shameful and sinful, and if I did something “wrong” I would burn in hell forever. Because of my fear of doing it “wrong,” of making shameful mistakes, I did not want to take responsibility for my life. Because of my emotional wounds and all of the anger and rage I was suppressing, I was powerless to do anything but react to life. I reacted to expectations by passive aggressively sabotaging myself. I rebelled against society’s standards in ways that hurt me.

I did not trust myself for good reasons – because of the reactive way I was living my life. I did not want to take responsibility for my life, for my choices and the consequences of those choices, so I set other people up to make the choices. That way I had someone to blame.

Blaming others – or the system or whatever – was a defense. I was stuck in the black and white perspective of the disease.

Being honest with myself emotionally led me to wallowing in self hatred – blaming myself for being unworthy and defective, for being a loser and a failure. Focusing on something or someone outside of me, that I could blame for victimizing me or obsess about because it/she would fix me (relationship, money, success, etc.), was an attempt to avoid having to feel the incredible hole within me – the abyss of wish to die pain and shame, the pressurized Pandora’s box of terror and rage, that I had to keep suppressing and denying. Survival involved using whatever means I could to go unconscious and/or deflect the blame away from me. Unconsciousness was my main tool for protecting and nurturing myself – my only real escape from the emotional extremes spawned by the black and white thinking of codependence.

In my personal journey, I had to encounter the concept that I was not shameful and defective as a being but rather had a disease that I had been powerless over, before I could start to shine some light into the darkness of the abyss within me. Working a 12 step program of recovery taught me that it was necessary – and it worked much better – to take responsibility for my life, for my choices, for the consequences of those choices. Starting to be open to the possibility that perhaps there is a Loving Higher Power, that I wasn’t being punished but was rather being given opportunities for growth – helped me to start letting go of some of the fear of making choices and some of the shame about the consequences I had experienced.

When I got into recovery I was launched into an adventure of discovering and exploring the gray area that is life. I learned that it was possible to take responsibility over behaviors and choices that I had made from a place of powerlessness without taking blame for those experiences. I learned that there were choices in between blaming them or blaming me.

“We need to heal the wounds without blaming others. And we need to own the responsibility without blaming ourselves. . . . We are talking about balance between the emotional and mental here again. Blame has to do with attitudes, with buying into the false beliefs – it does not really have anything to do with the process of releasing the emotional energy.

We also need to own and release the anger against those whom we feel victimized us as adults – and we need to take responsibility for our side of the street, own our part in whatever dysfunctional dance we did with them.

We need to own, honor, and release the feelings, and take responsibility for them – without blaming ourselves.”

I learned that my emotional reactions were being set up by my expectations and perspectives – which in turn were dictated by the definitions, beliefs, and attitudes I was allowing to define my experience of life. I was horrified to discover that my behavior patterns were being driven by, my emotional reactions were set up by, subconscious programming from my childhood.

“Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind – by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality. The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.” – The True Nature of Love-part 4, Energetic Clarity

I started to become empowered to change my relationship with myself and life when I started realizing that I have choices about the beliefs I allow to dictate my relationships. Instead of living life in reaction to old tapes – I could change that programming.

By changing that programming, it was possible for me to start taking responsibility for the areas of my life that I can have some control over, that I do have the power to change – and I could start to let go of trying to control things which I don’t have the power to change.

“I spent most of my life doing the Serenity prayer backwards, that is, trying to change the external things over which I had no control – other people and life events mostly – and taking no responsibility (except shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process – over which I can have some degree of control. Having some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which I have no control is what is dysfunctional. It was very important for me to start learning how to recognize the boundaries of where I ended and other people began, and to start realizing that I can have some control over my internal process in ways that are not shaming and judgmental – that I can stop being the victim of myself.”

The areas over which I do have choices – and therefore also have responsibility – include these:

The timing and manner in which I communicate with others.

The attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that I allow to define me and my relationships.

My own emotions to a great extent. By being willing to change my relationship with my own emotions by changing my intellectual paradigm and becoming willing to face the terror of owning my grief – doing the grief and anger release work that took power away from my old wounds – I have a much greater deal of control over how and when I express myself emotionally. I also gain the ability to let go much more quickly of any expectations or perspectives that are increasing the intensity of my emotional reactions – therefore decreasing the power and magnitude of the emotional energy generated by day to day life events. Owning my power to change my attitudes towards the things which I cannot change (other people and life, being human and having feelings) gives me a degree of healthy control over how I respond emotionally. Our life experience will always include waves that rock our boat. Learning to accept, respond to, and go with the flow of the waves works to help us have more peace and Joy in our lives. Taking the waves personally and reacting out of fear and shame is dysfunctional if our desire is to enjoy life.

I have the choice to align my willpower with recovery so that I can take actions that are aligned with healing and recovery instead of engaging in behavior that empowers the disease. Recovery is a process of learning to take care of ourselves in Loving, healthy ways – of being our own best friend and ally – instead of being allied with, and giving power to, the self destructive reactions of the disease.

The people that I choose to spend time with. That includes family members. I have a choice about rather I have contact with my family of origin. If we don’t own we have a choice then we will feel like a victim of what we think we “have to” do. So, if I choose to spend time with my family (or anyone) knowing they are unhealthy, then I am responsible for the feelings I experience in our interactions – they are not doing something to me. In recovery I have choices – and choices have consequences. It is not a right / wrong, blame / mistake thing – it is about owning my side of the street, my part of the responsibility for the consequences that are manifesting in my life, so that I do not buy into a victim perspective and slip back into the rut of blaming them or blaming me. If I am blaming, then I am not seeing reality clearly within the context of my Spiritual growth process. Consequences are the Universe’s way of giving us feedback so that we can learn to make healthier choices. Consequences are messages from our Higher Power that guide us on our Journey home to Love.

I also have a responsibility to the people I choose to spend time with. I have a responsibility to communicate as clearly and honestly as possible. That does not just mean verbal or written communication. It also means the messages I am conveying by my actions. One of my old patterns was to have an emotional intimate friend who was a woman that I was not attracted to physically / romantically. I would be real clear in telling this person that I was not interested in that type of relationship and that I wanted to just be friends. Then I would feel betrayed when that person let me know that she wanted to be more than just friends. I used to fall back on the excuse that I had told them clearly and therefore I wasn’t responsible for their feelings. I learned that setting a boundary verbally was not enough to absolve me of responsibility of my actions. I was not responsible for their feelings, but in investing time and energy into the relationship, in exposing myself to them emotionally / being intimate with them on an emotional level, I was denying a basic reality of human interaction and setting myself up to feel like a victim. (The belief that our intense emotional hunger and incredibly powerful sexual energies will not come into play in an emotionally intimate relationship between individuals of the opposite sex – or same sex if homosexual – is an insane expectation as unrealistic as expecting everyone to drive the way we want them to. Denial is one extreme – letting our desires rule is the other. The gray area in between is where life takes place, is the arena we are learning to play in.)

Most importantly, I have some control over, and therefore responsibility for, the quality of my life experiences today. The quality of my life experience is directly related to the kind of Spiritual belief system that I choose to empower. By choosing to believe in a Loving Higher Power / Universal Force, I have been able to change my relationship with myself and life into one that is not defined by shame and fear. By choosing to empower the belief that everything happens for a reason in alignment with a Loving Divine plan, that there are no accidents, coincidences, or mistakes, I have accessed the ability to be more Loving to my self. To – some of the time – be accepting and patient and compassionate towards my human self. By choosing to have the faith to believe that there is a Loving meaning and purpose to life – despite all the seeming evidence to the contrary – I have dramatically changed the quality of my life experience from a hell to be endured to one that includes a great deal of Joy.

“One of the ironies of this whole business is something that physicists have learned from quantum physics. They have learned that the physical world is made up of energy fields that are temporary manifestations of energy interactions. All of the energy fields of the physical world are temporary. Some last for fractions of a second, some last for billions of years – but they are all temporary illusions.

This means that the Truest reality in the physical world is in the interaction. It is in our interactions that we can access Truth and Joy and Love. In other words it is in our relationships.

The most real thing here, the place where the highest Truth exists, is in the interactions: in our relationships. Our relationship with ourselves is a reflection of our relationship with our Creator, with the Great Spirit. And our relationship with ourselves is reflected out into our relationship with everyone and everything in our environment.

Spirituality is about relationships. God exists in the quality of our relationships.

When I look at a beautiful sunset – I am a temporary illusion and the sunset is also a temporary illusion – the most real, God-like quality is the energy of Beauty and Joy that I allow myself to access by being open and willing to experience the sunset. If I am caught up in one of my ego’s “trauma dramas,” then I will not be conscious of the sunset or open to experiencing the Joy and Beauty of the moment.

A very important part of this healing process is taking time to smell the flowers. Our job is to be here in the now and to do this healing.

I spent most of my life trying to become – perfect, loved, accepted, respected, etc., etc. It did not work because I was looking outside for something that can only be found within.

Now I know that I am not in control of this process and that what I am becoming is in the hands of a Loving (although somewhat slow-working) Great Spirit. I do not have to worry anymore about becoming – all I have to do is be. I just have to suit up and show up for life today and do what is in front of me. And everything will work out better than I could ever have planned it.”

Of course, we only have choices once we become aware that we have choices, and we can only start responding to life instead of reacting by being in recovery and doing the emotional healing. Our growth process evolves over time, and as we reach new levels we become empowered to have more choices. These are areas that we are learning to take responsibility for – not right and wrong standards to judge ourselves by. The disease will always take any new awareness on our part and try to turn it into something we can judge and shame ourselves for – it is important to own that we are in process making progress and to defend ourselves from the critical parent voice.

“It is necessary and healthy to take responsibility for our choices, to accept our consequences, and to try to make healthy decisions on a human level. Integration and balance involves a process of learning to accept healthy responsibility on a human level at the same time that we know we are being guided by a Loving Spiritual Force.”” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 4 Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1

This is the fourth in a series of articles on Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility that I wrote in 2001 – 15 years ago, Wow. The first was Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility  The next two I have already published on this Blog: Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 2 – Uncover, Discover, Recover by learning boundaries and Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 3 ~ Setting Personal Boundaries – protecting self 

I will publishing a blog of Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 5: Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2 next week – however if someone wants to read it on my website here is a link to it.

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page) really help people take their understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth. I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

 

 

Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light ~ Chapter 29 True Self Worth

The Dance

“As long as we look outside of Self – with a capital S – to find out who we are, to define ourselves and give us self-worth, we are setting ourselves up to be victims.

We were taught to look outside of ourselves – to people, places, and things; to money, property, and prestige – for fulfillment and happiness.  It does not work, it is dysfunctional.  We cannot fill the hole within with anything outside of Self.

You can get all the money, property, and prestige in the world, have everyone in the world adore you, but if you are not at peace within, if you don’t Love and accept yourself, none of it will work to make you Truly happy.

When we look outside for self-definition and self-worth, we are giving power away and setting ourselves up to be victims.  We are trained to be victims.  We are taught to give our power away.”

“As was stated earlier, Codependence could more accurately be called outer or external dependence. Outside influences (people, places, and things; money, property, and prestige) or external manifestations (looks, talent, intelligence) can not fill the hole within. They can distract us and make us feel better temporarily but they cannot address the core issue – they cannot fulfill us Spiritually. They can give us ego-strength but they cannot give us self-worth.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

On the question and answer pages of my original web site someone asked me for my opinion about an article on the internet where a marriage counselor contends that the codependency movement is ruining marriages.  What he wrote was so codependent that it was a perfect example of codependency.

He stated that self esteem is based on what we do.  He actually stated in this article, “If I can’t do anything, I’m certain I’d have no reason to have self-esteem.”   (What started as my reply to this article is now the first chapter of the online book: Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life  Chapter 1 The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!)

This is a great example of the dysfunction of codependence.  Anyone who feels they have to be productive to feel good about themselves, is set up to feel like a victim when they aren’t productive.  If this guy were to get sick, or when he gets old, he has no reason to feel good about himself.  When someone determines their self worth by what they do, they are being codependent.

I have found it important and helpful in my work to draw a clear boundary between what I call ego strength and self worth.   Ego strength is obtained externally.  We were taught in this society – as in any codependent culture – to look outside to define ourselves and give us a feeling of worth.  We have worth if we are better than others.  We are validated in comparison to others, for being: smarter than, richer than, prettier than, more talented than, having better grades than, etc., etc.  This empowers the illusion of separation and feeds the fear of not being good enough.  Everyone in a codependent society has to have someone to look down upon in order to feel good about themselves.

Ego strength is not a bad thing, just as being productive or pretty or smart are not bad things.  It is just dysfunctional if we base our self worth on these external sources.  All external manifestations are potentially temporary.  If we base our relationship with our own worth on temporary conditions we are setting ourselves up to be a victim of change, of aging, of being human.  That makes such a dynamic dysfunctional in the long run.

My Spiritual belief system is based upon the belief that we are connected to everyone and everything.  I believe that we are all extensions of the Great Spirit, children of God, created as a reflection of The Goddess.   I believe – and as I point out in my book, it has now been scientifically proven by quantum physics – that we are all ONE energy.  That we are all connected to each other, to our planet, to everything in our environment, on higher vibrational levels.  The highest vibrational energy exists in a state of eternal bliss and perfect harmony – always has, always will.  That highest vibration level – which I call LOVE – is our True home.  We are extensions, manifestations, of what I call the Holy Mother Source Energy – experiencing an illusion of reality that exists at lower vibrational frequencies.  We are here in human body going to boarding school, and are evolving back to consciousness of our True Self – are going to get to go home.

As I said in my last article, it is certainly not necessary for you to agree with my Spiritual beliefs in order to apply the inner child healing paradigm I share in these articles.  It is however, very important to choose a belief for yourself that allows for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you are inherently Lovable and worthy.  It is an invaluable aid in starting to remove the toxic shame about being human from our relationship with self and life.

We learned to relate to ourselves, to life, to other people, in early childhood from people who were wounded in their childhoods.  Toxic shame about being human – being imperfect, making mistakes, being emotional, being sexual, being female, etc. – has been passed down from generation to generation.

Toxic shame is the enemy.  It is an enemy that we do not defeat by fighting – although it is vitally important to develop an internal defense attorney to set boundaries with the critical parent / disease voice within so that we can change our ego programming.

The way we defeat this enemy is with Love.  By learning to be more loving to our self and accepting of our humanity, we can start to access our True nature and purpose, our True Self.

In my belief, who we really are is: Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  It is a belief that serves me.  It helps me to be more Loving to myself and have healthier relationships with others.  It is a source of real Self worth that is not temporary or based on external sources.  We were taught to make other people, success, external sources our Higher Powers that determine if we have worth.  We were taught to worship false gods – to be too attached to the illusion.

Recovery is a process of recognizing that we are powerless out of ego-self to control life – while at the same time learning to access all the power in the Universe through our connection to Spiritual Self.  Doing the inner child healing work is the way to clear our inner channel so that we can tune into the higher vibrational emotional energy of Love.  Love is the answer.  Love is the key to True self worth.

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

This is Chapter 29 from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance)

Joy to You & Me Enterprises & Robert Burney are very proud and happy to announce the production of an Audiobook of Robert Burney’s Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

For a limited time this 8 hrs and 59 mins Unabridged Audiobook  (normally $19.95)  will be given free to anyone who purchases the Paperback version of Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing which is being offered for $7.95 off of the retail price.  Buy Inner Child Healing book get audiobook for free.

When you purchase Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com or  Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Available in eBook format from Amazon or Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is part of a pay to view section of my site called Dancing in Light.   A subscription to that pay to view section is available for sale on this special sale page.

Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light ~ Author’s Foreword (a history of my relationship with writing)

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

Author’s Foreword from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance

“Truth, in my understanding, is not an intellectual concept.  I believe that Truth is an emotional-energy, vibrational communication to my consciousness, to my soul/spirit – my being, from my Soul.  Truth is an emotion, something that I feel within.

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

It is that feeling within when someone says, or writes, or sings, something in just the right words so that I suddenly feel a deeper understanding.  It is that “AHA” feeling.  The feeling of a light bulb going on in my head.  That “Oh, I get it!” feeling.  The intuitive feeling when something just feels right . . . or wrong.  It’s that gut feeling, the feeling in my heart.  It is the feeling of something resonating within me.  The feeling of remembering something that I had forgotten – but do not remember ever knowing.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

In my life, and especially in my recovery which began on January 3rd 1984, I have had moments of insight – intuitive messages – that in my memory are like fuzzy snap shots of where I was at the moment of the insight or message.  The earliest one which I remember occurred when I was a teenager.  It must have been when I was a sophomore or junior in high school because the message came as I was walking down a street in Souix City Iowa where I went to a dentist who kept braces on my teeth for 5 years.  The message that I got that day – the memory of the future that came to me – was that I was going to write a book of Truth someday.  At the time, I had no idea where the thought had come from – or any idea of what Truth was – so I dismissed it, but never forgot it.

Through the years that followed, I would sometimes say that I wanted to be a writer – even formally stated that was one the reasons I was quitting a job with the Civil Service and moving to Hollywood California in 1975 – but I didn’t do any writing.  When I moved to Hollywood, I started taking acting classes and pursuing an acting career – but would occasionally make a half hearted attempt to do some writing.  I had such a huge resistance to writing that I thought I hated it.

I didn’t actually start forcing myself to write until the fall of 1988.  That year, my fifth year in recovery from alcoholism, I had gone through a 30 day treatment program for codependence.  The healing that I learned to do there – especially the deep grief work – and messages I received during and at the end of the 30 days and through that summer – led me to believe that I was to be a messenger for what I was beginning to believe was Truth (with a capital T.)  That I was in fact meant to stand up in public and state my Truth even if the whole world thought I was crazy.

The first project that I started working on was what I called a Mystical, Magical, Adult Fable about the history of the Universe.  I called it The Dance of Wounded Souls Trilogy  Book 1 In the beginning.   It actually started with the phrase “Once upon a time.”  The writing I did for that book is available on my website.  It is a book that I haven’t finished, and that I don’t believe I will ever finish.  The purpose of the writing I did for that book was to enlarge my perspective so that I could better understand the condition of codependence and develop a more Loving relationship with my self.

In the next couple of years I was focusing on doing my inner child healing / codependency recovery and intermittently working on this Adult Fairy Tale without ever really knowing what I was going to do with it.  I don’t think I ever really considered that it would be published – I just knew I was seeing things in a larger perspective that was helping me to start overcoming my programming from childhood that told me that it was sinful and shameful to be human.

Then in the winter and spring of 1991 – as the codependence movement was becoming widely known in our society – I was asked to speak in some different places about codependence.  In those speaking engagement something kind of magical happened – in that the the work I was doing on my inner child healing, and the things I was learning in writing the Adult Fable, suddenly came together.  I was quite surprised by this as I thought the writing I was doing was much too “far out” to share with the general public.

What I realized because of these speaking engagements, was that there was a message coming through me that I needed to explore further.  I set dates for giving a talk in June of 1991 on the Central Coast of California where I was living at the time.  Then after setting the dates I found it impossible to write that talk.  The message that I wanted to share with people was multi leveled and non linear and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to structure it.  As the date for the first talk approached I became increasingly anxious and desperate to figure out how to convey this message that I felt I was meant to share with people.  Finally in fit of desperation I wrote almost continually for the last 48 hours before I gave that talk.  When I got up to give that talk that first time it was in longhand on yellow legal pages – and I was terrified of what the reaction was going to be from the audience.

That talk on June 16th 1991 was the birth of my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.   The basic structure came during that desperate 48 hours of writing.  It evolved and expanded in the coming years as I kept revising and giving the talk, but when I was able to publish it in late 1995 it was a direct result of desperately writing to meet a deadline.

So, I had published my “book of Truth” – and though it was definitely my writing, my words, my perspectives, my book – it has never really felt like something that I decided to sit down and plan out and write.  It wasn’t like something I had created out of my self – but instead something that I had been guided to create out of my Self in my quest to heal my self.

After publishing The Dance, I started writing a monthly column (first for a new age newspaper in San Luis Obispo California and then later for a recovery Newspaper in Texas and finally for an online directory.)  I still resisted writing and was usually only able to do it because I had a deadline.

In February 1998 – after being urged, nagged, and pushed by a friend – I started my first crude website.  I then wrote some articles for that site – although most of them were directly the result of articles I had written on deadlines.  In February 1999, I launched Joy2MeU.com and shortly after that found that the costs of starting the website and the loss of some clients suddenly put me in a position where I had to give up the place I as living.  For 6 months I was living either in my office, or crashing on friends couches.  It was during that time that I started the Joy2MeU Journal.  The Joy2MeU Journal was a subscription area of my site that I started with the intention of publishing my next books since I didn’t have the financing available to do them any other way.  It however turned into something quite different and ended up being a place where I shared writing about my recovery journey and a person journal in which I shared the process writing of my growth process – as well as some of my more controversial and far out metaphysical writings.

It was in writing for that Journal in the summer of 1999 that I first wrote a draft of several chapters of this book: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light.  I didn’t get very far with writing this book before I got caught up in other writing projects.  What I came to find out is that I didn’t hate writing – what I hated was getting started on writing something new.  Once I got started I would get into what I called a writing frenzy and write for days and weeks on whatever it was that had sparked the initial writing.

I had done a lot of writing for the Journal and my website through the rest of 99 and the beginning of 2000.  But starting in September of 2000, when a gift from someone who loved my book allowed me to get moved back to the small town of Cambria where I could live comfortably in a little garage apartment, the writing really exploded for me.  I would start on a project and be consumed by it for weeks – often rising at 1 or 2 am to write for 10 or 12 hours.  I would start out writing an article on some topic that had been brought to my attention by the Universe or other people, and it would turn into a 5 part or 9 part or whatever series of articles or online book.

In September of 2001 my goal was to get back to working on Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light as the follow up book to The Dance.  This was my process level – how to – book about the inner child healing approach that I developed in my recovery.  I was having great resistance – as usual – to getting back into writing this book, and then on September 11th I woke up to TV coverage of the World Trade Center collapsing.  I immediately understood that the reason for my resistance right then was that there was something else that needed to be written first.  I was off an running with an online book about what I saw as a blatant manifestation of the human condition of codependency.  I had finished writing Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective (which I started publishing online on 9/23/01) in early 2002 and shortly after was off and running on a new online book that I hope to publish at some point that will be Codependency Recovery: Dancing in The Light Book 2.

From 1999 through 2005 I wrote millions of words (at least 5,000,000, probably more) that were published on my website and elsewhere.  I continued writing an online column for the Internet Directory until October 2005.  The columns that I wrote – first for newspapers and then for the directory – were short articles (supposed to be 1000 words but probably averaging more like 1200 since once I start writing I have a hard time stopping;-) written on a deadline.   The many articles I wrote for my Joy2MeU.com were much longer and mostly the result of a writing frenzy in which I was compelled to write.  All of the things I wrote were perfectly timed to be part of my healing / recovery process as I was transitioning from writing theoretically to actually living what I was writing about.

My personal inner child healing has been so successful that I have gone from living in isolation with a relationship phobia and a terror of intimacy to celebrating the 6th anniversary (June 15th 2011) of living with someone in an intimate relationship (that became a marriage in January 2011) that has included the precious gift of being the primary caregiver in raising an amazing little boy for the past 5 plus years (my wife’s grandson who is now 6 1/2.)   As a result I don’t have time to write much these days – and haven’t for the last 4 to 5 years.

So, once again I am publishing a book that is not the result of sitting down and planning and writing according to that plan.  This book is a compilation of writings from my website.  I have built this book around a 23 articles series that I wrote for that internet directory (although many of those article were based upon or grew out of articles and web pages published previously on Joy2MeU.com.)  To those 23 articles (some of which I have added to or expanded upon herein) I have added 8 of my web articles, an excerpt from one of my online books, and a handout I use in the Intensive Training Workshops that I have been offering since April 2006.  The 23 articles were around 27,000 words – while the additional material added another 35,000 or so words to this book.

Part of the reason that I was able to write so much for the internet is that it proved to be a format that really worked for me.  I discovered and developed my own style of writing for the internet that some people don’t like much but that I am quite fond of myself.  Because I wrote these articles so that they could be understood by someone who just happened upon any particular page of my site – there is a lot of repetition of certain phrases or explanations.  This is something else that some people find irritating – but which I feel really works for codependents.  I have said for years that it is not possible to tell a codependent too many times that it wasn’t their fault.  Repeating certain things is what it takes to get it to sink in for many of us.  The programming is so insidious and powerful that often we need to read something a number times before that light bulb goes on – the “Oh I get it” – moment of intuitive understanding.

So, there is some repetition.  Some of the articles are quoted in other articles.  Every articles contains at least one quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (these are all in italics) – and so some of those quotes are repeated a number of times.

There are so many levels and aspects to this process that – though the chapters are in a certain order – it is not necessary to read them in that order.  It might be better for some people to jump around to the chapter headings that catch their attention.  If for instance, you want to better understand my definition of spirituality – you might want to read chapter 28 first.  You might want to read chapter 35 about Co-Creation or Chapter 27 about grieving depending on where you are at in your recovery process today.  Almost all of them, as I mentioned, were written to stand alone – so it is possible to jump around between chapters if your Spirit moves you to do that.  There is no right and wrong when it comes to doing recovery – or to reading this book.  The important thing is to be “doing” recovery – that is, taking action to change your attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors so that you can stop being trapped in relating to your self, life, and other people out of the childhood emotional wounds and intellectual programming.

In my writing in this book, I am sharing my experience, strength, and hope.  I hope that you will find it valuable in your recovery.” – Author’s Foreword from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) by Robert Burney

The beginning chapters of  The Dance of Wounded Souls Trilogy  Book 1 In the beginning are online – and the prologue does start “Once upon a time.”

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Joy2MeU Journal

The Joy2MeU Journal is a subscription area of my site that includes the Magical, Mystical, Adult Spiritual Fable that I call the Trilogy as well as the Attack on America online book.

Dancing in Light is another subscription area that includes the Attack on America book as well as Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 2:  A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life (which actually started as an answer to a web article by a very codependent marriage counselor who claims that The codependency movement was ruining marriages) 

Special offers for either / or both subscription areas of my site are on the special sale page.

This Author’s Foreword is not included in the audio book version of Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing which is being published in a matter of days.

The Adult Fable that I call the Trilogy is actually different from The Wounded Souls Trilogy:  That Trilogy (unlike the Trilogy Book 1 which will never be finished let alone have two books follow it) includes Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls A Cosmic Perspective on Codependence and the Human ConditionCodependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing, and Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life (in the online subscription area.)

When you purchase Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com or  Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Available in eBook format from Amazon or Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light ~ Chapter 1 Introduction to Inner Child Healing

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance)

“One of the reasons for the human dilemma, for the confusion that humans have felt about the meaning and purpose of life, is that more than one level of reality comes into play in the experience of being human.  Trying to apply the Truth of one level to the experience of another has caused humans to become very confused and twisted in our perspective of the human experience.  It is kind of like the difference between playing the one-dimensional chess that we are familiar with, and the three-dimensional chess played by the characters of Star Trek – they are two completely different games.

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

That is the human dilemma – we have been playing the game with the wrong set of rules.  With rules that do not work.  With rules that are dysfunctional.” – Author’s Foreword, quotes in this color from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

This book is about healing.  It contains tools, techniques, and insights into the healing process that work in a powerful, effective way to change the quality of the individuals life experience for the better.  They work because they help the individual to align with the way life really works instead of expecting it to be something which it is not.

The approach to healing detailed on these pages is one which has evolved in my personal recovery since January 3, 1984 and in my counseling practice since 1990.  I have been guided to discover and develop an approach to inner child healing that offers a powerful, life-changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional experience of life – a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life.

My work is firmly grounded on twelve step recovery principles and emotional energy release / grief process therapy.   I specialize in teaching individuals how to become empowered to have internal boundaries so they can learn to relax and enjoy life in the moment while healing.  It is the unique approach and application of the concept of internal boundaries, coupled with a Loving Spiritual belief system, that makes the work so innovative and effective.

My belief is that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience and that the key to healing (and integrating Spiritual Truth into our emotional experience of life) is fully awakening to our Spiritual connection through intellectual reprogramming, emotional honesty, grief processing, and inner child work.   It is not necessary to agree with my Spiritual beliefs to apply the approach I share on these pages to help you transform your experience of life into an easier, more Loving and enjoyable journey.  I consider Spirituality to be a word that describes one’s relationship with life – and anyone, regardless of religious belief or lack of it (who is not completely closed minded), can benefit from doing this work.

The wounding that needs to be healed is the result of being raised in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile (based upon belief in separation rather than connection) environment by parents who were raised in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile environments.  The disease which afflicts us is a generational disease that is the human condition as we have inherited it.  Our parents did not know how to be emotionally healthy or how to truly Love themselves.  So there is no way that we could have learned those things from them.

We formed our core relationship with ourselves in early childhood and then built our relationship with ourselves on that foundation.  We have lived life reacting to the wounds that we suffered – and the programming we integrated – in early childhood.  Living life in reaction to old wounds and old tapes is dysfunctional – it does not work to help us find some happiness and fulfillment in life.

The approach that is detailed on these pages does work.  It works to help the individual being learn to relax and enjoy life in the moment.  It works because it entails healing the wounds from the inside out – it is focused on changing our core relationship with ourselves.  Once an individual starts loving, honoring, and respecting her/him self more on a core level, everything on the outside changes.  External manifestation such as setting boundaries, seeing life and other people more clearly, letting go of trying to control and the worrying that accompanies those attempts, stopping the victimization, etc., start becoming more automatic and intuitive.

“It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child’s experiences, honor that child’s feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.”

There are a multitude of teachers, books, churches, etc., these days that are telling us that we need to learn to love themselves – but no one really tells us how to do that.  Learn to Love your self.  Easy to say, hard to do.  Love is like faith, in that both are pretty meaningless as intellectual concepts.  Love is a verb.  Verbs are about action.  Learning how to be more Loving in how we treat our self is the challenge.

The approach to healing detailed in this book is a formula that can help people learn to be more Loving to them self.  We learned how to relate to self, to life, and to other people in early childhood from people who were wounded in their childhoods.  We have been reacting to the intellectual programming and emotional wounds of our childhood ever since then.  In order to change our relationship with self and life, it is necessary to change the subconscious and conscious programming that is causing our relationship with self and life to be dysfunctional.  In order to start having some peace within us, it is necessary to be healing our emotional wounds and to stop our minds from being our own worst enemy.

The approach to inner child / emotional healing shared herein is the missing piece – the missing perspective – of the puzzle of life that so many people have been seeking.  It is a formula for integrating intellectual knowledge and spiritual Truth into one’s emotional relationship with life.   It is the key to learning how to be more Loving to your self – and to turning life into an adventure to be experienced instead of an ordeal of suffering to be endured.

It is possible to feel the feelings without being the victim of them or victimizing other’s with them.  It is possible to change the way you think so that your mind is no longer your worst enemy.  It is possible to become empowered to have choices in life at the same time you are letting go of trying to be in control.  Life can be an exciting, enjoyable adventure if you stop reacting to it out of your childhood emotional wounds and attitudes.

The tools and techniques, insights and beliefs, set out in this book work.  They work to support the idea that each and every one of us is Lovable and worthy.  They work to help change life from an unbearable ordeal to a often enjoyable adventure.  Try it – you might find it works for you also.” – Chapter 1 Introduction to Inner Child Healing from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) by Robert Burney

When you purchase Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com or  Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Available as eBook from Amazon or Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble or Kobo ereaders

Special offers available for Dancing in The Light plus Telephone / Skype Counseling.

An audio book version of Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) is available on  Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

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Chapter 12 of The Greatest Arena – Partners in the Journey “My issues are my responsibility”

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“It is through healing our inner child, our inner children, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behavior pattern

That does not mean that the wounds will ever be completely healed.  There will always be a tender spot, a painful place within us due to the experiences that we have had.  What it does mean is that we can take the power away from those wounds.   By bringing them out of the darkness into the Light, by releasing the energy, we can heal them enough so that they do not have the power to dictate how we live our lives today.  We can heal them enough to change the quality of our lives dramatically.  We can heal them enough to Truly be happy, Joyous and free in the moment most of the time.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

A healthy romantic relationship is about two whole, independent people choosing to become partners in the life journey for as long as that works for both of them.  This is, of course, a theoretical concept.  Because of the cultural dysfunction and emotional trauma all of us have experienced due to the human condition, we are never, in this lifetime, going to be a completely healthy person with no emotional wounds – and we are never going to meet someone else that has no emotional wounds.

The goal is to be in the process of healing and to choose a partner who is also in the process of healing.  Then we have the opportunity to achieve some True emotional intimacy and to have some companionship on our journey.  The person who can support us in our journey is also going to be the teacher we need to push our buttons so that we can bring to Light the emotional wounds that need to be healed and the subconscious programming that needs to be changed.

If we expect a romantic relationship to “fix” us so that we can live happily-ever-after then we are setting ourselves up to be victims.  If we define a successful relationship as one that lasts forever and meets all of our needs then we will end up blaming ourselves or the other person when that insane expectation is not met. (That a relationship could last for the rest of our lives is not an insane expectation – that someone else can meet all of our needs, all of the time, is – but if we believe that longevity is the only way a relationship can be successful we are setting ourselves up to sabotage the relationship and not appreciate the gifts we are receiving in the now.)

It is vitally important to make healing and Spiritual growth our number one priority so that we can look to the other person for help and support – not expect them to rescue us and give us self worth.  Healing is an inside job.   My issues are my responsibility to work through, it is not the other persons job to compromise her self to accommodate my fears and insecurities.  If I am choosing wisely when I enter into a relationship then I will choose someone who will be compassionate, patient, and supportive of me while I work through my issues.

And no matter how wisely I choose, or how much healing and recovery the other person has had, she will still be a human being with her own issues to work through so she will not always be able to be compassionate, patient, and supportive.  For one person to expect another to always be there for them, to always have the space and time to be available to us, is an insane expectation.

We do want to choose someone who is willing to work through issues.  When another person is willing to do the work with us, a relationship can be an incredibly nurturing, magical space to explore what True Love means – some of the time.  It can not be that all of the time.  There might be periods of time – days, weeks, even months – where things are going beautifully and it feels like we may have reached happily-ever-after.  But then things will change and get different.  That is how the life process works – it will not be someone’s fault.  It will be a new opportunity for growth for both people.

Two people who are working through their issues and are willing to do the grief work, can turn an argument about some stupid, mundane life event into some mutual deep grieving.  That is True emotional intimacy.

When we are willing to own our power to be the neutral observer who can see our responsibility in whatever is happening without shame and judgment, and can also have the courage and willingness to hold the other person responsible for their behavior without shame and judgment – then the magic can really happen.

Two people who have negotiated some guidelines to help them in times when they are vulnerable and reactive – can transform an argument about some symptom into an opportunity to heal some core wounding.

The way that can look is:  an argument/disagreement starts about some behavior that is upsetting (someone is late, or forgets something that is important to the other, or says something in an insensitive way, etc.);  at some point one of the individuals says “Time out.  I think I might be reacting to some old stuff.”;  The other person backs off the argument enough to say “How old are you feeling?”;  etc.  Two people who have created the space to do this can then get down to the cause underneath the reaction, which might be something like:  one person is reacting out of the child inside who never felt important, respected, or heard – while the other person is reacting out of the inner child who was always being criticized and given the message that there was something wrong with them.  At that point, they are dealing with the core cause of the reaction not the symptomatic behavior.  They can achieve a place of True emotional honesty and intimacy where they can get in touch with their individual wounds and grieve together.  That is the kind of emotional intimacy which can form a very deep bond and be Joyously healing for both people.

To be willing to be conscious and emotionally honest with ourselves is a courageous act of faith that will allow us to progressively increase the number of moments in each day that we have the ability and freedom to be happy and Joyous in the now.  To find another being who is willing to join us in this adventure, and to explore True emotional intimacy with us, is a priceless gift to be cherished and treasured.” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 12 – Partners in the Journey

If you live in Southern California and want to learn how to do relationships in a healthier way it would be really helpful for you to come to my Intensive Training Day workshop.   If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, this workshop can help you understand your patterns and fear of intimacy so that you can make better choices the next time you venture into the Romantic Arena. If you are in a relationship and find your self having problems with communicating and reactions – then it would be very helpful for you to come to my workshop together.  I have posted a page with special offers for my February 15th workshop.

If you don’t live in this area, there is a MP3 recording of my workshop that you can download.

Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon  and on Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book.

Chapter 10 of The Greatest Arena – Communication is Key “What did you just hear me say?”

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“If we are reacting out of what our emotional truth was when we were five or nine or fourteen, then we are not capable of responding appropriately to what is happening in the moment; we are not being in the now.

When we are reacting out of old tapes based on attitudes and beliefs that are false or distorted, then our feelings cannot be trusted.

When we are reacting out of our childhood emotional wounds, then what we are feeling may have very little to do with the situation we are in or with the people with whom we are dealing in the moment.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The single most important component in a healthy relationship is the ability to communicate.  If two people have the capacity to communicate with each other, then any issue can be worked through to some kind of clarity.

For the purpose of this discussion I am going to divide communication into two levels: surface communication having to do with ideas, facts, details, concepts, etc. – and emotional communication.  In reality, of course, all communication contains aspects of both levels – and in relationship, the emotional level is by far the most important and most difficult.

In terms of surface communication, it is very important to establish a common language.  And I am not talking here about one person speaking English and one speaking French.  I am talking about two people who speak the same language linguistically but have different interpretations of various words due to a variety of factors – i.e. raised in different geographic, religious, or cultural environments, different educational or economic levels, different life experiences, etc.  Two people who are on Spiritual paths might speak a different language because one has been involved in Twelve Step Recovery while another has been pursuing a Shamanistic path or Buddhist or whatever.

It is very important, right from the beginning of the relationship to strive for clarity in communication.  The single most useful tool is simply to ask.  “How do you define that word?” or “What did you just hear me say?”  Very often, you will find that what the other person heard was not what you were attempting to convey.  Attempting to clarify and develop a common language lays a good foundation for further communication.

It is also vital to recognize that certain words are emotional trigger words.

“One of the greatest blocks to communication is that some words are emotionally charged.  They are words that trigger an automatic emotional reaction within us.  To use a trigger word in an argument – a word such as “controlling” or “manipulative” – can turn a discussion into a battle instantly.  When someone flings a trigger word at us, or we at them, it is like we have just shot an arrow into them.  It usually causes them to go on the defensive and start flinging some arrows back at us – or perhaps go into some other defensive mode, such as crying or walking out.

Using trigger words blocks communication.  And we usually use them consciously (although we certainly may not be honest enough to admit it at the time – or even later, depending on the level of our recovery.)  We use them in reaction – because we have been hurt or are scared, because we are trying manipulate and control the other person.  (Using a word like “manipulate” or “control” to describe someone else’s behavior to them, is almost always an attempt to control and manipulate the person we are accusing of that behavior.)

For the purposes of this discussion, what is important is to realize that trigger words fall into realm of cause and effect.  We are born with a certain personality – we are not born with certain words programmed as emotional triggers.  Emotional triggers fall entirely in the province of experience.  We have an emotional charge attached to certain words because of our life experience.  In other words, we have a relationship to that word that is a result of emotional experiences in our life.” – Spirituality for Agnostics and Atheists 

It is really important to identify what each person’s emotional trigger words are in order to be able to communicate – in order to avoid automatic reactions based upon the past.  Old wounds and old tapes cause us to have emotional trigger words and it is vitally important to get conscious of what our own personal ones are so that we can learn to be less reactive – and to get in touch with what our partner’s trigger words are so that we can avoid them when possible.  (i.e. In my early recovery I worked to stop calling myself “stupid” so much and changed it to “silly” because that felt gentler to me.  For my wife however “silly” is a trigger word that feels worse to her than being called stupid.)

In terms of the emotional level of communication, there are many aspects to consider.  I will touch on a symptomatic one here in this article and then expand on the challenges of emotional intimacy in the next Chapter (Chapter 11 – Emotional Honesty Necessary.)

The symptomatic one is something that may seem simple but is actually one that relatively few people in our dysfunctional culture have mastered – the ability to listen.  In order to Truly listen it is necessary to be present – and the difficulty with being present is caused by unhealed emotional wounds.  If we are not able to be emotionally honest with ourselves then it is impossible to be present and comfortable in our own skins in the moment.  Obviously then, we are also incapable of being present with, and emotionally honest with, others.

Listening is far more than just the absence of talking or the appearance of paying attention.  Listening involves more than just hearing the words that another person is saying.  In order to Truly hear what another person is attempting to communicate, it is necessary to be tuned in to what is going on underneath the words.  Communication is only partly about content – just as important in communication are things like body language, eye contact, underlying emotional currents.

When we are present in our bodies in the moment and paying attention it is easy to discern if the other person is really talking to us – as opposed to talking at us, or telling a story.  In the beginning of any relationship, people tell each other stories about their past – it is part of getting to know each other.  What is important is to be able to be present while telling the story.  That involves not just  listening to the other person but also listening to ourselves.

Being present starts with being conscious of ourselves – it involves listening and paying attention to ourselves and our end of the communication.   If I am listening to myself while telling someone a story about my past, I can catch myself when I get to a part of the story that I have creatively embellished over the years.  As we learn and grow, our perspective of our past changes and it is very important to be able to listen to ourselves so that we can catch ourselves in places where we have exaggerated or rationalized something from our past.  One of the important parts of the healing process is telling our story – and if we just regurgitate an old tape by rote we are not being present and paying attention.

If we have the capacity to be present with ourselves while telling our story, that means we also have the capacity to be present with the other person.  I can be in the middle of telling a story and see in the other person’s eyes that they aren’t listening – which gives me the space to stop and ask what is going on.  If I am not present enough to see the other person isn’t listening then I am just talking at that person.  And conversely, if I am conscious I will be able to recognize when that person is talking at me.

Communication involves being able to talk to and listen to – the ability to be present in our bodies in the moment.” –  Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 10 – Communication is Key

If you live in Southern California and want to learn how to do relationships in a healthier way it would be really helpful for you to come to my Intensive Training Day workshop.   If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, this workshop can help you understand your patterns and fear of intimacy so that you can make better choices the next time you venture into the Romantic Arena. If you are in a relationship and find your self having problems with communicating and reactions – then it would be very helpful for you to come to my workshop together.  I have posted a page withspecial offers for my February 15th workshop.

If you don’t live in this area, there is a MP3 recording of my workshop that you can download.

Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon  and on Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book.