The Age of Reason – Darien and the Tooth Fairy

My step grandson / godson Darien turned 7 in November 2011 – and I wrote this in early 2012. 

The age of 7 is a vital milestone in the child developmental process.  Recognizing the significance of this milestone many years ago was a key to me understanding the disease of codependence.

The “age of reason” is actually a phrase that I have heard since childhood – because growing up Catholic it was at the age of reason that one could first take communion.  Basically it means that the part of a child’s brain that understands cause and effect, and logic – and abstract concepts – doesn’t fully develop until around 7.

“The part of a child’s brain that is logical and rational, that understands abstract concepts (like time or death), that can have any kind of an objective perspective on self or life, does not develop until about the age of 7 (the age of reason.)  As little children we were completely ego-centric and magical thinking.” – Reprogramming our dysfunctional ego defenses

In my telephone counseling and my Intensive Training workshops, I have evolved a way of explaining the importance of this that I don’t think I have ever written in quite the way I explain it these days – so I think I will write about this a bit.  It was for me of utmost importance to recognize the significance of how we were affected by our environments in early childhood to not only understand codependence, but even more importantly to be able to start forgiving ourselves for something that wasn’t our fault, for something we had no control over.  And I also want to acknowledge how perfect it is to have had Darien in my life for the last almost 7 years, because I got to watch his developmental process in action in ways that confirmed what I had intuitively come to understand years before.  This story I am going to share has to do with Darien coming into the age of reason.

Prior to 7, we are primarily ego-centric and magical thinking.  Our parents were our Higher Powers – the God and Goddess in our lives – and we had no realistic perspective of them whatsoever.  As we are starting to grow up, we start to understand basic cause and effect – like, when you turn on the light switch the light comes on, the kinds of things I watched Darien discover with delight.  But we can’t understand more abstract concepts.  We are not capable of process thought.  For instance, when we are 3 or 4 or 5, we are not capable of thinking to ourselves, “Wow, Mom must be having a really bad day – that’s why she is yelling at me.”  We just know that Mom is yelling at us.  We do not have the ability to have a perspective that helps us understand that our parents have stress in their lives, or that the ways they are acting may have nothing to do with us.

As I said, we are ego-centric – we are the center of the Universe as far as we know.  We took their behavior, the ways they treated us and the messages we got from them – both direct messages and indirect ones through their role modeling – personally.  We thought what was happening had to do with us – because we weren’t capable of seeing it any other way.

So anything that felt abusive, any kind of deprivation, anything in the environment that was uncomfortable – fighting, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, etc. – we took personally and internalized.  We were the center of our Universe and it felt like the things that were painful and uncomfortable were our fault somehow.  In my inner child work, I got in touch with the reality that by the time I was about 5 I felt ashamed that I wasn’t able to protect my mother from my father – I felt like a failure somehow.  Children are magical thinking.  They feel like they have the power to cause fights, to cause drinking, to cause death even for some of us.

This is where the core of codependence comes from – what I call toxic shame.  The difference between guilt and shame in my definition, is that guilt is about behavior (I did something wrong, I made a mistake) – while shame is about our being (something is wrong with me, I am a mistake.)  It is the place deep inside of us where we feel somehow defective, somehow unlovable and unworthy because our parents were wounded.  They didn’t know how to love themselves or be emotionally healthy – so they could not love us in a healthy way.  They were our Higher Powers so we couldn’t conceive that they weren’t perfect.  We learned how to relate to our self, to life, and to other people in early childhood from people that were wounded in their childhoods.

“”The Family Systems Dynamics research shows that within the family system, children adopt certain roles according to their family dynamics.  Some of these roles are more passive, some are more aggressive, because in the competition for attention and validation within a family system the children must adopt different types of behaviors in order to feel like an individual.” . . .

. . . . It is important to note that we adapt the roles that are best suited to our personalities.  We are, of course, born with a certain personality.  What happens with the roles we adapt in our family dynamic is that we get a twisted, distorted view of who we are as a result of our personality melding with the roles. This is dysfunctional because it causes us to not be able to see ourselves clearly.  As long as we are still reacting to our childhood wounding and old tapes then we cannot get in touch clearly with who we really are.” – Roles In Dysfunctional Families

The feeling that there is something wrong with me – toxic shame – is the foundation that we built our relationship with self on.  It is the foundation of codependence.

Then what happens, is that our ego – which is the part of our being whose job is to help us survive – adapts an emotional and behavioral defense system to help us fit into the rules of our dysfunctional family so that we can survive.  One of a child’s jobs is to manipulate it’s environment in order to survive – so a child will adapt whatever works.  If throwing temper tantrums works;  if crying works;  if being the good child works;  if trying to be invisible is what works;  if being the family clown is what works;  that is what a child will adapt.  Neurological researchers now state that the neural pathways in our brain that relate to relating to other human beings are pretty well set by the time we are four or five years old.

“One of the new links I recently added to my recommend links page is to a great movie: What the Bleep Do We Know!?  It is a movie about quantum physics – and I didn’t just like it because they sounded like they were quoting from my book at times.  It is really quite fascinating stuff.  One of the things that was especially gratifying to me had to do with the neural pathways in the brain.  I have been telling people for quite a few years that it was possible to reprogram the neural pathways in our brains by doing the inner child healing work – but that was an intuitive Knowing on my part.  It was something that I Knew to be Truth – even though I wasn’t real clear on exactly what neural pathways were.  In the movie they have some wonderful animation – that among other things shows how the neural pathways can be programmed either negatively or positively depending upon what attitudes and perspectives a person chooses to empower.” – Update Newsletter December 2004

In childhood we had attitudes and perspectives imposed upon us.  We learned to relate to life out of fear, shame, and scarcity because that was how our parents were programed to relate to life.

Codependence is an ego defense system adapted in early childhood – and after early childhood what we do is add more layers to what is already a dysfunctional system.  It is a dysfunctional defense system because it is based on a lie – the lie being that there is something wrong with who we are, with our being.  There is nothing wrong with who we are – it is our relationship with self (and life and other people) that is all messed up because we did not have the mental capacity to understand that what was happening in our families was not personal.  We did not have the ability to see that our parents were wounded and reacting to their own wounds – they were our Higher Powers.

When we get to be 8 or 9, we start to see the hypocrisy and the lies – but by then our relationship with our self is being dictated by the feeling that we had in early childhood that there was something wrong with who we are as a being.  We are already programmed to feel like it is shameful to be imperfect and to look outside for validation in competition with others.

Darien and The Tooth Fairy

The dilemma Susan and I had recently was – “what should we tell him when something happens to cause him to question if there is a tooth fairy?”  Do we tell him the truth or let him continue with the magical thinking?

It was about a week before Christmas when Darien lost another tooth.  It was his fourth baby tooth that he has lost.  And it happened the same way that the last tooth was lost, in the kid’s klub at the gym.  On the way to the gym that day, I got a foreshadowing of what was to come in a way.  In a reminder that he was at the age of reason, he said on the way to the gym, “How can Santa Claus take toys to every house in the world all in one night?”

I didn’t really answer his question – even though he asked it several more times, because I didn’t want to hurry the process along.  I want to let him reach his own conclusions in his own time, and not lay the truth on him when he wasn’t ready for it.

That night he put his tooth in a box under his pillow for the tooth fairy to take and leave him some money.  But the tooth fairy (that would be me – his grandpa) forgot about the tooth in the box.  So did he.  The next morning as he was getting ready for school, he was brushing his teeth and that reminded me that he had lost the tooth the night before and his grandma didn’t know about it.  Without thinking I said, “Darien lost another tooth yesterday” – and then realized I hadn’t taken care of the tooth.  I headed for his bed while Susan delayed him – and I quickly put a dollar in the box and put it back under the pillow.

But I forgot to take out the tooth!

He was glad to see the dollar but then noticed the tooth.  And then he got mad at me and said something like, “Why did you do that grandpa?”  Then, I think the thought occurred to him that I was the tooth fairy – and it made him angry.  He went into the bathroom and locked the door.  I asked him if he didn’t need help brushing his hair – and he said “I will do it myself.”  We could hear that he was really mad about it.

On the way to school he start asking about it – if I had put the dollar in the box the other times.  I avoided answering the first few times, and then admitted it.  He started crying at the thought that there was no tooth fairy.  Then another thought occurred to him, and he asked, “Do you have my other teeth, because I don’t remember what they looked like?”  I admitted that I did have the other teeth – and he was kind of intrigued by the thought of seeing all of his lost teeth.  Then he started singing jingle bells and was happy for a few moments.

Then another thought occurred to him, and he asked, “Did Grandma tell you to do it?”  I think that he was trying to figure out a way that it wasn’t my fault because he trusts me more than anyone (I have been his primary caretaker for a lot of years now – the one he goes to for nurturing) and he wanted to blame it on grandma.  (His grandma Susan will sometimes accidentally use his tooth brush or eat a snack he was saving – at this very moment Darien is hiding his favorite tooth brushes to make sure Susan doesn’t use them.)  But I didn’t buy into that.  I told him that it was just something that parents did for their kids.  That my mom and dad did it for me.  That I had believed in the tooth fairy too.

He said in a real sad voice, “I believed in the tooth fairy too.”

Then as we were walking from the car to his classroom, he stopped me.  He told me to take the money back – and to tell grandma never to do that again.  And that he would prove there was a tooth fairy.

That afternoon when he got home from school he found the box (which I had taken the tooth out of, and put in 2 dollars) – and exclaimed, “See, I told you there was a tooth fairy.”  But then later on he asked for his teeth – which I did give to him.

So, now he is in kind of an in between place.  He has been confronted with evidence that the tooth fairy didn’t take his teeth, but he is still choosing to believe there is a tooth fairy.

The same thing has kind of happened with Santa Claus.  He had spotted some presents in the top of the closet that he later realized showed up under the tree on Christmas Day.  On Christmas, Susan said something about wanting to take a nap because she hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before – and he says, “Oh I get it.  Santa didn’t bring presents, you guys did it.”

Later in the day, he said something to Susan about it – and she replied something like, “Did you really believe Santa went to all the houses in the world with presents?”  And he went into a defense of Santa that included the compelling evidence, “That he has elves to help him, remember!”

So, he is in between now – seeing things more logically but choosing to keep his magical thinking for now.  It will be interesting to see what happens the next time he loses a tooth.

In the midst of the tooth fairy trauma, Susan said to me, “What do we tell him.  If we keep lying to him he won’t trust us.”  An interesting question that I still am not quite sure about.  I think we have reached kind of a balance right now.  He is still mostly choosing to believe – but he has started to wake up to the fact we – and society – have not been honest with him.  It makes me wonder about a society – a civilization – that is dishonest with us when we are children, which sets us up to live life in a dysfunctional way.

When I am telling people about the dynamics of codependency, I always mention that the ego is not a bad or negative thing in and of itself – it just got programmed really badly.  And the original dysfunctional programming came from fairy tales.

“I will be talking about some different aspects of both intellectual and emotional discernment in coming articles. For this article I want to make a point about how important this process is by using the example of some basic dysfunctional beliefs that are at the foundation of our relationship with life.  These are the beliefs that we learned from the fairy tales we heard in early childhood.

We learned that when we meet our Prince or Princess we will live happily-ever-after.  We got the message that there was a destination to reach in life where we would find a state of being that is happily-ever-after.

That is not true.  It is not the way life works.  You know that now.  As an adult, you consciously and intellectually know that there is no happily-ever-after – if you have ever stopped to think about it.

Unfortunately however, that belief is programmed into our subconscious intellectual paradigm and as such, it determines our perspective of life, of romance, of our self – and thus dictates our emotional relationship with those aspects of our human experience.

We are set up to feel like failures in life, and in romantic relationships, because we do not get to reach happily-ever-after.  We judge and shame ourselves because we haven’t lived up to the fairy tale.  We blame ourselves – or we blame others for this feeling of failure.

This feeling of failure is an illusion based upon a fairy tale.  It is based upon beliefs about life that are not true – that have never been true.  It is part of our subconscious programming and the only way to change it is to change that subconscious programming – and heal the emotional wounds that we have experienced because our dysfunctional relationships with life and romance set us up to feel like failures.

We cannot do that without looking within.  We need to become willing to start shining the light of consciousness into the darkness of our subconscious in order to take power away from that which is in the dark.  Looking outside to find the answers does not work.  It is only by looking within that we can start healing and recovering from the false beliefs that we learned in childhood.” – Intellectual Discernment – focused within

We are set up to expect life to be something it is not in childhood.  To expect romance to be something it is not.

I don’t really have someplace I am going with this.  I just started out to tell the story about Darien and the tooth fairy.  But it really is food for thought how society sets us up to live life in a dysfunctional way by being dishonest with us from the very beginning.   Are we doing children a service when we tell them about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus?  I don’t know.  Just some thoughts that are rattling around here on the first day of January 2012.  I wonder if the Mayan’s told their children fairy tales.  From what I know Native Americans – who I believe had much more functional cultures then we do – told stories that taught values and principles, and I don’t think any of them ended in happily-ever-after.  I wonder where all that dishonesty came from.  Oh well.

Sacred Spiral

In September of 2017, I am in the midst of updating the page that I created years ago to honer my step grandson Darien – to bring people up to date on the latest happenings in my life.  I had forgotten about this passage that I wrote about the Age of Reason and the dysfunctional programming of early childhood – so I decided to turn it into a blog. (Since I haven’t done one here for quite awhile.)  I think it is some really valuable information – and it can help us to forgive our selves when we really look at how we were set up to expect life to be something it is not.  We were just innocent little kids, it wasn’t our fault.

It is Saturday evening September 9th and I hope to have that page updated by tomorrow evening.  I was working on most of the day today in an attempt to make it more Mobile Friendly.  I did a lot of crying today as I went over that page.  Most of it was crying from Joy and Gratitude.  My D-man has brought so much Joy into my life – and I am so Grateful that I got involved with Susan so that I could be there to help raise him.  There was also some grief about how hard things were much of the time – but most of the crying I did today was remembering all the incredible Joy that this blessed Spirit inhabiting Darien’s body has brought into my life. He will be 13 on his next birthday, so there will be some interesting years ahead. 🙂

Here are a couple of quotes from that page.

“Of course, part of the Divine Plan that is unfolding perfectly, was the Soul contract between his Soul and my Soul that we would meet in this lifetime at the time and place that we did in order to learn about Love together.  He is a precious and wonderful blessing in my life and I thank the Goddess for the opportunity to be intimately involved with this beautiful spirit that is Darien.  ~ Robert 8/20/09”

“One of the things that touched me the most, was one day when we were laying on the couch as I was trying to get him to take a nap. He started digging in my back pockets and trying to take out some flyers for my workshop that I keep there in case I meet someone who might be interested. After telling him to cut it out a few times – because he does like to stall going to sleep – and him persisting, I finally let him take some of my folded up flyers and he looks at it and says, “It’s you!” (Since my picture is on it.) And then out of nowhere he gushes – gushes is the only accurate word for his tone of voice and emotional content. “I Love you! You do this for the whole world.” It felt as if his Spirit was speaking to me. I don’t know where a little 4 year old kid could come up with that kind of idea, but it didn’t feel like a little kid talking to me – I got emotional then, and I am getting emotional now as I write about it. It was one of the most touching and beautiful positive affirmations anyone has ever given me.”

” Just reminded me of something that happened a few months ago with my step grandson Darien. He will be 6 in November – and he and I have this powerful connection to each other (even look alike though there is not blood relationship.) One day he was asking questions about various things like he does (wants to know everything) and talking about when he was a baby because of a picture of him on the wall. I told him that the first time I met him (he was about 3 or 4 months old) that he cried (Susan thought it was because my deep voice scared him) – and he says, “From Joy?” It was a mind blower to me that a 5 year old understood that it was possible to cry from Joy – and that that was his assumption about what he would have felt the first time we met. :-)” – from A page dedicated to – and for – Darien

*BookCoverLightsm

It is Darien’s picture on the cover of my second book:  Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing

It is possible to get personally autographed copies of my books from my website  or You can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon or eBooks thru Kobo.  

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The Totem Animals of the Medicine Cards

One of the very valuable tools in my recovery – as I say in this quote from my book – was the Medicine Cards.

The Dance

“When I was willing to hear and see the messages – and take action based upon them – I began to discover the Truth around me.  There were certain books of Truth that I was led to that were especially important in my consciousness raising, in my Recovery process.  I am now going to quote a story from one of those books which means a lot to me.  It is a story from a book called Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson.  This book deals with the Medicine Wheel, and the totem animals of the Medicine Wheel Spiritual beliefs of certain Native American tribes.” – All text in this color are quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Though I don’t actually use the cards themselves in my life very often now, the totem animals – and the messages that they symbolically represent – are still very important to me.  Those totem animals have been a factor in the calendars I have selected each year for many years.  When I lived in Taos New Mexico, I was able to get a calendar that had different animals of the Rocky Mountain Region for each month – and most of those animals were totems in the Medicine Cards, and thus would give me a message / theme to focus on for the month.  Once I moved back to California, it became difficult to find that type of calendar – and for several years I chose calendars that had one of my totems – the wolf – on them.  In this quote from my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal – in which I am talking about my relationship with a male friend during some processing I was doing about my relationships with other males – I mention the significance of calendars in my recovery experience.

“When we communicate by e-mail about golf, I call him Arnie (as in Palmer) and he calls me Tiger (as in Woods.)  In my replies, I found myself referring to myself as Tigger.   I believe I mentioned some place in my writing, how a couple of years ago, when it came time to buy a new calendar, I bought a Winnie the Pooh one.  The year before (I believe it was 1999) had been pretty rough, and I wanted to get a new calendar and mouse pad that was somewhat frivolous.  For several years I had gotten a wolf calendar to go along with a wolf mouse pad.  Wolf is one of my totems in the Medicine Cards – and symbolizes the Teacher.  The first line in the Medicine Card book about the Wolf is “Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan to teach and share medicine.”  Pretty appropriate for the role I seem to be playing in this lifetime.  Also, wolves mate for life – a connection to my romantic fantasy issues. 

While shopping for a calendar for 2000, I decided that, though wolf is a powerful totem for me that I honor and affirm, it was perhaps a bit too serious a theme for the coming year.  I decided I wanted to affirm “lightening up” for the coming year – put out a request to the Universe for a year without quite so many difficult opportunities for growth.  When I found the Winnie the Pooh calendar, it seemed to be a perfect symbol of having a lighter, more frivolous and happy year.  And I got a mouse pad to match.

I don’t really remember reading Winnie the Pooh as a kid.  I do have this feeling of connection to Tigger however.  I think it is because of that song he sings, about what a wonderful thing it is to be a Tigger – and about how he is the only one.  Something that a lonely, isolated boy could identify with – feeling different and unique, though I certainly didn’t think it was a wonderful thing.” Joy2MeU Journal:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 17 November 3, 2002 

I referenced the calendar connection again in some writing I did in early 2004.  In the processing I had done in my journal in November 2002, I had gotten honest with myself about how my acceptance of being isolated and alone was keeping me from being available for a relationship.  In this quote from my journal in January of 2004, I make reference to the efforts I was making to get more involved with other human beings – and talk about another of the totem animals that is very important to me.

“Well, I get to start this morning looking above my computer at my new 2004 calendar.  I had actually spotted the calendar I wanted before the end of last year – but was waiting for it to go on sale.  I have this thing about paying full price for a calendar when I know they are going to go on sale soon.  Probably a reaction to my old poverty consciousness.  Choosing to wait, meant creating some irritation for myself when I would look up and see December instead of January for the first week of the month.  Oh well.

I finally got a chance to get into San Luis on Friday and get the calendar I wanted – another Winnie the Pooh one.  I talked in one of these installments (I think it was here) about opting for Winnie the Pooh calendars the last couple years as symbol of wanting the year to be more on the light and whimsical side.  They actually had a Tigger one – Tigger being an “only one,” and thus the character I identified with the most because I felt so different and “not a part of.”  But I decided that since a large part of the focus of my recovery these days is to learn to interact and play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest, that I should stick to the Winnie and friends calendar.

I don’t actually have any memories of reading Winnie the Pooh in childhood, but my inner children relate to Tigger.  In recovery I also relate to Winnie, who is after all a Pooh bear.  Bear is one of my totems in the Medicine Cards, and is described as going within to access Truth – which pretty well fits my mystic role.  It is in fact a West totem that is my East totem.  East being the place of the rising sun and illumination.  In other words, my illumination – my Awakening to the Light – comes primarily from looking within.

“The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection.  It lies in the West on the great medicine wheel of life.  Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree.  In the winter, when the Ice Queen reigns and the face of death is upon the Earth, Bear enters the womb-cave to hibernate, digest the year’s experience.  It is said that our goals reside in the West also.  To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary.

To become like Bear and enter the safety of the womb cave, we must attune ourselves to the energies of the Eternal Mother, and receive nourishment from the placenta of the Great Void.  The Great Void is the place where all solutions and answers live in harmony with the questions that fill our realities.  If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us.  Each and every being has the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence, and know.

Many tribes have called this space of inner-knowing the Dream Lodge, where the death of the illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of eternity.” – Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson (link at bottom of page)

I will probably be talking some more about the Medicine Cards soon.” – Joy2MeU Journal:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 29 January 12, 2004 Monday 5:30 AM

It has been important for me in my recovery, to make choices and take actions in alignment with what I have been guided to focus on in my growth process.  Even something as small as choosing the Winnie and Friends calendar instead of the Tigger calendar has power on a metaphysical level – in terms of bringing Spiritual intention into everything I do.  Part of what I need to get clearer on in this processing, is the areas of my life that I need to bring more focused Spiritual attention to right now. 

The processing I did in my journal and Update Newsletters – from the May 2001 Update that I mention at the beginning of this Update (which actually threw me back into the Pandora’s box of my fear of intimacy issues that I opened with my October 2000 Update) through the November 2002 journal installments – lead to me taking the actions that have put me in the relationship situation I am in now.  In that same Dance 29 installment, I make clear reference to a lesson I am still working on learning today.

“It is very easy for me to write about how important it is to communicate in an intimate relationship – how vital it is to work through tough issues by talking about them.  It is much harder in practice.  The old theory versus actual experience conundrum.  The very thing – that emotionally intimate relationships get messy – which makes it is so important for me to be willing to play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest.  The “messy” gift in my life today that has been made possible by the fear of intimacy processing that I have been doing here in this journal ever since writing my May 2001 Update put those issues in my face.

“The reality of my life circumstances right now, is that I am at a stage in my journey where I am pretty isolated and insulated.  I am doing a lot of writing and a lot of phone counseling – so that my life in many ways is like being in a 12 step meeting almost all of the time.  It makes it real easy to maintain a conscious contact Spiritually.  Having relatively little contact with other human beings, beyond the superficial, makes it much easier to stay in serenity.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but interacting with other people gets messy. ;-)” – Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update – May 23, 2001

I am no longer living in comfortable isolation writing theoretically.  I am in the Enchanted Forest interacting with other human beings.  And it is much easier for me to focus on interacting with the 2 year old Darien kid than it is with the adult kids in my life.  Sigh. (Darien just turned 12 to give you some perspective on when I wrote this.)

Now about the importance to me of the deer totem in the Medicine Cards. 

“I just went outside and saw a hummingbird.  In the Medicine Cards hummingbirds symbolize Joy.  I stood telling him/her how beautiful she/he was – and it flew to a flower so close to me that I could hear it’s wings humming.  Majorly cool.  Anytime I see a hummingbird I take it as a direct message from my Higher Power to remember that Joy is the point, the goal, what healing is all about.  Joy and Love.

Animal totems have a very special meaning for me.  The place where I walk by the ocean, is a place we call locally the East West Ranch.  When I first moved to Cambria back in late 1989, it had been a ranch that went bankrupt.  It is something like 600 acres, and sits between two of the main residential sections of the town – on the ocean side of Highway 1.  Back then, it was posted with no trespassing signs, but there were spaces in the fence to climb over and get through – so the effect was that the signs protected the owners from liability but people could walk on the ranch as they pleased. 

I Love this ranch space.  When I was living in a place near the back edge of it in 1990, I would go for walks on the ranch all of the time.  Near where I would enter the ranch, I could cross a small stream and come to a meadow in the woods.  The meadow was a mound – and felt like sacred space to me.  I would commune with the meadow and then walk up the hill through the woods.  Coming out of the woods I could see the ocean and then walk down the hill to the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Along the part of the ocean that the ranch runs along there is no beach.  There are bluffs with rocks and tidal pools below.

It brought me great pleasure and serenity to walk through my meadow and up the hill – or though a passageway through the trees that came out in a different part of the ranch.  There was a place just after this passageway, where a tree stood alone.  A tree that was bent over almost double, creating what looked like kind of a portal.  I would visualize that being a portal to other dimensions or to the future where I was done with all the pain.

As I would walk through the woods, I would see deer.  Deer in the medicine cards are about gentleness.  Whenever I see a deer, I take it as a direct reminder from my Higher Power to be gentle with myself. I get to see lots of deer around here – to help me remember gentleness.  (My landlady doesn’t like it that they come into her garden at night and eat the flowers – but I think it is cool.)  As I came out on top of the hill where I could see the ocean, I would sometimes see whales.  A whale – again in the medicine cards – is the record keeper, the keeper of ancient knowledge.  It was symbolic for me because I felt that I was accessing ancient knowledge while writing my Trilogy.

1990 was a year before I first gave the talk that became the Dance of Wounded Souls.  The only book that I was working on then was my Trilogy.”  – Joy2MeU Journal:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 9 July 12, 2000

I don’t actually miss Cambria that much (I was telling myself that at the time, but I still miss it) – although I do miss my walks on the Ranch.  And I miss getting to see deer all the time.  That is the reason that I chose a Deer calendar this year.  The move to San Diego we made in September, is a perfect part of my Spiritual Path, and is working out quite nicely.  Getting to do the Intensives regularly is a very important to me – and I am sure the grief groups are going to be a perfect part of the journey also – but I do miss the deer.

Among the gifts that Susan has brought into my life is encouraging me to do the Intensives, and moving to San Diego.  I will be exploring more of those gifts on my fear of intimacy processing page.

Magnificent Buck Deer

In alignment with how this writing processing unfolds perfectly for me, the last line in that last quote mentions my Trilogy.  That work: The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .” is A Magical, Mystical, Spiritual Fable which is a book that probably will never be finished – and certainly won’t be part of a Trilogy.  But it was the first writing that I did in 1988 after I had gone through treatment for Codependency.  That body of work is what I thought of when I looked at the calendar with the magnificent buck deer on it.  That Trilogy writing formed part of the foundation of what was later to become Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.

“I started writing my book (what I hoped was just going to be one book because I really did not like writing 😉 The Dance of Wounded Souls in a cabin at 11,000 feet elevation on Taos Mountain in the fall of 1988. . . . . 

. . . . . .  That book evolved into being the first book of a Trilogy, and over the next few years I worked on it intermittently.  Meanwhile, I was working on my emotional healing, and started working with others in helping them to access and release their grief.

I was looking at the work I was doing on internal healing, and the work I was doing on the mystical book as being two separate things.  It never occurred to me to connect them.  And then suddenly in early 1991, they came together.  In some speaking engagements to talk about codependence, I heard myself answering questions with mystical statements that I had never even considered that I would make in public.” – Attack on America – Chapter 7 (Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective is an online book that I started writing a few days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.  I published it online as I wrote it – but subsequently moved the bulk of it to my Joy2MeU Journal.  It is also now available in the Dancing in Light pay to view section of the site.)

In my Joy2MeU Journal two part installment about publishing The Dance I talked about how the events unfolded.

“In the next month or six weeks, I also spoke publicly at a couple of other places.  One was at the County Drug and Alcohol satellite office in Cambria – and the other was at a Speakers meeting for CoDA for Helping Professionals. (This was a short lived version of CoDA for counselors, therapist, and various other helping professionals who thought it would not be okay for them to share honestly in regular CoDA meetings – a manifestation of the codependent programming of keeping up appearances in my opinion, which I shared with them when I spoke.)

It was in those public speaking engagements that the inner child work I was doing merged with the mystical information that I was writing for the Trilogy.  I can remember two examples of hearing “myself answering questions with mystical statements” – that I refer to in the quote from my Attack on America book above.  One was while speaking here in Cambria – which was not a meeting but an informational event the satellite office was offering for the general public.  In it, I shared my view that everything was unfolding perfectly from a cosmic perspective.  Someone asked me if that meant that I believed that everyone who died in a plane crash was meant to die that day.  I answered that yes that was what I believed.

The other one I remember was in the CoDA Speakers meeting in February.  I have a memory of talking about the clinging creatures story I paraphrase from Richard Bach’s Illusions in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.  The one where the creature that has learned to let go and go with the flow of the stream is viewed as a messiah by clinging creatures he flies over down stream. . . . . (I am going to include that quote from my book at the end of this blog entry.)

It was in those talks that the seeds of my book sprouted.

“In the spring of 1991, Robert Burney was asked to speak in several different venues on the subject of Codependence. In the course of those speaking engagements he heard himself making statements to a general audience that he had never considered saying in public because of their controversial nature. To his surprise he found that the practical process level tools and techniques that he utilized in his private therapy practice were merging with mystical and magical knowledge he had acquired writing a book that was an adult fable about the history of the Universe – the first book of a trilogy.

Although he experienced a great deal of fear about making such controversial statements in public, he was compelled to further explore this message that he felt coming through him. He arranged dates in June of 1991 to give a talk in Cambria and Morro Bay, California. He then found he was unable to write the talk. The message that he was formulating was multileveled and nonlinear so that he found it impossible to organize his thoughts into a coherent presentation. His anxiety mounted as the date for his talk approached until in a burst of inspiration born out of desperation he wrote almost continuously for the last 48 hours prior to the talk. The presentation was scrawled on yellow legal pages that first time he presented the talk.

As he got ready to give his talk, he was overwhelmed with feelings of dread and experienced emotional memories of being stoned to death by an angry mob. He was convinced the audience would not be able to hear his message because of the outrageously controversial aspects of it but was compelled to go forward with it because of his personal Karmic need to take responsibility and stand up for his Truth. To his amazement, the audience not only heard what he was saying but cried tears of Joy in recognition of the Truth he was sharing.

That talk formed the basis for the book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. The message evolved and expanded over the years as he refined the techniques he was developing to facilitate Codependence recovery, but the basic structure of the book was essentially born in those two days of desperation. Robert made a trip from Taos New Mexico, where he was living at the time, to the Central Coast of California in the winter of 1995 in an attempt to raise funds to publish a book based on the talk. Because of that trip (which was a real leap of faith) he did receive the financing to start the publishing process in the summer of 1995. He returned to Cambria to set up his publishing company, Joy to You & Me Enterprises, in the fall of 1995. The official publication date of the book was January of 1996.” – Biographical information page

That first time I did the talk, at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria on June 16th 2001 before a crowd of over 50 people, it was literally on yellow legal pages.” – Joy2MeU Journal:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul Leap of Faith ~ Publishing The Dance

The Trilogy alternates between a narrative story line and a History of the Universe told tongue in cheek (including a recently discovered transcript of God’s thought process in deciding to create the Universe.;-)  The narrative story involves my Higher Self appearing to me in the form of a unicorn running off a picture on my desk in Taos New Mexico in early 1989.   My unicorn / Higher Self then takes me on a journey through time and space to help me learn the things I needed to learn.   In one of the later chapters of that work, my Higher Self transforms from a unicorn to the form of a woman representing the Goddess Energy / Feminine Principle.  During the course of my interaction with my Higher Self, a doe and two fawns had been playing a part in the unfolding story.  After we had discussed some of the levels of healing that were affecting me and had caused my fear of intimacy, came this passage.

“Sorry about that,” I laughed.  It was wonderful to laugh about where I had been – and was going back to – and not feel any shame about it.  It was after all, only a part of my evolution.  There Truly is no need to judge where I have been, or am, because it was/is just a step in my becoming process.

Just then my attention was once again caught by the deer. The doe and both fawns had turned and were looking back into the trees at that south end of the meadow. And what came walking out of the trees at that point was the most magnificent Stag deer that I have ever seen.  He was tall and regal with the most magnificent set of antlers I had ever seen.  I counted fourteen points in his incredible rack.

I . . . . . . stood up, staring in awe at this magnificent male animal.  I was moved somewhere deep within my being, and tears sprang to my eyes from the emotions that the grandeur of his presence stirred up within me.

“Yes,” said my dream woman softly by my side, “he is magnificent.  And he is you, that is that he is a symbolic representation of the magnificence of your own masculinity.”

I turned and looked at her, feeling an emotional surge in my chest as her words sank in.

“You see,” she continued, “you have, up to this point in your recovery, put much effort into healing the feminine within and your inner children – which are symbolically represented by the doe and her two fawns.  But you have almost completely ignored the healing of your masculine.  Your relationship with your father, and your disgust over the sins of man-kind, have led you to disown to a large degree, your own masculine energy.  A very large part of your journey in the coming years will be to focus on the healing of your masculine so that you can own and honor what a magnificent male being you are.”

Tears were freely running down my face as I stood there looking at her.  Then I turned and gazed once again at the magnificent creature.  All four of the deer were standing there looking back at me with Love in their eyes.  I could feel the Truth of her words, and along with the Joy that I was experiencing from the sight of this regal animal, there was a profound sadness at the realization of the depth of my masculine wounds.  I was too overwhelmed with feeling at that point to speak.  I just stood there gazing at the buck and feeling the urgency of my need to own my masculine self.” – The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .”  Chapter 10

At this point I am breaking from what has been an excerpt from my Update Newsletter of March 2007.  I am going to include another quote from my Trilogy about the Medicine Wheel in this blog entry because I think it is apt and interesting.

(I used to write Update Newsletters in which I would share processing through my issues for my site 3 or 4 times a year until I actually got into a relationship and didn’t have much time to write any more.  The frequency dropped down to once a year – and now I haven’t done one for almost 5 years.  Once I got into a relationship and had a whole family that I was dealing with, I didn’t feel it was okay to share on the same intimate level because I felt a need to respect the confidentiality of the other people in the family.  And even though my wife (got married in 2010) Susan and I have been separated for over 3 years now, I still don’t feel comfortable sharing in the personal way I did in those early Update Newsletters.  I will insert a link here to my site index page where those Update Newsletters are listed for anyone who wants to explore them.  There are several million words in them at least.)

My unicorn / Higher Self communicates with me telepathically and in an irreverent manner from my point of view – by using words like bingo and calling me bucko, which is why I end up calling Her/Him by the nickname included in this quote.

“My unicorn chuckled, telepathically of course, as she continued. “Your memories of this journey will return to you gradually, and one day you will imagine the symbolic description – and then much later the other version.”

“I will imagine it,” I whined, “like memories of the future, right?  I suppose that you are going to tell me that you and this meadow, and this journey, are really someplace in the future – and that, as I write the book, I am just accessing memories from the future about what I am supposed to write.”

“Well, actually in the course of this journey we will be visiting both what you think of as the future and the past – but when you write this, much of the future we visit will be in your past because you will have already experienced it on this journey.”

And with a chuckle, she kicked up her heels, and was off and running across the meadow.

I tried to keep my pout going, but my heart just wasn’t in it. She looked so beautiful running and I felt such Love for her, that I had to start laughing at myself. I was being human again – and that was just fine because that is what I am here to experience. Even then I had come a long ways in not judging my own humanity.

As I watched, she jumped the stream and ran directly to the north end of the meadow. There, she turned east and galloped in a circle around the whole meadow – jumping the stream twice more as she went. When she reached the north again, she turned and trotted back towards me. She stopped on the other side of the stream and stood there looking at me with that silly grin of hers. I realized immediately that her grin, combined with the mischievous look in her eye, meant that it was time to bring something to awareness.

This is another thing that my Higher Self does to me all the time. He/She reveals some mind expanding information, or some emotional energy that I need to deal with, and then if I am starting to get all wound up in intellectual gymnastics about the information, or fear of the emotions – She/He puts something from an entirely different perspective right in front of me to remind me not to lose my awareness of the moment. It is my Higher Self’s way of reminding me that the whole point of healing is to learn how to be in the moment.

“Okay,” I laughed, “that little run was symbolic in some way, right?”

“Everything is symbolic in some way bucko,” she replied. “But yes, there was some particular symbolism in my run.”

“All right, bubba,” I said. I don’t know where the ‘bubba’ came from, but it seemed somehow appropriate, now that I was getting comfortable with being called ‘bucko’. “Let’s see what we can become aware of here.”

I stood by the stream and slowly turned around, scanning the whole meadow for some clue. In looking around, I noticed that the eagle cloud was still soaring overhead. That was all the clue I needed.

“Okay, my beautiful unicorn, I will tell you what you want to hear,” I said, rather grandly. “The meadow is circular in shape, just like the Medicine Wheel. And the Medicine Wheel religion contains as much Truth within it as any religion on Earth. Within the Medicine Wheel teachings, there is great significance in the four directions. The North, to which you galloped first, is the place of wisdom. It is the place you represent, the Higher Mind which contains all wisdom. From there you traveled to the East, which is the place of illumination. The direction of the rising sun which brings light to chase away the darkness, and is symbolic of the Light of Truth. It is the ‘sees far and wide’ place of the eagle. In other words, you lead me towards the Light by expanding my perspective so that I see things in progressively larger contexts. In this way, you teach me to see the Truth of how perfectly the pieces of the puzzle of life fit together when viewed from a large enough perspective.

“From the East, you traveled to the South,” I continued. “The South is the place of innocence and trust. One of the colors of the South is green, and that is one of the colors of healing energy. It is also the place of the child within. It was through surrendering to your guidance and trusting that my inner self was innocent, and not some horrible shameful monster, that I was able to access the healing green energy. It was in the South that my emotional healing began, because I was able to start accepting that God really is Loving – despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Once I started remembering enough to trust that God is LOVE, and that everything is unfolding perfectly, then I could access enough courage to open the ‘Pandora’s Box’ of repressed emotional energy that was caused by the trauma of my childhood.”

“From the South, you traveled to the West – the place of introspection. It is in this ‘looks within’ place that everything starts to make sense. For it is within that Truth exists. Only by looking within can Truth be found, and that Truth leads to God. For everything that we see around us is only a reflection of that which exists within. And if we cannot find God, and Love, within – we can never find it without. The Medicine Wheel is a mirror, and only by visiting all four directions can we become whole. The goal of the healing process is balance, and by visiting all four directions we can find the balance that allows the integration of the Spiritual and the physical”

“I would say that you are awakening very nicely,” she communicated with what seemed to be a rather self-satisfied look on her face.

“Thank you,” I replied, feeling rather proud of myself. “It is your guidance in leading me to the four directions that has brought me some wisdom – which is where your little gallop ended.”

“Au contraire, mon amie,” telepathed my Higher Self, “I didn’t stay in the North, did I?”

“Well no,” I said, somewhat confused. “You came back here to the center of the meadow.”

“And in returning to the center, which way did I travel?” she asked, with that sly grin.

“You came south,” I answered, still not understanding.

“So, from wisdom, I headed back to the south?”

“Yes,” I replied. And then I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. If her heading back to the South was so significant, then it could only mean on thing – it was time to trust again. And if it was time to trust again, that meant emotions. I have learned that my growth process is a continuous series of upwardly spiraling circles through ever expanding levels of awareness. In relation to the Medicine Wheel, this means that I need to visit all four directions within each level, or in regard to each issue, in order to achieve the balance that is wisdom about that particular level, in relationship to that particular issue. And once I have gained enough wisdom and balance about a level, then it is time to head South again, to trust and feel. To peel another layer of the onion.

My understanding of this process is that each time I move upward from one level to the next, it requires a lot of trust/faith because that particular phase of the growth feels terrible. This is because each time I move to a larger level of awareness, I have to surrender some of my ego definitions of who I am and how I relate to everything around me. It is the most confusing and terrifying part of the process because I have to let go of the old definitions before I know what it going to replace them. This is the process of ‘the death of the ego’. This metamorphosis, death is a process of transformation not an event, occurs as I shed progressive layers of ignorance to bring my ego-self into alignment with Spiritual-Self. This journey to wholeness and Oneness within is how the process of healing brings me to consciousness of the ONENESS of ALL THAT IS.

However, just as my Higher Self had stated only moments before, it does not matter how much intellectual knowledge I have of the path – I still experience the primal fear of the unknown when it comes time to proceed down that path. And my ego fights the process because every time it has to give up some of it’s definitions, that is, it’s illusions of control, it feels like it is dying. My ego reacts with fear to the out-of-control feeling, not only of the process of redefining which is growth and to it’s terror of the uncontrollable unknown in general, but also to the grief energy which it is necessary to release with each successive layer of the ‘onion’.

This process translates in my experience in this way: just when I have reached a comfortable understanding of the level I am at, and start to think that I have it all together (that I have finally reached happily-ever-after) – then it is time to move up to a new level. And as I come out of the top of one level into the bottom of the next level, it feels like I am at the bottom of the whole thing once more. It feels like I am in a deep dark hole huddled in a fetal position in despair and pain, and that I have made no progress. I feel very confused, because of surrendering some of my ego-definitions, and it feels like my emotional reality has never been anything but pain-full.

So naturally, my human impulse is to resist the process of surrendering to the grief and the growth. And even though my experience of the process had taught me that when I get to the other side of the grief and the confusion it will feel wonderful, in my humanness I still resist, progressively less then I used to, but resistance nevertheless. And each time it becomes time to surrender once more, I get angry at the process.

There in the meadow, I started to feel the fear when my unicorn made her point about traveling towards the place of trust that is the South. I was not, at that point, intellectually reviewing my knowledge of the process – I was just feeling an overwhelming urge to resist.

“You didn’t think that we had forgotten our newly discovered layer of grief, did you?” She telepathed. Her smile, which only a moment ago had seemed so sweet and Loving, now felt as if it was mocking me.

“Well, I was kind of hoping…….” I started to reply, in a very weak attempt to defuse the situation with humor.

Suddenly the fear that I was feeling turned into stark raving terror as my conscious mind became aware of the words which my Higher Self had communicated while I was falling asleep – Atlantis and Mu. The terror washed over me in waves, pulsating out of my gut to every part of my body, causing my knees to go weak and my hands to start shaking.

That is when two of my human defenses against fear kicked in. I defocused – that is, I shifted my focus away from that which was scaring me – and I transformed the fear energy into anger energy.

I exploded like a volcano.” – The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .” Chapter 6

Before I end this blog entry with the quote from my book that I mentioned earlier, I decided I want to share the story in my book from the Medicine Card book that the quote at the beginning refers to.  It is a story about the Swan Totem.

When I was willing to hear and see the messages – and take action based upon them – I began to discover the Truth around me.  There were certain books of Truth that I was led to that were especially important in my consciousness raising, in my Recovery process.  I am now going to quote a story from one of those books which means a lot to me.  It is a story from a book called Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson.  This book deals with the Medicine Wheel, and the totem animals of the Medicine Wheel Spiritual beliefs of certain Native American tribes.

The subject of this particular story is the Swan totem – Swan power:

As Swan looked high above Sacred Mountain, she saw the biggest swirling black hole she had ever seen.  Dragonfly came flying by, and Swan stopped him to ask about the black hole.  Dragonfly said, “Swan, that is the doorway to the other planes of imagination.  I have been guardian of the illusion for many, many moons.  If you want to enter there, you would have to ask permission and earn the right.”

Swan was not so sure that she wanted to enter the black hole,  She asked Dragonfly what was necessary for her to earn entry.  Dragonfly replied, “You must be willing to accept whatever the future holds as it is presented, without trying to change the Great Spirit’s plan.”  Swan looked at her ugly little duckling body and then answered,  “I will be happy to abide by Great Spirit’s plan.  I won’t fight the currents of the black hole.  I will surrender to the flow of the spiral and trust what I am shown.”  Dragonfly was very happy with Swan’s answer and began to spin the magic to break the pond’s illusion.  Suddenly, Swan was engulfed by a whirlpool in the center of the pond.

Swan reappeared many days later, but now she was graceful and white and long-necked.  Dragonfly was stunned!  “Swan what happened to you!” he exclaimed.  Swan smiled and said, “Dragonfly, I learned to surrender my body to the power of Great Spirit and was taken to where the future lives.  I saw many wonders high on Sacred Mountain and because of my faith and my acceptance I have been changed.  I have learned to accept a state of Grace.”

A “state of Grace” is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love.  We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit.  What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.

The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable.  And we cannot do that without going through the black hole.  The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief.  The journey within – through our feelings – is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.

It is through willingness and acceptance, through surrender, trust, and faith, that we can begin to own the state of Grace which is our True condition.

We are all beautiful swans who exist in a state of Grace, in a condition of being unconditionally Loved.  The dance of Recovery is a process of learning to accept and integrate the Truth of Grace into our lives.

Here is the Flying creature story from my book that I promised earlier.

The Dance

The prologue to Richard Bach’s Illusions contains a story about a colony of creatures clinging to the bottom of a stream.  Here is a paraphrasing of that story.

One day one of those creatures became bored with the life of clinging and decided to see what would happen if he let go and got swept up into the stream.  He wanted to see where the stream would carry him.”

All of the other creatures laughed at him and made fun of him. “You can’t let go of the rocks, you’ll just get battered and bruised!”   “It’s insane to let go of the rocks!”

This creature, though, wanted more out of life than just clinging to the rocks. He wanted to find out where the stream went.  So he let go of the rocks – and sure enough he got battered and bruised and had to grab ahold again.

All of the other creatures ridiculed and laughed at him.

But he said, “I am going to try again. I believe that the stream knows where it is going.  I want to see where the stream will take me.”  So he let go again – and he got battered and bruised again.   And then he let go again, and again, and again.

Each time he got a little less battered and bruised.  Each time he got a little closer to being swept up in the stream.

Then finally one day he had let go enough times that he did get swept up into the stream.  He was caught in the flow of the stream and swept forward.

He was flying!

As he flew along with his heart full of Joy and excitement he passed over another colony of clinging creatures that was downstream.

They looked up at him and cried, “Behold!  There is a creature like us and he is flying!  It must be the Messiah!”

He looked back at them and shouted as he was heading down stream, “No!  You don’t understand. You can fly, too, all you have to do is let go.   You are as much messiahs as I am.”

That is what this is all about!  The second coming has begun!  Not of “The Messiah,’ but of a whole bunch of messiahs.  The messiah – the liberator – is within us!  A liberating, Healing Transformational Movement has begun.  “The Savior’ does not exist outside of us – “The Savior” exists within.

We are the sons and daughters of God.   We, the old souls, who are involved in this Healing Movement, are the second coming of the message of Love.

We have entered what certain Native American prophecies call the Dawning of the Fifth World of Peace.  Through focusing on our own healing the planet will be healed.

We all have available to us – within – a direct channel to the Highest Vibrational Frequency Range within The Illusion.  That highest range involves consciousness of the Glory of ONENESS.  It is called Cosmic Consciousness.  It is called Christ Consciousness.

This is the energy that Jesus was tuned into, and he stated very plainly, ‘These things that I do, you can do also.” – by atoning, by tuning in.

We have access to the Christ Energy within.  We have begun the Second Coming of the message of Love.

The dawning of the Age of Healing and Joy is the dawning of the Fifth World of Peace when humans will learn to walk in balance and harmony.

Now that is some pretty wonderful news, wouldn’t you say?

Sacred Spiral

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Joy2MeU Journal

There are probably at least 5 or 6 million words in the two subscription areas of my site that I quote from in this entry.  I just posted a page last week with special offers on lifetimes subscriptions to those password protected areas: Dancing in Light and the Joy2MeU Journal are for sale for $9.95 each or both for $17.95  Millions of words of content not available on Joy2MeU.

 

It is possible to get personally autographed copies of my books from my website Joy2MeU  or You can get my Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon

I have special offers right now for anyone who would like to learn the formula I discovered for inner healing and Spiritual integration through telephone / Skype counseling.

My Update Newsletters are listed on my siteindex page.

The Medicine Cards (This link will take you to the page it is offered on Amazon.com) have been a very valuable tool in my recovery process.  Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls from: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, copyright 1988, Bear & Co.  Reprinted by permission Bear & Co., P.O. Box 2860, Santa Fe, NM 87504. (Since the book was published they have moved to P.O. Box 3876, Gettysburg, PA 17325)

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote from: Illusions  “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach.  Copyright 1977 by Creature Enterprises, Inc.   Reprinted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney by permission of Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York, NY.

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.

 

 

Chapter 19 – Taking self worth out of the Romantic equation

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“One of the false beliefs that it is important to let go of, is the belief that we need another person in our lives to make us whole. As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims.

A white knight is not going to come charging up to rescue us from the dragon. A princess is not going to kiss us and turn us from a frog into a prince. The Prince and the Princess and the Dragon are all within us. It is not about someone outside of us rescuing us. It is also not about some dragon outside of us blocking our path. As long as we are looking outside to become whole we are setting ourselves up to be victims. As long as we are looking outside for the villain we are buying into the belief that we are the victim.

As little kids we were victims and we need to heal those wounds. But as adults we are volunteers – victims only of our disease. The people in our lives are actors and actresses whom we cast in the roles that would recreate the childhood dynamics of abuse and abandonment, betrayal and deprivation.

We are/have been just as much perpetrators in our adult relationships as victims. Every victim is a perpetrator – because when we are buying into being the victim, when we are giving power to our disease, we are perpetrating on the people around us and on ourselves.

We need to heal the wounds without blaming others. And we need to own the responsibility without blaming ourselves. As was stated earlier – there is no blame here, there are no bad guys. The only villain here is the disease and it is within us.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

I state in my book that codependence is a lousy word to describe the phenomena it has come to be associated with. A more accurate term would be outer or external dependence. We are programmed to give power over our sense of self worth – over how we feel about our self – to external sources and outside conditions.

Nowhere is the result of this programming more disastrous on a personal level than in the area of romantic relationships. Our subconscious and emotional programming started with fairy tales that taught us that when we meet our prince or princess we will live happily-ever-after. Movies and books and songs reinforced the original programming that in order to be whole and happy we must be in a relationship.

The result of this programming is that we are set up to feel like failures in romantic relationships. When we give power over how we feel about our self to another person in a romantic relationship we are practicing toxic love – making the other person our drug of choice, our higher power.

A healthy romantic relationship is an interdependent relationship – not a codependent one. An interdependent relationship is one where two people who have a healthy sense of Self worth, choose to become partners, to form a union. Two whole individuals – or more accurately (since as I have stated, we are all wounded and learning to access a True sense of self/Self worth) two people who are in recovery from their codependency working on owning their inherent worth and wholeness as beings, working on learning to be emotionally healthy and honest – who form an alliance / partnership with each other, not two half people who come together to feel whole.

In a healthy interdependent relationship as I mentioned in Chapter 9, we give the other person some power over our feelings – not over our self worth. Giving another person some power over our feelings is a completely different thing than giving them power over our self worth.

When we choose to give power away over our feelings we give the other person the power to help us feel happy. That also means we are giving them the power to hurt us. Caring for anyone or anything means we have an emotional investment in our relationship with that person or thing. To emotionally invest in a relationship is to take the risk of getting hurt – of getting our hearts broken – if we lose that relationship.

But it is not having our heart broken – it is not pure grief / emotional pain – that can be so debilitating, paralyzing, and agonizing when a relationship ends. It is the loss of self worth that we feel – the level to which we have invested, are dependent upon, the relationship to feel good about ourselves – that causes us to feel like we are going to die, that can make us feel like we want to die. The blame and shame and judgment caused by our codependency creates artificial feelings of inadequacy, of trauma, of agony. The unresolved abandonment / rejection / betrayal issues from our childhood are triggered and throw us into a place where we feel the hopelessness and powerlessness that we felt as a child.

The critical parent disease voice – old tapes / subconscious and conscious intellectual ego programming – tells us what losers and failures we are. The wounded inner child places react out of pain and shame from our childhood – the places within us where we feel unlovable and defective. We blame ourselves for the relationship ending with codependent messages like: if only I had not said that; I should have done that; I will never have a good relationship; I will always be alone; etc. Or we go to the other extreme and try to blame it all on the other person. People stalk and murder ex lovers because of the blow they feel they have suffered to their self worth – because they feel they have lost the source / drug that was making life bearable.

Getting our hearts broken is a normal and natural part of life. Blaming our self or the other person is codependency. The emotional pain of a heart break is very painful, but it gets better over time. The blame and shame of codependency causes us to be bitter and resentful, causes us to avoid relationships or to pick another person who will recreate our wounds – another person to try to fill the hole we feel inside of our self.

“Loving and losing is better than never loving” when all we experience is a broken heart. It is the blame and shame of the disease that makes us feel like failures who are incapable of loving – like a victim of our own unworthiness.

At the end of 1998, when I had reached a place in my recovery where I was secure in my self/Self worth, the Universe presented me with an opportunity to experience a romantic relationship in which my worst fear of rejection seemed to manifest – and I did not blame her or me. It was an incredible experience – very painful, but also very liberating.

“It Truly is a completely different experience to have a relationship where my self-worth is not at risk . . . . . if my self-worth is not at risk then another person can only add to me, they have no power to diminish me. What a gift.” – An Adventure in Romance – Loving and Losing Successfully

As that relationship was ending, before it ended, I wrote what I think is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever written which I mentioned in a previous chapter and will include as the next chapter. It is called: A Wedding Prayer /Meditation on Romantic Commitment.

“You are not the source of each other’s Love. You are helping each other to access the LOVE that is the Source.

The Love that you see when you see your soul in the others eyes is a reflection of the LOVE that you are. Of the Unconditional Love that the Great Spirit feels for you.

It is very important to remember that the other person is helping you to access God’s LOVE within you – not giving you something that you have never had before.” – Chapter 20 A Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment

Anytime we see another person as our source of love, we will feel a need to control and manipulate that person to be what we want them to be – to be there for us to feed off of emotionally so we can feel good about our self. There is nothing Loving about using another person emotionally because we do not know how to feed ourselves by accessing the True Source.

Love can feel magical and wonderful – can help us feel like we are soaring as the other person helps us to access the higher vibrational frequencies of Love and Joy. To have the opportunity to experience Love is one of the major reasons we have come into human body – but thinking a romantic relationship is what give us worth is codependent and dysfunctional. Romantic relationships can be wonderful opportunities for growth and Spiritual Awakening when we start seeing them realistically, when we stop allowing the perspective of the magical thinking romantic within us to dictate our relationship with romance.

“You are not going to live happily-ever-after once you find your prince or princess. There is no happily-ever-after on this plane of existence. You may find your prince or princess but they will have issues to deal with. Relationships are something that needs to be worked on – not some magic wand that makes everybody happy.” – Chapter 9 Interdependent, not codependent”

From Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 19 – Taking self worth out of the Romantic equation

Sacred Spiral

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 20th 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, Amazon.UK, or Barnes & Noble.

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, on Amazon UK, on Barnes & Noble, or in Kobo format.

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, on Barnes & Noble, or in Kobo format.

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 on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

A Higher Power of my own understanding 3 ~ Spirituality – a broader perspective

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“Perspective is a key to Recovery. I had to change and enlarge my perspectives of myself and my own emotions, of other people, of God and of this life business. Our perspective of life dictates our relationship with life. We have a dysfunctional relationship with life because we were taught to have a dysfunctional perspective of this life business, dysfunctional definitions of who we are and why we are here.

It is kind of like the old joke about three blind men describing an elephant by touch. Each one of them is telling his own Truth, they just have a lousy perspective. Codependence is all about having a lousy relationship with life, with being human, because we have a lousy perspective on life as a human.”

“So now I share this message with you, the reader of this book, in the hopes that it will help you to remember the Truth of who you are, and why you are here. This information is not meant to be absolute or the final word – it is meant as an alternative perspective for you to consider. A Cosmic Perspective that just might help to make life an easier, more enjoyable experience for you.”

“We were taught that death is a great tragedy and that we should spend our lives fearing and ignoring it. We were taught to fear death and to never live life. That’s backwards.

Death is a transition, a transformation, death is a milestone in the longer journey. It is not a tragedy to be feared – it is an eventuality to be accepted. What is tragedy is not enjoying living while we are here.” – all quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

In this series of articles, I am sharing my beliefs. As the quote from my book above states, I am not trying to impose my beliefs on anyone else. I am sharing them as an alternative perspective for you to consider. These are the beliefs that work for me. I do not need for other people to agree with me, I am just sharing my perspective because I have found that many people find it helpful.

I do not waste my time and energy arguing with people who think I am wrong. People who believe that their beliefs are the only “right” beliefs, and any others are “wrong” – are reacting out of the black and white thinking of their codependency, in my opinion.

I have over the years had many people – usually ones who were raised in a shaming religion – who objected to any use of the word God, or anything they thought was “religious.” I wrote an article for them on my web site – in an attempt to help them stop reacting to the extreme so that they could start seeing the gray area between the extremes of “right” and “wrong.” For anyone who would like to check that article out, here is a link to it: Spirituality for Agnostics and Atheists

I have also over the years received periodically, what I call Christian hate mail. People who would write to me and tell me how wrong I was, how I would be damned for my beliefs – how I had to be “washed in the blood of the lamb” for my soul to be saved.

That there could even be such a thing as “Christian hate mail” is to me evidence of how twisted and perverted the teachings of Jesus Christ – whose message was about Love – have been in some versions of Christianity. I believe that Jesus Christ was the greatest Master Teacher in the history of mankind – and that great harm has been done in his name throughout the history of the planet because of twisted, rigid, black and white interpretations of the bible by wounded, terrified codependents. (I shared my beliefs about Jesus and the bible in my Update Newsletter for December 2004. I will be quoting from that later in this article – and provide a link to it for anyone who is interested in my personal perspective.)

Codependency is at it’s core, a relationship with life that is based upon fear, shame, and scarcity. Codependency recovery in my belief, is about changing our ego programming, changing the conscious and subconscious beliefs that are dictating our relationship with self and life, to ones that are more aligned with the belief in a Loving Higher Power / God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit – not a punishing one.

In a follow up article to the one for agnostics and atheists, I offer a definition of spirituality that is based upon being open to enlarging one’s perspective of self and life.

“My own personal Spiritual belief system is one form of spirituality. It is certainly not the only one. Mine works for me very well in helping me to have a relationship with life that allows me to be happier today. It is not necessary for you to accept my belief system in order for you to use the tools, techniques, and perspectives that I have developed for emotional healing / codependence recovery / inner child integration.

For the purposes of this discussion of spiritual integration, I would now define what I refer to as a Spiritual Awakening in the quote above, as: being open to a larger perspective – awakening from being trapped in a limiting perspective. In this regard, spiritual would be a qualifier, an adjective, that describes the quality of one’s relationship with life.

This adjective, spiritual, would be (in my definition) a word describing an expanded level of consciousness. A level of consciousness, of awareness, that is expansive and inclusive and facilitates personal growth – as opposed to limited, exclusive, rigid, and inhibiting growth, development, and alternative view points.

By this definition, any religion that claims to be the chosen one, that excludes alternative perspectives or certain people, is not spiritual.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing – spiritual integration

This particular column has grown out of the fact that this past Sunday was Easter. Easter, like other “Christian” Holidays, is a celebration that was designed to replace the pagan holidays of the people the early Christians were trying to convert.

“Christmas, like almost every other Christian Holiday, is a celebration that was usurped from Pagan religions that preceded Christianity. The early Christians obviously included some people who were very good at marketing, because they made Christianity more palatable to the people they were trying to convert by stealing Pagan celebrations and making them Christian Holidays.

“This early pragmatism of Christianity laid the foundation for Christianity to become the state religion of Rome. That state religion then became very dogmatic in using Christianity to conquer, subdue, and control the masses.” – Joy2MeU Update December 2004

Easter is scheduled in the same time period as the Spring Equinox. Spring is the time of new beginnings – of new growth, of rebirth, of resurrection. Easter is about resurrection and the Truth of eternal life.

When I began my quest to understand how it was possible that there could be a Higher Power, a God-Force, that was Loving – one of the first limiting perspectives I needed to enlarge was my perspective of life and death.

As the quote from my book above states, death is a transition. The Soul / Spirit leaves the physical body at death – but the Soul does not die. The energy that is the Soul existed prior to birth and continues after death. The Soul has eternal life in my belief.

Here is a another quote from my online book about the terrorist attack of 9/11, that I quoted last month. Again, within this quote is a quote in italics from my book.

“One of the first things I needed to do was to change the context in which I viewed life. I realized that if I looked at this life experience as if it were a one time thing – that our existence began with birth and ended with death – there was no possible way that it could be fair and Loving. Not with billionaires on one hand and children starving to death on the other.

The only way I could see that it was possible that there was a Universal Force that could possibly be Loving, that could possibly Love me in my imperfect humanness, that could possibly have a Divine Plan that was somehow fair and equitable – was over the span of multiple lifetimes. Reincarnation is what made sense when I started searching for some Spiritual answers.

“All the worlds a stage and the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II Scene 1

“We have all lived multiple lifetimes. We have all experienced every facet of being human.

We are now not just healing our wounds from this lifetime, we are doing Karmic settlement on a massive scale, at a very accelerated rate.

Karma is the Loving, wonderful law of energy interaction which governs human interaction. Like the other levels of Universal Law, it is about cause and effect. In this case, “what you sow, you reap.”

Karmic Law dictates that every action of cause on the Physical Plane is paid for with a consequence of effect on the Physical Plane. In other words, no one can end up in the hole, or in some hell in an afterlife. (Hell is here on earth, and we have all experienced it already.)”

Starting to see death as a transition, as a milestone in a longer journey, made life make more sense to me. It at least had the possibility of being fair and Loving, if the part of it I could see was only a small piece of a much larger puzzle.” – Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective

Codependency involves relating to life out of fear because of getting the message in childhood that life is a test that we can fail. Codependency involves relating to life and self out of shame because we got the message that it was shameful to be imperfect humans. Living life out of fear and shame is hell.

There is a quote I heard some years ago – whose origins I do not know – that I resonate with very strongly.

Religion is for people who are scared of hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there.

Again, these are my beliefs I am sharing here. I do not need any communications from people who believe I am wrong. You have a right to your beliefs, I have a right to mine.”

Sacred SpiralThis is the third in a 10 part series focused on A Higher Power of my own understanding – the first one is A Higher Power of my own understanding

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook format, and audiobook are on that page) 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 in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  The next one is on August 9th.

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.

I have a new site focused on my work that is designed to be mobile friendly for all those people using mobile devices these days: http://recoverycodependence.com/

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 2 of The Greatest Arena – Power Struggle ~ “A relationship is not a game of winners and losers”

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

 ““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.”

“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.”  quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

I heard someone at a CoDA meeting this week talk about a truly revolutionary concept that their codependence counselor introduced into a session with her and her husband one day.  She and her husband were in a hot and heavy argument when the counselor interrupted to ask, “Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right.”  She said that it was a question that they had to consider for a while because being right was awful important to them both.

It is normal for relationships in this society to deteriorate into power struggles over who is right and who is wrong.  That is because we grew up in a dysfunctional society that taught that it was shameful to be wrong.  We got the message that our self-worth depends on not making mistakes, on being perfect – that it caused our parents great emotional pain (or they caused us great emotional or physical pain) when we made a mistake, when we were wrong.

Codependence is an emotional defense system that is set up to protect the wounded inner child within us from the shame of being exposed as unlovable and unworthy, as stupid and weak, as a loser and failure, as whatever it was that we got the message was the worst thing to be.  We were taught to evaluate whether we had worth in comparison to others.  Smarter than, prettier than, faster than, richer than, more successful than, thinner than, stronger than, etc., etc.  In a codependent society the only way to feel good about self is to look down on someone else.  So we learned to judge (just like our role models did) others in order to feel good about ourselves.  Being “right” was one of the most important ways to know that we had worth.

When a codependent feels attacked – which is any time it seems as if someone is judging us – it can be with a look or a tone of voice or just that someone doesn’t say something, let alone when someone actually says something to us that could be interpreted as meaning that we weren’t doing something right – the choices we are faced with are to blame them or blame ourselves.  Either they are right – in which case it proves that we are the stupid loser that the critical parent voice in our head tells us we are – or they are wrong in which case it is time to attack them and prove to them the error of their ways.

In most relationships where the people have been together for a few years they have already established entrenched battle lines around painful emotional scars where they push each others buttons.  All one person has to do is use a certain tone of voice or have a certain look on their face and the other person pulls out and loads the big guns.  One person is readying their answer in their head to what they “know” the other is going to say before the other even has a chance to say it.  The battle begins and neither one of them actually listens to what the other is saying.  They start pulling out their lists of past hurts to prove their point of how the other is “doing” horrible things to them.  The battle is on to see who is right and who is wrong.

And that is not even the right question.

The type of questions we need to be asking are: “What button just got pushed?”  “Why am I reacting so strongly to this?”  “How old do I feel right now?”  “In what way does what is happening feel like something that happened in my childhood”  “How does this remind me of the way my paents acted or treated me?”

We attract into our lives those people who will perfectly push our buttons for us.  Who fit our particular issues exactly.  When we are looking at life as a growth process then we can learn from these lessons.  If both people in a relationship are willing to look at what is underneath the dynamics that are happening – then some magical, wonderful intimacy can result.  As long as we are reacting unconsciously to the past, then we will blame and argue about who is right and who is wrong.

A relationship is a partnership, an alliance, not some game with winners and losers.  When the interaction in a relationship becomes a power struggle about who is right and who is wrong then there are no winners.” –  Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter  2 – Power Struggle

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 in power struggles over who is right and wrong – 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 relationships

Romantic Relationships – The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth

I 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 available as an audio book.