The Recovery Process for Inner Child Healing - A Dance of Emotional Balance
This article is part of a series that began with Sharing experience, strength, and hope - My Process and Taking Action about the inner child healing/codependence recovery process and how to achieve some emotional balance in life. In the process of writing these articles, numerous quotes from other things I have written came to mind. Far too many to include in the body of the articles without making them impossibly long (they ended up being pretty long anyway.)
These quotes however have value in that they express different perspectives on different facets of the process. The interrelationships involved in the dance of life are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. Communicating in a manner which clearly explains the factors involved in trying to achieve some balance in this dance of life is, to say the least, very difficult.
"Everything within the Illusion exists in relationship to the rest of the Illusion. This means that communicating Truth about any facet of the Illusion can be done in relationship to a variety of factors. This involves perspective through multiple levels. It can make a great deal of difference rather a facet of Truth is being described individually, or in relationship to (i.e. God, objective reality, human emotional process, etc.), or if the relationship itself is being described. . . .
Paradoxically, the statement which contains the most Truth may not be the statement which best communicates Truth."
The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 History V
A new Age of Healing and Joy has dawned on the planet and a transformational healing process is unfolding. Access to Spiritual Truth is more available to human beings now than it has ever been in the history of humanity. Unfortunately, in my opinion, a great many of the teachers who are accessing that Truth are communicating in a way which feeds right into the shame based polarized thinking (right/wrong) of the disease / condition of codependency. (For some more recent articles that address some of what I believe are misunderstandings and misinterpretations of Metaphysical Law you can see: The Law of Attraction - Misunderstood & Misinterpreted or New Age Misinterpretations of Metaphysical Truth.)
"To empower polarity, by making black and white statements is to me, a sign that someone is not looking at the human experience from a large enough paradigm. As wonderful a person as I am sure Marianne Williamson is - and she is a wonderful teacher who has brought enlightenment and a new perspective on Love to many, many people - I deduce from statements like the one above, that she still has some black and white judgments going on in her relationship with herself. That is not bad or wrong - just human.
Statements such as hers above, give the message that fear and anger are negative and shameful. I very much disagree. The dysfunction in our relationships with ourselves have resulted in fear and anger being manifested in some really awful ways - but that does not impart negative value to the emotions themselves. Our planet was stuck in a negative paradigm, one that was reversed to the Truth of Love, for thousands of years. The whole human race was the victim of planetary conditions that caused humans to react to this human experience from a place of fear and survival, from a paradigm that empowered belief in lack, scarcity, and negativity. It was the human condition - not something that any individual human being should judge them self for."
News Addendum to Update Announcement 7-20-00
My personal journey of recovery - my search for a way to live life that would help me to Love myself more, to find some peace, happiness, and freedom - lead me to looking at life in larger and larger paradigm. The expanded perspective of life - what in my book I call a Cosmic Perspective - helped me to change my relationship with myself into one that works to help me relax and enJoy life much more than I ever thought possible. That to me, is the bottom line about my personal Spiritual belief system - it works for me.
In sharing my experience, strength, and hope, in sharing what works for me as part of my growth process, I have discovered that it works for many other people also. The bottom line for me in terms of what I attempt to communicate as a teacher, is a way to live life that helps people manifest more Love in their relationship with themselves. Intellectually remembering the Truth of a Loving God-Force, Goddess Energy, Great Spirit will not greatly change the quality of our intimate relationships unless we can integrate that Truth into our emotional relationship with ourselves and life.
"Almost any statement can be shown to be false on some levels and True on other levels, so it is important to realize that the use of discernment is vital to start perceiving the boundaries between different levels.
In the next section, Part Five, when I discuss the Cosmic Perspective and the Cosmic Perfection of this life experience, I will be discussing the paradox, and confusion to human beings, that has been the result of these multiple levels of reality - but I have devoted Part Two and Part Four to discussing the Spiritual growth process and our perspective on that process because the Cosmic Perfection does not mean crap unless we can start integrating it into our day to day life experience.
In order to start changing life into an easier, more enjoyable experience by attaining some integration and balance in our relationships it is necessary to focus on, and clear up, our relationship with this Spiritual Evolutionary process that we are involved in."
Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
In the second article in this series about spiritual integration, I discuss the concept of spirituality in terms that are different from my Spiritual belief system. I did that in the hopes that some people, who were reacting negatively to my beliefs, could get past their emotional triggers and old beliefs to see that the formula that I share for inner child healing works. In hopes that readers could start applying some of the tools and techniques to their own life in a way that can help them be more Loving to themselves.
I believe that some of the quotes that came to mind as I was writing this series might be helpful in presenting a little bit different perspective on what I am trying to communicate. On this page I am going to share some of those quotes that are related to finding some emotional balance. Sometimes hearing something from a little bit different outlook can help us to relate and/or understand a facet of the process in a way that works better for us individually. I am hoping that these excerpts about my process and how I apply the tools and techniques in my life can help some of you see more clearly how you can apply them in yours. Maybe you will find that some of these insights will help you to find a way of relating to yourself and life that works better for you.
"This dance of Codependence is a dance of dysfunctional relationships - of relationships that do not work to meet our needs. That does not mean just romantic relationships, or family relationships, or even human relationships in general.
The fact that dysfunction exists in our romantic, family, and human relationships is a symptom of the dysfunction that exists in our relationship with life, with being human. It is a symptom of the dysfunction which exists in our relationships with ourselves as human beings."
Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
Some Different Perspectives
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Newsletter III 10-98
"Working on the positive affirmations page was also a perfect part of my process as usual. While I was doing it I got a perfect example of how wonderful and powerful positive affirmations are - and how dramatically they have changed the quality of my life.
My car broke down.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be reminded of how much work I have done over the years in integrating my Spiritual belief system into my emotional responses to life - when some seeming tragedy occurs like my car breaking down, my very first reaction is gratitude that it happened when and where it did instead of when and where it could have. I used to react to life events (like car break downs) and other people's behavior out of my childhood programming that told me that if something "bad" happened it was because I was bad. I had gotten the message in childhood (in a variety of ways) that there was something wrong with me, that I was unworthy and unlovable, and that God was going to punish me for it. So life events felt like punishment.
Due to all the work that I have done in changing my subconscious programming (including at several different times making recordings of positive affirmations and messages of Love in my own voice to myself that I would play as I was going to sleep at night) my first reaction to life events now, and for the last 4 or 5 years, has been acceptance followed by gratitude because whatever it was could have happened at a worse time and place than it did.
It is amazing to me to see my capacity to let go of things that used to drive me crazy with worry and feel like punishment. The key for me has definitely been integrating the belief that everything is unfolding perfectly into my emotional process - it makes life so much easier.
Of course, that does not mean to ignore the feelings. Unfortunately, a lot of people use tools like affirmations, meditation, gratitude lists, etc. as another way of denying the feelings. These tools are meant to be used to balance the feelings not negate them. After my initial reaction of gratitude, then I let my adult take charge in terms of doing the footwork - finding a mechanic, calling a friend, calling a tow truck. As the car was being towed and I was following with my friend then I relaxed into the feelings and let myself cry with the pain of how hard life can feel sometimes. And when I say cry I mean cry - with heaving sobs. I can access those feelings and release them because of the energy/breath techniques that I have learned on the way (I describe these on the Grief Process page).
Just using the affirmations to keep from feeling my feelings would be out of balance, just staying in the adult to keep from feeling my feelings would be out of balance, just feeling the feelings and letting myself feel like a victim is also out of balance - we need to be able to use all of the tools and own all of the parts of ourselves.
What we are working toward is to find balance. That means using tools like the positive affirmations to integrate a supportive Spiritual belief system into our inner process, as well as using them to balance the feelings that come up. It does not matter what happens in my life - I start immediately to tell my self and my inner children that it is all perfect somehow, that everything is going to work out in the long run - that way I can keep from buying into the shame and doom messages that are coming from the disease so that I can maintain some emotional balance."
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Newsletter II 8-98
"About frustration, since I mentioned it several times. 10 years ago when I was in a 30 day treatment program for codependence (clinically called: depression) one of the counselors gave a definition of frustration that made me angry then, and still riles me when I am getting frustrated and I remember his words.
Frustration (he said) is what you feel when you are in a power struggle and you are losing.
Which means, for me, that there is something I need to let go of - some part of my plan, my picture of how I think things should be that I need to surrender - so I can see and accept reality as it is and then make the best of it.
A small example: I go to the post office, or the bank, and the line is longer than I want it to be (now that is kind of an oxymoron - I mean really, when has a line ever been "shorter" than I wanted it to be.) I am standing in line and I realize that I am "revving up" (getting wound up tight inside, feeling turmoil, conflict inside) because these people are in front of me (and the nerve of them - some of them have a bunch of packages (never mind how many I have)) holding me up. That is when it is time to stop, take a deep breath and talk to myself. "Now really, this is only going to take 5 or 10 minutes and we've got a half hour to get to the next place. So chill our, lighten up, relax and look around - maybe there is someone or something here you are supposed to see."
And then I can relax and go with the flow of life. My programming is to want to rush, hurry, force things along - so it is very important that I catch it when I am starting to create anxiety for myself - because those feelings are my responsibility, they are not the fault of the people in line or the post office for not having enough people at the windows (It is always so easy to blame bureaucrats - and it is also insane of me to expect reality to be different than it is.)
Every day in my life there are plans, expectations that I need to let go of. I realized at some point in my recovery that the days I was calling bad days were actually the days that things weren't going the way I wanted/expected them to go - and those were the days that I was actually learning the most - so I had to stop calling them "bad" days. (I started calling them adventures instead. What we name things has power - the more we call something hard or bad, the harder it is - attitude adjustment.) That brings to mind one of my columns - here is a quote from it:
"There is an old joke about the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic. The psychotic truly believes that 2 + 2 = 5. The neurotic knows that it is 4 but can't stand it. That was the way I lived most of my life - I could see how life was but I couldn't stand it. I was always feeling like a victim because people and life were not acting in the way I believed they "should" act.
I expected life to be different than it is. I thought if I was good and did it "right" then I would reach 'happily ever after.' I believed that if I was nice to people they would be nice to me. Because I grew up in a society where people were taught that other people could control their feelings, and vise versa, I had spent most of my life trying to control the feelings of others and blaming them for my feelings." - Serenity & Expectations
Learning how to let go of my "shoulds," surrender my picture/idea/plan of how my life is supposed to work or other people are supposed to act, and be willing to accept reality as it is, are the Principles of the Twelve Step Program at work. They are ancient Principles that are an invaluable part of both empowerment and finding some peace within
If we are in a power struggle that we are losing (with trying to control someone, or with how our life is unfolding - trying to force things, or with the God/Goddess Force - something I tend to want to do a lot) then the best strategy is to surrender that fight and find a way that is going to work for us to meet our needs. I spent most of my life with my insides churning, feeling frustrated and angry, because life wasn't what I wanted it to be. (I can remember the first time in recovery that I was aware of feeling serenity - it was like, ick, what is this? I feel empty inside - because there was no turmoil or conflict going on.)
It is so much easier to accept life as it is and make the best of it - there is a catch however. When we accept reality, and let go of trying to force our will on life and other people, there are feelings to deal with. One of the reasons we keep trying to control someone else (to get an alcoholic to stop drinking for instance) is because with all that frustration and anger, mental obsession and rumination, we don't have time to stop and feel how much is hurts, or how scared we are, or feel the grief of letting that other person go. The reason we try to control other people is to protect ourselves from our feelings - and it is important to admit that. Of course we want what is "right" for them, what is good for them - but we don't know what their "right" path is. Some people are supposed to die of Alcoholism - that is their path."
Excerpt from Joy2MeU Journal article "1, 2, 3, and a 1, 2, 3 - The first three steps"
"Recovery is a process of learning to accept reality. Empowerment is about accepting reality as it is and making the best of it. In order to accept reality, it is necessary for me to be honest enough with myself to realize that I am not in charge of this process. I cannot make life do what I want it to - so I need to continuously surrender to the plan of The Great Spirit rather than try to force my plan on the Universe (and feel sorry for myself, or blame others, when that doesn't work.) It is not bad or shameful for me to try to make things happen the way I want - it is just human, dysfunctional, and painful. The sooner I catch myself not accepting reality as it is, the sooner I can let go of my picture of how I think things need to be, the more serenity I have in my life.
Melody Beattie says "Learn the art of acceptance - it is a lot of grief." She is right. Many times the reason I am not accepting reality is because I do not want to own the feelings involved. The grief and anger over a loved one self-destructing. The grief over having to let go of something or someone that means a lot to me. The grief over accepting that life - from my perspective - is not fair or just. One of the reasons that I try to control life is to protect myself from having to see someone I Love in pain. I cannot protect others from the reality of life, or from themselves, - and if I think that I am trying to control someone else just for their sake I am lying to myself.
The principle behind the first step, and the foundation of the twelve step, or any Spiritual program, is self-honesty. If we are not being honest with ourselves, then we are not capable of being honest with anyone. It is vital to start stripping away the layers of denial, self-delusion, disassociation, magical thinking, victim thinking, blame, resentment, and dishonesty that we learned to protect ourselves with in childhood. Again, it is not shameful or bad that we have used these behavioral and emotional defenses to protect ourselves - it is because we were wounded in a variety of ways in childhood."
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Question & Answer Page 2 8-98
"We can go out of balance with anything. I can use acceptance as an excuse for not taking action or responsibility. I can use forgiveness as an excuse for not standing up for myself - to avoid confrontations. I can say I am taking care of myself when I am really isolating and indulging in instant gratification.
Recovery is a continuous balancing act. What is so important to get clear on, is that the answers are not in our head - they are in our heart and our gut. We can't think our way through recovery. But in order to start trusting our feelings we need to do the grief work. It is a complicated and complex process that has to be taken one step at a time - literally, I am saying just keep putting one foot in front of the other doing what is in front of us - following where our Spirit is leading, where our Higher Self is leading us.
. . . . About a year before I went into a thirty day treatment program for Codependence I read a meditation in a meditation book that really made me angry. It said something to the effect "that knowledge of the path does not replace putting one foot in front of the other." I always wanted to think my way through recovery but there is no way - recovery is like life, it is messy and I don't know what the outcome is going to be - there are feelings involved and that is real scary. I had programming that told me that it was shameful to make mistakes or be wrong - so I was always trying to figure out the outcome before I committed to the course - does not work that way. We can't figure out the outcome because we have never been to the places we are going. Every year in my recovery has brought me to new dimensions that I didn't know existed before - I never knew that I could possibly live my life with as much serenity and happiness as I do now without having some of the things (financial, relationship, etc.) that I thought were necessary for happiness and peace. I keep learning and growing. I keep going back to kindergarten again just about the time I think I have finished graduate school - it is a continual balancing act."
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update 2-4-00
"Recovery is a dance of balance. As I talk about in Energetic Clarity:
"And once again here, I want to make the point that clarity with our self is not an absolute destination. This healing is a gradual process of finding a sense of balance - a sense of what clarity feels like, so that we can look for and recognize when we have it and when we do not. In order to do that it is vital to learn how to be emotionally honest with ourselves so that we can be discerning in our relationship with our own mental and emotional process. Through that honesty we will achieve some energetic clarity as well.
Through that energetic clarity we will be able to access Love from the Source - and we will learn to Love and trust our Self to guide our self through this boarding school that is life as a human."
A sense of balance - not a destination. We are on a Journey - the point is to be present for the journey, not to reach a destination.
It is important to have goals because that gives us a direction - but then we need to let go of reaching that destination, at least in the way we picture it is going to be.
That is part of the paradox of recovery. It is very important to know that it is Ok to have dreams, to affirm and visualize our dreams coming true, to take action and plant seeds to make them possible, to open up to receiving all of the abundance of the Universe - and then we need to let go of believing that we will not be Ok until, or if, those dreams come true. We need to let go of the future and be present today. And know that we are Unconditionally Loved today - and every day, rather we reach our goals or not."
Excerpt from Joy2MeU Journal First Issue Newsletter 4-99
"More Will Be Revealed about how this is all going to unfold. And, of course, we all know (or any of you that have read my newsletters ) that my plans usually end up giving way to the Universes Plans (what am I saying usually - always is more like it!) I was talking to someone the other day and really liked how I said something (this sort of thing happens a lot - when I listen to myself consciously I learn. It was a little over 15 years ago when I first realized that I could consciously "move" my ego-self aside and allow myself to be a clear channel for my Higher Self / The Spirit.)
"The purpose of me making plans is to provide God with a framework in which to teach me about surrender, acceptance, patience, and Faith."
I think that is really beautiful and True - and it also pisses me off some. Oh well."
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Question & Answer Page 5 9-98
"We are powerless over outcomes in the future. The future is not really our business - it is our Higher Powers. We worry about the future because of our innate human fear of the unknown - it is natural and normal for humans to fear the unknown - but ultimately the future is not something we can control.
Now that does not mean that we are not co-creators of our lives - that doesn't mean that we just sit around doing nothing. There is an old story about a guy who wanted a garden and went out on his land and spent every day praying to God for a garden. This went on for days and then weeks and then months - finally one day the man got fed up and yelled at God "Where is my garden?" A gentle voice came down from heaven saying, "My son, you must plant the seeds."
We need to do any footwork necessary, gather any information that is helpful, make any connections that can help us, etc. and then let go of the outcome. Some days are seed planting days and some days aren't - if we put all of our energy into trying to create the future we want then we miss out on today - but if we just think of today and never think of the future then we are not being co-creators of our life.
We need to have a balance between being a responsible adult and being free to be spontaneous in the moment. By having internal boundaries and starting to change our patterns so we are not always reacting to the past - we can start having the choice of being present in the now. It is very important to be available for life today. I heard someone in a Twelve Step meeting not long ago say "What if today is the happiest day of my life and I miss it because I am busy getting better?" Balance is what we are seeking - balance between being in the now and taking care of business so we can eat tomorrow. . . . .
And most important, remember to lighten up and enjoy life when you can - take time to smell the roses and hear the birds and watch the sunset - we need to own the anger and the pain and the fear but they are not what defines us - who we really are is Light and Love and Joy and Beauty - and that is the Truth. We are the music of The Great Spirit - we've just been way out of tune."
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Newsletter IV 10-98
"Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about. I am so incredibly grateful for this path I am on. The miracle of the Twelve Step Recovery Program Spiritual Principles first saved my life when I was trying to kill myself - then saved my life again when my Codependence was close to killing me. My Codependence Recovery then turned living from something which was miserable and unbearable for me into a Glorious Exciting Adventure. I am so glad to be alive today - and have a life work that I passionately believe in, Love doing - and which brings me great Joy. I am not sure how I am going to pay my rent next month, haven't had anything close to a Love relationship for several years, and have some health problems - but those don't matter today. I am free to be Happy and Joyous in the moment for the majority of the moments of every day.
What I can see now is that my response to my car breaking down last month (Newsletter 10-25-98 below) broke me through to a whole new dimension of existence. I have for years had a bumper sticker on my car that says Happy Joyous and Free - and I have had increasing tastes of what that means over the years - but now I am Truly living in a space where that is my reality most of the time. I am Free to be Happy and Joyous in the moment most of the time because I am also free to be angry or sad or scared or hurt in the moment. I am Free because I have let go of the "What ifs" and "If onlys" which are just my disease wanting me to feel deprived and victimized. I am Free because I know in my heart and in my gut that I am Unconditionally Loved and I don't have to earn it. I am Free because I know the future is not in my control - and I know that I am doing all of the seed planting and footwork that the Universe is prompting me to do. I am Free to relax and enjoy life because the Spirit is guiding me.
Years ago I ran across a saying that I really liked and wanted to set as a goal - "Serenity is not Freedom from the Storm - Serenity is Peace Amidst the Storm." I always thought that I had to stop the storm. Now I can be serene and peaceful no matter what the storm brings - life events like car breakdowns, other peoples behavior which is just them dancing with their own wounds, apparent financial insecurity, that I am still doing some unhealthy behavior health wise, whatever - I don't have to be perfect, I don't have to have money, I don't have to be in a relationship, to be happy."
Joy2MeU Journal Newsletter Second Issue - May 8, 1999
"My process works in cycles [I talk about the dynamics of this on the Self Nurturing page of my web site, and in Chapter 6 of the Trilogy] that are always rising to higher levels - but it doesn't always feel that way. When I break through to a new level, I am at the bottom of the new level but it feels like the bottom of the whole thing again.
. . . . Whenever I get to a new level it feels like shit (fertilizer) for a while because I am having to let go of some of my old ego definitions and I don't get to know what is going to replace them until I get to know. An analogy I used to use that just came to mind is this: It feels like I am flying through the air on a trapeze and I have to let go of the one I am holding onto before I even see the one that is going to swing down for me to grab a hold of - an incredible act of faith. The empty handed leap into the void.
. . . . . This "hanging here terrified" is a perfect part of my process. It is confusing and scary and very, very painful. I am getting to revisit it, in part, to heal some of the shame that I allowed my disease to heap on me so many of the other times I have been in transition.
It feels very familiar - this place. And the disease (and unsafe people) want me to believe that it is my fault that I am here again. This is the time when I most need to be Loving and nurturing to myself - and the hardest time to do that. It is a time when I really get to see who is my friend and who isn't. Anyone that will lay any judgment on me at a time like this is someone that is not going to be in my life anymore. It is a great time to discern who I want in my life and who I don't.
It feels like the same place I have visited before - but it isn't really. It is the same wound, the same abyss of pain - but I am visiting it now on a higher level."
The Path of one Recovering Codependent - the dance of one wounded soul - 6-99
"It is quite common - especially with "New Age" types, but also in 12 step recovery programs - for codependents to give other codependents the message that "you must be doing something wrong" or you would not be: 1. in financial difficulty, 2. sick, 3. out of a job, 4. in a relationship, 5. not in a relationship, 6. whatever. For people to judge others for how their life looks on the outside. No one has a right to judge someone else's path. No one can know what Karma someone else is settling, and what is necessary to settle that Karma. If one person is able to cure themselves of cancer and another person dies of cancer - that doesn't mean one person did it right and another did it wrong. Each of them is perfectly on their path. There is no right and wrong. We are all one. We all get to go home. We have different lesson plans while we are here. There is no right and wrong.
. . . . . I do not have the power to screw up The Great Spirit's plan. I am perfectly where I am supposed to be on my path. I don't have to like what is happening in my life - but in order to have any serenity I need to accept my reality as it is today. The quality of my life today, in this moment, is directly related to how much I am allowing the disease to shame and judge me. When I have internal boundaries with the disease so that I can choose not to give power to the shame and judgment, then I am a success. I am being successful in Unconditionally Loving myself in this moment. When I have a Higher Power that Loves me Unconditionally and I can accept that State of Grace - then I am Loving myself. Then it does not matter what anyone else thinks of me. That is True empowerment. That is Love. I am a great success today. I really have it together right in this moment."