From my journal for June 3, 1996
But the truth is, going over the whole thing in detail again again, writing down exactly what the fear feels like and then seeing how it matches my childhood, results in me feeling much less fearful, much more stable, seeing beyond the shoulders of my parents’ shadows to the possibility of a real Universe, big enough, wild enough, creative enough, compassionate enough, to meet my Soul’s need.
I hardly can believe that I wrote that so long ago, while I was in a state of hypervigiliance from the bad experience on Paxil. I wasn’t yet on an anti-depressant that worked, I had no idea about the trauma, and yet I was able to state exactly what my life is about: the search for Truth, for that real Universe.
This is more of the excerpt from my journal for June 1996. I posted the whole thing back in 2010. I went back to look for it, because I had a sense that it was an important overview of my life. In fact it’s the description of the work I’ve been doing for the last twenty years. I have a lot more information I want to add.
I had an insight, a while back, that consciousness, consciously holding a vision, was a kind of strange attractor that could — not control the chaotic forces of life — but direct them in some way, or at least move them closer to the desired outcome. So therefore, holding on to a vision is important, even if there aren’t any “good feelings” or any hope that the desired outcome could manifest. I’d feel better if I were more in touch with my own vision. What do I want? I want to feel connected to my life, engaged in it, involved with it. I want to have some sense that my daily activities are meaningful even if I don’t know what that meaning is. I want to feel my rootedness in the divine, so I can move from a place of peace and wisdom instead of fear. I want to feel connected to my friends, and to be able to support them to the best of my ability. What about my creativity, the books I was going to write? I guess what I want is to offer my creative gifts to the Great Powers of the Universe to be used as and when they see fit. And I would also like to have some sense that those Great Powers are — what? I hate to say “good” or “beneficent”, that seems too limiting, as though the Great Powers were concerned with my material security and happiness, as though the Great Powers were constrained by human ideas of “good” — when I know they can be wild and unpredictable and demanding of larger visions, bigger efforts than would be consistent with “security” or “happiness”. I think I want to be reassured that the Great Powers are not blind, unintelligent, malicious, mean, but that they are tending toward some vision of greatness, wholeness, divinity, some dazzling truth or beauty or compassion that would call forth my reverence and willingness to sacrifice my health or happiness or life for such a cause. When have I ever had that sense, of a Universe big enough, spiritual enough, to enlarge my soul and lift me out of my petty concerns? I can’t think of anything recent, but I know there are times written in my journal. I think of thunder and wind and fire, and the hands of God, at the time of Fiona’s death. I think of the “blazing and storm-shattered” maples at Kripalu and my sense of wanting it all, wanting a whole life, both the glory and the pain. But mostly my experience of the universe is that it’s at best unhelpful, at worst malicious, that it’s set me some hard and difficult assignment, refused to give me help with it or even make it clear what the assignment is, it has some expectation of me that I keep failing to fulfill, it’s just waiting to punish me badly for every mistake and sneer at my attempts to do something “good”, to make something “beautiful”. Well, I see that I’m not describing the Universe at all, but my childhood experience of Mom & Dad, where I kept failing to satisfy their expectation, and got no help or guidance at all, just sneers and invalidation when I ran into trouble. I can’t believe that the Universe is like this. Surely the One who made daffodils is capable of more compassion and support than that. It seems like I’ve got so entirely caught in the world conditioned by my parents that I’ve completely lost my sense of some bigger wider universe, where compassion and support and abundance are available, and especially support for being one’s “big self”, living one’s big life, really using and living out of one’s creative power and strength. I see how afraid I am of being punished and abandoned if I dare to live out of my real power. Gosh that makes me mad! I see why my advice to Alice showed up in my dream — I too am being restricted by my parents’ “post-hypnotic” suggestion to live the kind of life that would have made them comfortable, not the kind of life my soul is capable of.
It makes me mad that I have to keep coming to this insight over and over. I stopped thinking of the fear states as being related to infancy with my mother because a) if that was really it, they should have stopped with the realization, b) I’m wrong to blame my spiritual failures on Mom, c) I’m tired and bored with the whole thing, d) Valerie Hunt says the fear comes from soul problems stemming from past lifetimes not from childhood trauma in this one. But the truth is, going over the whole thing in detail again again, writing down exactly what the fear feels like and then seeing how it matches my childhood, results in me feeling much less fearful, much more stable, seeing beyond the shoulders of my parents’ shadows to the possibility of a real Universe, big enough, wild enough, creative enough, compassionate enough, to meet my Soul’s need.
“Strange attractor” is a term from the mathematics of complex systems. It describes a process which cannot predict, but is how many real things behave. My favorite example is the standing wave that appears over a rock in a stream. If you watch it for a while, you see that it never repeats the same form, but also that the shapes never go outside a particular limit.
Holding a vision, as a way to manifest what you want, is from the teachings of Robert Fritz.
Fiona was our first dog. We had her barely a year when she was hit on the road and died. This is from my journal a few days after she died:
From the beginning I had the feeling that we were in the hands of god, and that Fiona was in the hands of god, even in the midst of all the grief and pain. … God is not about security, god is thunder and wind and fire. Fiona’s death cracked us open to the realization that we are all suspended over the abyss, just a hair’s breadth from annihilation.
My first weekend at Kripalu, there was a snowstorm on Sunday, so I had to stay an extra night. I wrote this on October 6, 1987:
The sun was just breaking through the clouds and the trees with their glorious colors contrasted sharply with the snow all over the ground. There were broken branches everywhere and as I walked I thought about how this is the price we pay for being here. … But now it seems like this is the price we pay to live at all, this is what it costs to stand there with glorious colors. … So as I walked down the road I said “Yes, all right, I accept the challenge. I’ll take the bad as well as the good and try to learn to be joyous and grateful through all of it. And I too already have some broken branches.”
The books I was going to write. The most important was “Written in Blood.”
This is a story that keeps me stuck. “I stopped thinking of the fear states as being related to infancy with my mother because… a) “if that was really it, they should have stopped with the realization.” Intellectual understanding doesn’t end a belief unless it’s very recent.
b) “I’m wrong to blame my spiritual failures on Mom.” I never blamed Mom for my difficulties, I always saw that it was my job to heal the damage.
c) “I’m tired and bored with the whole thing.” Because I can’t see how to go on.
d) “Valerie Hunt says the fear comes from soul problems stemming from past lifetimes not from childhood trauma in this one.” What made her the expert? I think my acceptance of her statement is me being willing to trivialize my experience. It will be about 5 years before I understand that I was traumatized. The story that I was traumatized in infancy makes sense of my life and gives me a way to work on healing.