Inner Teacher

I’ve been having a really hard time. We have a few COVID cases among the staff, so things have closed down a little. I think they are realizing that we are suffering from lack of connection, so they are not forbidding us to get together, just discouraging us. The tables in the dining room are back to five people a table or less. It’s also been very cold, so time outside has not been much fun.  I found myself doing puzzles compulsively yesterday, and not even enjoying it. So today I asked Inner Teacher for help.

Thursday, January 13

Dear Inner Teacher, I’m feeling pretty bleak and finding it hard to do practical things.  Can you help me?

Dear Jenny, bless your heart!  You are much too conscientious.  It’s perfectly OK to do puzzles, though it would be better if you could enjoy them instead of doing them compulsively.  You are once again beyond the end of your resources.  You need more support from outside to be able to overcome your apathy.  You wish that you could, like Etty, like Joanna Macy, feel joy and gratitude.  Dear One, your ability to feel positive emotions was severely compromised by early trauma and lack of positive mirroring when you were very young.  One good thing, you haven’t been beating on yourself to “shape up.”  Keep in mind Little Jenny with the Dar Gorani Look.  She can see that there is a better world out there, but she can’t get there.  Be kind to her, and take care of her as best you can.  Remember, though you can’t feel it, you are greatly loved, and you are greatly loving.

Thank You.

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That Twilight Feeling, reprise

These two messages arrived at the end of the year. They speak to exactly how I’m feeling, which is very lonely, very sad, a sense that there is no meaning to my life, a kind of end-of-life version of That Twilight Feeling. Matt describes this sense of aloneness very well, as a consequence of trauma. Checking inside, I see that my inner compass is still aimed at a better vision of life. There’s no “felt sense” to tell me that it might be true, but there’s still a kind of certainly that at least I’m facing that way, even if I’m slipping backwards. Tami Simon speaks to that in her year-end message.

Matt Licata 12/30/21

In addition to the chronic empathic failure and narcissistic injury which goes to the very core of our sense of self, what can be even more devastating is a deep knowing that “I’m alone in this.” The absence of companionship, of feeling felt and understood, is at the heart of trauma and devastating to a human being wired to rest within a relational field.

Tami Simon, 12/31/21

This person I didn’t know continued to approach, and when we were about 10 feet away from each other, this stranger smiled at me with a genuine sweetness … and kept on walking.

That was it; that was the small action.

And for whatever reason (maybe because I had been meditating all by myself for several days), this human act of softly reaching out to me with a gesture of connection broke my heart right open.

Your words matter. Your phone calls matter. Your emails matter. Your genuine smile matters. The way you hold space for another matters. With the smallest of gestures, we lift each other up.

Here on the last day of 2021, I want to remind us all that we matter … to each other. My sense is that we have no idea how many people we touch in small ways with huge impacts. Thank you for every act of compassion you share. I feel grateful to be in connection with you.

This reminded me that if I can do no big things, because of age, trauma, vulnerability to depression, etc. I can at least do small things. I know that calling two people on the phone recently cheered them up a lot and cheered me too. I think of Star, in the Clinic, telling me that she could see my smile behind my mask.

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Accept that this is the Reality of Who I am?

I first heard about Claude Anshin Thomas in one of Richard Rohr’s daily meditations. He’s a Vietnam Vet who suffered from flashbacks that keep him from sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time.  He talks about realizing that this was who he was.  I write “I wonder if I could do what he has? Just accept that this is the reality of who I am? Right now, it looks totally impossible.”

I bought his book, At Hell’s Gate, and read it twice, trying to find a way to accept my suffering instead of continuing to struggle to heal it.  Lately, because of the social distancing, I feel like I have slid backwards, and been angry and upset about it. Some quotes from the book were very powerful for me.

When he first meets Thich Nhat Hanh, who is Vietnamese, he sees him as “the enemy.” Eventually he gets to Plum Village, in France, and stays there for long periods more than once. 

Thich Nhat Hanh tells him “You have begun the process of transformation, there is no telling how long it will take, but you must continue to water the seeds of sorrow and the seeds of suffering with mindfulness.”    p143

If we blame others for our pain “… we become trapped …  until we stop it by taking responsibility for our pain — by finding the courage to feel it, to enter into it, and not just to pass it on.”   p147

For me the experience was different.  I thought I was defective from the very beginning, and it’s still the default place I fall into when I’ve lost the older and wiser parts of me. It wasn’t until I was 42 that I heard about alcoholic parents, and the damage they do to their children that I understood that I wasn’t defective, I had learned dysfunctional behavior from a pair of alcoholics.  I had already been in therapy since my twenties, but now I went at therapy from a different direction.  No longer trying to “fix myself,” but working to unlearn behaviors that didn’t work. At that point I didn’t blame my parents, I saw that it was my responsibility to work on myself. Finding the courage to feel my pain, to enter into it, has been long difficult process and I have needed the help of therapists, and been lucky to find very good ones.

“… the transformative experiences I’ve had that enabled me to learn to live in a more integrated way with my suffering…”     p152

“To live in a more integrated way with my suffering.” What would that be like for me? Not being angry with myself when I can’t do something practical, or only get to it many days later? To accept myself just as I am? Why is that so hard? But today, for totally mysterious reasons, I am OK with myself.

“Hiding or avoiding does not eliminate suffering, it just drives it more deeply underground.”   p139

Claude Anshin’s acceptance of his own suffering, and his hard work to stop seeing “enemies” as enemies, convince me that the pain of being the abuser is just as bad as the pain of being a victim. That in turn convinces me that human beings are basically good.

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Seeing that I am Still Connected

I worked on this blog post on November 6, but didn’t publish it.  Reading it over, I think it expresses very well exactly where I was.

From my journal for Monday, November 1

Headache.  Feeling a little bleak.       — peach colored clouds in a pale blue-green sky, my tree glowing red-orange. my soul is nourished by the color. now a wind shakes the branches and leaves fly —

I had a lot of things to read, but it was all difficult.  The Web of Meaning was in the place where he talks about how well-entrenched the capitalist system is.  Etty is examining herself for faults and trying to encourage better behavior, but I find it hard to get exactly what she’s talking about.  And in April ’93 I was having a bad time with headaches & nausea & lethargy & having trouble with organizing tasks.  I think it’s both systemic yeast & menopause, but it’s not fun.  I went to Kripalu for a week of R&R, & had a bad headache the whole time.  I’m just beginning to see how mercilessly I push myself.

So I had no comforting reading yesterday.  I do find my blog comforting.  Even it it’s about a bad time, that reminds me of what I’m up against, and also I seem to have got past a lot.  Or healed a lot.  I haven’t felt afraid in a very long time.  Most of my discouragement has to do with the damage to the earth, and some of it with no community of like-minded souls.  But I realize that I do trust that the world I love is held in compassion by a larger cosmos.  It is painful that I have no community who “get” what I offer, but I don’t see that as being because I don’t have anything worthwhile to offer.  It’s because Western culture is so badly off center.  I am wounded, yes, but so are most people, and unlike most of them, I have worked to heal my wound.  And I do believe that is a positive contribution to the human energy field.

3rd cup. coffee.      When I sat down to breakfast I realized I had started to read Enduring Lives.  It was in the pile of books and I knew it would help.  In the introduction is the quote about the medieval world view, that there is an invisible realm that interpenetrates the visible.  This morning I started reading what she has to say about Etty and she understood much better than I did what’s going on with her.

When I went out with Mocha it was incredibly beautiful outside.  Sunny, breezy, not too cold.  Wonderful colors, the oaks up by the road have gone their amazing brownish red.  I had an odd double feeling: almost joy in the colors & the breeze and sorrow in the knowing how fragile and fleeting it is.  Something that I felt when I knew Bella was dying.

What’s really strange is that even this recent difficult time has not broken my connection to the wider, more inclusive, participatory, sacred cosmos.  I can still feel it there, under everything, like the floor that caught my pieces after starting S.E., like the “goodness beyond goodness.  I thought that if I got to this stage I would be happy all the time, but there’s still a slightly scary unfamiliarity.  I think it’s because I’m breaking all those old family rules — Thou shalt not think thyself so great, Thou shalt constantly push thyself to prove thee deserves to live, Thou shalt do everything right, etc.

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I always enjoy it when the “real” truth appears. Actually I really like Parker Palmer’s definition: “Truth is an eternal conversation about things that matter, conducted with passion and discipline.” Interestingly, I remember it as an ongoing conversation. That’s how it happens.

My friend Beverly informs me that Mother Teresa did not write the quote attributed to her. She referred me to the Quote Investigator. Actually, the first time I saw the quote in Umbrella’s office, it did not have the last line about God, and it didn’t give any attribution. Given my difficulty with “God,” I prefer the version without. In fact “do good anyway” is more powerful when you don’t believe in a god who will reward you.

As a scientist, I learned that what is seen as scientific truth right now, is only the most recent version. At any moment, assumptions may change, changing what you accept as “data,” or new data may be found changing what we accept as truth. I can see that this is true for my life as well.

Here is the original statement:

The quote is called “The Paradoxical Commandments” and it was
actually written by Kent M. Keith.

Lack of praise or recognition is often a result of using the Silent Revolution. It is comparatively easy to bear; it is a simple kind of self-denial which allows the achievement of greater meaning and satisfaction. Other situations are less easy. Being attacked and mistreated by the people you are trying to help, for example, is a possibility much harder to stomach than a mere lack of recognition. It hurts in particular when you really care for the people who are attacking you: if you didn’t care, you could shrug it off with indifference. And yet, a deep concern for people makes it possible to understand that attack with compassion, and to keep helping. This kind of paradoxical situation can occur often. Indeed, we might list some “Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership:”

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

You’ll find that there is no such thing as going through a Silent Revolution just for fun. It’s seldom fun. It’s tiring, ridiculously nerve-wracking, demoralizing, and seemingly impossible. You’ve got to be deeply committed to people – all of them, not just the ones who are nice to you – in order to go through with it. If you’re in it for other people, you may not always succeed, but you can be happy in the knowledge that you are doing things which are as meaningful as possible – for both you and the people you’re helping. You’re working at full potential, so there can be no regrets. You’re doing the most you can, as best you can.

Posted in Activism, Interesting link, Story | Comments Off on Truth

Words to Help me Keep on Keeping On

“If he could get to the end without having thrown in his hand he would have kept his integrity.”  Paul, thinking of Charles, The Scent of Water, p273

Well!  Deciding to give the link which was not in the original, I find a wonderful description of the book on the Elizabeth Goudge website.

From Mother Teresa:
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”

The first time I read this, I was in Umbrella in St. Johnsbury. I was seeing a therapist. Umbrella was a also where I went to a class for victims of domestic violence which became Journey Into Courage.

“We may not live to see the slaves go free.  Neither did Moses reach the promised land.  Still none can be more blest than we who are an instrument in God’s hand.”  from Magpie song “Mary Brown, Abolitionist.”

In his last speech before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King said “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you…”

Walter Benjamin: “Every line we succeed in publishing today — no matter how uncertain the future to which we entrust it — is a victory wrenched from the powers of darkness.”

“Did I win or lose?  All I know is I am full of wounds and still on my feet.”  Nikos Kazantzakis.

This quote comes from his autobiography Report to Greco. When I went to the tomb of El Greco in Toledo, Spain, I found out his name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. So of course the Spanish called him “the Greek.”

“There’s nothing as dark as night
But nothing so strong as light,
And here is the choice —
To let it burn out — or bright.”         Christine Kane

“Hope …  is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizon.  Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”     Vaclav Havel

“Resistance is first of all a matter of principle and a way to live, to make yourself one small republic of unconquered spirit.”      Rebecca Solnit.

“Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”         Martin Luther King JR.

“The arc of the moral universe…” is paraphrasing something first said by Theodore Parker, and abolitionist minister in 1853. An interesting study appears in the Huffington Post. I have taken it and turned it into words for me to hang on to: The arc of the physical universe is long, but it bends toward consciousness and compassion.” My evidence is the Dalai Lama. I do not believe that he could exist, if consciousness were not implicit in the first hydrogen atom.

“In the face of all the challenges we face today, is my optimism about the future of humanity idealistic? Perhaps it is. Is it unrealistic? Certainly not. To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up.”          —Dalai Lama

Recently, in a Circle Dance Zoom for Winter Solstice, I heard this song. It quotes Julian of Norwich: All Shall be Well.

A delightful surprise!  Revisiting all these friends, ideas and sites, has given me a big lift of the spirit. Badly needed because I woke up feeling pretty bleak.

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Empty Cold Place

from my journal for October 24 2021

Checking email, I saw something about how corporate interests are acting against the freedom of the internet.  I could feel the “bad guys” closing in, and it reminded me of Etty Hillesum as yet another Nazi restriction of Jews closes them in more.  So I went & got her book out & started reading again.  A good companion for these times.

Etty Hillesum is a Dutch Jew who died in Auschwitz in 1943.  She started a journal in February 1941, when she began working with Julius Spier.  He was a fascinating man, a teacher and therapist who worked with reading the palm of the hand.  Working with him made possible a huge transformation of her life.

from my journal for Sunday, December 19

Just spent the 10:00-11:00 time, when I should have been at Quaker Meeting, reading Etty Hillesum’s letters.  At first most are to friends in Westerbork from Etty in Amsterdam.  She had already spent several summer months in Westerbork, gone back to Amsterdam on leave.  While she was in Amsterdam, Spier died, and her health collapsed.  She kept trying to get back to Westerbork, managed in November — when she wrote a long letter describing what things were like in Westerbork.  That letter was published.  Then suddenly, in December, she’s back in Amsterdam.

Westerbork was a transit camp.  Jews were rounded up and kept there until they were sent on transport to Auschwitz. At first it was supposed that they were going to a work camp. but gradually it became apparent, when old people and sick people were sent, that it was a death camp.

I think because I woke this morning in such a cold empty space, I feel more at home in Westerbork than anywhere else.  The cold, the snow, and the blue sky and bright sun remind me of that first winter in Portland, when I had returned after a breakdown in California.  I wonder if I’m being triggered back into that time by the weather and the social distancing.  I have met only one person, while walking Mocha, since I got up, otherwise I’ve been alone here.

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Horrible Day

I haven’t posted anything new to this blog since November 5.  I’ve been having a very hard time, partly due to struggling with a dead battery in my car, which first looked like it was problem with the electrical system.  My car is a Prius, and the Toyota service department told me that if there was a problem with the electrical system, it could take a while to figure it out and to fix it.  It turned out that it was the 12 volt battery, but it took 10 days before I was able to get a new battery.  The same day the car wouldn’t start, I woke up to find a tick embedded in my arm.  I managed to pull it out.  Since it was a Saturday, there were only emergency people in the Clinic to look at it, but there wasn’t a lot of red.  It was a big tick, so I hoped that all would be well.  It was 10 days before a red spot, about 2 inches across appeared on my arm around the bite.  So they started me on doxycycline.  I was unhappy because I knew it would mess up my gut, but I certainly didn’t want to get Lyme disease.  I was very tired while taking the medication, but did start finally feeling better.

Meanwhile, things were getting harder.  Some of the things that lift my spirits are dancing at Neskaya, going to grief group, and posting to this blog.  I had to miss a gathering at Neskaya and three weeks of grief group because of the problem with my car.  I started drafts of two posts, but wasn’t able to finish them.  A lot of my difficulty is because of the social distancing.  When my system gets dysregulated — all too easy with PTSD — the best way to regulate is to be with other people in physical reality.  Seeing people on video does not accomplish this necessary process.

Today has been very difficult.  This morning, it was raining on top of a layer of snow. This causes snow to fall off the roof, which upsets Mocha. Even though the first falls were very soft, Mocha knew they were happening and started to try to escape. The best way is when she’s able to crawl into a hiding place in the closet where she feels safe. For some reason this doesn’t work when snow/ice falls off the roof and makes a loud noise. She seems to be trying to find safety by climbing up something, or banging on the shower door or the closet doors. Sometimes she knocks things over, so I’m bothered by noise, by fear of damage, by having to remove her from places like near the computer where she has knocked plugs out of sockets.

At first I tried to write in my journal, but couldn’t get anywhere.  I began to be unpleasantly anxious. The only thing I could do was type journal since it didn’t require me to do something new. At least Mocha quieted down about 11:30, after a couple of hours of scrambling around, and I was able to go down to get lunch. Of the practical things I had hoped to get done today, the only one I managed, after a struggle with the website, was to update my credit card with AAA by filling out a paper and getting it ready to mail.

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Rescuing the Traumatized Baby

This was first posted in July 2010

(Written in June 2004)
In a session of the “Wave Work” at Kripalu: there was a confusing struggle with my body’s tendency to cramp up (esp left hand) and kick, shake, jump.  Finally I let it shrivel up into a crippled, spastic child (I could see the starving baby from my collage book) — and it felt, not exactly good, but valid, solid, like this is who I really am.  I stayed with it for a while, feeling huge compassion for that shriveled, spastic, starving baby.
Later came a sense of “wrong” — “Who’s saying it?” They are, mom & dad.  Then I got angry and started to growl & she said “Let it get big” — and it got huge, a shell of fire expanding outward.  I felt safe inside it.  The wounded child guarded by Tigress Mother Durga.  I could feel both at once and like the baby really was safe, and fiercely defended, and OK just as she was.  As I stayed with the picture, the limbs of the baby began to plump up — tho her skin was grey black.  At that point Helah said I was integrating and just to stay with the feelings of huge compassion.

Told Karen about the Wave Work, about being the baby — then about feelings of resistance and disgust to the idea of taking care of myself.  She said it was OK to have those feelings.  We explored the reality — that it’s not an infant that requires 24-hour a day care.  When I paid attention to the infant I got that what she needed was just my presence, my attention, my willingness to be with her, and to see her correctly.  OF COURSE!  She’s not a physical baby but an emotional one, she doesn’t need physical nurturing so much as  emotional nourishing — and I can do that.  I told Karen that this time being with the baby was different — I felt compassion go out to her, but not that I had to fix it or make it better.  Karen said she could tell that, that in the past I had seen the baby as a ‘chore’, a ‘burden’.  (which of course is how mother saw me).

(Written in December 2004)
Dear Guides and Guardian Spirits, I’m having a hard time.  I feel so bleak and despairing and empty.  At least I’ve been able to cook & eat breakfast, make phone calls, wash dishes.  But I feel so bereft.  My life stretches out in front of me like a bleak grey wasteland.  Please help me.
Dear Jenny, we love you a lot.  This is a difficult passage you are going through, but it is a passage.  You will get through it.  There is life on the other side, never fear.  It’s going to be OK, it really is going to be OK.  It’s OK for the moment to sit with this level of despair.  This is truly the experience of a baby who has been left alone by her mother.  She can’t take care of herself, all she can do is wait to be rescued.  The longer rescue does not come, the more everything looks utterly hopeless.  There, there, dear.  Imagine yourself holding the baby who is so frozen and scared — too frozen to be able to feel your presence.  And we are around you, holding you as you hold her.

(Written in December 2005)
The hopelessness and helplessness feel so HUGE. I say to myself “These are the feelings of a baby who’s been left alone too long.”  At the moment I’m feeling, overwhelmingly, “Nothing I do makes any difference.” I can see that’s the baby’s experience, but it doesn’t bring any change.

When I don’t have a Neskaya/Circle Dance activity, when I’m alone in my house, then I fall into the lost baby — hopeless and helpless, who will die if no one rescues her.

(Written in January 2006)
Bleak.  Cold stony wasteland bleak. This hard cold stoniness is not who I am.  It is the product of trauma and adverse brain chemistry.  This is what a baby feels when she has been left too long by her mother.  The hard cold stoniness is a defense, and it’s also how the world feels when mother is gone: no hope, no warmth, no love. My job is just to stay with her long enough for her to get it that I really am here for her.  Until she gets that, my attempts at self-soothing aren’t going to work.  So I need to just sit next to her, with kindness, reassurance and patience, understanding that her anger and rejection and mistrust are because of her pain at being left for so long.  I know and understand that pain.

Somewhere in here, I had an experience of committing myself to the traumatized baby. I didn’t write it down so I don’t know exactly when it happened.  I was imagining a war zone, wrecked buildings, burning cars, dead bodies, a few people wandering dazedly around, smoke drifting, colors all grey and black except for the fires.  I see a shriveled dark grey baby lying on a garbage can.  I think of picking her up, but I realize the orphanage has been bombed.  There’s nowhere to take her.  If I pick her up I’m stuck with her for the rest of my life.  I spend a moment wondering if I really do want to take on this task.  Then I pick her up.

Saw Deborah St. Cyr for acupuncture yesterday.  Told her about the feeling in my chest, and that if I said to myself “It’s a traumatized baby” then everything softened and it was easier to be with the fear.  When she started putting needles in, she said something about “strengthening the container.” That reminded me of Beth’s sculpture and the one I had wanted to make and how I had seen that the heart was shielded because it needed to heal, and then the heart needed to connect with the baby, not turn outward again.  Then it came to me — the baby is in the heart!  That’s why the heart is all grey like the baby was.  That was very exciting — it’s not the grey of stuckness, degeneration and death, it’s the grey of a frozen traumatized baby.  Even writing it down I can feel the shift — from being angry at myself for waking scared again to compassion for the terrified frozen baby, and willingness to stay with it as long as it takes.
And if it takes the rest of my life, I’m willing to do that.  It’s amazing that I care so much about this baby, who is me, as though the baby were the earth, or all the babies traumatized by war, and not Jenny who I’ve never thought was worth that much focus and effort.  But the baby doesn’t seem like “me”, more like the task I’ve been given and I’m willing to take it on.  My work to heal this traumatized fragment of the universe is meaningful.  And I think one thing that’s helped this shift is Sharon Salzberg quoting the Buddha as saying there’s no one more worthy of your love in the whole universe than yourself.

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Guidance from the Past

This was first posted in April of 2010. It’s worth checking the original because there’s a beautiful response from Jalaja Bonheim that I turn to again and again for support.

(Written in February 2003)
Dear Guides, can you help me out?
Dear Jenny, we are so proud of you.  You did a splendid job of working with the pain on Sunday — you were courageous enough to face an enormous pain and learn what it had to teach you.  Not many people are able to use this kind of opportunity.  Your whole relationship to depression and terror has changed.  Instead of rushing to get away from these painful states, you are willing to go toward them with compassion.  Like the way you always met your mother’s misery with compassion.  Unfortunately, she could not see those times as opportunities for change, she wanted to hide and deny her vulnerability in order to keep “looking good.” You on the other hand have always been willing to face any amount of pain if it brought you to the truth.  For you, truth always had a higher value than your own comfort.  This time you faced the core of your pain directly, its source in the anger and merciless judgement of yourself for not living up to ideals that you could see, but had no foundation or guidance for actually living out.  To make this big a change from your earlier conditioning is a huge piece of work and we congratulate you.  Furthermore, your work on yourself has enormous ramifications and ripple effects on this planet.  As you work to bring compassion and mercy to your hatred and anger, you are making compassion and mercy more possible for everyone struggling with hatred and anger.  The direction the hatred and anger are aimed is immaterial.  Those who struggle with hatred for a traditional enemy find it no harder to transform their hatred than you who struggle with hatred for yourself.

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