Being Unmet

from my journal for Wednesday, May 20

I was feeling really awful yesterday.  It was like I had lost all the spiritual connection I’ve felt over the past months.  Somehow I was able to trust that it was real, it was still there, even though I couldn’t feel it.  Erica was a huge help.  She said she heard in my voice a weariness, not physical but emotional.  Trying out words she said “being unmet” and that resonated.  I realize that in some ways I have never been met.  I thought Dana met me, but then he failed to stay with it, he cut the connection.  Jalaja met me, she saw who I was, and perhaps she also saw that I couldn’t see it.  Yes, being unmet is a lifelong pain.  

So then, when Erica talked about the part of me that had to erase the experience of connection in the silence, because the experience of deep connection, of “refuge” as Erica said, is founded on a healthy mother-baby connection.  That is what I should have had and didn’t get.  The pain of that not-getting is so great, that the part of me that protects me has to erase it completely.  I end up in that terrible blank space where there is nothing.  Erica said “annihilation.”  Exactly.

She used the word “pendulation” and initially I thought she was wrong.  Pendulation in Somatic Experiencing is moving deliberately back and forth between the resource and the trauma.  There’s nothing deliberate about this.  I gain the resource — Divine refuge — or maybe it is even granted to me by grace — and then my own dissociative defense whips me away from it and into the center of the wound.  I had noticed that each time I had a new spiritual realization, I would later find myself more completely lost in the traumatized baby state.  (Jalaja: “the depths to which you are journeying”)  I failed to see that it’s a mechanism I’ve long been familiar with.  When you complete a healing step, you feel great for a while.  But because you are now stronger, tougher layers of the wound rise up to be dealt with.

Something else that happened yesterday was reading in Radical Acceptance, where Tara talks about how it would be hard to feel compassion for a murderer, a CEO whose company pollutes the Earth, a child molester.  I immediately felt compassion for the murderer and the molester because I know they were both acting out of pain.  It’s a little harder for the polluting CEO, but I am starting to see that money and power addiction is caused by a hole inside that can’t be filled by the material world.  And that these people are not happy, contrary to the myth that money and possessions will make you happy.

So yesterday, after talking to Erica, I stopped paying attention to emails and let myself do puzzles and listen to sacred harp music.  Erica had used the words “weariness” and “fatigue” as she was trying to describe the quality of my voice.  I think I’ve been suffering from “compassion fatigue” — no, it’s not compassion fatigue but empathy fatigue.  I don’t need to read about the pain in the world to feel it.  It’s more tiring and frustrating because there’s not much I can do about it.  I did send two small contributions along with a prayer to causes I really want to help.

The sense I’ve been getting lately is that the best use of my gifts is to send compassion to the “bad guys,” to Trump and his cohorts.  I’m reminded of a quote from Elizabeth Goudge:  “Some expiation is made in experiencing suffering, but none at all in the infliction of it.”

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