Delta: December to June – Time of Transition…


These images show transition: From Winter to Summer; from stark neglect and barren brokenness to luscious growth and change in function; from house to home; from thin garden to bountiful, fruitful sanctuary; from closed space to open and companionable area.

It represents an area of flat land in which the multiple streams – both of physical rain and my at-times-turbulent emotions – have divided and run safely downhill to join the vast ocean.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/delta/

Dark to Sunny : What am I allowing? And why?


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sunny/

Clearing away the darkness associated with abuse is hard – but can open the window to a most beautiful, sunny scene without and its mirror image within.

Throughout my life, people have said to me some variant on these words: ‘I can tell you anything.’

This has led to a dangerously wide-open door.

But: The fact that others CAN exercise freedom of speech around me does not mean that they automatically SHOULD!

I have a right to protect myself from gratuitous pain, insult and fury. This is all part of my rebuilding process. I have, in the past, harboured little sense of entitlement – and this has led to all manner of felonious attempts upon the home of my soul.

Since moving to Glastonbury, however, I have – with increasing strength and joy…even, at times, fierceness – exercised my prerogative to create an environment that suits, and reflects, me. This is as true outside the house as it is within its four walls; as pertinent in my body as it is in my soul.

I allowed the doors to remain weak, however, and this, on the material level, was reflected in an actual breaking of the door-closing mechanism two months ago. I got it mended straight away – but failed to secure its psychic twin: The door into my body, mind and soul.

For too long I have operated an open-door policy when it comes to my decisions, my tastes, my thoughts and my emotions. I have allowed people to sneak or storm in and to lay about them with aggression or manipulation. I have let other people tell me what I should be doing, saying or thinking – and have never had the courage to stand up for my own abilities, tastes and creative juices.

But also I have, repeatedly, let others tell me things I really do not want to know and should not have to put up with hearing. Why? Because I felt I had no rights in the matter, no entitlement to decent and sensitive treatment. I have not said, ONCE, ‘You have NO right to speak to me like that…’ If I had, that door would have slammed shut, and even locked itself, many years previously.

If I do not like a verbal approach, it is for me to say so openly. If I consider that someone is using my ‘weakness’ to slip cruelty and abuse under the door frame, I have every right to challenge this and to lob the nasty little ‘gifts’ back from whence they came.

Such a standing up for self does not mean I am over-reacting or unable to take criticism or ungrateful in the face of advice. It is a basic human right which I should have exercised decades ago – and did not!

I am quite clear about this, but there is a rider:

I am very aware that I have let people say whatever they want to me – and that includes a hell of a lot of venting, spite and gaslighting.

But, those who take this to the extreme have a responsibility for their own behaviour too. Being allowed to say what you want does not take away your basic humanity or consideration or ability to weigh up whether a cruelty is, actually, justified. Freedom of speech does not mean the constant murder of others through the medium of verbal spears and swords. An open door is not a free invitation to put others down in order to feel superior.

Others are entitled to their views, to their secrets, to their furies and joys and soul work, just as I am – but they have no more right than I do to persistently push another’s most vulnerable door open and lob grenades inside.

I am now protecting myself, my house, my garden, my world. I am trusting my own instinct, for the first time in decades, when it comes to the creation of my own environment. I am loving the little surprises, the colour, the sense of overturning certain long-held preconceptions, the way it is all coming together incrementally, as day follows day and night, night.

In building this home for myself, I am standing up for my own values, thoughts and preferences. I am asserting my right to be me. But I am also asserting something very simple, yet profound: My right to make choices without being told off, or mind-gamed into changing my mind. I am asserting my strength of mind, will, character – and my total unwillingness to be told I am wrong because I do not do, say or think what other people want me to!

Over the past two or three weeks, I have been tested on many levels – and part of that has taken the form of some level of undermining. But I have got a lot stronger, or harder, or both – and am no longer willing to back down the way I always have. I have every right to be treated with a modicum of decency and respect. I should not have to expect to be the butt of other people’s rage and fucked-upped-ness.

I have, historically, given others far too much latitude in the way they speak to me, treat me and so forth. I have allowed little put-downs in through the door, have closed my eyes to to the entrance of snideness and scathe and total want of respect. I have allowed others to come into MY house and push me around, tell ME where I should be putting my belongings, and how I should be decorating MY abode. Metaphorically and literally!

I am saying, with strength and intent: ‘Yes, in the literal sense, you CAN say anything to me. But to do so can become the endless screeching of a tantrum-bound two-year-old! And I have a right to turn my back and walk away from your tirade!’

I am saying, ‘I am equal to you and deserve the same boundaries, the same consideration, the same levels of respect you give to others!’

I am saying, ‘I am changing. There is no going back. I am building a permanent base and not a vulnerable dwelling perched upon sand. Things will change around me because that is life’s dynamic. The flapping door is no more!’

I have got a mind – and I know how to use it. I have taste – and know how to apply it. I have limits – and know how to guard them. I am defending my autonomy.

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Fear of anger – others’ and my own – is what kept the door propped open originally. Now? That is no excuse – and I have already started the process of taking people on if they respond inappropriately to me!

Now? May the sun and heat of Sekhmet’s strength (thanks, D!) shine through the windows of my soul, and the sunny days of a new start through the glass varieties!

 

The Round Table (Wheel of Fortune)


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/wheel/

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How strange and how lovely – and, at the same time, how sad, for these cards carry both in their train. We can, of course, wedge a stick in a wheel’s spoke so that it does not move; but stopping movement in this way does not prevent the cyclic change, the wheel of time and tide, from turning inexorably. This can be a hard, and deeply hurtful, lesson to hoist on board, for many of us prefer to keep things safe and the same: To cling on to the stasis of the known rather than rolling with the wheeled vehicle of the new and unknown.

We are now into Summer. Cyclic change has come with the turning of the year. My life, too, is evolving, moving into the next phase, the next opportunity. Such is the Cosmic Law. Such, if we accept such matters with a modicum of grace, is the ongoing tide – its ebb and its flow – of our individual life spans.

But, with the Wheel turning ever-faster upon its next track, we inevitably see certain aspects of our lives becoming distance, the past, a country we cannot return to as the people we were before.

Last night, unconscious of this trend, I set up a Round Table – a circle of chairs with a table as its central point – in the garden. Here, a Fellowship met. No one sat at the head, for there wasn’t one; no one was superior, a King or Queen; it was a meeting of equals, convening to raise the energies creatively. As is true of the message of the tarot card, we sought balanced ways of representing the rights of all beings. It was, in many ways, a Tribal Council to Arthur’s Round Table.

It is easy to sit and watch the Road of the Past narrowing and disappearing behind us;to become caught in the wrenching grief this can cause us; to cling to any tiny fragments of rock and dust we can grab hold of as our chariot hastens ever-onward. But even the smallest particles can weigh us down and slow the turning of the Wheel – and sometimes we have to acknowledge that the aspect of past existence we are trying the hardest to keep clenched in our hands is nothing but phantasm and mist.

Mourn, yes. Grease the wheels of cyclic change with tears and sweat and blood, yes. But movement forward carries us whether we like it or not. Better to go with change, flow with the energies, than to fight.

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Light in the Velvet Darkness


Night falls, a cloak of velvet darkness. I sit in the still-warm circle of chairs created for a Shadow of the Tor rehearsal. Scents, both sweet and more earthy – from flowers and budding apples and the night blooming of animals’ nocturnal scurrying – rise all around me.

One by one, and then ever faster, a dizzying wave of brightness, my garden lamps flicker and flare and, fully-lit, add their loveliness. I breath gently, savouring friendship yet feeling sorrow for that which no longer is.

For a brief moment, equilibrium reigns: Dark and Light so perfectly balanced, polarity so intensely harmonious, that I need do nothing but drink in the sight.

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Local Sadness : Beauty Without Roots


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/local/

This could not be much more local: It deals with my precious garden – and, by implication, with the beds and borders of my heart…

I could weep.

But also I could cringe, a worm of embarrassment squirming in my heart.

The beautiful freesias – my favourite flower, their scent so evocative and fine – that I replanted on Saturday did not, as it turned out, have viable roots, and have wilted and died, their delicate heads sunk upon withered chests, their perfume now the rancorous edge to happy memory.

I am subtly ashamed of myself for uprooting and massacring, albeit in innocence, their fragile root system.

I cringe at my blithe expectation that everything I moved from one patch to another would blossom and thrive.

The symbol of this act is as deep as those roots turned out to be shallow.

I cringe.

Tears fall.

But, I shall go and find more bulbs of this, my most loved floral companion – and, digging them deep into fragrant earth, perpetuate my little freesia paradise.

Note: Image shown was taken before the freesias wilted and sagged…

Applying Emotional ECT to Others…


Why are you telling me this?

It is cruel information and not something I need to know.

Why are you undermining me with comments upon my character?

Have you examined yourself in the psychic mirror recently?

Why do you feel YOU have the right to tell ME how to live my life?

Yours is a melange of denial and untendered emotional weeds.

These imaginary dialogues represent a truth and a shift in my response to the world. With the plethora of psycho-spiritual movements (not, in itself, a bad thing) undulating across the Collective Consciousness, too many of us think that we have the absolute right to apply them wholesale to our friends and family, often without asking ourselves whether we have passed the basic ‘Exam’ necessary for such an endeavour: A’ level Know Thyself.

It is frighteningly easy to subdue and control another by these means. If we know someone intimately – and I do not mean by this a bond that needs to include sex – we will be very aware of the Points of Entry (as I call them): The undefended, vulnerable, wounded holes which let in psychic spears and swords. If we tell ourselves that attacking these cracks in the soul is an act of kindness, we may well be lying to ourselves: We may be mistaking our own intolerance and impatience (and hair-trigger temper when faced with the flaws of others) for genuine psychological awareness and impartial therapeutic intervention. If, to put it bluntly, another’s weaknesses stir rage, we are not the people to be donning the mask, and drawing up the metaphorical couch, of the psycho-therapist.

Justifying such behaviour on the grounds of the wounded one’s good is, in my view, a highly dubious, self-serving response. It means, more often than not, that we have bought into certain psycho-therapeutic trends which, used by a professional may well release psychic pus, but used by amateurs can do more harm than good.

Our interventions will, on the whole, be dominated by our own unacknowledged baggage; our motivation for such a step is, thus, highly suspect.

I am thinking here particularly of the perennially-popular Shock/Hurt You For Your Own Good school of psycho-analysis!

Why?

Because I firmly believe that such shocks stem as much from intolerance as they do from genuine love and a desire to help: That there is a very thin line, in the untrained, between, ‘I’m doing this for your good!’ and, ‘I’m doing this because I can’t tolerate your flaws and want you to snap out of them.’ Is it a genuine desire to help the other grow – or a vent through frustration in order to get it out of your own system?

I have been subject to untrained intervention of this type on many an occasion – and have, because of low self-esteem and fear, tended to agree with my ersatz counsellor and to take on board (but often not down to the hold) this form of criticism wrapped up in therapeutic jargon. But I have been in therapy enough times myself to know the difference between genuine counselling and meanness/spite/envy/impatience given blanket acceptance value through the medium of ‘Your Own Good’…

No counsellor I have been to has ever used verbal electric wires applied to my skin in this way. They have not needed to: Calm and probing questions have released my inner knowledge without such drama being necessary.

We can, in the final analysis (all puns intended!), only ever work on, and know in this way, ourselves. I do not think that ‘Know Thyself’ means ‘Bully others into knowing themselves first’. I do not think it works like that – because, every time we apply the electric shock to another, we are burning something sensitive and private within that person and are failing to inquire within why the hell this hostile act was so important.

‘You NEED shocking out of yourself,’ has been said, or implied, to me on countless occasions – and I have said, ‘You are SO right!’ and held out my arms and bared my chest for the wires to be attached.

Now?

Now I am beginning to get my spirit, my balls, my mojo back – and I would say this:

YOU need to look at the thin line between shocking others in this way and outright bullying, and decide what good excising a part of another’s person’s psyche in this brutal way really does!’

We use such techniques, if you think about it, upon people we consider to be weaker, more flawed, more easily tamed than us: We use them, that is to say, on inferiors, and not those we suspect will turn on us and fight back. But turning our friends and family into clients in this way is dangerous because we have not, usually, corralled the wild horses of our own stampeding egos before going to work upon another’s character – and, all too often, our therapy is driven by rage we will not admit to and a sense of superiority we would rather not face.

Offering someone the tools they need to work on themselves is, in my view, a genuine and very supportive act of love – and I thank those who have done this from the bottom of my heart.

But emotional Electro-convulsive therapy is, like its physical counterpart, both dangerous and potentially highly destructive. The thing you want to drive out may well be, and often is, driven ever-further inwards. You client’s outward compliance and failure to mention said subject again does not necessarily indicate that it has been resolved or banished.

If we are setting out to deal with others from an assumed position of psycho-therapeutic wisdom/superiority, I think it behoves us to ask, rigorously, whether we actually have the tools, the training and the self-knowledge for the job.

 

Listening-Quotes

A No-Holds-Barred Look at my Character: Leaping over Illusion!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/illusion/

I have written an awful lot over the past couple of weeks. It has been impossible to keep up with me! I understand. I don’t apologise, for there is no need; I simply acknowledge that the frequency of posts has made the reading of each and every one a quest not worth pursuing! I have been facing up to, and battling, the illusions and delusions which have kept me in a state of stuckness for so long.

This morning, after a lovely meal last night with friends, I wake to blessed rain and, as I look in the mind’s mirror, become aware that this deluge of physical water has wiped clean its surface and allowed precious clarity.

What I see before me is a lovely, fierce, flawed woman: Someone who is kind, generous, giving, sensitive, thoughtful and warm; someone who nurtures others and has a vast capacity for love; someone who is intensely creative, in several fields, and talented too; someone who has infinite ability to make, and keep, close friendships.

I see also a woman who is, at times, too forgiving; someone whose boundaries have allowed the thieves of the soul to steal in under cover of darkness and take what they wanted; someone slow to stand up for herself and, as a consequence, often trodden into the carpet by the shoes of contempt.

I see a woman who has tried too hard – for admirable, but misguided reasons! – to keep False Grails all buffed up and shiny and given pride of place upon her mantelpiece; someone who has been so crunched up with fear of BEING rejected that she has forgotten her own power, her choice to walk away, to leave others behind, to reject.

I see a woman who has given others the benefit of the doubt far too often – and has, thus, created a cycle of unpleasant, near-the-knuckle comments and overtly neglectful acts by certain others; someone who, in her terror at recognising the truth, has often covered up for, made excuses for, another, blaming herself for the cruelty of other people.

I see a woman who has found happiness and sanctuary, new friends and lovely activities in this phase of her life; someone, parched for connection, who drinks deeply at the waters of friendship and shared joy; someone who understands that the barren of heart and soul create limits for those they envy and cannot be and feed upon the insecurity of need as if it were nectar!

Above all, I see a woman of Light in that mirror: Not a perfect woman; not a faultless alabaster statue; not a saint or a goddess, but a woman fired by life, passionate about so much; someone scarred and hurt; someone who can be wilfully blind and stubborn – but a woman who is coming to an accord with all that she is and is not, and wants to make a difference in the lives of others.

And this woman, looking back from the rain-cleansed mirror, understands completely that clinging on to the thoughtless, the malign, the envious, those who feast upon the essence of the vulnerable was always a choice and never an obligation; that hoping to turn beasts into beauties is unrealistic; that those who have chuntered and snarled and threatened to leave – or left an ambivalent gap as a means of control – are no longer within physical range and that it is up to this woman whether such individuals remain within emotional range: That SHE has the power, and always did, to say, ‘You do not belong in my life anymore and that is your loss…’

I see a woman who has spent much of her life hoping passively for signs instead of taking matters into her own hands and creating the signposts she needs in life! A woman who has clung on for dear life to emotional asbestos because, in her mind, it was better than having nothing to hold; who has shrunk herself to fit into the vast egos of others!

I look in this mirror and I love what I see, this gnarled old survivor; this person of compassion and quick wit; this woman who tries to see the best in people. I love the fact that she is cracked and, at times, clumsy, stupid and wrong-headed; that she does not always act in her own best interests! Goddess, how tedious it would be if we all got it right every single time! Where would be the learning, the potential for growth, in that?

In the end, the opinion of others does not matter. It does not change the person she is if other people choose to sneer at, disrespect or be unkind to her. If names are called, she does not have to own them! If insults are thrown, she can ignore them or return the arrows to sender! The blueprint of this woman was not drawn up using other people’s negative opinions!

Going fully into the first person, I am proud of the funny, at times infuriating, resilient and ribald old bag I am turning into! I am delighted that I have finally realised that my worth is completely separate from any other human being and does not depend upon being liked, admired, loathed or looked down upon!

I know me! Taking as an analogy my battered and much-loved Tigger (the felt tiger I received on my first birthday!), I can see the floppy areas, the places where my stuffing is seeping out, the kinked tail, misshapen ear, felt-pen marks all over; I can see that my colour has faded and my whiskers are now sparse; I can see the marks, all over my body, where heedless children have experimented upon me. But, fifty-nine years on, I am still recognisable as a tiger!

People are, of course, perfectly entitled to disagree with the view I have of myself – but it doesn’t dent the reality! As I say, I am well aware of my flaws – but I am the best at being Alienora Browning there is!

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Arrogant? No. Overdue? By some decades!