Joyous Woman by Sukhvinder Sircar

She is real and she feels pain, but it no longer defines her. When something precious breaks, her heart aches. She feels things acutely. She honours her loss, and she lets it pass.
Her pain no longer disables, makes her sick, hopeless or numb. She’s learning that feeling her hurt is not the same as feeling powerless. It does not shut her down. She’s not getting lost in her pain. Paradoxically, the more she leans into it, the more it heals. This time, she’s standing in it, and not falling apart.
She’s been on a journey of retrieval. As she’s accessing an aspect of her that’s so much bigger than her pain, she’s finding that even when her heart is breaking, she can stand powerful. Her practice of being open in pain is her deepest spirituality. She knows that keeping her heart open means being deeply penetrated by life again and again. And yet, she’s healing miraculously. The ‘resilient love’ fibre in her heart is getting stronger. Her pain is no longer an immobilizing cramp. It keeps her real & soft, and there is a sweetness of love in it.
Her life is no longer about running away from pain. And her body is no more a storehouse of pain.
That is how she is opening up to the pain of the world. It is no longer personal. This pain is what moves her to do her work in the world. She’s finding that when you enter deep into compassion, you will also find pain in one corner of it. Her pain is also her holiness at this time.
Sukhvinder Sircar
Joyous Woman

Jeff Brown on Letting Go of Patterns

Its difficult to let go of the pattern, often born in one’s childhood tendency to try to get love from a stone (neglectful parents), to be attracted to those who are impossible. Of course, it doesn’t really work because the moment we gain the favor of the unavailable other, we lose interest in them because they are not reflecting back our negative self-concept. Its like only the emotionally unavailable are credible because they reflect back to us what we came to believe about ourselves- that we are unworthy of love. This pattern is not an easy one to break, but break-through it we must if we are going to finally surrender to the love we deserve. One of the keys to working this through is to see the parents for who they really are- in their own issues and limitations- so that their lens on you loses its grip. Another is building the self-concept from the inside out- learning to rely on yourself for validation- and, when you are ready, inviting those who value you a little closer…

Uncertainty by Mark Nepo

The practice of uncertainty is patience.  Waiting is a great teacher, a difficult teacher…”In the three year heat of my medical journey, every step required a different decision which only waiting uncovered.  During that waiting, I became more and more grounded in the free fall of uncertainty.”

Tara Brach on Meditation

The poet Rumi asks, “Do you pay regular visits to yourself?” At the heart of loving relationships is the capacity to inhabit these bodies and minds with full presence. We can’t attune to others and relate with full compassion and love if we are not at home in our own beings. Making regular visits to ourselves—meditation—is a path of homecoming.  by Tara Brach

The Seven Archetypes of Human Consciousness by Lauren Simpson-Green

The Seven Archetypes of Human Consciousness Lauren Simpson-Green Spirituality

0 The endless faces of the human psyche become a fascinating playground when it comes to Jungian archetypes. Used in storytelling and psychological methods and dream work, the countless numbers of archetypes provide a framework for the potential paths of the human hero. Jung outlined that each person should identify and work with twelve main archetypes running through their lives and use them to understand themselves better; their disposition, how the world sees them, and ultimately, their shadow. Here are 7 particularly transformative ones that can help us to look within. As with our circumstances and past lives, it is best not to associate with one or two in the ego’s need to be labeled, but to recognize that we display all facets within our psyche, whether they’re dormant or active, and that archetypes can embrace the notion that we’re all interdependent; an expression of the same source and the reflection of one another. We are one.

THE CHILD The Orphan, the Wounded child, the Nature, Magical, Divine and Eternal child all lay deep within. We all have an inner child and the type we need to nurture can tell us a lot about what really wrenches at the chambers of our hearts. The Orphan is the lost child, without a solid identity they have the opportunity to feel deep suffering yet see life for what it is without attachment. Its shadow is its likelihood of becoming the victim, consumed in its loss, much like the Magical child it will assume it will be ‘saved’ and that fate has more strength than its own actions. The Divine and Eternal child represents the wise master who is already beginning to return home, they are the sages and prophets who have much to teach us and are calm and all knowing from a young age. When we begin to take these steps towards the light we will find within us a great sense of innocence and the true loving nature of the world, unlike the Orphan who must be street wise and dog eat dog.

THE RULER The Matriarch, Patriarch, King, Queen and Ruler use leadership as a means to express and discover themselves. How we treat others when handed great power can tell us a lot about ourselves and the storybooks are littered with this archetype: the good and mighty rulers, and the tyrants. The Ice, White Queen or Witch, represented by the Queen of Swords in the Tarot pack is particularly interesting as well as prevalent and questions our traditional notions of ‘evil.’ A woman who has had her heart broken again and again has become so ‘cold’ that she removes herself from society and becomes isolated in a blizzard-ridden landscape, luring children and followers to ride her chariots through the snow. She is one who can be found in all of us and calls upon us to melt our hearts and trust again, to reconnect with the hero/ine or Goddess within ourselves and rediscover the positive aspects of the Sacred Feminine of kindness, loving compassion and community. In a way we are all coming in from the cold.

THE CLOWN The Norse trickster god Loki as depicted on an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript The Jester, Tramp, Joker or Fool’s shadow is those who have become bitter and use their humour to make cruel jibes at those around them. They can be dewy and dim or jackal-like tricksters who invoke the ever-present comedy of life. They call on us to detach from the harsh realities of life and take it with a pinch of salt, often doing so in a seemingly cruel fashion. They are the masters who have no emotional connections or family but who cause a spark of interest in us and can have a deep impact on us if we meet one. Humour and wit equates power and with this archetype looks can be deceiving. They also often appear as the everyman and are seldom associated with romance; their path is of a higher calling than love in relationships, they often befriend a child to mirror the innocence and simplicity within themselves.

THE VISIONARY The Creator, Visionary, Magician and Revolutionary, traditionally very much separate archetypes, have more similarities than you might think. They are the leaders who lead the crowd through their independent thought and ahead-of-their-time ideas. The Magician in the Tarot pack is often one who has mastery over words and the four elements, as is the scientist or inventor. The Revolutionary is usually more inspired by action, but within this umbrella archetype there can always be found the lone walker who goes against the current, is ridiculed throughout their quest to find their feet and then ultimately followed and revered when finally taken seriously. Passionate and solitary, they are always building; empires, inventions and magical spells, they often blur with the Hermit archetype and can seem more than a little crazy.

EXPLORER The Explorer in this case I’ve put as the Hero; the individual who leaves home to find themselves, battles monsters and then returns home to slay their own demons. As with all journeys, we travel far from home only to discover that what we were looking for was on our doorstep the whole time. As with Freud’s Oedipus, we can often be so lured away from home that we become drunk on illusion and make huge mistakes, coming face to face with our worst nightmares and invoking tragic consequences. On the other hand, the plight of the hero is the most exciting and adventurous of the archetypes. We all have the hero and heroine within us and it’s often this role that we are avoiding in the form of our true potential.

TEACHER The Guide, Healer or Teacher is someone to beware when drunk on power. They are the ones who may come with two faces, much like the Politician or Preacher, but unlike them, to the intuitive among us are easy enough to spot. A true teacher and guru is one who has overcome the many pitfalls of the ego in order to help others in all sincerity. To practice what one preaches is a great achievement and to awaken others with merely a word is even greater. Stepping aside – having achieved hero status already – in order to lift others up and let them shine is a path that radiates true wisdom and cannot be taken lightly. In fact it is probably the weightiest responsibility we might take on; carrying others on our shoulders and deflecting a multitude of projections is no easy task. And lastly…

SEEKER Wanderer, Disciple and Dreamer, the Seeker is one who appears to be wandering aimlessly with no real goal, but in actual fact is the most freed up for spiritual transformation. Unlike the more ostentatious actions of the Hero/Explorer, the Seeker is much more secretive, nomadic, keeping to the hills and quietly inquiring about all walks of life. To truly be spontaneous and open to danger is where the real adventure begins, and many a seeker can be found in mythological and psychological wisdom. Like Siddhartha by Hesse and many a seemingly ‘lost’ soul it can take great bravery to be completely unattached. The shadow side may be a student who is constantly schooled and never ejected into the waters of life, but to be constantly learning with a thirst for knowledge more often than not leads us onto the path to enlightenment. Questioning everything and searching every corner of this world for answers, the Seeker if she/he knows themselves will not fall into the trap of a charlatan Guru but find a true master or be able to eventually master themselves. Being unattached to earthly desires and distanced from such attachments as family, career and even the pulls of karma, the Seeker often sticks to high places to remain the observer of human nature and steer clear of any obstruction to the divine. Although this is only a sample of thousands of archetypes that infiltrate the human psyche, it may trigger an interest in you to discover which archetypes are running through your life and which ones you may be inspired to investigate further

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Forgiveness by David Whyte


is a heartache and difficult to achieve because strangely, it not only refuses to eliminate the original wound, but actually draws us closer to its source. To approach forgiveness is to close in on the nature of the hurt itself, the only remedy being, as we approach its raw center, to reimagine our relation to it.

It may be that the part of us that was struck and hurt can never forgive, and that strangely, forgiveness never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not actually meant to forget, as if, like the foundational dynamics of the physiological immune system our psychological defenses must remember and organize against any future attacks – after all, the identity of the one who must forgive is actually founded on the very fact of having being wounded.

Stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting. To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt, to mature and bring to fruition an identity that can put its arm, not only around the afflicted one within but also around the memories seared within us by the original blow and through a kind of psychological virtuosity, extend our understanding to one who first delivered it.

Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

To forgive is to put oneself in a larger gravitational field of experience than the one that first seem to hurt us. We re-imagine ourselves in the light of our maturity and we re-imagine the past in the light of our new identity, we allow ourselves to be gifted by a story larger than the story that first hurt us and left us bereft.

At the end of life, the wish to be forgiven is ultimately the chief desire of almost every human being. In refusing to wait; in extending forgiveness to others now, we begin the long journey of becoming the person who will be large enough, able enough and generous enough to receive, at the very end, that absolution ourselves.

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.”
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press 2015
Now Available

A Narcissist and an Empath Walk Into a Bar: Understanding the Dynamic of Abuse…..article from Elephant Journal on FB

by Erica Liefbrandt

When I met him, I was blown away.

He was a Yale graduate, confident about himself and his ideas, and certain that he was meant to “rule the world”—and that he intended to do it with me.

Up until then, every man I’d dated had been immature, needy, uninspired and uninspiring. This new guy’s intelligence and charisma, and his open admiration for me, felt like coming home.

Unfortunately, all of the qualities I found so compelling were also the classic traits of a narcissist.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following  symptoms:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

By the time the “honeymoon phase” ended—a heart breakingly brief span of a few months—I was convinced he was my one true love and I would do anything to serve the relationship.

Little did I know, “anything” would include giving him all my money, agreeing to let him have sex with other women, spending what little money we did have on drugs to the point that we were evicted from two apartments and became homeless for over a year, allowing myself to be coerced into becoming a dancer, and then giving him all of that money as well, while he endlessly berated me, shamed me, and blamed me for the pile of sh*t that was our life together.

Now, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I am not a stupid woman. What on earth could have compelled me to remain in such a situation? I have spent many sleepless nights asking myself that very question.

This was a textbook abusive relationship, but I had no idea what that meant. Even now, after years of study and research, the dynamic—the fact that is plays out so frequently among so many different types of people and with such exactitude—mystifies me.

But I think I finally figured out an important piece.

It is not just the narcissist that drives the paradigm, but the person he carefully selects to assist him. I’m willing to bet in more cases than not, perhaps in every single case, that person must be some degree of empath.

 “An empath is defined as someone with “the ability to read and understand people and be in-tune with or resonate with others, voluntarily or involuntarily of one’s empath capacity.” 

Unlike narcissism, empathy is not considered a pathology, but it certainly is a game changer.

Being a true empath is a complicated gift. Because of the empath’s ability to actually feel the feelings of others, they have a bottomless well of sympathy for everybody’s outlook and opinion—even if those outlooks or opinions are the polar opposite of the empath’s.

This puts “untrained empaths” (people, like the young me, who haven’t developed as strong enough sense of self to have a baseline standard for “good” and “bad” behavior) in a precarious position. They are able to endlessly justify the needs of those they care for, and see it as their duty to do so because no one else is capable of understanding them.

It falls to the empath, then, to both protect and bolster those close to them, even at the expense of their own needs and feelings. Not to do so feels like failure, and the resulting pain that those we care for experience is almost unbearable. In other words, we protect others to protect ourselves.

Combine an empath’s need to protect with a narcissist’s need to be lord and master, and you’ve got a self perpetuating cycle of disaster. Once established, it is almost impossible for an empath to break away, because doing so will cause the narcissist so much pain. The empath prefers to absorb the pain themselves, believing that they, and they alone, have the power to “fix” the narcissist. (Which is, ironically, narcissistic itself.)

So how can empaths protect themselves from being exploited?

Here are some simple suggestions:

1. Remember, we can’t “fix” others.

People will go through tough times and experience painful emotions no matter what we do. We must learn to accept this and allow it without always actively intervening.

2. When we feel ourselves getting “sucked in” to someone else’s drama, we can learn to turn inward.

We can ask ourselves, how do I feel about this? Do I feel that this other person is draining too much of my energy, or is acting in a way that is not philosophically in line with my beliefs (i.e.; unethically)?

If so, take a step back. Observe rather than engage.

3. Spend time quietly alone.

When empaths become overloaded by other people’s emotions, they begin to lose their sense of self. Spending time alone in meditation or reflection can help us hear own own voice without the influences of others.

4. Understand that not everybody is empathic.

This was one of the hardest things for me to realize—I assumed empathy was a standard part of every human being. Once I discovered that is not the case, I could steer clear of those who are unable to feel empathy, knowing that they would likely end up taking advantage of me.

If you, like me, are a card carrying empath, you’ve likely found it is both your greatest blessing and your greatest curse. But just because our innate nature can make us vulnerable to those who don’t necessarily have our best interests at heart, so it can allow us to develop a depth of connection to other caring souls that is unparalleled.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Relephant Reads:

6 Relationship Tips for Empaths.

Identifying Emotional Abuse before it Happens.

Author: Erica Leibrandt

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