The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's Never Too Late

In the last 24 hours, I’ve dealt with four different students or clients where the core issue is one of self-love.  Deservement.  The following things were triggers:
1) Childhood abuse, both sexual and psychological.   Being touched inappropriately, told they are worthless, used as “things” rather than people before the full development of ego walls.
2) Perceived betrayal of childhood ambitions.   Either giving them up, or doing things to achieve them that were in violation of core values.
3) Abusive adult relationships.   “Crazymakers” who bond to you powerfully economically, emotionally, or sexually.  And then...gaslight you.  If you don’t know the term, see the movie.  Basically these are people who are either emotionally imbalanced or have some drive to unbalance you, keep you from leveraging your intelligence and emotions, with an end to domination.  To do this, they either criticize or terrorize you, until you have twisted yourself into a knot to please them, and no longer know where “north” is on your personal compass.  At that point, you are infantalized, willing to do whatever it takes to keep them happy so that you can escape the pain.  Brutal.
4) Physical injury or dysfunction.    A serious injury or disease, or your body “not working as it is supposed to”--inability to perform in some expected fashion.  Inability to sustain a pregnancy, sensory or motor issues, chronic pain, sexual non-performance, etc.
5) Making terrible relationship choices.    Our relationships are mirrors--they were the best we believed we could do, at that time.   When our partners turn out to be crazies, monsters, abusers, habitual liars, druggies or alcoholics, rage-beasts and gaslighters we fear our own judgement.  How could we have..?  What does it mean about us..?  Will we ever find happiness..?   Are we too broken for anyone to really love us..?
There are more, of course.  But this will get you started.
For two years now, I’ve worked on a “Morning Ritual” with Jason.   A year ago I decided the results were so impressive that I decided to create one for myself.  It was a matter of creating a complete daily practice that touches on every aspect of raising, directing, clarifying and refining our emotional, mental, and physical selves.  And it had to be healing and generative--had to deal with issues you don’t even know that you have.  But in addition, it had to be capable of focusing in on a specific problem once you have detected it.
The above problems can be addressed with the “Ancient Child” technique, your “set up” behavior done the moment you wake up in the morning.    It is a way of “wiring around” whatever damage has happened to you in life.  The theory is simple: there is a part of you that is still untouched by the pain of existence, whatever it has been.  Make contact with it, and you are connecting to the best and healthiest part, and can receive its “aliveness”.   But also, by making contact with the symbol of this “inner child” you can affect a healing process just by imagining holding, hugging, playing, and soothing, as you would with a “real” child.   Simply saying “I love you.  You are beautiful, and wonderful, and as perfect as any star in the heavens” again and again, will have a cumulative positive effect in the same way that saying the opposite (or hearing it said to you, especially in an emotionalized context) has a negative effect.  The feedback loop goes both ways.
If you see a parent screaming curses at a child, you KNOW this is damaging.  Why, then, do we resist the notion that positive words and deliberate positive thoughts and images can have a POSITIVE effect?  Why?
This morning, I started by connecting with my heartbeat, and then gathered the light within me to create my usual 8-year old boy.  We sat on the edge of a pier, fishing together (oddly, one of the few memories I have of good times with my Dad was fishing.  Hmmm) and while we did, I asked his opinion of my current activities and progress.
He was happy.  Felt I needed to put more time into the book I’m finishing, and that I needed to be sure to tell Jason how proud of him I am.   “I’m happy to be home”, he said, and leaned his head on my shoulder.   We watched the sunrise together.    “Another day, daddy.   I love you.”
The sun melded into my heartbeat.  The light contracted and then diffused.  I was ready for my day.
Decades ago I ruptured my relationship with that little kid inside me.  It took me a year of constant, daily work to rebuild the connection, and it was the best invested effort of my life.    If I’d had the technology I have today, I suspect it would have taken about a month.
Whatever happened to you in your past, whoever hurt you, however you may have sold out your dreams, I invite you to spend thirty days, just one month, to see if this approach works for you.
1) Wake up.  Sit up.   Listen to/feel your heartbeat.  Find the light inside you and dwell within it for a few minutes.  
2) Form the light into the largest human form composed of solid lumination.   Be very quiet, and see if it has words for you.
3) At the crown of your head, imagine the “older” you on your deathbed.   Listen quietly to see if he or she has something to say.
4) Draw a line of light from the “Child” to your heart.  Then, down from your “elder” to your heart.  Sit quietly and listen if they have a conversation.  When they are done you may ask questions.  Thank them
5) Take five deep breaths and get up.  All of this can take less than three minutes!
6) Perform your Daily Ritual.  While moving dynamically (walking, sun salutations, tai chi, Flow Fit, calisthenics, running, etc) speak four incantations, each for 2-5 minutes:
a) “Every Day in Every Way I’m getting better and better”
b) “I’m so grateful for--” (past and present blessings)
c) “I’m so grateful for--” (future goals)
d) “All I need is within me now.”

Be  sure that you are covering all elements of the “Secret Formula”:  Goals X Faith X Action X Gratitude = Results.
You have done two steps of your “Five minute miracle” practice.   Three more times during the day become aware of your breathing for sixty seconds. Quickly visualize/emotionalize your goals and actions.  Just “check in”.
Total daily practice: about 10-30 minutes.  If you believe you don’t have the time, start with just the “Five Minute Miracle” of five sixty second “breathing breaks”.  Chance are very very good that you won’t be able to discipline yourself to do this without heroic effort.  You have found your ego resistance.
You can’t control what happened to you in your past, but as they’s never too late to have a happy childhood.



Pagan Topologist said...

Sadly, the Christian view is that self love is a sin. This is certainly what I was taught in my Christian upbringing.

Sarah said...

It is always interesting to read your posts. So much to think about. I usually feel like I want to comment :-) I am not sure how wise it is for me to write about my personal thoughts out in cyber space, though. I admire the courage you have to do just that. This spring and summer, I have been going out with my camera in the early mornings on some days instead of running. It is hard to explain the effect it is having on me. There is such an immense mixture of happiness and sadness at the same time that I often end up with tears in my eyes. I can see myself in any number of the things you have mentioned today. I spent years dealing with episodes of severe pain and it took a lot of effort to find the solution. Thankfully, I have. There is a lot of fallout from it. More apparently that I was willing to acknowledge until recently. It seems without really intending to I gave up on certain things a relationship being one of them. The little girl in me wants one. I can at least admit that to myself now. The adult in me doesn't think it is likely. There are so many things to do to rebuild in a way I can survive. It is an exhausting prospect. In any case, I have given the little girl in me the early mornings out in natural surroundings with my camera. She loves it out there. It is like coming home for her. Thanks very much for sharing all these things that you do here. I don't actually have a morning ritual like you do. I am much less systematic than you are with my thinking times. Perhaps it is time I started putting some order into them.

Steven Barnes said...

Thank you, Sarah. Believe in that little girl within you. You're all she's got.