I am here

Last year, I lost my career to the much misunderstood illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was unable to get out of bed for 3 months. It took another 6 months to leave the house. While there was no shortage of well-meaning advice, I still felt alone and misunderstood, longing for someone to say something truly helpful. Finally, during Martha Beck’s writing course, Write into Light, I wrote the words I wish I had heard. Maybe, in the end, all we really need is for someone to be with us exactly as we are.

I AM HERE

I know you cannot believe what has happened. You didn’t deserve this.
Some people will tell you bad things happen to good people, that no-one escapes the suffering. Others will tell you it is all an illusion, some Cosmic game designed to wake you up and enlighten you. Right now, you feel that both perspectives are a crock of shit. Neither helps you in this moment, when the pain is so bad it affects your breathing, when you feel that you can’t go on.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to tell you that there is nothing wrong, that at some soul level, everything is unfolding as it must, that some part of you chose this. That is what I was going to say to you today, but the words stuck in my throat.

So, instead, I will hold your hand. I will make you tea. I will stroke your hair as you cry. I will listen to you as you tell me how life is for you right now. I will not make you wrong for feeling as you feel. I will not try to impose my view of reality onto what I cannot know to be true for you.

I will not leave you alone in your pain. I will not present myself to you as someone who knows anything better than you. You are the authority on your own life. I am done with platitudes and promises of future bliss.

This is where life is happening, here amid the pain, the snot and the disappointments. The broken heart is real, the pain in the body hurts, the grief of losing what you love tears you in two. I will not minimise this in my stories of Fierce Grace and nothing wrong.

Can I just sit with you? Can I just love you exactly as you are?
That is all I have to offer you today.

I cannot fix anything for you, it is not mine to fix. All my words are meaningless now. Perhaps, in your own time, you will find your own words, your own path. Perhaps, not. How could I know?

Today, this is my path: to be with you as you face this unexpected horror that has left you bereft. The only thing I know for sure is that I will no longer reject this moment, no matter what is arising. I will not reject your experience or mine. I will not overlay this present reality with words of encouragement, no matter how well intentioned. I will not tell you how to feel, how to live, how to heal.

I looked into my heart today, for the wisest words I could give to you.

All I found was “I am here”.

 

 

 

 

 

Are there two of me?

 

Yesterday, it occurred to me that if my soul is a spark of the Divine and has come into this life for a specific purpose and if, also, along the way I have developed an egoic personality that has been conditioned by my childhood influences, upbringing, education and what was expected of me, then this explains the feeling I have increasingly had of there being 2 voices in my head (which I have called wss ( wee scared self) and WSS (Witness Susan self)).

I rationalised that it is because I am a Gemini. Others describe it as an angel and a devil. In a Scottish cartoon, Oor Wullie, that I read as a child, Wullie was often depicted with an angel on one shoulder and devil holding a pitchfork on the other, both whispering in his ears, trying to persuade him to be good or bad.

But, according to Eckhart Tolle and other enlightened masters , there are not two in reality. Eckhart realised this when he was very depressed and thinking of suicide. In the Power of Now, Eckhart writes that one night he said “I can’t live with myself any longer” which led him to question who is the “I” who can’t live with “myself” How could there be two of him? This led to a complete collapse of his egoic personality and what remained was his soul, Consciousness with a capital C, now free to live unopposed through him.

Byron Katie describes a similar experience in her book Loving what is. She, also, was in such a deep depression that she felt too unworthy to even sleep in a bed. Lying on the bathroom floor feeling unable to go on, a cockroach crawled over her foot and when she opened her eyes, the old, depressed Katie was gone, replaced by Consciousness.

These experiences are radical awakenings and the egoic mind can use them to divert us from our own more subtle awakenings.
When we begin to become aware of our souls, often, it seems, in the midst of great suffering, we may also still be aware of our egoic selves. This can be discouraging and lead to us question our experience and dismiss what is awakening in us as imagination or delusion.

The egoic self is full of fear, its prime motivation is to be loved and accepted and it tries many strategies to achieve this. It wants to be comfortable and in control at all times.

Seeing this in myself has awakened self-compassion. The fearful egoic part of me does not need to be resisted, squashed, berated or killed. She only needs my love. Soothing myself in this way quiets her voice inside me. I think this is what the Buddha meant when he said “Love yourself as if you were your own beloved child”.

Most of us, when faced with a sobbing, frightened child would reach out and comfort it. So it is with the frightened child that lies within me. It is the soul that comforts the ego until it can let go completely. The more we are able to allow all our emotions, receive them and comfort them as the frightened children they are, the more space the soul has and the more we can listen to and follow its still, small voice.

Living in this way, for a while, we come to to the realisation that in every moment we have a choice about which voice we listen to: the soul’s voice that leads us with love or the ego’s that leads from fear.

I have decided to follow the soul’s voice, trusting she knows what is best for me, that she has information that I need only listen to and follow. This is not difficult to discern, it is always what is happening right now.

Until I have my own cockroach experience (which is likely not my path) I will continue to soothe my wee scared self.
My attitude to her is you are welcome here, just as you are, with all your fears and painful emotions. I see you, I love you, I will comfort you but you are no longer running the show.

Perhaps by doing this, her voice will subside and one day disappear altogether. Or perhaps not, it doesn’t really matter. This life of surrender to what is and compassion for the part of me that still freaks out is enough.

Artist’s Way Discussion Group

 

A few years ago I bought The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It is a “12 week course in discovering and recovering your creative self”. I worked through it as a way to unblock the creativity inside me. Julia introduces tools such as morning pages and artist’s dates as a way to free up the creative energy that is often locked away under layers of fear, self-doubt and insecurity.

The course is aimed at everyone who wants to be more creative, whether as writers, painters, actors, musicians or even if you just want to live a more creative life. It is an excellent tool for examining and releasing everything that is blocking us from expressing ourselves fully in the world.

I have been through the course a couple of times and have started it and abandoned it more times than I care to admit. So I had the idea to set up a private Facebook Group to work through the course with others.

If you are interested in joining me for support and accountability please go to

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1094451034019974/ 

and click Join Group.

I will leave enrolments open for a week, then change the group settings to Secret and we can get started.