Afterglow

William Blake, Night startled by the larkA week after the course, still full of the excitement of it, I went from South Wales to London for a reunion, and my friend agreed to put me up. In the taxi, she told me who her husband was, and I would have a name-dropping story if I did not feel confidentiality mattered here. We had texted a bit:

-Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit!
-Bird thou never wert
-I have you on my phone as Elvira!

A week later I phoned and she had no time, and after that I phoned and never got a response, and then a shit-storm erupted around her. Was it something I said, or did, that stopped her responding? I don’t know, it is possible. I would love that friendship, I would love her spirit and energy somewhere in my life whoever her husband was. We had an email group which stopped, and we had a last reunion in 2012.

Nearly five years later, two weeks after another course and with a real sense of the blessing of it, I went from Northamptonshire to just south-west of London, and met people from the course. I have seen the beauty and strength and vitality of these people, and again I want that in my life.

The Hoffman Process gives a great deal: tools for bringing subconscious truth to consciousness, liberation from the patterns of behaviour of our parents which enslave us whether we follow them or rebel, again by bringing these to consciousness. It has percolated in me over the last five years, bearing fruit. I did not free myself then, or understand all those patterns, and I understand them better now.

Blogging, now- no answers, only, er-

What do I have in common with these people? I have hidden my talent, hidden myself away at home on the sick, they have jobs and houses and- children-

no, I will leave that in, but it does seem a bit panicky. Unnecessary. I really do touch others’ hearts. I see evidence of that. I am loved and valued.

Misgendering does not bother me as it did. Someone said “Good man” or some such phrase, on Saturday night, and it did not matter to me. I know I am female, or feminine, and that is OK, so “never trouble to deny“. This is the all-new self respect. For the first time in my life I have self-respect.

I am vague, now, because of confidentiality issues- after most had gone, I heard what shamed a man, and it made me respect him more because of what he had overcome. He shared with a group of us who had done Essence, and together we held him, first by our love and attention then physically in a group hug. It was an intensely powerful blessing for me, and also I think for him.

What do we have in common? Love. The power of God. Right now, we need that contact, to feel the group’s love for the individual as we face our uncertainties. We will need it less. But for friendship, that is all we need in common.

Ego and impulse

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/El_Greco_006.jpgHow can I distinguish ego-motivation (bad) from Heart/Spirit/God motivation (good) except by thinking about it?

Different parts of the brain say different things. There are impulses and drives, and so often the drive is self-destructive: should I do another Spider Solitaire at 1.50am? Probably not, and yet several times later than that I have done. And yet that breakfast: people thought my impulse would be to pig myself on a cooked breakfast, and I needed moral self-restraint (good) to resist that impulse, whereas actually I looked at it and my impulse was to eat muesli. I watched C eat cereal by itself, without milk, and thought that is him asserting Control in the only way he can- no-one could actually like it like that- because he is still living with his parents.

If I label my year of unemployment with just three job applications my Great Sulk, that seems bad, and if I label it my Retreat for Self-Healing, it seems good. Possibly it is a bit of both.

On Facebook I read that procrastination can be a good thing, allowing onesself to mature into doing something rather than forcing onesself. I scrolled through just now and can’t find it, but I did find this from Abraham Hicks: Worthiness, in very simple terms, means I have found a way to let the Energy reach me, the Energy that is natural, reach me. Worthiness, or unworthiness, is something that is pronounced upon you by you. You are the only one that can deem yourself worthy or unworthy. You are the only one who can love yourself into a state of allowing, or hate yourself in a state of disallowing. There is not something wrong with you, nor is there something wrong with one who is not loving you. You are all just, in the moment, practicing the art of not allowing, or the art of resisting. Oops, the Hickses are talking sense again. The loving or hating onesself is generally unconscious, my feelings of unworthiness are very deep: how may I change from one to the other? Can I use my ego/mind/conscious thought and analysis to shift into self-love and respect? If not, how might I so shift?

It seems to me that I learned young that I am Worthless. This promptly went unconscious. I then realised I felt that way very deep down, by ratiocination- (Oh My God the Monkey mind Ego Bad Bad Bad) but also by a guided way into my Unconscious- it is my Hoffman name. (Mystic!! Good!!). If I kneel in my ritual space and say, portentously, “I am worthy of Respect” or try to Think Through reasons why I am worthy of respect- either simply by being human, or by characteristics- can I in that way move from that hate to self-love?

I have faith that the human being heals, and I seem wiser and more self-accepting than before (if my ego is perceiving correctly). I was all knotted up. Can I help myself unknot, by thinking about it, or by practising willing my own good?  What do you think?

Or, going back to Being Human, if I can see bits of myself in the shero Alex even if she is not the most well-drawn human being, is it better to spend time watching that rather than reading Proust and seeing myself in the pitiable Marcel?

Out of the Tunnel

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I saw I was in a dark tunnel. On each side of it, there were doors. When I looked through them the impression of light and flashing colour was overwhelming and terrifying. So I stayed in the corridor, but (whether I walked down it, or back, or stayed still) it got darker and more constrained. I knew I had to go through a door, but it terrified me.

That was three years ago, on the Hoffman Process, which provides a sequence of crises and catharsis, and a number of ways to access ones own subconscious mind. So, I performed an exercise to hear my subconscious, and that was what it said to me.

Now, I feel I am through one of the doors, outside the tunnel. The colour and light remains overwhelming and painful, and so I lie curled up with my hands over my eyes, for as much darkness as I can gain; but I am outside, lying on the grass, not crushed in the darkness. And reality- myself, my feelings, other people, the World- though still overwhelming, are not so terrifying, so seemingly inimical.

I take this one step at a time. I am making progress. Everything is all right.

Beliefs about self

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Just over a year ago, I decided to be positive rather than negative, and saw the absolute necessity of that. I decided to change my whole world view. What are my beliefs about myself, now?

When I did the Hoffman Process, my name was “Worthless”. It takes time to turn that round, especially when it is rarely brought to consciousness. And in June 2008, I wrote in my diary “I am a human being”: with the value of a human being, the highest evolution of intelligence over four billion years, and one in seven billion human beings. So this has been percolating for some time.

I know that I have been badly hurt. The terrified, angry resistance I have had to my own intuition and emotional being, and before that to accepting that I am female, show that. I suppressed myself because I had been suppressed, in early childhood. I find taking pleasure in things, being happy, feels risky and uncomfortable.

I have faced the world with courage. Many trans women do not transition. It does take courage. It took me courage to go into supermarkets, walk along the street. I celebrate my courage. So where I might say that my career has gone nowhere, I have sought to hide away, I can turn that around: even though I have wanted to hide away, I have worked for nineteen years. Someone told me last night she thought me brave to have the operation.

I have creativity. I have been creative in work, finding my own ideas to achieve what we needed to achieve. I have been creative here. I am creative in performing. I celebrate my creativity.

I am Loving. Not only do I enjoy achieving results in the voluntary work, I enjoy relating to people, hearing them and reassuring them and letting them find relief in sharing their sorrows. I celebrate and delight in my Love. And so I am loveable.

What do I deserve?

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Oh, that is a difficult question. What do I deserve? My old false belief is that I am bad and so deserve to suffer. I am not sure how strong that belief is in me now. I will come back to that one.

Practise, then. That crosses my mind. How do I feel about that? Upset. And the voices come up: I should not be feeling so strongly about it now, I should be over it, anger with my distress which exacerbates the distress and the intensity of the feeling. Breathe. Those shoulds are not true. Mmmm. Gratitude. Gratitude that I have this responsive emotional being, and that I may be conscious of my own feeling, that I have done enough healing to accept it. The hurt almost becomes sweet. Can I do the same with my feelings about the Life problem?

I find my internal workings and my speculations on them endlessly fascinating, and I hope you do too. At least I hope it possible that my experience has some relevance to other people.

Declaration

I have always faced the World with Courage 

I have always faced the World with Love

I have always faced the World with Creativity.

I have indeed self-lacerated, and it is time to stop. It is time to create and bed in a new habit, time to tread down a new path so that the old one gets overgrown with weeds and disappears, and the new one gets broad and wide. I have been so hard on myself for not being Normal, for not coping with life as I should or achieving what I should, and this “Musterbation” is terribly harmful.

I am healing. Edwin Muir has a poem about how the path ahead seemed broad, but behind it was twisting wildly. On Saturday, it seemed quite the opposite for me: ahead I cannot see, I have no idea, but looking back it seems to have come straight and true to where I am now, and where I am now is a Good place to be, even if being unemployed and my previous lack of career advancement is a fertile field for poisonous weeds of self-laceration. Here is a Good place to be, for it is the place where I am getting rid of the bonds and blocks holding me back, and one of those is this habit of self-laceration.

At my party, I said I am growing and healing “slowly”- and then got frightened and angry, Aargh! NO, NO, NO- at that word “slowly”. No, at my own pace. It is the right pace, indeed it feels too fast at some times. That reflex self-criticism, “slowly”. No to that- but being angry at myself for self-lacerating was a step forwards.

I do not have much to do beyond this intense work of self-creation. This morning (Tuesday) I phoned the Samaritans, thinking I would be crying over what a tough time I have had, as an excuse for being unemployed etc; and it turned into a celebration of how I have faced the world, leading to the declaration above. I expected a painful call, and it was delightful. Chris, the man on the phone, thought so too.

This feels huge for me.

It is a pattern which has been deeply ingrained in me.

Shifting that pattern is intensely liberating.

I am still emotional. I feel plagued by telesales cold-calling, and so when I got such a call this afternoon I told the man to fuck off. His is not the easiest of jobs, and he told me to fuck off back. So we were shouting over each other: I was cursing him, saying his eyes would be gouged out and his brain explode through his ears, and then I rang off.

No, not ideal. I shout when angry because it is imperative for me to be Heard before I attend to anything else, and it is not good to have two people like that. But I think I have made a shift: I would have felt guilty and been angry with myself for losing control, and now, I am, well- Oh, OK, not ideal but no big deal either.

I can be cheering myself on, encouraging myself, rather than on my own back. And when I phoned H I thought, our relationship from now on depends on how she reacts to this. I told her, and she said, “Excellent! I’m so pleased!”

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I have such anger to let out, and it is now turned outwards. Instead of inwards at me for not being Normal, etc, it is turned Outwards, at anyone who would say that being gay or trans is less than “normal”, or that autogynephilia is a cause, rather than a symptom, of transsexualism, or that trans women are a threat to radical feminists or should be excluded from women’s space or that marriage is for one man and one woman and anything else is a threat to our entire civilisation or-

I could go on.

And I am in mourning for a life half-lived, though lived as courageously as I could, circumscribed more by my own internalised judgment latterly than the judgment of others, but with just enough condemnation and judgment from outside to keep my own merrily bubbling away. I am in mourning because I have said “No” to life because it was too frightening, as well as said “Yes” so far as I could and achieved so much in my peculiar circumstances.

All this Healing, seeing things Positively, accepting myself as I am, celebrating myself, seeing other people more clearly with less projection, all as fast as I could tolerate- it is all wonderful, and has been intensely painful, like moving a limb which has been tied down.

Now, I am unemployed. I sit around, I walk a bit, I blog a bit, and it is OK. I am healing, growing, maturing, accepting and exploring being a Healer. I move forward as I may. Because I know I am moving forward, I am happy to give the process the time it needs.

The Hoffman process

The Hoffman Process is wonderful and liberating, because it gives a whole week of catharsis after catharsis, and tools to access the subconscious and its wisdom.

The image is a symbol of the human being as “quadrinity”. The circle is the body, encompassing the whole. The large rhombus is the spiritual self, and the other rhombuses the emotional being and the intellect, all interlocking. The process gave me another view of different aspects of the person in dialogue, sometimes in dispute, and so validated that perception in me.

My disagreement with the Hoffman process is that it demonises the “dark side” as an enemy, where I see it as an “inner critic” which may be made a friend. However they are certainly right that the inner critic must be dethroned from dominance before it may be a useful member of the committee of the self.

And, since doing the Process, I have spent a number of evenings in the houses of other spiritual seekers, sharing our growth and process. It is a powerful tool in shedding habitual, inherited patterns of behaviour, and gaining choices over how to be in the World.

There is a lot on personal growth stuff here. If you are interested in Hoffman, you may also be interested in the Human Awareness Institute.

The Personal Growth Circuit

I have been on the Personal Growth circuit since the last century. You know the drill. People gather for a weekend or week, usually with some sort of facilitation, to be liberated, or to explore the good life, or to experience a better way of being.

My first experience of sharing circles was with Community Building in Britain, whose most successful event, Facilitating Ourselves, has been running for eleven years. It is based on the work of Scott Peck, who wrote “The Road Less Travelled” and “The Different Drum”, and who introduced me to the idea of a particular path for growth into maturity which still makes a lot of sense to me. He had an idea of how a circle could reach Community, cycling through pseudo-community or café-culture, where we are all nice to each other; Chaos, where the conflicts rise to the surface; Emptiness, where we surrender our demands on other people, the world and ourselves, and finally Community, togetherness and acceptance. In 1999, it worked for me.

More recently, I have done a weekend with the Human Awareness Institute. I came away feeling happier in my body, happier in myself, better able to relate to others.

I did the Hoffman process when I did not know what was wrong but knew something was, when I read that I could do three years of psychotherapy or do it all in one week with the Hoffman. It is transformational. It seems expensive, but that is because they do a lot in London, Dublin and by phone, for free, to explain it to potential users, and it gave me tools to access my unconscious which I have not yet exploited fully.

I do not recommend any of this: it may not be what you need right now. I have also had a powerful, liberating sense of being with people like me with the Scottish Episcopal Church, and then later the Quakers, with Mensa and with the Sibyls. There is a huge amount out there.

The inner critic

My “War” – it may be more about parenting.

I had a fierce inner critic. I first became aware of her years ago when I was lying on the floor weeping and I heard a clear voice in my head, “Stop play-acting. This isn’t real.” I refused to accept that, and carried on with my healing weeping.

The Inner Critic is a part of me, and I got to know the kind of things she says, and what she tries to steer me away from. She was very angry and fearful. She hated me taking any risks. She did not understand my feelings, and loathed me expressing them. I read that she is a self-protection mechanism I developed when I was a child, to steer me into conduct which people around me would find acceptable, and the problem seemed to be that she had not moved on from then. She thought her observations of what people then wanted still apply.

So I have named her Johanna. I think she is about seven. I imagine her in a white velvet dress and a hairslide with a rose on it, because I hope something pretty might make her a little happier. Her feet are bare, so she may wriggle her toes and feel the Earth.

The problem is that she wants to parent me. She has strong ideas about what I should and should not do, and what Other People Think of me, and she wants me to follow her and self-protect. Whereas, actually, she is about seven, and I need to parent her. So she is sitting on the Naughty step. She can sit there, or she can dance and sing. Those are her choices. She does not get to tell me what to do. I smile at her, now and then, point out beautiful things to her, and I may go over and give her a hug.

Notes

If you do a search for “Inner Critic”, you will find lots of wisdom. I found out a lot about her on the Hoffman Process, and techniques to deal with her, and there had that “you mean other people are like this too?” experience. I like the book “Embracing your Inner Critic– turning self-criticism into a creative asset” by Hal and Sidra Stone.