Spiritual exercises

To love others, you must love yourself.

I have a lack of confidence, and a deep desire to heal it. I deserve more confidence than I have. Over the last month I have produced a detailed concept of part of myself I now call the Pain-bearer, that part of me that holds the feelings which are too strong for me to bear consciously, and which then stew inside me. Feelings can be fuel, the energy to deal with my problems, or a burden making those problems more intractable.

Perceiving or imagining the Pain-bearer, the ideas came from my unconscious. First I saw a part of me curled in a ball, cowering, broken, head down, hugging herself. I imagined myself sympathising, getting her to uncurl, or perhaps uniting with her. The feeling part of myself is in control. The rational part can offer suggestions but not give orders.

Later I saw her as the Pain-bearer. She is not curled up, but standing, bearing all the burden of my unacknowledged pain without being broken by it.

This morning, I cleaned my living room and especially the rug where I kneel in meditation, my Ritual space, in preparation. I was not clear what would happen, but I was clear that it was important.

Two nights ago my dear friend suggested I join a Zoom webinar spiritual exercise for the Hunters’ Moon. After a visualisation Tina H. asked us to write down the feelings we were bearing, and needed to release. We would then recite the mantra,

I see you, I hear you, I feel you, I thank you
But now it is time to let you go.

Um. I wrote down, Anger Frustration Resentment Fear Rage Terror HURT
Loss of confidence

but did not feel these were the real issue. I was just writing what I had perceived my feelings to be in the past. Even more, I felt that I could not yet let my feelings go; that I had escaped feelings by pushing them onto the Pain-bearer, so if I were to “let go” or even release feelings I would be loading her further. First, I had to integrate the Pain-bearer into myself, to be one, and then when I let feelings go they would be taken from her burden and we/I would be rid of them. I tried to explain this to Tina, but then left the webinar to avoid disrupting it for others. The moon was beautiful, in a clear sky.

This morning, I knelt. I had not thought of writing out my feelings as Tina H. suggested, but did. They came to me in the form of stories. The advice for meditation is to see your wandering thoughts as passing clouds, and let them pass rather than fixating them, but I found my thoughts relevant. They were stories from which the feeling became apparent. For example, as the pre-bought train fares are much more expensive for the next two months, because of Christmas shopping, I imagined myself working out how to come home from London on buses. This revealed confusion and feeling out of control. Some of these feelings were my mother’s too. I wrote:

Terror of not being accepted: Withdraw.
Rejected- Worthless.
Confusion- desperate scrabbling for Plans.
Sadness- now alone from own doing.

I realised that forcing pain onto the Painbearer is clinging on to it. One may bracket feelings, storing them away to be dealt with later, but I do it all the time, and never release. It makes me think of Richard Handley [the link is appalling].

I know what I must do. I wrote,

Cleanse her
Feed her
Warm her
Love her
She is Me.
I am Alive.


Possibly, later, I might consciously release, but right now I am feeling content. I spent a quiet day reading, after tidying my books to make my room look better. And- I made a pigeon!


I connected with my shame, and found that a creative and healing experience, so I thought I should connect with my fear. I permitted myself to feel it, and I felt it, and I felt terrified of everything. Suppression is not working.

I fear being hurt, again. I can’t bear it. I have suppressed feeling hurt.
Denying my own value, I have felt I do not deserve to avoid hurt.
I am worthy of avoiding hurt.
I have the intelligence to avoid hurt.

I have projected my condemnation of myself onto other people.
They do not condemn me, generally.
If I can accept myself, then I can perceive acceptance by others.
If I can accept myself, then rejection by others will not hurt me.

I am finding “It is never too late to have a happy childhood”, with uplifting sentences by Claudia Black paired with colourful abstract paintings by Laurie Zagon, useful. For example,

You are special.
You may never have had the opportunity to believe in your specialness.
You may believe in it today.

I tell myself, Stop this endless whining and moaning. I can’t bear it.
(I project that demand on others, too.)
Then I listen to my own whining, and accept it, a little.
Then I heal, a little.

Oh, that’s it! I wrote this a few days ago, as usual, and thought, um. Avoiding hurt. Not enough. So-

if I am worthy of avoiding hurt
then I am worthy to achieve goals.
If I have the abilities and qualities to avoid hurt
then I have the abilities and qualities to achieve goals

and my fear is strong.