security blankets

yesterday, in a car trip to martinsburg, i was reading aloud from the book
by madeleine d’engle where she was talking about idols to which we cling.
she was likening it to the way a baby clings to a blanket when it is born
into the relative harshness (cold, pain, fear, chaos, disconnection,
isolation, need, violence) that is life, how it clings to the blanket even
as it shrinks until finally, usually when the child no longer needs it the
blanket is nothing but a shred.

on the way home we turned the radio on to npr and heard a story about the technology of predicting earthquake damage so as to provide help sooner. the variables put into the equations were severity of the quake itself, the population in the locations affected by the earthquake, and the vulnerability of those populations based upon the ability of their structures to withstand stress. coincidentally, on christmas day, while playing a truth or fiction type game i was asked whether a certain technical term for stress resistance (i can’t recall the term) was a psychological condition (it wasn’t, it was a term
measuring the ability of construction to withstand earthquakes).

suddenly, all of these ideas coelesced in my mind. my husband had asked whether people were basically fearful and insecure and that is why we needed to cling to our religions. i thought rather it is perhaps not an inherent
weakness in humanity, but that the world is indeed a frightening place….from the moment we are born into its foreign environment….filled
with earthquakes that measure not the inadequacy of humanity to bear them, but rather are indicative of the chaotic nature of life itself.

you know all of those psychological tests that measure a person’s likelihood to break based upon ‘stressors’. perhaps they are not so much measurements of a person’s weakness or inadequacy as they are unfortunate measurements of the ways we have had to learn to adapt and cope…defenses, ‘healthy’ and
otherwise. (i am reminded of the learnings of military psychiatrists who use their knowledge of the human psyche not to justify ending war but to devise
methods and quantifications to reduce the likelihood of stress…eg number
of continuous days in combat, not isolating the suffering from those they
have bonded with, etc)

anyway, in an instant i realized that perhaps all of our religious constructs (like the construction of buildings to withstand earthquakes) are merely that….constructions of reality that help us to cope with the stress that is life without breaking. and so i cling to my blanket of believing that all is of god, that all is beauty, that this god that i love so desparately is present within the whole of life…even that which i cannot understand, so that i can find a way to love it, because it is the only way that i can survive this thing called life intact.  and others cling to their own blankets of hope, or salvation, or building the kingdom of god, or that god needs us to give birth to love or keep love alive, or that life is illusion, or a test to get into heaven, or whatever it takes to cope.

and we each are convinced that our version reality is the true one. we must or our construction will crumble and we will be subject to the intensity of the earthquake. and so we cling to it and we cannot allow for a moment that the other’s version of reality is what also keeps them from coming undone or
else we begin to glimpse how flimsy is our own and we are left again
standing in the midst of chaos….

,,,and we assault them for merely surviving, for having constructed meaning,  when perhaps we should have compassion for them for finding a way to stay alive….

on dreams of babes and books

there is pain. there is joy. both are part of the beautiful seamless garment

that is life/that is Love/that is God. yes. my vulnerability opens me to the

terrible beauty of it all. somehow i know that without pain i do not know
love, i am not whole, and i am judging my experience rather than loving it,
loving the source of it. somehow closing to pain, restricts me, makes me
less than i am to be. and somehow i know that somehow yearning for a life
without it causes me to be dissatisfied, and closes me to love, keeps my
soul from growing. ‘to be human means to be vulnerable’. i seek to embrace
this journey of humanity.

i look at jesus own willingness to be open, vulnerable, to risk being known
and betrayed, to be intimate with others, to be intimate with life, to be
intimate with God, and i see the beauty of his soul.

i do mourn that my own mother was/is unable to be intimate with me, to be
vulnerable to love and to life, to receive my vulnerability. i mourn for her

sake….and yet even in my mourning i hope to stay out of judgment,
presuming that my way is somehow the right path. i trust that god is also
with and within her and her path, wholly, and i must love that. accept that,

see it as best i can without the cloud of judgment that my pain can create.
i hope to let go of my desire for her to be what i need her to be and love
her where she is…. if that means letting her go literally, so be it. it
may be the most loving thing that i can do. to let her die….to let the
image that i want her to be die. to release her. to release myself to honor
the gift that she has been to my journey here. how can i mourn for
myself…when i know my life is beauty? when i honor the journey my soul has


still there are so many infants struggling for life, for breath, so much
crying stifled, silent screaming, so much movement restricted, and i wonder
if there is not more wailing within me that needs to be unbound, some
unswaddling freedom to be, some releasing, some letting myself be
human….some compassion for self. perhaps my dream is telling me (in the
bathroom part) that i need to be unafraid to release these waste
products…even to do so in front of others where i might not look so
pretty…..that even the ugliness of release is acceptable, a necessary part

of my soul-tending, of my healing and growth. perhaps i need to stop
sterilizing it….

i wonder about the letters falling off of the library….my storehouse of
knowledge. i wonder what is crumbling there. what is to be gathered and
carried, what must be let go of in order to enter a true place of healing.

i did a little reading on the art of bonsai. thank you for sharing with me
that when you think of a bonsai tree you think of something ancient and full

of wisdom. of course, i have been drawn to things eastern for some
time….(i was gifted with a zen sand garden for christmas.) i am assuming
my subconscious knows i would seek out the meaning in this….this is what i

discovered. yes. i do see myself in this.

“Bonsai is centred on the principle of “heaven and earth in one container”.
Three forces come together in a good bonsai: truth, essence and beauty.
Bonsai are meant to evoke the essential spirit of the plant. The artform may

be derived from the practice of transporting medicinal plants in containers
by healers….
To simulate age and maturity in a bonsai, techniques called Jin and Shari
can be used. Jin is done by removing the bark in an area of a large branch
or the trunk, while Shari is the stripping off of an entire branch. These
techniques simulate scarring by nature and limbs being torn off. Care must
be taken when employing these techniques, because these areas are prone to
infection, and removal of too much bark will result in losing all growth
above that area. Also bark must never be removed in a complete ring around
the trunk as it will cut off all water and nutrient flow above that
ring……Contrary to popular belief, bonsai are not suited for indoor
culture, and if kept indoors will most likely die…..Some trees require
protection from the elements in winter and the techniques used will depend
on how well the tree is adapted to the climate. During overwintering,
temperate species are allowed to enter dormancy but care must be taken with
deciduous plants to prevent them from breaking dormancy too early’.

christmas is hard. today with my own children also in its own ways. so many
seeking love and affirmation, hoping for connection, yearning to know
themselves as valued and received. it is hard for one such as me to not feel

it all. to have compassion for it all. to not feel the pain and believe
myself to be responsible for it all. to not feel pulled and drawn in a
hundred directions by it all, to not try to fix it all…..

to let it be love.

i am weary this evening.

isn’t it funny

isn’t it funny

the way it is that

embracing wholeness begins with letting go

darkness unveils hidden light

and spaciousness enfolds


isn’t it funny

the way that swaddling becomes burial shroud

and unraveling discloses form

the ways we get entangled in the shreds


isn’t it funny

the way forgiveness leads to

freedom to love

when we think it is heading

to consent to harm

the way acceptance of the ugly

makes it beautiful


isn’t it funny

the ways i think i’ve figured it out

that turn out to be wrong

yet lead me back around again

to the way things are


swaddling clothes

i chase these dangling threads
that if i don’t retrieve them all
and tie them back in place
it will come unraveled.
at times it seems as if this whirling wind
is ripping it to shreds
beneath my clutch
the edge is tattered, torn
but what i cannot see is that
the rent is opening
unbinding this too heavy cloak
that i no longer need
and weaving me a garment
made of light

christ child

oh Love
blessed, tender, vulnerable
creature that you are
embedded as you are within this fragile flesh
i feel your stirrings as you waken from your slumber
long before your cries do beckon me
the swelling in my breast
beseeches me to heed your call
to gather up your flailing limbs
to soothe your distress with a song
to draw you close
and let my liquid warmth
flow into your belly

oh Love
how tender is your need
how vital is my willingness
to feed it
yet when i gaze at you,
my own desire,
embedded in this fragile flesh,
does seem to rise of its own accord

it is as if
we’re One.


solstice song

my soul
as evening drapes
in folds of dusky lilac
o’er the grey
so do i into th’unfolding
welcome of your hush

as i fall into this silence
you open out your dark embrace
enfolding me
and blanketing my heart
until at last
i find that i can breathe

 i am humbled. i am humbled by this understanding that has come flooding
 over me with this recent breaking of the dam. could it be that by looking
 long, intently, willingly at her suffering and pain, i have at long last
 found the elusive face of christ. as god chooses to become human, to
 express god’s self in this physical creation that i am, that we are, does
 god somehow become intertwined so intimately with this flesh that we
 release and realize divinity itself only when we seek and heal the wounded, only when
 we embrace and reclaim the wounded one with whom god is so endeared and
 entwined? is it only then that resurrection and re-union can occur….this
 two becoming one, two separate selves, the outer shell and the inner
 wounded, the disconnected flesh and the hidden spirit?

 how is it that Spirit and the wound somehow become one, and so we walk for
 so many years disconnected from them both? is it that she (the wounded
 one) requires so much more love that the scales were tipped for all this
 time in her favor. rejoice oh highly favored daughter? is it there that
 love rushed in…literally….to bathe the wound with loving and thus to
 inseminate this christ child within me, this one who was growing deep
 within and unbeknownst by me? until the stirring of her pain, the pressing
 of her growing presence, forced me into the painful labor of my own birth?

 and this day as i look into this mirror, i cry out, oh god, oh god, have
 you always been there, in the face of this one so full of sorrow, in these
 eyes so filled with self-contempt. were you there, inside, beseeching me
 to look? for all this time i have been afraid to touch her pain, afraid to
 feel the enormity of her suffering, afraid to gaze upon the face of christ
 upon the cross in my own mirror, and so i could not find Love? all this
 while those sorrowful eyes have been your own, this suffering your pain.

 and in that moment standing face to face with you at last, in that moment
 of surrender, as i passed through the mirror into you, did we become one
 again…the lost me intact with the walking me, your Spirit conjoined with
 my flesh, no longer left behind within that mirror when i turned away. now
 i can carry her and god within me, consciously inside of me, is this the
 promise? is this what the monastic’s mean by carrying your cell with you?
 that what you find within, You in wholeness and completeness, is now
 capable of walking on this miracle of earth, gazing out upon the world
 with love, seeking beauty within the wounded christ that is trapped within
 the other. no longer needing to be seen, only to see.

 to love what is difficult to love leads to god every time, whether that
 difficult thing is within or without…it is always there that god is
 waiting, and it is there that we meet god, somehow both embracing the
 wound and wounded by it, waiting to be healed and to be released. it is
 there within the wound that god’s preference is to be, for it is there
 that love is most required in our absence, and it is there that love finds
 the greatest nurture for its growth.

 in gazing now upon the cross, even as i gaze into this mirror, i am not
 engaging in some self-abusive punishment for sin, but i am filled to
 overflowing with compassion rather than self-hatred, for i am gazing upon
 the struggle and suffering of humankind stamped upon my face, stamped upon
 the face of God, and oh how i am filled with love for her, for all that
 She has borne for me. for ALL that she has led me through, for her
 patience and her wisdom and her strength. i gaze upon a God who loves and
 wants to set me free and a God who yearns to be set free, as one. and i
 fall in love with God all over again

 oh god you willingly take on the mantle of humanity each and every day,
 and bear this suffering along with us because you are truly one with us.
 we never are alone. it is only in my separateness that i believed this,
 only when i believed that the one within the mirror wasn’t me, that i
 believed that God and me were not one, that i believed there ever was a
 separate me to be alone at all.

 and i fall in love with humanity….for in the face of all humanity now i
 see the christ, divine beings willing to become human, to partake of the
 painful nurture of this grand experiment of life, in order to grow Love.
 how brave a people we are on one hand, and yet how assured of love and
 connection we must truly be within the far reaches of our consciousness
 that we would not fear, how certain of our oneness with what Is that we
 would unquestioningly take this journey into life. it baffles me that we
 do not glow, that the distance in our consciousness can become so great
 that we forget that we are but creatures for a time, sent to bear the

spirituality and the sexual healing journey

‘one moment your life is a stone in you, the next a star’ –Rilke 

Spirituality, from the Latin root, spirare, meaning to breathe, is that which is vital to our being alive. It animates us. It quickens us. It brings that which is essential deep into our beings where it can be integrated, and allows that which is toxic within us to be expressed.  How vital, how cleansing, then is a life-giving spirituality to one healing from the wounds of sexual trauma.



A life-giving spirituality connects us to the sacred quality of our lives. We are connected to that which is sacred within ourselves, within the other, and within life itself. A life-giving spirituality brings meaning to our experience here, and may connect us to something meaningful beyond ourselves of which we are a part. And while a healthy spirituality may or may not be nourished and expressed through organized religion, the word religion itself, means to re-bind, to tie fast, to bandage. To reconnect.



It is precisely because that which is broken within us through the experience of sexual trauma is our connection to ourselves as sacred beings worthy of being lovingly attended to, that the emergence of a healthy spirituality can play a role in the healing of its wounds. It is precisely because the integrity of our beings has been violated and defiled that we find ourselves being led on spiritual journeys to reclaim it as good. And it is precisely because the experience of sexual trauma disconnects us from ourselves, disconnects us from our ability to find the sacred in the other, and disconnects us from the sacredness that is this journey we call life itself, that we need a spirituality that can reconnect us once again. We hunger for a Love that honors who we are. We yearn to believe in the goodness of the other. We long to find joy and beauty in life. And we need to find something meaningful here that will make us want to remain and engage fully in our days.


 I believe that there is something deep within each one of us that knows the way to wholeness, an inner voice of wisdom and of Love. No matter what name is given to it, opening and attending to this deeper loving presence heals us. Perhaps because that which we most need to contact and develop within ourselves, in order to heal the profound wounds of sexual violation, is a deep compassion, an indwelling voice of Love that can be present to our pain, it is natural that we begin to find ourselves also contacting and awakening to that within us, which is the source of love, which is Love Itself, which is whatever we come to understand this Loving essence to be. Perhaps it is a resonance, like so many bells resounding, deeper and deeper. As our own tiny bell of love begins to ring for our self, in response to whatever has moved or disturbed it, more bells are awakened by the vibrations. 

Sometimes it seems to me, both in myself and in my work with wounded men and women, that there has been something tending to our wounds beneath our awareness for a long time. It is as if, in a place of survival, something goes underground along with the pain, beneath the numbing wall that safeguards us from consciousness. It is as if in our sometimes necessary disconnection from our experience, we are also disconnected from our deeper selves where Love resides. Sometimes it seems to me as if Love and the lost parts of self walk hand and hand deep within our interior landscape. Perhaps this is where our loving essence is most needed, after all, when we are for whatever reason unable to experience or attend to our pain.  But when,   – because the screams of pain have grown loud enough for us to hear, -or because we are finally in a place of safety where we can let the pain be known, -or because some new grief or trauma has ripped open a passageway(yes, often it is the trauma itself that opens us)-or because the births of our own sons and daughters remind us of the presence of our own wounded inner child– or because some other life experience awakens us- we at last open to the wound, the passageway created suddenly allows us access to the vastness which is deeper within.

We are then compelled to seek and follow the voice of Love that beckons from this inner terrain. Perhaps we cannot yet see it…it is perhaps hidden behind an imposing mountain, around the bend of a meandering river, deep in the darkness of the forest…but we can hear its call. We hear it as a longing for something more, a yearning to embrace our experience and ourselves wholly, a hunger for healing and for reconciliation, a deep desire to claim our lives as meaningful and good, a yearning to give ourselves utterly to our lives.

 I suspect it is in fact these combined voices of Love and pain, trying to get our attention, that lead us toward healing from the very beginning of our journeys, although the direction may at first appear to be otherwise. My own healing journey led me deeper and deeper into this place where Love resides. My screams of despair, disguised as outrageous behavior (notice the out-rage in that word), finally got my attention by breaking me—open. Open to the extremities of my pain, yes, but also open to something more exquisite than that. Some say it is the crack in our lives that can finally let the light pour through. For me, what came flooding through that portal was filled with intense sorrow and sometimes-suicidal despair, but also came with an equally intense Love and Wisdom clinging to it.

Finally, we come into our fullness not by turning away from our brokenness, but by entering into it, not despite our experience of life but by embracing it. As the container opens, we are somehow able to hold it all. It is held by a Love much vaster than the controlling little ones of which we were previously aware….our shallow containers and images of God, for instance, our small definitions of who we are, our narrow ideas about the meaning of life into which our concept of self once had to fit. 

The primary vehicle through which both spirit and pain were able to find expression for me was poetry. This became my conduit for journeying deeper into my own healing, for bringing to the surface both what it was I needed to release and what it was I needed to hear. For others spirit may breathe to them (recall the taking in of the essential, the release of the toxic that a healthy spirituality provides) as it has to me through nature, through movement, through meditation and prayer, through art or song, through parable or metaphor, myth or sacred text, through dream or other imagery. In the process of seeking meaning, the inexpressible often takes such forms to communicate its blessings, to re-connect us to our deeper truths. These speak the language of soul for which there is no tongue.

 One client recently imagined herself to be a violin, whose strings had become broken and ragged from abuse and secrecy, rediscovered in a dusty case in the corner of darkened attic. She now images herself being lovingly attended to and played, her strings repaired so that they are more able to resonate the melody of Love.  Another friend imagines herself in the painful process of giving birth to herself while being attended to lovingly by a midwife.  Still another, who found comfort in the image of a cabin in the woods where he was nursed to health by one who knew the healing roots that grow there, now finds himself opening out into a meadow.   All of these and more are examples of spirit moving. 

We must learn to listen and attend to these interior movements and begin to trust again the gentle loving voice of an inner authority. Part of the wounding that occurs in sexual trauma is that, cut off from our deeper selves, we ingest and believe the lie of the external voices of authority who have defined for us who we are, what life is, what our experience means, who/what God or Love is.  Constricted by these images, we live our lives as poet Mary Oliver expresses it, ‘breathing just a little, and calling it life’.   Recall again the connection of spirituality with our breath…. the deep nourishment and release. The night I dreamt the words that awakened me, ‘You are bound to beauty’, I knew that breathing/drinking deeply of this life was mine at last to claim. Much of my trauma occurred while I was bound. To be re-bound to the beauty that I am, to the beauty that life is, was to take back my life as good. It was to be re-bound, re-connected to self, to life, to others, and to the exquisite mystery that binds and contains it all.  

Vicki Kensinger is a spiritual director and retreat leader residing in Palmyra, Pa. She is a member of Sarcc’s newly formed Spiritual Advisory Committee. You can find out more about her work at




so god
is this it
what all the casting pearls has been about
not so much the remnants of
some unrequited love,
leftovers of a mother-child bond gone bad
which left me
like alice
seeking validation
in a maze of funhouse mirrors

but some existential angst
that whispers
urgent yearnings to be seen
reassurance that my being here is real
this need for reflection
deflecting fears
that when i look
i will see nothing at all

is this yearning to be captured then
the ageless fear
of death
annihilation leaving nothing in its wake
no remnants of my love leftover
no meaning for my being here
at all

oh god
let it be enough
for you alone
to catch me


1. on communion.

what do i mean when i say that my need to be known cannot be the reason for my
attempts at connection? i have noticed in myself that there is a
line somewhere between honoring and dishonoring my self, and that i cross it
somewhere into my woundedness. what begins as a fullness, a rich connection to
my goodness and my beauty, and a desire to share from that space deteriorates
into a need to be affirmed or approved of. somewhere along that line, i don’t know
where, it shifts, and i move from a place of wholeness and integrity to a place
of brokeness and need, and it is as if all the beauty that i experienced within
myself yesterday dissipates. somewhere along that line in the sharing of
myself, i move from honoring what is present in all its wholeness…wounds and
gifts together… to needing to be seen by the other in order to feel whole. i
feel the difference perhaps more keenly now as i have experienced a level of
sharing of oneself that feels more like deep communion…in this place i am
seen and honored by myself and the other…we know that we are tasting the same
food, breathing the same spirit. this is a new learning for me and i am still
growing into it, but i think it means that as i continue on my inward journey
of healing, growing, coming to know and honor myself and the presence of god
within me more, to accept the love that is always available to me, it will be
less devastating if i am not received or understood by the other, because, as i
heal, the other’s reception of me will have less power to affect my ability to
see myself as valuable.  my desire for connection will be for one of
communion not recognition.

added thought on this re the stove and grasping for nourishment piece. perhaps there is something within me that is touched when i open to my depths, something that is literally starving, something that finds a way out when i allow myself to be opened to such depths by Love, something that is finally receiving some portion….

2. thoughts on the marriage of the wound and god, sorrow and love.

even when i was unaware of it, there was a deep spiritual nature within me, a
great wisdom and knowing, it was simply hidden from my consciousness.
my soul, this deep place where god and me are one, has
been with me, supporting me, leading me, accompanying me, holding me
throughout my life here in this place. i wish to honor that.

i think perhaps it is indeed the awakening to the pain of the wounded child that
also awakens us to presence of something divine. sometimes it seems to me as if
god and these lost parts of self walk hand and hand deep within our interior
landscapes…perhaps this is where god’s presence is most needed when we are
unable to attend to her pain. but when we open to her (the wounded
one)…either because her screams of pain have grown loud enough for us to
hear, or because we are finally in a place of safety where we can finally let
her pain be known, or because some new grief has ripped open a passageway, or
because the birth of our own daughters reminds us of her presence….the
passageway created suddenly allows us entrance to that which is also deeper
within us, and we are compelled to seek and follow the voice that beckons from
this inner terrain. perhaps we cannot yet see it…it is perhaps behind a
mountain, around the bend of a river, deep in the forest…but we can hear its
call. we hear it as a longing for something more, a yearning for wholeness and

because that which we most need to contact and develop within ourselves in order
to heal the wounded inner child is a deep compassion, an indwelling voice of
Love that can be present to her pain, it is perhaps natural that we also
contact and awaken to that within us, which is the source of all Love, which is
Love Itself. perhaps it is a resonance, like so many bells resounding, deeper
and deeper, as our own tiny bell of love begins to ring for ourself, in
response to whatever has moved it, more bells are awakened by the vibrations.
and so our own heart opens out into the depths of soul. as we embrace, we are embraced.

i am wondering if the numbing to the pain we experience, the shutting down to it because it is too great for us to
bear at the time, forces the pain to go deep inside, into hiding, into that inner
landscape to be held there until we are ready? i am also wondering if the
image of god we have (in our head) at the time is inadequate to hold the
intensity of your experience and so we have to abandon it or let it die…let
the pain be held by something greater, something more capable, deep within
ourself. and so our spiritual nature doesn’t leave us, it just leaves our awareness sometimes when it is time to let go of an inadequate god and we have no mental construct or concept to replace it with.

3. advent thoughts

my re-connection to mary this year is to her quiet acceptance that she is bearing within her very flesh something divine, participating somehow in the mystery that is life, and the way she honors that which needs her presence, the way she honors that which is within her.

i am also profoundly moved this season by the vulnerability that is god….a god who is needful of our
reception, needful of our tending, needful of our nourishment, needful of our
presence to bring god to life, needful of our honoring that which is a secret
within us.

4. family shit

whew, this has been harder on me than i supposed. i guess bringing up anything in relation to family brings up alot of shit tangled with it. this one, i imagine, is mixed with feelings of vulnerability and exposure to rejection…..

i realize that the gift-giving behavior is merely a symptom, a reflection of family relationships that never have gone beneath the surface. all the focus upon surface fairness (a looooong tradition) is perhaps really a symptom of not knowing, nor choosing to know, one another on a deeper level.  not that i would expect such continued intimacy as time and distance separates…but that it was never there in the first place. it feels so disconnected…and so must rely upon rules, etc….because there is no connection. this is what we learned tells us we are loved/important….this material gift (even if it doesn’t fit resonate with what is inside of us, even if it is disconnected from who we are, or who the other is), these ‘things’ empty of meaning, this obligation. and yet i also know how, on the other hand, a thing can be filled with meaning and connection and spirit. and the way that gifts can flow from deeper connection.

oh, this is really no different than other expectations based upon name only….phone call obligations because she is mother. nick was commenting to me on the phone yesterday how every time he sees grandma she complains that he never comes to visit….ruining any sense of connection he may have just had with her. he said, ‘if i went to visit her, what would we talk about anyway?….what i’ve been doing the last 20 years of my life? is it my fault that there is no relationship between us?’ he was saying in other words what i am talking about here. there is no relationship, yet the surface trappings of relationship are still demanded….so that everyone can pretend and it can appear that there is relationship.

and so we pass it along to the next generation….this painful substitute of surface things and command behaviors for true relationship.

interestingly, last saturday morning, don and my breakfast conversation turned to approaches to healing. we were discussing behaviorists vs depth healing. he suggested that sometimes changing the behavior can impact the person on deeper levels (of self worth, for instance). i understood this on the holistic level….body/mind are one. on the other hand, if there is no connection between the new behavior and the self, if the new behavior is forced or shame-based, it can further disconnect the person from themselves. for me, from an approach that heals the deeper relationship to self first, life-giving behaviors naturally flow… other words, as pertains to my rambling here, meaningful gifts flow naturally back and forth from the depths of healed connected relationships. likewise, behaviors on the surface will reflect it if there is disconnection. that we are asking folks to consider feelings of isolation and exclusion in our current gifting habits perhaps connects them too much with the wound they do not wish to acknowledge.

when this substitute is all you know of love, you will defend it. i remember so vividly how that image was broken wide open for me. you mean this is how love feels? this no expectation of me other than being me? this wanting to hear/ see / know the whole (inside) of me?

some people choose never to go there…this is so hard for me to understand. perhaps they are too defended, too afraid, too closed to themselves. living a disconnected life was a painful existence for me, but perhaps it is not always so. perhaps there is something more to this body/mind/spirit connection. perhaps for some, these surface connections work on a whole being level, and soul is somehow touched, though it is never made conscious.  i do believe that the whole of life is soul-inspired and soul-filled with or without our awareness.  i certainly experience soul in simple, physical, day to day things today, and i am certain that every physical moment of my life here has formed/touched my soul. still, somehow my experience of connection to self and to god (meaning) was painfully missing in my relationship to family. there, i experienced only painful disconnection…to self, to others, to life.

5. on sorrow

i think there is something to this universal sorrow of which i
have spoken. there is a great sadness that we cannot seem to live our lives
deeply connected and open to Love, to ourselves, to one another, to god. the
potential is here, available to us every moment, but so many…others and parts of self… are buried deep beneath the debris of bombardment of fear that is life. we keep our deepest and most precious selves protected, hidden….the self that is so vulnerable to wounding and the self that is so capable of Love are somehow united in that place. connection cannot occur on the surface with
frightened, wounded folks, but i do trust that underneath we are all one, and i
seek to relate to that one even if only in silence. i am learning that my
own need to be known/received by the other cannot be the reason for my attempts
to connect, nor will i ever truly receive from the other what i must give to
myself…knowing, honoring and loving the whole of me. this is no easy task and
sometimes i have to gather my kicking, screaming, starving child away from the stove when
she is desperately hungry to taste of its perceived nourishment. my adult self
is just beginning to learn that it is ok to do so…to pay attention to the
first burning sensation when the other devalues the part of myself i have
revealed and stop her from going back for more in her attempts at nurture.
instead, i can give her something to eat.


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