FATHERLESS

Fatherless

 

I would like to recommend a book today, by my friend, Phil Barber. I have only known Phil a few months, but we have been sharing quite a journey together on our weekly sessions of something called ‘Solo Autobiographical Theatre.’ You can‘t call it a drama class alone, as it is much more than that as you may guess from the autobiographical bit in the title. I wanted to do something that would get me out of my comfort zone and this was it and it has proven to be more than I could realise and in it, I am pretty fearless with the hope and desire this will spread into other areas of my life.

Together with 2 or 3 others we get together and pull strands from our own lives and find a way to express the story, face the sadness and some of the sweeter memories, but also tune into the wider story and break down some of those false beliefs and emotions that keep us stuck in the story. It really is an incredible gift and I am embracing it all and finding out things about myself I didn’t know I could do and becoming aware of emotions and experiences I didn’t know about. I find I can improvise a piece so quickly because with my spiritual journey in mind, I decide to focus on the emotion of a memory rather than the detail of that memory and from the feeling something grows. I also get to experience and watch others courageously opening themselves, unveiling their raw and vulnerable spots, as well as innate creativity.

But the other gift is that the four people I do it with sit without judgement and allow and encourage me to find the rawness of the emotion I feel and I so I feel uninhibited ( mostly), even with anger – an emotion I have found difficult to show publically or in the past admit I even had. There feels a supportive love present. In our different ways, we are seeking something and facing fears and challenging each other to be truthful and adventurous. Sometimes it is incredibly intense and yet very beautiful to see each other’s vulnerabilities and unlike therapy it feels less staged.

I know that sounds weird and there have been times when I have had therapy and it has helped me, but there have been many times when I felt a therapist was trying to control what I was feeling – so as “not to re-traumatise” me. If you have read some of my other blogs you will know that I understand and experience that it is the suppression of our emotions that has damaged us/me and to me that kind of therapy, just falls into society’s fear of emotional overwhelm and logically, if we look around at the problems in the world it is our denial of our true emotions that allows us to live so much of life in facade and untruths.

This autobiographical theatre is allowing me to experience myself in a new way and it has stirred up memories that are painful, but need to be felt, as well as moments of childhood that are sensory, that are good. So, in a short time, we all may have got to know more about each other, than we may have with other friends we have known for years. I guess when you are not sitting there over coffee having a chat over mundane or everyday things, you skip some facade and that is refreshing.

During the process, there have been some emotions in Phil that I related to a lot and so when he said he had written a memoir of his childhood, which was a journey of his life in and out of various children’s home and foster care I wanted to read more. From my experience, I have read more bad autobiographies/memoirs than good ones. Phil’s memoir is a very, very good one. He said it took him five hard years to write and I can see why as much of it is heart-breaking and sad and a poor reflection on how children are treated by their own family, but also by the systems in place which are meant to keep them safe from harm. It must have been a very emotional journey to write -and there is the gift.

In his introduction, Phil says he wrote it because “in fathoming more deeply my own journey it would help my children fathom theirs… and to speak to the orphan in us all.” The book is a gift of love to himself, which when you read the story, will see why that is so important; a gift of love to his children and to any of us that connect in with the feelings his childhood created and which so many of us relate to.

It is very well-written, but mostly frank, honest, deeply touching, but very self-effacing, making it all the more easy to read and connect with. I want to say a very personal thank you. I could not put this book down and by the end of it was in tears as I connected with many of the emotions of not feeling good enough, loneliness, shame and grief of my own childhood. So yes, it touched the “orphan” in me.

This orphan feeling I feel, runs deep in all of us. It initially may be a feeling we experience as coming from our own poor parenting, but I also feel it from our disconnection with our true parent – the one I am now trying to discover – and to discover that true parent, I know I have to grieve all the bad stuff that happened. I get angry at God, at times, because I don’t want to feel all of that, and I just want Him to hug it all away, but I have to bow to a greater wisdom that knows that my soul will expand once I have off loaded all the crappy stuff – to make room for the good. Makes sense hey? You can’t fill a jug with clean, fresh water if it is full of mucky old brown sludge.

But I digress! Please read this wonderful memoir. It will help you emotionally, if that is what you want, or it will just be a beautiful read. As the title of my blog, Phil’s book is called “Fatherless,” and I have put a link below. I can’t recommend it enough and I feel blessed to have such a friend.

And Phil – you truly have come a long, remarkable way. Well done and thank you so much.

With love,

Maxine

PAINTING MYSELF….

Image

Much of who I am has been lost much of my life.

Many of you may feel this, I do.

It doesn’t mean we have done nothing with our life, but it can mean much of what we have done in life, work and love has occurred more because of the belief systems we were brought up in: what others made us believe about ourselves and who we are.   With this understanding I wonder how many of us actually follow our true desires and passions? Or are we following what others expect of us or what we feel is responsible, sensible? Or even what reflects our own lack of self worth or an inability to break away from cultural and social expectations? In fact there can be a huge self deception or denial that this has happened: we are so used to be “other” me we forget to even question who we are. I started writing this weeks ago and it has taken time for me to feel what it is I actually want to write as I have a myriad of emotions attached to these thoughts and the journey of self discovery continues.

I have known for years I wasn’t who I really am, but have felt lost in the search, apathetic and despairing at times as I listened to voices in my head saying I wasn’t worth the effort. Thank God in between these moments were  gifts of clarity and a fighting spirit that told me there was something else and to keep searching. I prayed and then I was gifted a wonderful law of attraction when this picture popped up on Facebook a while ago: it grabbed my attention and I never did read any of the words that came with it, as just looking at it, feeling what it meant for me was enough. It sent me into hours of feeling grief: a deep sadness that I didn’t know who I was. I stared at the beautiful lady, an artist’s creation, but asleep and unaware that she was a work in progress. She was alive, but not living. Yet the artist continued to paint, to bring her more alive: maybe one day she would notice and wake from her dreams to dance across the canvas. Maybe one day I will, I thought.

But first I needed to feel, to feel the incredible sadness I felt that at 47 I still couldn’t identify fully which bits of myself were really me, the true me: not wounded me, not facade me, not the me everyone else thought or expected I should be. I have searched before, but now I realised I had been looking with my mind too much: positive thinking, doing, doing, doing, change your thoughts, but all without really feeling so a temporary change followed by denial and frustration with myself. So logically if my mind hadn’t worked it out enough to make a permanent change I needed to experiment with another way. I have been listening to Divine truth talks for just over two years now, but it has taken time to get past some of the confronting emotions they bring up in me. On a soul level I recognised that I had found something beyond what I had known before and that it wouldn’t leave me. I had been asking passionately for truth a year before and I wasn’t going to throw it out when it finally came. In the talks, Jesus constantly says we need to develop humility: a willingness to feel all of our feelings. God made us emotional beings and yet we live in a world of fear: one where the biggest fear is feeling. In fact I think we have a terror of it, so convinced are we that emotions that overwhelm us, might kill us. However, I believe, it is suppressing what we truly feels is what kills us.

So I have and continue to feel what has brought me to this point of not knowing myself and even though I have a good way to go some of the clouds have started to lift. First thing, was at least intellectually accepting first until I feel it, that I am not what those voices have told me. I am not a piece of crap, a worthless person: I am not the only one God can’t save. The voices after all are just the voices of other adults in my childhood and human in spirit form that have similiar beliefs to my parents who join in the emotional abuse: the voices are just other wounded humans, who because they are not willing to feel their own feeling project at children, like I was, and that I/ we carry through to adulthood. Until now I have not known how to quiet the voices. Of course when you see why they are still wounded and still needing to hurt others ( consciously or unconsciously) there is the clue: I NEED TO FEEL MY FEELINGS not to stay like them. I also need to believe GOD’S TRUTH ABOUT ME: I am unconditionally loved and loveable – a wonderful creation. I chose to at least accept these two things intellectually at first, and as I allow my emotions to be  felt I have started to feel these truths more in my soul: a tiny bit right now, but its a start.

So what emotions? Well we will all have our own journey with this, but for me the first part was a life time of suppressed anger. I have for two years been making excuses about feeling my childhood anger: on we haven’t got enough space, what about the neighbours etc etc . However, the truth is I have been so terrified of punishment, of not being seen as a good girl, I chose not to feel and release it. Now I go in my bedroom and beat the crap out of my bed and look I am still alive! AND no one punished me! AND a couple of times it has led me to tears of sadness. Step by step , layer by layer : anger, fear, grief. Praying for God’s help and God’s love. I have stubbornly been very self reliant all of my life ( it felt safer) , but now I am finally surrendering to the idea I want and need help. And if I want help why not go to the top guy/girl. Always better to ask help from someone more loving, more knowing, more truthful than yourself. Stuff self reliance, giving God reliance a go!

This surrender is now uncovering joy I haven’t felt for years, love I didn’t know existed and a gentle blossoming and feeling I matter and I might even have something to contribute. I am allowed to follow my passions and desires!  When I was younger I was made to feel I had to be responsible for others, I became a carer of my mother many times , as she struggled with life,  unhappy in her own unfulfilled dreams.  The projections and expectations were so high I believed I had to care for others, except myself: in fact anything I did for myself was just selfish. Sadly, many of us believe this and the world is full of those who believe they need to self sacrifice themselves versus those who have a deep sense of real self-entitlement. Both are wounded states, from deep insecurities and self- doubt. I shrank in these false beliefs, I got lost, and in recent years have left my shattered dreams at the bottom of an ocean of despair.

There have been times when I pursued dreams and I remember the feeling of aliveness and passion: sheer joy. Yet they didn’t seem to lead anywhere because at the end of them ( like the degree I did when I was 30) I was lost again. My sense of self has been too fragile and I believed I would never be good enough, not matter what I did. I was also filled with an overdeveloped sense of responsiblity to my son and others: it was easier to help others than myself: huge amounts of guilt. If I truly decided to help myself I would need to face the truth of what happened to me as a child, I would need to feel how unloved and unaccepted I felt: that was too painful. Like many of us, I didn’t want to feel that.

Now I do! But now I can feel it  ( work in progress!) , not deny it. If I feel it , it moves and it eventually moves out of me: e-motion. The more I experiment with this, the more I feel the benefits. This really does work. I am healing my relationship with myself  ( which includes my soul mate) and with my creator, my parent: God. I still have a huge amount to discover, but like any good scientist, I now realise, things change because you don’t give up just because you have a bad day.  I feel like a I am crawling out of my chrysalis and God is holding my hand. Still scared, but not trying not to live in my fear.

Every day I grab more moments to find myself. The other day I had to shop for new clothes and as I tried on clothes I went on quite a journey working out what clothes were really me, tuning into feelings of expectations from others, my fears of what others would think and my small wounded self. Interesting how a shopping trip can become a new trip: finding me. Feeling my way round I found some great clothes.

So now I am an artist of myself and God provides the canvas……….. layer by layer, brushstroke by brushstroke……. here I come…..

With love to my brothers and sisters,

Maxine Bell

True Tears Come

ImageIt always amazes me how deep our grief goes. For many of us we don’t even know how much grief, how much sadness we hold inside us. We live, we breath, we move through life, but we age, we have times of depression, of struggle, of illness, of feeling something isn’t quite ok, but we often can’t  name it. We are often encouraged to let the past go, to live in the now, plan for the future but our bodies, our minds, and actions tell us if this is working..or not.

But its not so much us holding onto the past, it is just that the past holds onto us when we haven’t admitted the truth of it. It’s not so much about the stories even: there are so many sad stories, so much loss in many peoples lives. It IS about locking up all that grief, all those fears; it is about how much we are encouraged to “not cry” as children; how we are taught to control ourselves; to convince others and then ourselves we feel better, we feel ok.

The truth is, for  many of us, we can believe we “got over it”, but we haven’t. How do we know? Because all through the rest of our lives that unhealed, unfelt pain impacts us. We play out the hurt in our daily lives and our relationship with ourselves and with others. My father left when I was about 4 years old. I met him a couple of times as an adult and each time it didn’t work out. He just couldn’t do it. Now you could say, come on you hardly knew him, let it go, forgive and forget. I thought I had many times, but the truth is I never cried when he left, even though I remember him walking down the pathway to his car, I never cried. I remember feeling scared, but I never cried. Over the years, I thought about him, sometimes longed for him, dreamed he loved me – somewhere out there. And when that failed, I imagined my dad to be like Dick Van Dyck in Chitty Chitty Bang; a little self absorbed, but ultimately loving his children beyond anything else.

I was never someone’s “special girl” and I thought I had eventually accepted it. The truth was I had just numbed myself to the pain of losing him, of feeling and being unloved by my parent, of never feeling good enough to be loved. The truth is I have played out my deep fear of abandonment in every relationship: trusting no-one really, waiting for them to discover I just wasn’t lovable. I tried to be in control, end things before they did. My lack of self love took me into relationships I never should have had. LIke many women I mistook someone desiring me as love or completely convinced myself I was better on my own. And I was in complete denial of my anger towards my father for walking out that day and never coming back.

Robby will tell you as he has had to live with me trying to play this one out again. The difference is this time we are both trying to heal this type of grief completely from our soul. We have been praying for and slowly seeing the truth. Robby has been there whilst I finally admitted how angry I have been at men. I have been there as he also discovered how the pain from his own upbringing started to shift. Our fears have been jumping up one after the other. We never knew we had so many.

In the past I have tried many ways to heal: therapy, healing, workshops, positive thinking, EFT, yoga, affirmations etc. They helped, but nothing like what I have discovered in the last two years. These days I just pray, from my heart with a desire, a feeling. ask for God’s love to help me.This is how it works: you pray and the Law of Attraction brings you something to trigger the grief. (It can take more than a few goes if your pretty locked down) .

Tonight, for me, it was something as simple as a movie: The Last Song. A movie about a daughter and her estranged father. Over the course of the summer they heal their relationship and it was as I watching them, and feeling his real love for her, it really hit me that I had no memory of any father – daughter moments. That my father just couldn’t do it, that he didn’t love me for who I was, in fact didn’t love me at all as far as I could tell. The tears came and came, and then I realised it was not a personal reflection on me as a person. Gosh I was a child. It wasn’t me, he just couldn’t go there. I cried for not having a father, but I really cried for all the times I had felt small and unlovable and it had stopped me following my dreams. And I had many dreams and wanted many adventures. But my inner pain and the feelings of inadequacy it created, stopped me. Letting out that pain, crying tears of real grief are what reveals these truths. When we hit the real grief, the causal pain and release it we feel lighter and brighter. It is truly a weight off your heart.

It is correct that Truth can set you free, but real Truth also needs Love, unconditional Love, God’s Love. Truth is the key and Love is the hand that turns it.