Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This weekend was a very interesting look at myself. I was in my spiritual counseling class and we were asked to go deep within to an issue or a hurt, and speak to it. The first exercise was picking an issue or a person or a part of myself that I take issue with. My teacher used the example of the part of her personality that she calls “Sweet Pea.” Sweet Pea” is a people pleaser, etc. She had a conversation with Sweet Pea for us. When she was herself she sat in one chair, then Sweet Pea would answer while sitting in another chair. And a real conversation ensued that was interesting and you could feel that she was talking to another person.

Well, it was my turn. Each of us had a witness to the process. I spoke to my brother. What came out, I think, for me is that Karl and I are very much a like and the things that I loathe in him are qualities that I am afraid I have. That is frightening to me. Now, I see too that he has done nothing to change these things, and I feel that I have worked very hard to release some of my old feelings of self-loathing. However, I recognize that I have much of the same stuff.

One of his qualities that disturbs me the most is his lack of concern for anyone else. In my heart of hearts, isn’t that me? I tend to be completely self-involved most of the time.I feel that many times all I can give is lip service. I don’t want to be like that. Another is that he is such a slob. Look at my room, it’s a mess.

So, if I find these qualities disturbing in him and I feel that I have the same challenges, then do I loathe myself just as he does? Haven’t I worked hard to change that? And yet it is still there, just waiting to jump out when I least expect it.

The next exercise involved three people sitting together. One was the counselor, one was the counselee, and one was the witness. The counselee was to speak to something that came up for them this weekend, an issue that they faced or realized or something to that nature. The counselor was to ask open-ended questions that would lead the counselee to realize something new, or get a new perspective on their issue. The witness was to observe and to give feedback on what they saw. Their role was more about the process rather than the issue. i.e. The counselor’s posture was too intimidating and made the counselee withdraw, or something in that nature.

I teamed up with Andy and Debbie. I know them both very well and maybe that wasn’t really fair or in keeping with the exercise, but that was my team. Perhaps we would have been better served had we chose a team with people we didn’t know well. I’m not sure that’s true, but in any case, I think we got the team we needed.

Andy and Debbie spoke about their issues and both went very deep. They were in touch with their feelings. When it was my turn to speak, I felt such a reticence to go there. I was not going to be drawn into my feelings. It was a palpable feeling that I did not want to deeply look at my “stuff.” That frightens me to no end. What is it that I don’t want to confront? Is there something terrible there hidden in the cracks of my mind? Why don’t I cry? If I open the flood gates will it all pour forth? Or perhaps it is that I have worked through my major issues and there isn’t pain any longer? I’m not sure that last statement is true, because many times I feel so out of touch with myself. I am so conditioned to cutting off that part of me that is experiencing emotions (except anger), I can’t go there even when I would like to. Anger is the easiest emotion to connect with for me, I know anger well and I am comfortable with it. So, outside of anger, in the end, I have a flat aspect. I experience never pain nor joy. Although, I must say, I have cracked the joy aspect of this, thanks wholly to One Spirit. They have given me that and for that I am ever grateful. I know joy and it is a blessing.

I wish I knew the answer to why don’t I cry. I don’t. The last time that I really cried was when Itza died. Losing him was so hard to bear. That was seven years ago. I have not openly cried since. What came out in my session was that I feel that I must “do the work,” meaning that I must concentrate on the task at hand no matter what. Feelings are secondary and to be ignored.

What happens if I am repressing some memory that has cut me off from my emotions? If I continue with spiritual counseling, I am afraid that it will trigger some dark night of the soul that will be impossible to bear. Or am I being overly dramatic?

This peeling away of the onion is a difficult thing and not for the faint of heart. Every time I think I have conquered my issues, there is another layer just waiting to be peeled away. Does it ever end? No, it doesn’t, I suppose.

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