Self-Betrayal to Self-Love

The dominant culture, which is mostly reactivity from unprocessed trauma, tells us that we aren’t supposed to let people hurt us. But the truth is people do hurt us. 

My mom hurt me today. And there’s been plenty of other days as well. As her young child I was constantly hurt. I learned to cope and self-protect through a variety of ways. As a child, it was through art, music, books and my imagination. As I grew older, other ways were through perfectionism, OCD and controlling behaviors and the big one: codependency.

Today, I stopped taking her hurt. I set a firm boundary. And then I let myself be hurt. When our mothers hurt us it’s the ultimate betrayal. If the hurt is constant and consistent, we will learn to betray ourselves. We will make choices and create an entire life and get involved in relationships from this deepest wound.

If we are brave and committed to change, we will begin to awaken to our life built from self-betrayal, and we will feel shattered. At the very least, bruised. And, this is the place where we learn self-love, self-compassion, and forgiveness of self and others. It is a deep and holy space of grief, surrender and heart opening. We will learn self-love and begin, little by little, to create a life for ourselves painted from the womb of our rebirth and our deepest reckoning with ourselves. 

We will recognize that we no longer need to protect ourselves from hurt. We will come to experience our heart as strong, worthy, willing and ready to feel feelings and remain stabilized. We will learn the difference between self-betrayal and self-love. We will see setting boundaries and making conscious choices as our gateway to creating new experiences, experiences based and waged in self-love. 

To continue on this self-love journey, my self-reflective practice for the month of November is this….to explore, experience and learn:

What does self-love look like in my relationships…..

Beyond relationships, what does it look like for me in my life…. How do I paint and create my experiences through self-love?

I am excited to begin experiencing this.

~The Soul Reporter

Glimpse Through A Sunroof: Increasing Our Inner Capacity

This glimpse through a sunroof tells a story. I did not know this when I took the shot. I only knew I just bought a new car and had pulled it into my driveway after saying goodbye to my mom, who was recently discharged from a hospital into a nursing home. 

Leaving my little mom who is, as she says, “not aging well” in a stark room, is that darker cloud hovering over the others. The other clouds are the week that had just ended. It was a week of juggling work, family, self-care, and my mom. The glimpses of blue sky are the new car and the experience of holding all of this while maintaining steadiness, stability, and even some joy.

This is the individual story. 

The larger, universal-soul story is we have tremendous capacity to hold any and all of what comes to us. Yet, many of us cannot because we are full to the brim, often running over, with clutter. The clutter is both internal clutter and external clutter. When we are filled to the brim with clutter, we are at capacity. When we are at capacity we do not run efficiently, and therefore, either do our lives and relationships. 

This used to be me—I was at capacity and not running as well as I am capable or as I am now. My clutter expressed itself in controlling behaviors and overall rigidity. It also looked like shutting down and isolation. Don’t get me wrong, I am still in the recovery process, as these patterns were deeply rooted and honestly kept me sane for a long time. One of my more useful patterns is being VERY organized. Being organized kept the overwhelm at bay. My most useful companion on this journey is my burning desire for space, order and understanding WHY. 

I compare myself to the Princess and the Pea. I am sensitive to discomfort. It does not matter if the discomfort is internal or external. If I feel it, I deal with it. Dealing with internal clutter takes diligence, patience, commitment and courage. What comes from this process, at first in small glimpses and then expanded ones, is self-knowledge, flexibility, enthusiasm, inner spaciousness, creativity, freedom, healthier relationships, clarity, calm and overall graciousness and generosity toward ourselves and therefore, others.

This is our potential. Our promise. Our possibility. And, it’s an ever-evolving process that I desire for us all to be consciously attuned to. It is also my desire to be a companion on this journey. So, follow here on this site, and here @adailyglimpse Facebook and Instagram for more. 

Stay tuned for a breakdown of internal & external clutter.

A Daily Glimpse

This is me sophomore year in high school. I’m in photography class (the only class I liked). I see a contemplative person. A deep well doing my best to function in superficiality, knowing there’s more, and feeling my way inward. 

I am still this way except I am beyond doing my best with superficiality. I have moved to that deeper place and I’ve discovered so much about myself. 

The journey so far has been intense and this is because I set a clear intention- maybe around the time of this picture- that I would get through my stuff sooner rather than later.

This “stuff,” is the trauma and neglect of my childhood. It’s the alcohol and mental illness from a primary caregiver. It’s the bullying and feeling left out in school. It’s the why I’m codependent (now in recovery). It’s all of that and more, and how it creates deep psychological conditioning, which creates disruptive relationships dynamics, behaviors and moods. 

It is my sense we are in a great battle due to the wounds of our upbringing. These wounds create psychological conditioning that impact our everyday lives, experiences and relationships. Many of us do not realize this is the case and just assume: this is who we are. But these attitudes and behaviors, that come from this psychological space is not who we are. We are more. And, we can be restored to who we are. Some of us are waking up to this realization because it is time. It is time to evolve and advance, and break the cycles of trauma and neglect.

At 47 I feel I am on the other side of the psychological conditioning and making my way toward everyday, every moment consciousness- one glimpse at a time. 

As I become more awake the desire to externalize all that I have learned also awakens. This is why I have started a new page on social media called A Daily Glimpse. The intention is to share, in a digestible way, the often complex and challenging experience of personal and spiritual transformation. There have been many who made the shift that came before me and helped me along the way. I now notice others coming forward to do the same. Sometimes I wonder, am I too late?

The ego says: why bother then. Well- because this shift in higher consciousness is bigger than my ego and I choose to be a part of the change and that is why I want to offer the messages I have to give. If you’d like guidance and support in making the shift from our psychological conditioning to expanded consciousness follow @adailyglimpse.

follow @adailyglimpse

Guest Post: Who Am I

By Louis DiVirgilio

“Who am I”

This is a difficult question to answer, although most people will have their answer at the ready.  They will begin to give a litany of their identifications; I am a human,  a male, a son, a father, a white man, a Christian, a student, etc…  Yet, does their identifications explicitly define the question of “Who I am?”  It does up to a certain narrow perspective.  If we include only the material aspects of our perspective, it does deliver a relative truth of who we are, all in terms of our material interpretation. But it seems we always identify ourselves with what we see, with what we touch, with what we smell, with what we hear, with what we possess, all exclusively with the objective world.

There is a poem written by, Edwin Arlington Robinson, called “Richard Cory.”  Richard Cory was, “empirically slim, always human when he talked, admirably schooled in every grace, richer than a king, he even glittered when he walked;” simple people wished they were in his place.  Yet, one calm, summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head.

Of all of his accomplishments, and material possessions, none brought Richard true, lasting satisfaction or joy.  What was missing in Richard Cory’s life that made him take his life?  There is a song that asks a question, “Is that all there is?” and the answer resounds, “If that is all there is, what’s the use of living.”  As human beings we have a cosmic, interior urge to expand.  If we live in a 6′ by 8′ room, we will aspire to live in a 12′ by 12′ room, and if that room feels enclosed we will look for a larger room.

Click here to Lou’s blog and continue reading

What is it in you that attracted you to (fill in the blank)- for me it was a guy.

The Volk, Fall 2019

I don’t feel comfortable being away from him. Like now, we are apart. I’m waiting for him to call so I know what I am doing. That’s sick. I’m sick. I’m fucking angry as hell at myself. I just want to say fuck it and learn to be happy with myself. But then again, I want to work this relationship out. Everything I am doing; I’m just hurting myself. It’s gonna take so much to get out of where I’m at.

Personal Journal Entry, June 1990, 18 y/0

This person I was in a relationship with punched me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me. I don’t recall what I did immediately after this, but I know I stayed with him for a while longer. I also remember telling my dad he hit me. I wanted my Italian father to pretend “he knew some people” and go after him. But instead, my dad asked me this: what is it in you that attracted you to him? 

This is not what I wanted to hear. However, his question changed everything for me. It took the focus off the abuser and onto me, where at some level, felt I deserved it. Now, I know this isn’t popular and some may see it as blaming the victim. Further, I am not here to say that my situation is like all others. Mine is mine and my father’s question helped me to begin a journey that allowed me to explore what I bring to a relationship. When we take responsibility for our part in all of our experiences, we have the opportunity to understand and grow from what we learn about ourselves. 

The words of my 18-year-old self were right on: It’s gonna take so much to get out of where I’m at. It has been almost 30 years since I wrote that sentence, and just this past year I finally feel like I am out. Although this one article cannot hold what I experienced and learned about myself these past 30 years, here are a few lessons I’d like to summarize: 

  • The root of psychological suffering in relationships is unworthiness. 

According to Melody Beattie, who wrote the book Codependent No More, said “..our low self-worth or self-hatred is tied into all aspects of our codependency.” I am not a huge fan of labels, but I would consider myself a codependent who is in recovery. Melody’s definition of a codependent is: “…one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” 

We often try and control who and what we fear and what we don’t understand. We can spend years, and sadly, our entire lives, doing this. I learned that my controlling behaviors were both a sign and a symptom of something deeper happening within me and served as a distraction from going deeper. The deeper issue I was avoiding was my feeling and belief about being unworthy. An experience of unworthiness is quite common and often originates from childhood neglect and trauma. 

  • Relationships are a vehicle to help us grow. 

I posed this question on social media recently: Is it true we must leave certain relationships in order to grow? Or is that we use this more than we should because our discomfort about facing ourselves and our own dysfunction in a relationship scares us? 

My answer is: both are true. According to the Imago Relationship Therapy model, developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt, we attract partners who carry psychological and emotional patterns from our childhoods. As we move deeper into relationships, these patterns are exposed, and often erupt. The relationship dynamic itself is a vehicle in which we have the opportunity to uncover, and therefore understand and heal from our childhood traumas. Therefore, it is important to investigate the reasons for leaving a relationship that makes us uncomfortable or we may find the same kind of relationship, only with a different face. Also note, I am not at all saying, in the case of an abusive relationship, we stay in order to learn and grow. This article does not address the specifics and dynamics of domestic violence. 

  • The fear is emptiness. The gift is self-love. 

When they are away, it is the emptiness I feel.  It is this emptiness that makes me do crazy things and act in crazy ways.  It is this emptiness I must embrace, but I am afraid to be with it, to be with myself. I don’t want to use them to fill the emptiness that is within me. I need to fill that myself so I can be secure within myself. 

Personal Journal Entry, July 1990

The emptiness many of us fear is an unknown experience for most of us, yet we fear it anyway.  Why else do we fill ourselves up with information, activities, noise and addictions of all sorts. There are two experiences of emptiness I have found: one that we run from and resist and one where we finally settle into it and find everything we are looking for. 

When I was younger and working through my codependency, I feared I was only my dysfunction and scarier, who would I be without it? Empty. Nothing. But this is far from true. The gift we receive from self-discovery and understanding is self-love. We begin little by little to be self-contained and self-reliant. We seek what fulfills us from a greater sense of self-value and clarity, and a foundation is built on worth, not unworthiness. 

I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, struggles and experiences in relationships. If you’d like to expand and deepen understanding here are a list of resources: 

  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • ImagoRelationships.org
  • Codependents Anonymous, CoDa.org

Guest Post: What We Forgot to Remember About Our Life

By Louis DiVirgilio

We are caught by our locked-in social patterns, and by our cultural and religious  norms.  We are proud to exhibit these behaviors because it puts us on record, that we follow these cultural norms, and that we identify with them, and thus, we are entitled to belong. 

Lesson to William Wordsworth’s, (1770-1850), lament:

    The world is too much with us; late and soon, 
    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
    Little we see in Nature that is ours;
    We have given ours hearts away, a sordid boon!
    The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon ;
    The winds that will be howling at all hours, 
    And are up-gathered now like the sleeping flowers;
    For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
    It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be 
    A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
    So might I, standing on the pleasant lea,
    Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
    Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
    Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

To continue reading, visit Lou’s blog by clicking here.

Attempt at Poetry: while I find myself between here and there

My dad once wrote, inside my Shel Silverstein’s book, A Light in the Attic:

Poems are the purest expression of ourselves. Always be true to yourself and make your life a great, living poem.

This has been a challenging few weeks for me. There have been many shifts and changes. As I find myself in the space between here and there, when one way of being has ended and before a new way begins, I resist the urge to create from a space of urgency and distract from discomfort. Instead I remind myself to be curious, open, and to listen and lean in to what is before me, even if it only feels like empty space and nothing new is here for me.

This morning, I did not stew in my bed with my unhealthy thoughts. Instead I did two things: I yelled at my Higher Self (something I have never done) and said: WHERE ARE YOU? YOU SEE ME STRUGGLING! WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME? DON’T JUST SIT THERE AND WATCH ME SQUIRM! and then I went on a walk. As I made my way on the path, my Higher Self said: Listen. And I did. What I heard is below. The opening to my Higher Self begins with this trickle of water:

©Nikki DiVirgilio 2019

Guest Post: The Game of Life

By Louis DiVirgilio

I have played athletic games and have coached some of them for seventeen  years.  In fact, at age 62 I still played handball at a competitive level.  The games in which I have participated have and continued to help shape my life.  It isn’t surprising that these deeply, ingrained, athletic experiences make up a vital part of the foundation of my present life.  It follows also, that when I reflect on my life specifically, and life in general, I find corresponding qualities of athletic contests and the expression of life, coinciding.  For instance, all athletic games basically limit the field of play, set rules and conduct to be followed, set time limits for the contest, and over all, the format of human life seems closely to correspond to those above conditions of athletic play.

I believed for a long time that this athletic game analogy with life was an unique perspective.  The only game analogy reference I had ever come across was when my athletic coaches pointed out  correspondences between the operations of life and the operations of athletic contests, but such reference was usually concerned with attaining specific goals within the game.  The uniqueness of this perspective, however dissolved when I came across a Sanskrit word, “lida” during my studies. In the Hindu Puranes, the creator of the our world, it says, created several primordial worlds which perished as soon as they came into existence.  This trail and error creation process, is shown as a sport, an amusement for the creative gods.  Its seems that the idea of sport, according to the ancient sages of India, appears at the genesis of our home world.

To continue reading and to see more of Lou’s writings click here.

July Soul Report: The Future is Here~ Slow Down & Surrender

My first and foremost curiosity is: How are all of you doing?

This afternoon, my daughter said she felt off. Tired. Unmotivated. Had no inspiration. Didn’t even want to put on makeup— had tried several looks that weren’t working. The makeup part is unusual for her. She is an esthetician and a talented makeup artist. 

She asked me if I was feeling off. I told her no. I went on, “You might think mom is being woo-woo, but a veil has been lifted for many of us right now. This veil protected us from certain realities and allowed us to live in illusion.” 

I went on, “For some this is an incredibly difficult time. For others it is a time of celebration. I am celebrating. And, it makes sense that you are feeling off— you’ve gone through some big changes.”

Weep, and then smile.

Do not pretend to know something

you have not experienced. 

There is a necessary dying…

Very little grows on jagged rock. 

Be ground. Be crumbled,

so wildflowers will come up 

where you are. 

You have been stony for far too many years. 

Try something different. Surrender. 

~Rumi, A Year with Rumi, Coleman Barks 

Btw: Rumi is a fucking gem! If you’ve not read his poetry, find some. If you have, find it again!

Currently, I am not engaged with a large circle of people, but from my small circle, I can tell you EVERY SINGLE PERSON I know has made seismic shifts in the last few weeks. I am also hearing from fellow therapists and social workers that clients are coming in with an unusual amount of challenges and traumas. 

Me

For myself, during this time, I’ve faced the deeper, if not the deepest, psychological wound within myself. It is a wound made from neglect. A wound that has caused incredible suffering, and has been passed down to my daughters, and was passed down to me. It is the generational trauma of neglect, which so many of us feel. Which so many of us endure. It is silent. It is insidious. It is ours. Many don’t know it is there. But now is the time to surrender to our childhood, generational and historical traumas. To bear witness to them. To feel the pain, fear, and sadness they hold. To understand them and their message. To release them and be transformed. These traumas need not stay in our minds, our bodies, our souls any longer.  

These traumas wreak havoc and prey upon EVERYTHING— from our relationships to the countries we live in. For example, President Trump has an entire closet (and then some) full of unprocessed trauma that is damaging the United States. But, in this post, I am not going to go into that. The focus for this post is to report that the FUTURE IS HERE. The new paradigm, the cosmic shift, the new reality— that some of us have been talking about for a while— happened. In a very real sense, we made it AND there’s more to come. 

For July’s Soul Report the message I am sharing to help assist us is: Slow Down & Surrender 

June’s Soul Report was also about slowing down, slowing down in order to sense the subtleties of energies, patterns and dynamics. This was to help us prepare for this big shift that has now occurred. 

July’s slowing down is about getting clear now that some internal debris has been lifted. It’s about commitment and being conscious participants in our ongoing personal growth and transformation. It is about creating our own Bodhi Tree (under which Siddhartha Gautama became enlightened) moments. These moments are glimpses of insight about who we are and who we are not. These moments build upon each other to become a lighted chain that leads us to greater awakenings of who we really are.  

The root of suffering is attachment.

~The Buddha

As I reflect upon my own journey thus far, it is indeed true that the root of suffering is attachment. How I experience attachment comes from a psychological perspective that has to do with attachment trauma. As infants and small children, if we did not securely attach to an adult, we have already made our first step into suffering. If a secure adult did not answer our cries for nourishment, protection and affection, we attach to this trauma. If a secure adult did not answer our questions about life or we were reprimanded when doing so, we attach to this trauma. If we were exposed to a caregiver who was addicted, we attach to this trauma. The list of traumas are many. 

As adults we now have attachment trauma. We feel neglected, abandoned and empty. We put out our feelers, literally our feelings of fear and insecurity, and find our fix- the thing to fulfill us. Mine was, and is, a 32-year codependent relationship. For others it can be anything: shopping, success, drugs, gambling……….and the list continues. The cycle also continues. And I, who have spent my entire life living and processing my attachment trauma, want to do whatever I can to help and assist others as many have done for me.  

And that my friends, was a tangent, but apparently a needed one. 

And brings me to what occurs as we process our traumas: space. Space in our minds. Space in our bodies. Space in our souls. This space allows for generosity for ourselves and every living thing. This space allows for greater efficiency so that when new traumas or challenges come, we can process them more quickly and easily. This space allows for our natural desires and tendencies to surface and create a more satisfying, deliberate and peaceful presence. This space allows us to see, perhaps for the first time, what our burning desire is— that blue flame inside us all that keeps us going and brings us everywhere. 

What once kept me going was the desire to fill my empty space. But this was only part of the journey and leads me to discover what actually is within that empty space. I am here now, and I celebrate and anticipate its unfolding. 

I am here to process and hold space with any of you moving through these shifts and changes. I am here to answer any questions you might have about this month’s Soul Report. 

Contact me here.

Thank you, and you’re all doing great work!

~The Soul Reporter

That One Time I Was Dismissed by Marianne Williamson, Spiritual Guru Turned Presidential Candidate

Maybe more of you now know who Marianne Williamson is. Some of us have known of her since, at least, the early 90’s. I was a follower and lover of her books. In fact, I wanted to be Marianne “when I grew up,” and often dyed my hair chestnut brown to try and capture her essence. Now Marianne, or as I call her— MW, is running for President of the United States. And, after Donald Trump’s (who ironically I call DT) election, the possibility of a MW presidency is all too real. Vox today says she “can plausibly claim to represent a demographic swath of the public” who say they are “spiritual, not religious—” and, this demographic is increasing.

First of all what does it mean to be spiritual, not religious? Well, I’ll save that for another post. Because today, speaking as one who would fall in this demographic, I feel it is my civic duty to say: DO NOT FALL FOR THIS WOMAN. In fact, if in 2020, it is DT and MW on the ballot, for the very first time, I will not be casting a vote.

Here is MW’s message, and from her I quote: “He has inspired masses with fear, and I have inspired masses with love.” Further, “I’m going to harness love for political purposes.” That sounds amazing, right? To me it sounds terrifying.

I have a story to tell about Marianne Williamson and from my story I will never look at her, or anyone who claims themselves to be a spiritual guru, the same. Also, from my story, I will always be extra cautious when I put another on a pedestal, as I did her. Now that this spiritual guru has turned to presidential candidate, I see that MW and DT are two sides of the same coin. Both proclaim to inspire masses of people. Both believe in their own hype, so to speak, to do so— and they sell it to the American people. Both tap into the American psyche for gain. Both don’t speak on experience and policy (because they can’t) so they go in for the gold- our emotions and fantastical desires for country. One speaks to those who fantasize about keeping America white, which to them means safe. The other speaks to those who fantasize about unity and love. MW reaches to the lost souls, to those that are “spiritual, not religious,” and especially those who have self-righteously and superficially walked the spiritual path, being captured by crystals and auras. And both are running from misguided beliefs that, in DT’s case, puts us in great danger. For Marianne, I do not proclaim to know what will become of us if she were president, but I choose to not find out.

My story

It all began with this blog post I wrote on January 27, 2011. To give some context, I have spent 30+ years exploring my internal landscape. This may be better known as self-discovery, self-help, personal discovery. As I do personal growth work, I often come across parts of myself. In this particular post I was confronting a perfectionist part who I called Sergeant Williamson because my perfectionist was masquerading into a spiritual guru, trying to make me spiritually perfect. The post was all about me. Nothing about THE Marianne Williamson.

On January 30, as I was lying on my couch in California (where we had just moved from Minnesota) feeling premenstrual, my phone lights up. It says: Direct Message from Marianne Williamson. I laughed out loud, and said to my husband: you will never guess who just inboxed me on Twitter.

I could not reply because she did not follow me. I cannot recall how I reached out to her, but I told her to follow me so I could respond. And so she did (I will say her following me sure helped to increase my followers. She since has unfollowed). My first question to her was: Did you read it? to which I never got a response. Eventually we also had an email exchange (I can no longer access these emails) but she did not write “more than forty characters or whatever….” No matter what I said, which was to tell her my post had nothing to do with her, she kept asking the same question: “How did I offend you?”

Marianne has been giving lectures based on The Course in Miracles at the Saban theater in Beverly Hills for many years. One night, a friend asked if I wanted to go. I saw it as a perfect opportunity to meet Marianne, and perhaps have a live conversation with her that would be more productive. I posted my account of this exchange here.

It turned out being face to face with the “guru” did not prove useful, at least as far as coming to common ground. I found Marianne to be harsh, dismissive and cold. Maybe this makes sense because she could only see me as someone who spoke ill of her no matter how I tried to tell her I was speaking of my own personal development. It was a disappointing experience for me because in my idealistic view point, someone who writes about love and spirituality, must also be able to understand personal growth and discovery. They must be open to others, right? Be loving? Kind? if nothing else, be a good listener?

At one point, she told me I had be careful with my words because women can be “catty” to one another. I told her that did not resonate and I won’t be taking that advice. She then waved a dismissive hand in my face and said, “Good luck with your blog or whatever” and walked away.

I had one more online interaction with Marianne when I saw her post this: “People can translate for themselves, and I appreciate those who don’t project all kinds of stuff onto my words that I didn’t say:)” I could not help myself- and responded: “I know how you feel.” She said she would try and remember that, and wondered why I am so intent on attacking her all of the time.

Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. We all have bad days and do shitty things. I get that. But this exchange with Marianne showed me her character and because I am a US citizen, still a qualifying vote, she did not show herself to be a leader I would follow. She has an arrogance about her (and she taught me of my own which I wrote about here). She showed me she can’t listen. That her view is the only one that matters. That she had to be the expert about my blog post. That she would continue to ask the same question and give me advice until I bent to her will. I would not. I will not. She reminded me, and continues to, of my most difficult relationships where there is complete unwillingness to even consider my experience- and these are abusive relationships. These are not attributes of a true spiritual leader, and now she wants to lead my country. I will not follow. I will not vote for her.

I do appreciate that she brings a different perspective to our politics. It’s deeper and needed in this time of chaos and superficiality. But for me she is a con. She is indeed harnessing what sounds like love, but is not love. In order to truly harness love, we must be love- and that is not easy. She has harnessed influence and power, and for her, enough of it to take on the oval. She believes she is our savior. And we must all be vigilant of wolves in sheep clothing.

I’ll be sure to let you know if I get inboxed by MW again.