This year I am thankful for . . .

So many thing I could list but for this year I am especially thankful for the release of my long held pain which I thank God for the help in healing, as well as all my wonderful friends and family for being so supportive through my long journey to recovery.  Life can throw us some pretty difficult lessons and I have always believed we could get through them with God’s help, but I wondered when it would happen for me.  I guess I was finally ready to let go of the pain, and I asked God to help me let go of it.  He did.

Though my rage has been uncovered and understood and finally embraced for it’s function, I now look upon it as an ally when I need protection.  I am thankful for everything along the path to this new understanding.  I am thankful for God helping me let go of my hurt and anger toward others who have hurt me in the past.  If I have hurt anyone in the past, I am truly sorry for causing you pain, and I ask your forgiveness.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wahls Protocol : Day 11, Anger is a Monkey Wrench!

Following a diet is most challenging to me when I am either busy with a project and don’t want to take the time to make special food, or when I get mad.  I got angry yesterday, and in my anger I went in and ate a donut and a brownie!  I didn’t call my daughters, who are my help line; I didn’t stop and analyze why my anger was throwing me off; I just ate the goodies as if somehow I was somehow punishing someone.  As if I were saying, “Hah!  So there!  Now see what you made me do!”  And there was some smugness involved.

Thinking about it later I wondered why messing up my healthy diet was triggered by anger.  One of my mentors, Tom Frank, who taught my sweat lodge class, once told me, “When you think you are angry at someone, you are really angry at yourself.”

I thought about what Tom had said and I wondered how being mad at someone meant I was really mad at myself.  How could I be mad at myself?  I’m not the one who did the awful thing!  Looking deeply I realized that although I may be angry at someone else for what they did, I am also angry at myself for what I did, what I didn’t do, or what I allowed someone else to do to me.  What Tom said was true.  There was always an element of being angry with myself when I have been angry with someone else.

Perhaps getting mad at someone else triggered me to be angry at myself for letting someone get to me, being frustrated, feeling impotent, feeling misunderstood or abused.  My anger was with myself for not knowing how to deal with the situation effectively.  I began to self destruct.

Or, on the other hand, perhaps eating the comfort food was simply a reach for comfort during my stress of being angry.  But if that were true, why would I feel like I was punishing someone by eating unhealthy food?

Eating the donut and brownie yesterday did not make me feel better, though.  I felt more tired than I have been lately.  Good to know.

Conversation With Darkness

I sat on the wooden steps of my back porch.  Though the day was sunny and warm, the  feeling of darkness inside me was consuming.  The feeling was that of anger, fear, and hatred, but mostly hatred.  I wondered if the darkness was the influence of some evil spirit, or if it was a part of me, so I asked the darkness a sacred question, “Why are you here?”  Then I surrendered all thoughts and went to nothingness to see what would come to me as an answer.

The darkness said, “I’m here because I make you feel strong.”

‘That’s true,’ I thought, ‘I do feel strong when I am full of hatred.’  Again I asked the darkness, “Why are you here?”  I surrendered for the answer.

The darkness said, “I’m here to protect you.”

‘Hmmmm,’ I thought, ‘that’s interesting, I do feel safer.  When I feel this way, no one can get close to my heart.’  I asked the darkness, again, “Why are you here?”  I surrendered to see what would return.

The darkness said, “I make you feel powerful!”

‘Yes, yes,’ I thought, ‘you do.’   I asked again, “Why, are you here?” and surrendered for the answer.

I’m here to protect you because you won’t protect yourself!”  The answer was strong, emphatic, almost annoyed by my ignorance.

‘Yes, that’s true.’ I admitted, ‘ I don’t protect myself,’  I began to realize that this darkness was not such a bad thing after all.  It was keeping me safe.

Then I asked a different sacred question, “How can I heal this?”

When I surrendered for the answer, I saw pink flowers.  ‘OK, I thought, pink flowers . . . I like flowers.’

I asked again, “How can I heal this?”

I saw an alligator.

‘An alligator?  Really?  That seems odd, but OK.’  I asked again, “How can I heal this?”

I heard the darkness say, “Understand me.”

‘OK,’ I thought, ‘I’m beginning to understand.’  I asked again, “How can I heal this?”

I surrendered and heard, “Love me.”

I thought that was an unusual answer.  Why would the darkness want to be loved.  That was new to me.

I was beginning to understand that the darkness that surrounded me was a buffer of anger to keep others away.  For the first time in my life, I began to understand that there was more to anger and hatred that I had ever imagined.  Things inside me shifted.  My perspective was changing.  I was growing.  I felt grateful for the the darkness that protected me, and in that gratitude I felt love and appreciation for the darkness and all the feelings that were within that shadow.  To feel anger, fear, and even hatred is not bad, it is a part of life and our experience here on earth.  I had no clue, before, that those feelings existed for important reasons.  I had always thought those feelings were bad and I should not feel them.

Then I had a new thought and I asked the darkness, “What if I do protect myself?”

Immediately, the darkness began to dissipate, leaving behind a clear energy surrounding me, just as powerful as the darkness but without the feeling of hatred.  I perceived that if I would protected myself I would not need anger or hatred to protect me.

The next day I went out and bought myself pink flowers, and a little plastic alligator to put on my mantel.  Those feelings, anger, fear and hatred, which were once very confusing, had become clear and beautiful to me.  My curiosity served me well that day.  Asking the sacred questions* and knowing how to listen, to go to nothingness and surrender to the answers, taught me to understand and love a very misunderstood part of myself.

————————————————————————–Is all darkness as wonderful as this “protector” darkness turned out to be?  Is there darkness that is really evil?  What is the source of negative emotions?  Why is hatred so destructive?  Is there a good time to feel hatred?  The questions about darkness, emotions, and mental health, are endless.  Learning to ask yourself “sacred questions” and surrender to the answers inside yourself, being still enough, going to a state of nothingness and letting the answers come to you without controlling what the answer will be, is a skill that can be cultivated by anyone.  I have to thank Tom Brown Jr. for this technique.

*Asking the sacred questions and surrendering for the answers is something I learned to do in a philosophy class at Tom Brown Jr.’s Trackerschool (see resources).

“The Dragon and Guardian of Memyselfandi” a metaphor of emotional healing by Michele Ballantyne

Deep in an inky black hole, in the heart of the sacred mountain of Memyselfandi, there lives a large, black, terrifying dragon.  Many years ago, when the mountain town of Memyselfandi was born, a dragon emerged out of the depths of the mountain into to the light.  Neighboring towns were frightened and annoyed by the possible damage the beast might cause, so they made the people of Memyselfandi lock up their dragon, deep, deep, deep in the heart of the mountain.  A lifetime passed and the people of Memyselfandi forgot they even had a dragon locked away.

Memyselfandi was a peaceful place peopled by gentle souls.  The folks there got along well with the neighboring people until a new town sprung up right beside Memyselfandi.  The new town, Negativicity, was full of faster moving, money making, nose up in the air types who began dumping their garbage at the borders of Memyselfandi.

The people of Memyselfandi saw the garbage but thought, ‘Well, anyway, the garbage is outside our boundaries.’  So, not wanting to be critical or unfriendly, they didn’t say, or do, anything about it.

Before long more and more garbage was being dumped at the outskirts of town and sometimes even within the boundaries of Memyselfandi.  This bothered the gentle people so, out of kindness, and with a desire to have a good relationship with the neighboring town, they mentioned the garbage as nicely as they could.  ‘Certainly the people of Negativicity would see their error and correct it,’ the town’s people reasoned with themselves.

Instead of understanding and a friendly working out of things, the people dumping garbage refused to speak to the simple people of Memyselfandi.  Instead, they glared with mean looks and walked away, saying, “That’s your problem.  You fix it.”

More and more garbage piled up inside the gentle people’s town.  “What can we do about this?” they asked themselves.  Every attempt at talking to the people of Negativicity  earned them nasty looks, mean words, and cold shoulders.  The sadness that crept up on the people of Memyselfandi was bitter and painful.  They had a serious problem and didn’t know how to solve it.

One day, the garbage trucks from Negativicity rolled into town and the townsfolk of Memyselfandi ran away from the snorting, rumbling machines.  To the heart of the mountain top they ran, chased all the way by the garbage trucks.  Then, when there was no more place to run to, the garbage trucks began dumping the stinky garbage right on the people of Memyselfandi.  The weight of the garbage crushed the people until the ground gave way and all the citizens of Memyselfandi fell down, down, down into a deep, black hole where the dragon lived.

When they landed on the cage that held the dragon, the cage broke into pieces and the dragon was free.  Up, up, up the dragon flew.  Up through the inky, black, oily hole, carrying the people of Memyselfandi with it.  As they flew up, the people became part of the dragon and the dragon became part of the people, and together they flew all around the mountain of Memyselfandi, breathing fire on all the garbage trucks and garbage of Negativicity until all the garbage was gone.

Everyone was rather shocked at the turn of events, but the gentle people were glad they had released the dragon, and glad the dragon burned up all the garbage that was being thrown all around their beautiful town.

As the days passed, the dragon came out of the mountain to burn up even the littlest of problems.  The opening to the deep, black hole was becoming larger and larger, and it pained the gentle people to have such a frightening beast ready to pop out at any moment.  They went to visit their wisest elder, and explained the situation.

“Have you got a guardian at the opening of the dragon’s hole?” the elder asked.

“No,” they answered.

“You might want to consider that,” the wise one kindly suggested.

“That’s an interesting idea,” the townspeople said.  They considered the idea and liked it.  “Who shall we have be the guardian?” they asked themselves.  They all knew at once who the guardian would be.  The most loving, powerful, smart person in the town.  This person was as full of white light as the dragon was full of blackness.  The white guardian loved the dragon and the dragon trusted the guardian.  The guardian watched over the town and the dragon, and took care of the little things and calmed the dragon so the town’s people and the people of the neighboring towns would not have to encounter the dragon unless it was absolutely necessary.

Knowing the dragon existed changed the people of the town.  They were still kind and gentle, as they were before, but they were no longer as timid or afraid.  They no longer felt hopeless or helpless.  They became happier and more confident because they learned how to protect their boundaries, so the dragon wouldn’t have to.

"The Dragon and Guardian of Memyselfandi" a metaphor of emotional healing by Michele Ballantyne

Deep in an inky black hole, in the heart of the sacred mountain of Memyselfandi, there lives a large, black, terrifying dragon.  Many years ago, when the mountain town of Memyselfandi was born, a dragon emerged out of the depths of the mountain into to the light.  Neighboring towns were frightened and annoyed by the possible damage the beast might cause, so they made the people of Memyselfandi lock up their dragon, deep, deep, deep in the heart of the mountain.  A lifetime passed and the people of Memyselfandi forgot they even had a dragon locked away.

Memyselfandi was a peaceful place peopled by gentle souls.  The folks there got along well with the neighboring people until a new town sprung up right beside Memyselfandi.  The new town, Negativicity, was full of faster moving, money making, nose up in the air types who began dumping their garbage at the borders of Memyselfandi.

The people of Memyselfandi saw the garbage but thought, ‘Well, anyway, the garbage is outside our boundaries.’  So, not wanting to be critical or unfriendly, they didn’t say, or do, anything about it.

Before long more and more garbage was being dumped at the outskirts of town and sometimes even within the boundaries of Memyselfandi.  This bothered the gentle people so, out of kindness, and with a desire to have a good relationship with the neighboring town, they mentioned the garbage as nicely as they could.  ‘Certainly the people of Negativicity would see their error and correct it,’ the town’s people reasoned with themselves.

Instead of understanding and a friendly working out of things, the people dumping garbage refused to speak to the simple people of Memyselfandi.  Instead, they glared with mean looks and walked away, saying, “That’s your problem.  You fix it.”

More and more garbage piled up inside the gentle people’s town.  “What can we do about this?” they asked themselves.  Every attempt at talking to the people of Negativicity  earned them nasty looks, mean words, and cold shoulders.  The sadness that crept up on the people of Memyselfandi was bitter and painful.  They had a serious problem and didn’t know how to solve it.

One day, the garbage trucks from Negativicity rolled into town and the townsfolk of Memyselfandi ran away from the snorting, rumbling machines.  To the heart of the mountain top they ran, chased all the way by the garbage trucks.  Then, when there was no more place to run to, the garbage trucks began dumping the stinky garbage right on the people of Memyselfandi.  The weight of the garbage crushed the people until the ground gave way and all the citizens of Memyselfandi fell down, down, down into a deep, black hole where the dragon lived.

When they landed on the cage that held the dragon, the cage broke into pieces and the dragon was free.  Up, up, up the dragon flew.  Up through the inky, black, oily hole, carrying the people of Memyselfandi with it.  As they flew up, the people became part of the dragon and the dragon became part of the people, and together they flew all around the mountain of Memyselfandi, breathing fire on all the garbage trucks and garbage of Negativicity until all the garbage was gone.

Everyone was rather shocked at the turn of events, but the gentle people were glad they had released the dragon, and glad the dragon burned up all the garbage that was being thrown all around their beautiful town.

As the days passed, the dragon came out of the mountain to burn up even the littlest of problems.  The opening to the deep, black hole was becoming larger and larger, and it pained the gentle people to have such a frightening beast ready to pop out at any moment.  They went to visit their wisest elder, and explained the situation.

“Have you got a guardian at the opening of the dragon’s hole?” the elder asked.

“No,” they answered.

“You might want to consider that,” the wise one kindly suggested.

“That’s an interesting idea,” the townspeople said.  They considered the idea and liked it.  “Who shall we have be the guardian?” they asked themselves.  They all knew at once who the guardian would be.  The most loving, powerful, smart person in the town.  This person was as full of white light as the dragon was full of blackness.  The white guardian loved the dragon and the dragon trusted the guardian.  The guardian watched over the town and the dragon, and took care of the little things and calmed the dragon so the town’s people and the people of the neighboring towns would not have to encounter the dragon unless it was absolutely necessary.

Knowing the dragon existed changed the people of the town.  They were still kind and gentle, as they were before, but they were no longer as timid or afraid.  They no longer felt hopeless or helpless.  They became happier and more confident because they learned how to protect their boundaries, so the dragon wouldn’t have to.