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REFLECTIONS

And Mama said, “Some weeks would be like that.” I’ve had one of those weeks – not externally, but internally. External Realty: I saw KD Lang in Victoria, visited with friends and my daughter, rode my bicycle up and down the sand spit, read and wrote to my heart’s content and ate delicious BC fish and veggies, to name a few of the joys of my day. Internal Reality: I have felt a tightening in my chest and stomach, which has created an impulse to crawl into a hole and hide until the discomfort abated. If I try to ignore or stuff this negativity away, and just give attention to the joyful aspects of my life, I will miss an opportunity to transform. It is tempting to acknowledge only the happy moments of life, to share only the successes, to complain about others’ shortcomings…but in being as forthcoming about the sad times as the happy and dealing with my own shortcomings, instead of complaining about others, I have a hope of living a richer, more rewarding life. I used to believe wholeheartedly, that if the people in my life behaved better, my life would be better. No one changes with finger pointing…doing my own work and letting others be responsible for theirs, is the only path to transformation!

The beauty of the Blogmoir is that I have created a place to share my internal reality and know someone is listening. Thank you to my readers for giving me the love and support I need to unravel this other woman conundrum.

Firstly, with what I have been discovering about the Unified Field Theory, finding The Other Woman would mean letting go of my pre-conceived notions of how she would manifest in me. This elusive other woman won’t be found by embracing a new diet or exercise program, or a new wardrobe or following someone’s advice (no matter how well it worked for them), nor by moving to a new city or taking a trip, or anything so known and easily grasped. To find this ‘other woman’ energy I must do  more letting go than taking on. I must embrace the unknown…literally impossible obviously…so what does this mean…what do I DO? This ambiguity does not come naturally to me, as I have lived a literal life. It makes me anxious, uncertain of a direction.

Secondly, last week, for the first time, I began to talk about ‘the other woman’ and the marital menage her presence created. My stomach turns as I allow these feelings to surface. My shoulders begin to ache, and my eyes are rheumy. It’s time to dissect and release my stories and my stores of betrayal.

Childhood

I felt loved by my father until I was around 6 years old. Then my mother got between us. Dad became the first man I lost to another woman. Years later mom confessed to me that she had felt jealous of the love my father so easily gave me but not her. She severed my father’s tie to me by bombarding him with Dr. Spock’s wisdom(child rearing expert of the 60’s), citing that fathers should insist on more grown-up behaviours from their young daughters…browbeaten Dad obeyed and withdrew from me…no more playing, no more hugging, no more shoe tying, no more relationship … This incomprehensible change in my father’s behaviour registered in my heart as betrayal. This betrayal left a sizeable divot in my heart.

Heart with Divot

Adulthood

Unconsciously my adult self recreated this familiar, if painful, dynamic, by choosing the husband that I did. I knew he had problems with fidelity 3 weeks into our relationship. I’m certain I would have walked away then, easily, if I hadn’t had to resolve my deep childhood experience of betrayal. As a child I could not process the complexity of my parents behaviour, so I stored this pain in my heart until I was old enough to look at in again …disturbingly, I recreated this love triangle in an ironic duplication of my first trauma.

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 11 of 52

CHANGING FROM A BROKEN TO A HEALED HEART

I watched this scene unfold with utter fascination. The man looks uncannily like my father. I would have loved to have been that young woman, openly angry at my father, for his inability to take a stand against my mother’s tyranny. But I didn’t…I was eternally polite while my body ate itself in despair.

And as much as I wished I could have been angry, I would have given anything for that embrace of understanding that finally came from her father.

So now I have a choice. I can continue to tell my sad tale and cling to my pain or I can dance…literally and figuratively! In the comfort of my own space, I now do the wild dancing I missed in the 70’s. I was wound so tightly I never listened to anything that hadn’t been composed at least 400 years ago. I played the flute in a very uptight Chamber Group.

As much as dancing frees my soul and keeps me from my Escape Artist, so does creating art. I pulled out some magazines that I like, and began to look for words and images that caught my attention. I had no idea what I would create – I let the ‘knowingness in the Universe’ be my guide, having faith that whatever I needed to understand would come clear…just as fog lifts from an ocean to reveal the beauty of a distant shore. While rifling through magazines and cutting words and images, I cried, I laughed, I was intense, I was loose…and after some time, 2 themes began to emerge. On the left, the detritus of the Patriarchal Father now visible in my marriage. On the right, a path to a new place, giving me freedom  from this emotional prison.

Marriage Melange (click on image to see large size, click again for really large)

Marriage Menage

Cosmic Connection – Open To The Universe

Open to the Universe

So for Week 11 of 52 I will remember that a damaged heart can heal if I let old pain up and out. It hurt going in, so it will hurt coming out…which is why I have avoided this for years. But surprisingly, although intense (I yowled like a banshee) the pain didn’t last that long.

REFLECTIONS

2 months have passed since I began this blog in search of The Other Woman energy within me. I knew this would be a lengthy process fraught with swings and roundabouts, but I hoped that after a year I would feel my femininity to be less contained. Being 1/6 of the way through I thought it time to assess my progress towards this goal.

The dominant energy on the left side of the collage typified my experience as a woman. I had accepted my role as was prescribed in a patriarchal society where women live to visually please and behaviourally serve men. So these past weeks have forced me back into my childhood where these expectations have their roots.

After the past 2 months of work, I know that I am now able to observe, with incredulity, how confining a role this is. When I made the collage I sensed I may be limiting the depth of my feminine experience, but I could not get enough distance from this habituated state of being, to really observe it. I’ve had to peel back this familiar skin, to see inside. I find it much easier to observe in other women what eludes me in myself. But now I have watched myself defer, yield and succumb in the presence of a man. Or, if I feel agitated in this state of acquiescence, I assume the tone of the nagging, disenfranchised woman.

Observing myself  vacillate between being confined and whining about being confined brings me one step closer to experiencing a change…one step closer to being The Other Woman!

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 8 OF 52

CHANGING FROM SUPPRESSION TO COMMUNICATION

“The greatest discovery of any generation

is that human beings can alter their lives

by altering the attitudes of their minds.”

Albert Schweitzer

My left shoulder has been twitching for a couple of months. I notice it held high with tension,  creating a slope in my shoulders.

Like a dog needing bladder relief  or a child needing a hug, my shoulder needs something and has been communicating with me through the only means at its disposal…discomfort.  I’ve been ignoring these subtle communiques, hoping they would just disappear or sort themselves out. This attitude of ‘head in sand’ from a person who has been at death’s door twice because of this tendency to suppress, ignore, inhibit and squelch, surprises me.

Of course now,  my shoulder is doing what any ignored dog would do. ..it’s peeing on my carpet. My left shoulder aches, it’s stiff and it refuses to move.  So today, I surrendered and  am attempting to communicate with it. I will use a technique recommended by the Jungian Analyst, Robert A. Johnson, called Active Imagination.

Sitting in silence, I asked my shoulder what it was upset about. Was there an emotion I didn’t want to feel, a past experience I didn’t want to acknowledge…three images came to my mind; a collection of heart shaped rocks, my father and the cross from my Eastern European Church… this was followed by a stab of pain in my heart.

The Patriarchal Cross of Eastern European Churches

That is me, the bottom sloped board, under the overwhelmingly authoritative patriarchal presence above. One interpretation of the lower, sloped board is that it symbolizes a balance scale. Symbolically, if a person abides the authoritarian Father, they ascend to heaven on Judgement Day, but if they mock His rules, hell awaits. As I allowed feelings and images to emerge, I related to this scenario. My own father expected to be obeyed and he created a living hell when his rules were mocked. I admired my brother who refused to offer our father the smallest gesture of obeisance, but was mortified at the price he paid for this defiance. I wanted to be in my father’s good graces and I did not want to be beaten, but my acquiescence  has had a price. In following his plan, I repressed my own. I contorted my self to be loved.

Learned Helplessness

Above all else I yearned to be loved for the unconventional, whacky child I knew I truly was. But instead I was accepted by my parents because I presented them with a bevy of parent sanctioned personas. According to Jungian terminology, a persona is a coping mechanism used to conceal a person’s true thoughts and feelings; a necessary adaptation to ensure survival.

As a child I played with cut-out-dolls, and liken my persona collection to this.

I cut out and attached to myself one of several parent pleasers:

1.Polly Perfect, a real crowd pleaser. This persona won me awards. Her winning smiles and sensitivity to others’ moods was combined with an ability to listen to endless adult prattle, while looking enthralled.

2.Compliant Constance, a parent favourite. This persona saved me from spankings. Her defining attribute was her willingness to put aside normal childhood defiance( skipping the personality forming Terrible Twos, Defiant Fives and the Turbulent Teens) and instead perform feats of compliance.

3.Timid Temperance, a mealy-mouthed child. This persona was the most burdensome for me to carry. This persona willingly  gave a stamp of approval to all and sundry parental behaviour. When observing deception and meanness, real reactions were stuffed, while a neutral face was presented.

So for Week 8 of 52, I will listen to the communiques from my body.

I will remember that a persona is a coping mechanism that is necessary for a child to survive in their world, but in my efforts to discover The Other Woman inside of me, I will put Polly Perfect, Compliant Constance and Timid Temperance to rest.

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