May 6, 1999
Been very busy lately, so let me back track.
Got a new book to use while A.B. was in town. I've been having problems going back to the Bradshaw stuff, due to the bitterness it evokes. I was starting to see myself as beautiful, but after my husband's callous comments, I couldn't bring myself back to that part. The new book is called The Mystic Path, and it's basically the same type of exercises from a slightly different direction. I've done two exercises in it already, but I'll post them up after the custody hearing.
Meanwhile, I've reread the legal papers and realized that one of them was actually a restraining order against me and that my husband is suing for COMPLETE custody of the children. My lawyer finally got a hold of his lawyer today and found out that they are going to claim that I am dangerously unstable. Gee, if I am so unstable why didn't he try to find out where I took the kids when I left? Though, according to the court documents, we were gone a week before he noticed we were gone.
The truck is now being fixed and I have a bruised foot from a fall at a bus stop a week ago. It began to swell immediately and turned a very nice purple. Tore the pants I was finally slim enough to wear and scraped the other leg.
May 7, 1999
The hearing has been postponed until May 25th.
My husband got himself a criminal lawyer to represent him and if the errors on the filing documents are anything to go by, he is not that good of one either.
On the other hand, I've couldn't have gotten a better lawyer if I tried. She smart, organized, and worked as a lawyer for Child Protective Services for 3 years before going into private practice. She's also good friends with a dental expert who can use my teeth alone as evidence of spousal abuse.
My husband's accusations are that I am dangerously unstable emotionally and keep a filthy house. Strangely, they're not using my former therapist or marriage counselor to prove the point. They have a tape showing the house a real mess, but according to my lawyer, it's not enough to prove their point against me--especially since the worst mess was around "his" couch and the tape was filmed at least a week after I left. According to the documents filed, we were gone a week before he noticed we were gone ;-) and I can prove we left a week before he said we did. My lawyer's feelings on the matter: "Well, if things were so bad, why didn't he do anything about it? After all, they were his kids and he lived there too."
Oh, yeah....he says that when I left him, he was on the verge of death. He's been doing everything he can to get pity. His lawyer is just as whiny.
When ever anyone who knew the criminal lawyer asked him what he was doing in the family court area, my lawyer would pipe up and say, "He's here to get beat by me." He tried to scare her with CPS, but he shut up when he found out she use to work for them. Then he asked if she could help him with another case. I get the impression that she think's my husband's lawyer is as delusional as he is.
She was disappointed that we didn't get before the judge today, she thinks this case is going to be fun, especially since I organized so much information in actual documents for her. She says that if my exhusband doesn't get any smarter by the actual hearing, her job is going to be easy. Of course, we realize there's always a chance that things may go wrong for us, but from the looks of things--we got a lot more evidence on our side.
Meanwhile, we've agreed to let the kids visit him next weekend.
May 11, 1999
Well, my truck is still in the shop and I don't have any transportation at the moment. I'll spare everyone the details. But I did post those two exercises I was talking about earlier:
Exercise #1 - Remembering the Myths of Generations Past
Exercise #2 - Meeting my Inner Wise Person
May 15, 1999
The kids are with their father right now and I am feeling very depressed. Because I was having trouble sleeping, I have been doing more work in The Mythic Path book. I haven't been putting my stuff up as I do it, because my computer is still down.
So, here is what I have been working on:
My Shifting Mythology
These are beliefs of mine that have changed over the years -
My Personal Shield
This is a symbolic representation of the events and beliefs that have molded my life. It's based on the motif of paradise lost and regained.
|I am swinging alone with no one to bother me. I can feel the muscles in my thighs and upper arms burn as I pump harder. They are red with heat and blood. The wind flows over me in a cool conterpoint, as the sky envelopes me.|
|History||I was safe when I was alone on my swing. I had no one else to watch and worry over. I was actually a child at those moments--instead of a miniture adult--protected by the sky.|
|I am a powerful muscle. Blood pulses through me as I expand and contract. I am pushed to my limit, but I do not mind, for the wind cools me down with its freedom. The harder I pump--the more freedom I feel. My demands are my own.|
And as I swing, the clouds go by
And sing to me a lullabye.
So sweet, so warm, so pure, so bright--
I know ev'rything will be all right.
Protected by the wind and sky
Nothing can harm my swing and I.
|After I drew this symbol, a reason occurred to me as to why I picked turquois to go with the red. I have pale, translucent skin with a heavy yellow tint (one of my distant ancestors was Chinese) and my veins look turquoise through it.|
|My back is being beaten. I feel a triangle of tension from my shoulder blades to the center of my back. I feel it travel downward along my backbone and ribs.|
|History||I was beaten for minor offenses. My upper back would take the hardest blows. I never really knew what would set off a beating and I kept my back tensed in anticipation of one.|
|I am a back. I am beaten like a drum. My sound vibrates through my ribs. It stays on the inside, where no one can hear. I cannot strike myself--only others can.|
Screams and silence--
Pain and lost.
Someone is flawed
And this is the cost.
Blow upon blow--
A vicious attack.
There is nothing to save
An innocent's back.
Words cut deep
Into the soul--
Was once whole.
|After I spoke as this symbol, I realized that this may be why I find loud noises with a heavy bass sound so painful to be around. Even with my ears covered, I can feel the vibrations in my spine and it is all I can do to keep from crying.|
|Paradise Regained Vision|
|I am hugging those I love and my head is free from tension. Life beats within me. I feel me hugging myself.|
|History||I have always envisioned a life full of affection and peace--with no conflicts. I realize this is a fantasy, but I do believe that there must be a less tramatic way to deal with conflicts.|
|I am a mind, floating unfettered. My arms are crossed in the symbol of love. I ache to hold others and to have others hold me. Sometimes, I must hold myself.|
When loving arms embrace our hearts,
Our joy becomes a work of art.
Our minds are clear and we are free
To be the people we wish to be.
For love flows through our veins and limbs.
The memories of our wounds grow dim.
And God is with us every day--
Let the storms of life rage as they may.
Safe within our womb of peace,
Our fears have found themselves released.
The fruits of all our labors appear
To comfort us in later years.
With all our loved ones gathered around,
No greater paradise can be found.
Then let us raise this hymn of praise
And honor God through joyous lays.
|I wrote the hymn to the tune of another hymn I sing at church. There is great longing and grief in me when I look at this symbol. Yet I find it significant that it shows my mind detacted from the rest of me.|
|My mind feels cool and clear and I can feel strength growing in my backbone.|
|History||I have been using my mind and will to find strength and peace. I will continue to seek out my weaknesses and tranformm them into assets. Those I can't transform, I will get rid of without apology.|
|I am pure intellect powered by will. My backbone keeps me anchored and supports me. I will direct my energy to create beauty within myself.|
to the tune of "Greensleeves"
I stood before Life with a crippled heart.
My hopes were dashed--my body wreaked.
My faith in Love had fallen apart.
My future showed only doom and dreck.
No more will I accept the fact
That Life is only a one-way track.
The power to change is within my hands.
My destiny is mine to command.
And as I examined my battered soul,
I knew this was a path I did not want.
I vowed I would once again be whole.
Failure no longer my dreams would haunt.
With strength of minnd and strength of will--
I strive to build a better me.
God gave me wit and gave me skill.
From the chains of others, I will be free.
|None for now. I believe I have pretty much summed up what this symbol has brought to light. God wouldn't have given me a mind if He didn't want me to use it. The key to all of God's gifts is to use them correctly.|
May 18, 1999
I get the keys to my new apartment today. I just wish I wasn't in so much pain. I ran out of my fibromyalgia medication a few weeks back and for some reason I keep waking up around 4am.
Oh, well... I did more in the Mythic Path.
Assessing My Internal Myth Conflicts
|Self-Defeating Behavior||Irrational Feelings||Symptoms, Symbols,
|Under promoting myself.||The fear that if I succeed, people will hurt me.||Tensed shoulders and upper back - shouldering other people's problems.|
|Not defending myself from abuse.||The fear that men will not like me the way I am.||Stomach acid - guilt eating away at me.|
|Fear of failure.||The fear that if I hurt someone's feelings, it will drive them away.||Intestional cramps - tying myself in knots.|
|Not taking care of my own needs.||The fear of being a burden or nuisance to someone else.||Clenching teeth - biting back comments others don't want to hear.|
|Backing away from conflicts.||Scratching - trying to dig out the bad parts of me.|
May 24, 1999
The big day is tomorrow, hopefully. By tomorrow, we should know whether or not my children stay with me. We're mostly moved into our apartment. Money is going to be really tight for awhile.
Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot of work with the Mythic Path stuff. I just haven't put it up here yet. So, while I tire myself out in hopes of getting a good night's sleep before my sanity is place on trial, I will go ahead and post the stuff.
My Core Conflict
This is to help me to uncover the ruling myth (belief) that is causing me the most harm.
It took a few tries to get the meditation to work, because I had a lot of interruptions. I saw and greeted my inner wise person a few times without being able to truly start the exercise. Finally, I let her talk mind-to-mind.
"You already know your core conflict [Fribble]," she said. "You put other's needs before your own. You sister even told you this very afternoon (this was over a week ago) that you don't feel you have a right to take care of yourself."
I acknowledge her truth and thanked her, before going to bed for that night. The next day I did the next exercise.
Past of Core Conflict
When I thought about my core conflict, I could feel an oval of tension just above and to the left of my belly button.
I tried to use that pain and tension as a bridge to the past, but I couldn't call anything up. So, I thought of a time when I would have had to feed others before myself. I imagine I am about five years old. My younger siblings are crying because they are hungry and my mother is yelling from her bedroom for us to be quiet. I am already dressed for school in a blue and white gingham dress. I feed my siblings dry cereal, trying very hard not to spill the milk. I have to eat mine quickly so I won't be late. I worry about leaving my siblings, but I can't be late. That would be wrong.
Decisions: I must sacrifice comfort for others. I must sacrifice to be on time.
Conclusion: No one else will take care of things if I don't.
Code of Conduct: I must put others before myself. I cannot be late.
Beliefs: It is wrong to be late or selfish. I am always alone.
Bringing my older self back into the picture, I make my younger self eat and fix breakfast for my little siblings. I put the baby to bed and have the other two watch TV. Then I walk my younger self to school.
..........Well, I think that's enough for tonight. I'll post the other stuff later after the custody hearing and go get some sleep.
May 25, 1999
I GOT CUSTODY!
For details, click here. You'll need your BACK button to get back here.
May 27, 1999
My computer's been broken, so I haven't been able to update this journal. As a matter of fact, I am creating the next several entries from the notebook journal I've been doing my Mythic Path stuff in. It will probably be some time in June when I get these entries up.
Anyway, it has occurred to me that with all the stuff going on in my life, that I haven't done much explaining about the self-therapy I am now doing. I realize that some of it may seem "new age" on the surface, but it is based on many of the same principles as other cognitive therapies. It just uses the concepts of myths to examine our thinking and behaviors. It also encourages people to adjust the exercises to accomodate their own beliefs in deity. For instant, when the exercise asked me to "find" my inner wise person, the book used the term of "shaman" and then said that you could make this wise person anything you were comfortable with. Some people chose a type of spirit guide. Some use Christ. I sought out the spiritual part of me that I believe lived with God before I was born into this mortality. It works well.
Now back to the exercises...
Part One of My Fairy Tale
This first part is to metaphorically represent the concepts of Paradise and Paradise Lost presented in my Personal Shield. This offers a chance to examine the factors that formed my old system of beliefs (my old myth).
There was a little girl who lived in a crystal palace, where everything was bright and clear. The wind made pretty sounds as it played in the halls. The wind called the little girl "Marcy" and the little girl called the wind "Dan".
One day, Marcy went into a cave to get some cookies she helped the troll put in a cookie jar there. The lid of the jar was very heavy and it slipped out of her hand and broke in two. The sound woke the troll. Enraged, the troll knocked Marcy to the ground and jumped on her.
Marcy was very scared and did her best not to make the troll angry, but the troll was always angry. So, Marcy stopped living in the crystal palace and stayed in the cave all the time, working hard to make the troll happy.
Healing an Ancient Wound
This is an effort to heal an early emotional wound that may be keeping me entangled in my old myth.
I relaxed myself in a sitting position, holding my pillow. I reviewed the first part of my fairy tale in my mind. The exercise asks you to pay attention to where the pain from that wound is in your body and then hold the pillow there. It was good that I was using a body pillow, because the pain was in my upper back. I wrapped the pillow around me.
Then I bring the pillow in front of me and imagine that it is my younger self experiencing the wound. It wasn't too difficult after the exercises I did in Bradshaw's book - the lost feeling was no longer there, though the pain still was.
I summoned my inner wise person (IWP). She placed one hand on the back of my younger self and her other hand on my back. We tried to do the healing exercise, but then my new neighbors (I now live in the apartment) started to have a loud conversation outside of my bedroom window. I was about to stop the exercise, but my IWP told me to lie down instead. Then I began to feel the tension in my back burn away. The wound in my younger self heals before mine, so I imagined her at an older age when her back had again been attacked and heal that wound too. My upper back then felt wonderful and relaxed.
I talked to my IWP some. She told me I need to stand up for myself more. She reminded me how I use to handle bullies when I was younger, and told me with moderation that same technique would work now. She hugged me and left.
I talked with my younger self (original age). She was glad that the wound is gone from her body. She snuggled and asked if we can heal some of the other wounds later. I promised her that we would. She smiled and returned into her spot in my heart.
May 28, 1999
I repeated the healing exercise, but this time I replayed the incident when my mother had hit me in the mouth with a paddle and broke one of my teeth. After we (my younger self, IWP, and me) healed the tension in my mouth, we did the back of my head where my mother use to pull my hair whe she would beat me.
I thanked my IWP, but instead of her leaving, my younger self did. I decided to go ahead and ask my IWP if she could do something for my current menstral problems. I could sense her reach into my abdomen and twist something. [Amazingly, it did lessen the flow for a day or so. I had her do the other ovary a few days later and it had the same effect. I have since noticed that it reacts to my stress levels a great deal.]
May 30, 1999
Work was slow, so I did several exercises today. My old myth now has a defining statement: "I must neglect myself to make others happy."
Saying Goodbye to an Old Myth
This uses the same techniques used to help people grieve for their loved one who have passed away.
In my mind, I see this old myth as a heavy disk between my shoulder blades. I imagine it unscrewing from my back. It turns and turns and I begin to think that it will never release me. Suddenly, the heaviness goes away, though there is still tension in spots.
"Go. Leave," I tell it. "I thank you for your help, but now you must leave and let me be free to accept a better way of thinking. Thank you and goodbye."
The tension evens out, but still doesn't go away.
Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist who studied human evil and courage by interviewing Nazi doctors, Hiroshima survivors, Vietnam veterans, and political and military prisoners, concludes that people possess an innate faculty capable of assuming varied shapes, forms, and purposes at will, in response to challenge and peril. Lifton considers the ability to transform expriences symbolically as "the great human evolutionary achievement".
In the next exercises, I will be defining my "counter-myth" - the emerging beliefs which arise from time to time to challenge my old myth. I see it as a correction factor in relieving psychological stress, though it is often unleased in spurts of over-reaction.
The authors of The Mythic Path warn that sometimes the counter-myth will seem so pleasing that people will initiate drastic changes in their life without examing its short-comings. The results of these rash actions often end up reinforcing the old myth.
Finding Roots of Mythic Renewal in My Past
This is to help me find a prototype for a constuctive counter-myth in my childhood.
I evoked the opposite feeling I had when I explored a time I put others' needs before my own. I felt a warn sunburst in my chest. I visual a time when someone took care of me. It is probably not a true memory, but a patchwork of several memories with a little wishfulness tossed in.
I am visiting my great-grandfather. I am wearing brown corderoy pants and a maroon turtleneck shirt. He is crouched down to my level and giving me Cheetos from a big bag. He is happy to see how much I like them. I brush the bright orange crumbs onto my pants and he just chuckles. He sets me up on the stool and lets me watch him as he works. He smiles at me every so often and I feel special just being there.
Decisions: Being good is a good thing. I should try to meet people at their level to make them feel good about themselves.
Conclusions: It is good to enjoy a gift. One should be considerate of others when giving.
Code of Conduct: If I am quiet, people will like to have me around.
Beliefs: If I am good, people will be good to me.
Part Two of My Fairy Tale
Where Part One deals with the forces that form my old guiding myth, Part Two shows the promise of my counter-myth. The main character takes a journey which teaches an important lesson. The lesson my main character needs to learn is that she can give more to others if she takes care or herself first.
The days went by and Marcy became weak and pale. She did everything she could think of to make the troll happy, but nothing worked. Marcy began to realize that she was dying inside.
Then one day, a sunbeam came inside the cave to find Marcy. Marcy looked at the sunbeam with tears in her eyes, for she no longer had the strength to play with him. But the sunbeam wouldn't go away. It begged her to follow him. Marcy didn't want to go - she was afraid to leave the troll. The sunbeam tickled her nose and made her smile. Marcy began to feel stronger, but she still was very weak.
The sunbeam played little games with Marcy to make her smile. The more Marcy smiled, the stronger she became. Soon, Marcy began to stand up straight and walk around. This scared the troll and it tried to make her weak again, but the sunbeam warmed her heart and kept her strong.
Stronger now, Marcy saw that living in the cave with the troll was killing her. She needed more than just the sunbeam to stay alive. So, she snuck out of the cave with the sunbeam while the troll was asleep.
Outside of the cave, the sunbeam was join by several other sunbeams who had missed Marcy a great deal. The sunbeams hugged Marcy and dragged her away from the cave, before the troll could stop her from leaving.
The sunbeams took Marcy to a golden stairway and told her to climb it. As she climbed, she felt hungry. Dan, the wind, blew a basket of food to her and told to eat. Marcy ate the food and her body began to heal itself.
Marcy climbed higher up the golden stairway, before she hurt her foot. The sunbeams made her sit down and bandaged her foot. Marcy didn't want to sit still, but the sunbeams insisted.
Once her foot was better, Marcy started climbing again. She climbed quickly because she wanted to make up the time she lost while waiting for her foot to heal. She pushed herself to exhaustion and slipped off the golden stairway.
The clouds caught Marcy and gently scolded her for her foolishness. They told her to go to sleep and let her body rejuvenate itself. Marcy curled up on top of the clouds and went to sleep.
When Marcy woke up, the clouds took her back to the stairway and she started climbing again. Dan told her that it didn't matter when she made it to the top, as long as she kept climbing.
Marcy listened to Dan. She made sure she ate when she was hungry and slept when she was tired. She grew stronger and felt happier.
One day, Marcy found a lost kitten. She carried the kitten as she climbed. She gave the kitten most of her food, but there was not enough for both of them and soon Marcy was weak. A seagull landed on the stairway in front of her, blocking her path.
"Why do you feed the kitten so much, when you are the one climbing?" it asked.
"Because the kitten was hungry," Marcy answered.
"But you need the food more. The kitten is too small to make it without you. If you starve yourself, you cannot help the kitten."
"Won't the kitten starve?" Marcy asked.
"No, because you will be able to find more food if you are stronger."
Marcy thought about it and realized that the seagull was right. She began to eat more and became strong enough to find food for herself and the kitten.
Yes, I did even more stuff. I told you it was very slow at work.
A Body Metaphor of My Conflict
In this exercise I explore the relationship between my old myth and my counter-myth symbolically.
Old Myth: "I must neglect myself to help others."
Counter-Myth: "I must take care of myself to help others."
As I formulated the motto for my counter-myth, another phrase hit me straight between the eyes - "Dead healers cannot heal." It is a line from my practice novel - the one that has a shadow of my inner wise person as the main character. Her father uses it frequently because he's convinced she has a death wish. As I look back over the first version and the second version of my practice novel, I realize that I have been subconsciously been working to resolve the conflict between my myth and counter-myth for about three years now. No wonder I feel possessed when I work on my practice novel.
As I meditate on the two myths, the symbol for the old one appears in my left hand and the symbol for the counter-myth appears in my right.
Left Hand - Old Myth:
Black, spongy, and sticky. It took on the form of a sea sponge soaked in crude oil. It seemed stuck to my hand.
Right Hand - Counter-myth:
Light, warm, and solid. It became a very light piece of sandstone. I could feel the grains on its surface. It took some effort to keep it in my hand.
Space Between the Myths:
There is a definite repulsion between the two symbols, but I was able to squish them together. The moment I ceased the effort, they pushed apart again.
|Brightness||dark - much grief and pain associated with this myth||light - this myth offers more hope|
|Temperature||lukewarm - status quo||warm - more energy|
|Texture||spongy - no support
sticky - adhering to me
|solid - support
sandy - not yet developed fully
|Structure||amorphous - no clear direction or choice, disorganized||defined - direction, organized|
|Weight||heavier - but comfortably so,
I am use to this myth.
|light - not quite in my grasp|
May 31, 1999
The kids were suppose to start their summer visitation with their dad today, but his vehicle couldn't make it to half-way point. So, they're with me for another week. My parents visited (one of my sisters took my kids up to them last Friday and they needed to bring them back) and my dad and brother tried to fix the truck. The day after I got it back, the power steering went out. There is a great debate on whether or not it was because of the accident.
I did one more exercise in The Mythic Path tonight. Now that the opposing forces have been identified, the authors discuss the effects of repressing parts of one's self. I won't go into the stories they share, but they were quite striking. What I will do is share two quotes they present dealing with the need to examine one's self and make changes.
|Motto||You must sacrifice to help others.||You must take care of yourself first to help others.|
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