Sanctuary and Serenity

Posts Tagged ‘love

Was there ever a time… did you ever?

As a young girl I believed in magick.  I mean – rainbows and unicorns and magick. Forces beyond what we are taught to trust.

Not like the kind I believe in now.  Now, it’s tempered with knowledge of the world.  It’s interrupted with information from outside.  It’s diluted and corrupted.  I am Wiccan and strongly believe in karma.  I know that what I put out into the world I get back, threefold.  I understand that we are all connected, all one.  I get that energy is neither created nor destroyed… so I believe in reincarnation.  It’s a real mishmash of thoughts and beliefs. lol  But they’re mine.

Now… as a child I had a wonder in my heart.  It was a wonder that told me there was real magick afoot.  I trusted in it.  I believe we could fly.  I recall finding a wooded area once. I was very unhappy where I lived (physically and mentally) and wandered off one day – I found myself in a place.  I spent the afternoon there.  I recall thinking that I was in some special safe place.  I never found it again afterward.  I used to dream in rainbows and unicorns.  They say that your spiritual animal can come to you in dreams and I read that unicorns exist in the *in-between* place…between dream and awakening.  I knew it was true.  I knew that the unicorn was my animal.  This feeling in me that all this existed is like being home sick.  I know it’s there… and I know I’ve lost it.

I recall finding the oddest thing once.  In my house.  No one else was home and under a piece of carpet there was a lump.  I investigated.  I found a wee bag with these teeny weeny little triangle pieces in it.  Metal.  I thought it was something.  I remember trying to put them together in a way that made sense.  I knew it had to be something, like a puzzle.  But I guess my parents found it and removed it.  I never found them again where I had put them.

I remember walking in the woods and feeling… voices and spiritual.  Being one with the world.  I had a pretty hard childhood and found solace in odd things.  Building forts and running through the woods.  Knowing by heart where every footstep had to fall so that I wouldn’t.  I was so proud of that.  Being able to run through our forest without a trip.  Knowing all the bits and parts that made up the forest behind where we *lived*.  I was part of that world.

The only other time I ever felt that way was after going through some therapy stuff at 25.  I felt I came out of a coma and suddenly life was there.  There was music and children laughing and the smell of fresh cut grass and life was all new.  I started to see with the fresh eyes of a child.  It was magick, I had wonderment in my heart once again…but not the same as when I was a child as it was tainted, tarnished and muted by new knowledge of what the world really held in store.  Of what people could really do to you.

I wonder if we weren’t taught what to say, how to think, what to label everything… as children… if we would feel this magick around us?

If I was never told *that is a table*, or * that is orange* – would I have kept my magick names for these items and been free to see them with my young eyes that weren’t told what to see for what they really were?

I’ve seen spirits.  They scared me, but as a child I didn’t understand and then there was tv, telling me that spirits were to be a thing of fear.

Would I have reacted differently?  Would I have welcomed them rather than run screaming from them?  Being ignorant, taught to fear them?

Maybe this is why I hang on to rainbows and unicorns.  I have tattoos of both.  People think they know what these mean, but they’d be wrong.  🙂  I give them the easy answer.  They accept it as they accept the answer to *how are you*…. fine.


Love is wondrous, joyful, and
ambiguous all at the same time
Love is the way a parent feels,
when they hold their child
for the very first time.
And that is a wondrous feeling.
Love is how you feel
when you meet that special someone
and decide you can’t live
without each other.
This is when you feel
very joyful about your life.
Love is also ambiguous
because no one really knows
what love is at all.
Your definition of love
will not be my definition of love.
Because my definition of love
is wondrous, joyful, and
ambiguous all at the same time.

Written by: Elizabeth Mary Barker
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Shame and Intimacy

Shame takes its toll on intimacy.  Abuse survivors feel an inner sense of shame, no matter what they say or do.  Not the shame when we do something wrong ….that’s having a conscience.  It is the deep-rooted shame about feeling unworthy, inadequate, unlovable or not good enough – even when we have done nothing wrong.  This shame interferes with having good intimate relationships with others.

The core of feeling ashamed as a human being comes down to a sense of inadequacy.  Feeling inadequate, in turn, makes us afraid nobody will want us and we will be rejected, abandoned or found to be not good enough.  We see ourselves as mistakes, flawed and defective and there’s nothing we can do about it.

These feelings of inadequacy or unlovableness begin when we’re growing up.  Our families – especially our parents – gave us messages that we didn’t measure up and that we weren’t likeable, lovable, desirable or good enough as persons.

These rules are the operative principles that govern shame-based families:


One must be in control of all interactions, feelings and personal behaviours at all times.  Control is the major defense against shame-based feelings.


Always be right in everything you do.  Avoidance of negative judgment or criticism – or any suggestion that you’re less than perfect – is the organizing principle of life.


Whenever things don’t turn out as planned, blame others and self-righteously defend yourself at all costs, although occasionally you can blame and denigrate yourself as well.

Denial of the five freedoms

The five freedoms, first enunciated by Virginia Satir, describe a fully functional person:  the power to perceive, to think and interpret;  to feel; to want and chose; and to imagine.  In shame-based families, the rule says you shouldn’t perceive, think, feel, desire or imagine the way you do.  You should do these the way the perfectionist ideal demands.

The no-talk rule

This rule prohibits the full expression of any feeling, need or want.  So no one speaks of his/her loneliness, sense of self-rupture or feelings of not measuring up.

Don’t make mistakes

Errors reveal the flawed, vulnerable self.  To acknowledge a mistake is to open one’s self up to judgment, criticism and the implication that you’re not good enough.  So cover up your own mistakes and if someone else makes a mistake, shame him.

Low trust

Don’t trust anyone.  That way, you’ll never be disappointed.  If I can’t trust my parents to show me how valued I am, I cannot trust anyone.

So how are we going to trust others – or let others get really close to us?  I fear if I let you get close, you will find out I am not good enough and reject me.

Perhaps the greatest wound a shame-based person carries is the inability to be intimate in a relationship.  People who grow up in shame-based families are very sensitive to criticism.  The slightest criticism sets off feelings of inner shame.  They feel worthless, not good enough, broken, unlovable.  The shame is then covered up by blaming, criticizing, getting angry, being defensive or keeping themselves emotionally removed from their lovers or spouses.  They end up attacking the very people they love and care about.

The Shame – Rage Connection

The core feeling of having been mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritual abused is shame. Our shame is deeply rooted because it stems from the core beliefs that we are not worthy, that there is something that is flawed in us and that we are just not good enough and don’t deserve good coming our way. This deep rooted shame affects our every day living which is especially evident in our relationships with others.

The rejection of self is central to feeling toxic shame.  A shame – based person tries desperately to present a mask to the world that says “I’m more than human” or “I’m less than human”.  To be more than human is to never make a mistake.  To be less than human is to believe that you are a mistake, says John Bradshaw in ‘Healing the Shame that Binds You. (Health communications, Inc.) (highly recommended as an excellent book for inner child work)

Steps to take to heal inner shame:

* Keep a journal or diary of your defensive over-reactions.  Each evening before retiring, think back over the events of the day.  When were you upset?  Where did you over-react?  What was the context?  Who was there?  What was said to you?  What made you feel inadequate or rejected?  How does what was said to you compare to what you say to yourself?  What does it say to you about your adequacy and lovableness?

*  Other than anger, what emotions are you feeling?

*  What do people say or do to you that triggers your shame?  With whom does this happen and in which circumstances?  How often?

*  Ask yourself “What am I ashamed about right now?” every time you get angry. It’s the best way to break the shame-rage link.

*  Treat others with respect – particularly those you love and care about.  Consistently tell them they are good, good enough and lovable – that you value them and find them worthwhile and important.  Then pass up chances to insult, attack, criticize or shame them.  Give praise out loud for the good you see in others.  This is the opposite of shaming behaviour.

*  Become a student of self-love and self-acceptance.  What is it that triggers your feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy?  What makes you feel better about yourself that isn’t hurtful or disrespectful toward you or others?  How can you accept your imperfections or mistakes or requests from others about what they would like you to do differently – without taking such feedback as an indictment of your character, value or worth?  How can you better value, love, appreciate and approve of yourself as a human being?

If you work on these ideas and find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stop immediately.  This means you need to do them with someone who is trained to assist you.

The good news is that you can achieve greater calmness, peace of mind, happiness, self-acceptance – and healthier, more intimate relationships with others.  All you need to do is face your feelings of inadequacy, undesirability, unlovableness and inner shame.

I Deserved Caregivers that Loved and Nurtured Me.
We are born into this world as tiny, precious, and helpless.  We were deserving of unconditional love and positive nurturing from our *care*givers.  We are all gifts to be cherished and should have been recipients of the caring and love that enable us to thrive as healthy, whole human beings.  When we were sexually abused by trusted caregivers, we quickly learned that people were there to cause us pain and we were at the mercy of those “big people.”
I may have received bits and pieces of love and nurturing, but it was tainted by the abuse.  I received many confusing messages from them about my worth and questioned my place in the world.
I need to grieve the nonexistence of my mother and father as I would have them in my fantasies.  As a small child I held on to images of loving, caring parents.  This is how I survived.  To accept reality today, and help to heal my authentic self, I must eventually, gradually come to grips with the sad fact that I didn’t receive that unconditional love, nurturing, and protection that every single, precious child deserves!
I must start to see my real parents as real people and grieve the losses of my “fantasy” parents.  This can be a long and very painful process; yet if I don’t go through it, I will rob myself of needed healing.  I can learn and appreciate that my inner-child and I survived despite the lack of basic necessities of life.  I get to have all my feelings about this loss and as I move through the painful process, I am also learning to get on with my own real life.