Days 4-8: No Bat Belt

There’s a scene in Dark Knight Rises where Batman is trying to climb out of a prison. The climb could mean death if he falls- so he has a safety rope tied around his waist. He works out, gets stronger, makes the leap, and falls. The only person to make this leap and survive was a child, with nothing but desperation and fear to spur him.

Bat man’s prison mate says:

“make the climb as the child did. Without the rope.”

He doesn’t need more strength; he needs to let go of his last tether to safety. He needs to know that there is nothing to break his fall, and he’s truly risking everything when he leaps.

This weekend was a time of removing my bat belt, my safety, my rope. Strand by strand, I unraveled and dissolved it, thanking it deeply for all the times it had saved me, but also recognizing that I hadn’t yet been ready for it. I wasn’t yet worthy of a bat-belt, a lightsaber, or a spear; I needed to learn to be strong on my own, first. Leaning on the assistance had me not trust my own strength or worth, to the point where I felt helpless, scared, certain I couldn’t make it on my own.

Dark Knight Rises: Prison Escape Scene

And so, I took off the rope. It was a painful, days’-long process.

I’m preparing for the climb again now.

These days had some victories: I discovered again how good exercise has me feel. On days I couldn’t go to the gym, I went on hour-long walks, bringing my focus to breath, and the feel of my feet on the ground as they rolled from heel to toe. I canceled some friend dates (thank you for being so understanding, friends ❤️) and I also reached out and called people, and wrote to one friend, when the despair got too heavy to carry alone. (Thank you for lending your steady strength and compassion in my dark pit, friends ❤️)

I’ve leaned on trainers, a counselor, and friends – but I haven’t leaned too much. There’s a balance. There’s a time when no one can prep us for the climb but ourselves.

I realized I had been hanging onto someone as he made the climb for us both, and we both fell.

But accepting help from community with deep gratitude is an important step for me. Hitting rock bottom and not being able to show a “perfect” face to the world has had me discover that many people are understanding, kind, and empathetic. They didn’t judge me. They didn’t even seem to think twice, just held me or let me cancel…

yes, there were those who surprised me with a lack of empathy, but having no resources to deal with that also made turning away from those few, and dropping those communications very easy.

There’s nothing like having absolutely nothing left, to teach a person how to say no, and how to say thank you.

And so here we are at Day 8 of the training. I’ve bribed myself with inspiring shirts to get me in the mood to go work out 😉

Day 8: Padawan

I’ve stuck with the challenge of dietary change (I’ll put a sample day’s meals here, one of these blog posts…maybe tomorrow …), of drinking half my body weight in ounces of water daily, (not as hard as it sounds, especially if you get some exercise in,) and of exercise.

I have discovered that I am most unhappy when I don’t allow myself to be as expansive as my nature demands: so when I was living in the “shoulds” of: closed off, reproachful blame, and victimhood; when I wanted above all things to understand why, I felt sick. I don’t need to know someone’s reason – all I need to know is that they chose.

As soon as I allowed myself to do what people told me I “shouldn’t,” which is: love, forgive, understand, be okay about things, let go, be actually happy about things just as they are, AND continue to wear my rings because they mean that I belong to myself now, and are inscribed a with these words: Present and Wonder, that I must live in now,

I felt better. I feel – good.

Ready to make the climb and leap with no rope, no bat belt.

What if I fall? Oh,but my darling,what if you fly? -Erin Hanson

Inquire Within

I tried on some advice I was given- like a castoff sweater from someone else’s life, it felt scratchy – it weighed me down. I felt heavy, defeated.

heartI asked my own heart, and she answered:
What about this? Be radically honest.
Take a risk that people may not like you.
The ones who see you & know you will love you, but only if you are authentically you–not squeezing yourself into someone else’s knitted idea of who you need to be.
If you want the life you envision, BE the self who dreamed that life. It starts within.

It starts with the courage to live authentically.
I do not want to waste time living something I am not.
I have always been a risk-taker in this way: It has been my lifelong specialty- radical honesty.

I have been told “question the way you define yourself” –but no; no, this is the one thing I know is true: nothing in this life is more important to me than living with all my heart, and all of my truth.
Anything less simply will not do.

We go so many places for advice…
when really, we carry everything we need within us.
Inquire within. There are your deepest questions, and sometimes, answers.

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First, to let go of life.
In the end, to take a step without feet;
to regard this world as invisible,
and to disregard what appears to be the self.
 
Heart, I said, what a gift it has been
to enter this circle of lovers,
to see beyond seeing itself,
to reach and feel within the breast.  – Rumi

a Fugue: Kafka in Barney Purple OR a lesson in Letting Go

In a week, I am moving into a new home.  This new home is in no way ready for me (and Figaro) to move in.
Granted, my remodel plans were ambitious; some, (clearly lacking vision) might say “crazy,”
but as the plans developed and the contractors were found, I learned what to let go, what to save for later…I prioritized. (the TARDIS stays, but I haven’t begun construction yet; the tile and the Sherlock Holmes fireplace have to happen first. TARDIS happens before the Secret Passageway Bookcase. See? I am quite sensible.)

I also decided I wanted to paint some of the rooms myself (and my Dad did a *lot* of the work, too) because I wanted to get to know my home, and inhabit it in this way before I moved in.

Great! Sounds nice, yeah? Reasonable?

I was buying paint for an accent wall – a small thing, you’d think – and it mysteriously came out Bright Barney the Dinosaur Purple.

Ok, this wasn’t what I had planned – I wasn’t remotely going for purple, but, being a go-with-the-flow type, I tried it for a bit and even tried to like it or see if I could make it work (maybe by hanging a wall-sized mural over it?)

a Fugue: Kafka in Barney Purple

Okay, maybe not.   

I took it back. They put it on a shelf called Mis-mixed paint, rather like the Island of Forgotten Toys.  I felt a little guilty. I found a new color entirely, and even switched to an entirely different brand,

but failed to note that it was the same person mixing my paint.

Looking back, I am quite sure there was a Malevolent, Dinosaur-ish, Purple gleam in her eye.

I went home again, tra-la,  and began stirring the paint with a sinking feeling…
put the paint on the wall (maybe it looks different ON?)

Barney the Dinosaur Purple.

Again.

Same. exact. Shade. If I had paid her to match it, she couldn’t have done a more impeccable job…not even if I had decided to hold a contest for the most Devious Mixer of Paint Who Could Infallibly, Impeccably Recreate This Abhorrent Purple.

I have a bad habit: I see symbols, metaphors, messages – in *everything.*

a can of paint could maybe just be a can of paint, I see that. I really do.

BUT.

Really?

I once auditioned for a dinosaur in “Barney.” it was a boy, six-year-old-ish, who was a “scat-singer” or rap artist.

Riff

Maybe I should be grateful that my wall color didn’t mysteriously turn out to be “Riff Orange.”

It was one of the coolest auditions I’ve ever experienced, as it was in a sweet little hidden studio with awesome exposed brick and crazy decor.

They told me after my audition that they felt like they’d just been to a Toots Theilmans concert. That felt awesome, which made it o.k. that I didn’t get the job.

Still, good memories and all, I don’t know how to live in a room with a Barney Dinosaur Purple wall.

And I think the lesson here is:  you don’t have to make something work, even if it’s *very* persistent. You also don’t have to stick with something “for Old Times’ sake.”

O.k., there is a time to stick with it and work at something. For sure. That’s my definition of “romantic,” actually… when people have positive connections that outweigh the troubles, and they stick together and work on things. (But the positive needs to outweigh the negative! that’s key!) Loyalty. Awesome. That and honesty are top things on my list of desirable traits in a partner.

But knowing when to let go is important.

I used to be one of those people who hung in there no matter what. I was a freaking barnacle. Through storms, through high seas with no rum in sight, I was stalwart. I Remained. I held on.  Even if people were horrid rotten little perishers, I was loyal. Stay at the party hoping it gets better! Stay till the bitter end!  Hang in there and keep hanging until you turn into an albatross!

Being like that is like having a business that is deeply important to you, but then hiring anyone who walks in and keeping them no matter what: your business is going to die in fearful agonies. It’s important to define what you’re looking for in employees (yeah?) and make sure that relationship (the work) has a sort of maintenance aspect- it stays healthy, or it needs to end. Yes? Why is this easier to see about business, and so much harder to see about our own amazing, precious and beautiful selves? And our lives which are finite and irreplaceable?

Letting go of caffeine.  Huge one for me. Maaaaajor detox symptoms. It was so hard, but I did it, and all of a sudden, I feel so much healthier and my hypoglycemia turns out to be non-existent.

Let go!  You may experience unpleasant side-effects at first, but still – let go!

That friend who chooses to see the world through complaint-filters, who dims your sparkle but is there! and persistent! and you’ve known them forever!
sometimes, it may even be HARD to find what you’re looking for – that Barney Dinosaur Purple may keep showing up – but hold on.

Hold on to the vision of what your soul needs.

“Letting go” is a passive-sounding phrase, but it is one of the hardest, most demanding-of-action things I have ever experienced…because carving out a new pathway takes persistence and awareness.  It’s so easy for the mind (and, by extension, our choices) to follow the well-worn habitual pathways. So letting go properly is something that requires you to be fully present, and very clear.

So – here’s my lesson from the paint store today:  define what you want. Set your intention. Get clear, and then  let go of anything, any color, or anyone not in alignment with the way you want to show up in the world.

and here’s the really hard part:  go in and try again, try as though it is the first time and you haven’t just been given one gallon after another of Barney the Dinosaur Purple.  Hold your little paint card and valiantly ask for Eggshell or Winston Churchill Buttercup, completely believing that it’s going to work. Show up fully.

I pretty much failed to do that today… I stood there looking at all those little cards and clever little pamphlets showing perfectly painted rooms (no purple in sight) and all I could see was that Lurid, Eye-bruising, Artist Formerly Known As, not-found-anywhere-in-nature, purple.

I finally had to leave and ask my saint of a mother to go request a color. I felt Jinxed. I felt Cursed. I felt that if I looked one more time into the clearly-plotting-some-kind-of-purple-colored-revenge eyes of that Wicked Paint Mixer, I would blurt out “PURPLE!” and get another can of you-know-what.

So I’m still learning this…

Letting go completely, so you can focus your entire heart in a positive way on the intention ahead of you. That might be a lifelong master class! (I wonder who teaches it? I hope it’s Morgan Freeman.)

Letting go of that job that is wonderful, but isn’t your genius work or dream and is using up time that you need in order to do your Real Work-

Letting go of that friend whom you love, but who is dragging you down –

Letting go does not require disapproving, disliking, disengaging, or dysfunction. It can be done with love, and it can be a compassionate and very kind thing to do. Sometimes it can be a blessing for the ones you let go, too – it can be a springboard for them to find where and with whom they fit- now that there is not space and time filled up by trying, trying, trying to mesh with you.

Barney Purple, I don’t care how many times it takes, I’m replacing you with a restful, warm, elegant parchment-ish color. It’s not that I don’t think you’re great, in areas where you are appropriate (like the big huge costume of a dinosaur character for kids)  – I do. It’s not that you don’t bring back a wonderful memory – you do,

but your persistence , your insistence at being in my house and on my wall is puzzling in the extreme. Please, go tell Kafka I’m hiring another writer to conduct my life…

07-3wodehouse_full_600

his name is P.G. Wodehouse, and he has a much more restful color sense. (pay no attention to that lurid dinosaur purple cover. I am quite sure Plum did not choose it.)

Ha Makom (the Place),OR Gladiator and Lion

The way others treat you is not a reflection of you; it is a reflection of them.

These are tough words to remember sometimes.

In Judaism, we have 72 different names of God.  I like to explain it like this: our human minds are too small to hold, all at once, in tangible form, the concept of God as everything inside and out. So these names are different images we can hold in our minds, to work on one aspect of God at a time, depending on what we need at that moment. Ha Makom is one of these names; it means simply “The Place.” If God is in the place where I am standing, if I am aware of that with every breath, would I treat others differently? If others thought more about “Ha Makom,” would they make a different choice?

It’s been almost a year since he left: the very persuasive, persistent, deceitful, adorable, wonderful-but-awful, manipulative, completely self-absorbed, gentle, sweet, complicated and fascinating must-have-his-way man who was like a tsunami in my heart and life. Almost a year; I have been fighting a really tough battle to heal the post traumatic stress disorder that his abrupt departure caused…

a year in which there have been people who felt they needed to be cruel.  On top of the pain and confusion of his illness and leaving; on top of the deep psychic wounds that left my body shaking every day, shaking like I had an earthquake inside, for over six months.

It’s hard to describe the experience of ptsd.  It is humbling. You think you are fine – you go to pick up your coffee in a staff meeting and your hand is shaking so violently, you immediately snatch it back and hide it in your lap, clench it with the other hand, try to calm your breath.  There is a shaking inside, which (ironically enough) was my love’s burden daily as well from his own illness.

This shaking was a daily reminder of him.

So were the tears that would come without warning. I began to call them “Miriam’s Well,” a well I would carry with me everywhere – I began to see them as a healing mikveh, (ritual bath) so I could step away from the secondary emotions that came along with them: shame, fear, despair of ever healing and being whole again.

Once I distanced from/ simply observed my reactions to the symptoms, that is when the healing began, very gradually. I wasn’t judging myself any more- my Self was grateful for that small mercy.

But I was still under attack both from people I used to think I knew, and people I didn’t know at all, but met with him on occasion after our “engagement.” People who were his friends.

He called me best friend, love of his life, his greatest teacher, his deepest blessing; he called me an angel, his wise raven, his beshert and his reason for living, and yet these friends of his had a hunger to tear me to pieces with their claws and teeth, one angry, vicious bite at a time.  I asked him to tell them our story, so they didn’t have to rely so much on their assumptions or on gossip – but he was a person who liked to hide. He did not like to talk about himself or share anything personal. I think that trait of his, his dishonesty and distrust of others, is what eventually led to the legacy he left me with: the lions in my gladiator’s arena.

Image

I was a broken thing, and I was under siege.

It’s a hard thing when you are not well, when you are grieving, and when you are asked to bear even more.

I never found out why these people decided they needed to be cruel.  For a long time, I kept asking myself “why?” “Why would a person try to actively harm someone who has so much grief and harm to bear already?”

I asked the questions over and over, until I learned that wasn’t a healthy way to live. There will never be answers to the question “why”.

Hypocrisy seemed to be everywhere I looked.

But then I learned to focus on the kind people; on my angels.  Thank God for them – the good people, the ones with integrity.  Because of them, my spirit did not break; because of them, I did not lose my faith.

I have healed now, and I am beginning to process this into a novel. I feel I have actually become even stronger and more whole than I was before I met him.  And yet these people are still carrying their hatred. It is a year since he’s been gone, and they actively pour their energy into showing me how much they hate.  I do not understand why, and it makes me sad for them.

I took a friend to see 42. It was such a lovely night with this person I have known for over a decade and haven’t seen in a long time; catching up over a small meal, going to the movie screening which felt old-fashioned somehow and really lovely; connecting with him was connecting with my old life, the innocent and happy life of theater… (incidentally, how very odd that the most I have ever experienced dysfunction, cruelty, hypocrisy and pain is inside the synagogue? Are artists just healthier because they express things and explore the shadow side all the time? Are people drawn to the synagogue in deeper need of healing, or are they more apt to hide and shame their shadow-selves? I am writing this here as a side-note to think about later.)

All was really lovely and sweet: The popcorn, the joking of the audience, the speeches beforehand and the haimish feeling that abounded.

And then afterward, there was a nasty little thing that threatened to put a damper on the whole lovely night (if I let my mind dwell on it, which I did not):

the man glaring…actively, malevolently. This person I used to know. This person about whom people have said “he wouldn’t behave that way. You might be reading into it.”

(Really? How many times can someone scowl, glare, and look at you as though they are seeing a murderer, before it’s not “all in your head”?)

his wife in the bathroom, stuttering out “I have to go,” and ending her conversation quickly so she could get out  after I walk in.  These were people I used to know and be very friendly with.

Myself, defiantly, angrily, putting on lipstick and looking into my own eyes in the mirror.

Eyes that had no tears, this time. Eyes that have seen enough unkindness, thank you very much.

There is no one on this earth I would treat the way these people are treating me.

I have done nothing to harm them or theirs…

That night their behavior did not break or harm me; it hurt, which developed into anger.

Anger and defiance.

I have been through enough.

But I refuse to carry the anger.  I am going to try to understand, because I refuse to be like them. I am struggling to find a spiritual way to encounter this kind of cruelty, and all I can think of is that somewhere in myself I have to find compassion. They are behaving this way out of some kind of pain, and that pain leads them to find an object to blame other than themselves. I am convenient; they don’t have to know me as a person, so they don’t have to worry about how their behavior might harm. They don’t have to be understanding or see anything from my point of view or care. If they are able to think of me as a thing, not a person, they can safely put a lot of cruel, nasty behavior on me and not even think twice about it.

What bugs me is this: these people go to the synagogue regularly, for more years than I have been alive. They do all the synagogue functions. HOW can they not have learned by now about compassion and loving kindness?

how?

All these years at the synagogue, and they see a young(ish) woman, 21 years younger than the man who pursued her, and they blame HER? and continue to do so a year later?

how?

Are the clergy not doing their job, or are the people not learning? How can Judaism address this … lack of bridge?

He used to talk about this, my ex-rabbi.  He said “It was my biggest struggle for 20 years.”  that people bring their synagogue-face in on saturday mornings, nod and smile and sigh about lovingkindness, forgiveness and compassion, and then step right outside even into the oneg (I had this happen to me) and turn around and yell at someone “You are not welcome here.” Many simply do not live their lives as though God is where they are standing at any time, all the time.
God, for them, seems to be received passively in a seat in a temple.

Image

How does one teach people that God is a verb?  That God is a way of walking in the world, and that this is why we have lessons come to us?  Things don’t “happen TO us,”  just to be reacted to and endured and then forgotten – every thing that unfolds in our lives is an invitation to be an active participant in the growth of our own souls. By examining, by learning, by making a different choice next time we have an opportunity to be either unkind or kind, thought-full or thought-less.

That person, incidentally, who yelled at me in the Temple — I would never treat him the way these people are treating me. The person who screamed at me and roughly grabbed my arm – I would stay away from him for safety’s sake, but I would never glare or actively seek to show him unkindness.

I searched my heart and found compassion for mental illness, psychic distress,  and pain.

SO.

The way others treat you is a reflection of them, and only of them.  You did not “earn” either kindness or unkindness.

The way you treat others is a reflection of you. You can improve that reflection at any time! We spend so long trying to improve the reflection we see in the mirror… we spend so much money and time on facial creams, blemish removal… what if we spent even a fraction of that time trying to improve the reflection of our soul in the way we treat others?

I wish I could teach this to the teens who are being bullied, who despair and want to end their precious lives as a way to escape.  I wish I could teach this to every person who ever felt the sting of someone else’s blaming, judging, or cruelty.

I was in Boston once, about to attend a summer session at rabbinical school; I had just arrived from a drive across the country and was exhausted. At that time, I wore my kippah all the time… there was a bus of young school kids pulling out of a parking lot.  This beautiful little African-American girl stuck her head out the window and yelled “Fucking JEW!”  She said “Jew” as though it were a curse.

It was a shock, but my compassion was immediate, because she was so young, her sweet face all twisted up.  I thought: is that face twisted up in pain? in agony, in anger? My immediate thought was, “Where did she learn that hatred?” and “How many names has she been called in school, that little one?”

What if my compassion could be that immediate with these people, even though they are not young?  Part of my anger-response comes, I think, because of their age (in their 70’s.)  I feel they should “know better.”  Well. That is my own judgment coming in.  If I were aware of “Ha Makom,” God being present in me in that moment, perhaps my compassion would come faster.

If I could, this is what I would teach those who bully – and I find as I write it that it is a lesson I need to teach myself, daily:

Ha Makom is a name for God meaning “The place.”  God is in the place where you are standing.  God is not to be found in a synagogue or church : God is where you are standing, sitting, waking, dreaming: all the time. (and yes, in Judaism we even have a blessing for after going to the toilet. That is holy too- the workings of the body are miraculous.)

Bring your shadow-self, bring your light, bring ALL of you to prayer or meditation, because it is only when you bring your entire being, that you will soften and learn compassion for yourself and others. If you hide the part of you that feels it has to glare with hatred at a young(ish) woman whose story you don’t know, you will not be acknowledging that part; it will be shoved down, hidden, and thus will never be softened.  Bring that, too.  Bring it to God – here and now! Ha Makom! – and say “Here it is. This is also me.”  Breathe into those dark places with compassion –and you will find God in those places.  Those dark places will soften with your acceptance, just as my healing began when I stopped shaming and judging my own tears and shaking body.  You will heal, then.

You will no longer need to be cruel any more.

I stand there wondering how to meet these pettinesses, these cruelties, with kindness…and I find that my response is coming out of MY shadow-self.  The self who says “how can you go to temple and behave like this?” the self that is judging. the self that is puritanical and preachy. The self, in fact, that is just like these people in that cruel moment. Just like them.

And I have to laugh.

This year has been my gladiator’s arena. I chose to stay here; I fought hard to stay. I chose to live my life in this place that was toxic, where I was treated like Hester Prynne and I so longed to be given a chance to speak my heart –

but I was never given a chance, because people do not want their scapegoat to have a voice.

They don’t want that tied up goat to have a story. They want it to be an object that can carry all of their darkness, so they don’t have to sit with it.

And living in this perfectly imperfect place, I was given so many lessons, so many tests.

I have learned so much.

Ha Makom – the place where I am standing, here is God. Here is my synagogue. If I take care of my own synagogue and make sure I am behaving in alignment with my core values, make sure I am acting in integrity, it doesn’t matter how other people choose to treat me, or what they choose to believe about me. I know my synagogue is a holy place, a beautiful place.

In my personal “temple” or “ha makom,” the place I am standing, I would never treat someone unkindly or glare at them or snub them; I simply don’t behave that way.  Now I am learning I can go one step further and not judge them for their behavior. I can take out the pain-response and simply breathe to myself “Ha Makom,” when they are cruel.   I am grateful for this arena in which I have learned to fight by not fighting: by simply growing larger in my heart and more compassionate.

daniel-in-the-lions-den

The gladiator can observe the lion, set down her weapon and focus on her own power to choose.

Talking With Gremlins

I’ve decided to focus this blog on my experiences with coaching and the Maggid program & my women’s empowerment therapy group. I am doing *so* much in the way of growing & healing right now, in fact, that I need to have a place to process it all.  So: here it is.

I’m doing a lot of fighting these days against old dreams. Dreams that used to mean the world to me – things I sacrificed for , worked toward…are feeling hollow.  They are feeling like tight sweaters.

I went across the country to learn Hebrew… drove. then flew back to Portland and lived there for a time. all to learn Hebrew. Maybe one day I will write about that long (and difficult and hilarious) journey.

I fought to be in the Maggid program; dropped other things, made room in my life… I am also teaching hebrew / pre b’nai mitzvah to kids, which was an honor to be asked to do…

but where am *I* in all of this?  I’m not there any more.  The rituals are ringing hollow, and bringing up pain / scar tissue/ resistance.  The connection and living, vital force is simply not there. I am not there.

I am either scared, defensive and small, in “abandoned orphan” mode, with my Celtic fists up and ready to do battle,

Or I’m … elsewhere.  with my heart in the remodeling work, or in the writing that is languishing while I do these other things, or… or.

I am needing to heal from an immense betrayal – from my past relationship – a huge abandonment, manipulation, lie – you name it: that has been left behind me now, but there is still SO much healing to do.

I can’t just walk away, because I don’t want the things he left me with to *ever* come up again. I do not want this person to have power in my life at ALL.  So, I am working , delving, clearing things out before building something new. I have made self-care and healing TOP priority this year.

and what I am finding is this:

as you begin to do the work, resistance comes up more strongly.

When I catch on to my “gremlins,” for instance , they get crafty;  they change voices.  They become projections of what other people are thinking.  It’s always negative toward me, and it’s always in a played-out scene, in these people’s voices.

For instance, one of my Maggid teachers.  “she loathes me,” says my mind:  “she is saying this -”  and my mind goes on to craft an entire scene.  “Geez! I wish that Rivkah would shut up, she’s such a mess, and I am tired of her.”  or “I wish she would quit this course.”
So right now, the answer is to pause, breathe, realize that is the Self-Critic talking, (only it’s gotten very crafty and it’s speaking in a new voice) and it ISN’T REAL. Even if it were real, it would be up to the other person, I think, to communicate with me if they wanted something — their thoughts are not my business, and I am so much happier when I simply…let go.

Lately all my self-critic (or “gremlin” as my awesome life coach Ana calls it) is to do with abandonment – people not wanting me around, etc.  VERY obvious where that comes from. That’s the bewildered and harmed little-girl me.  The Victim. Perhaps it’s time to remember to hug her, and tell her : I will never abandon you.  No matter what other people do or say, I will never abandon you, self. I will never betray you or act against your needs. Not ever again.

Have you ever tried to tell yourself this?

I am beginning to think that people sometimes look for things from others that we can be giving ourselves.  And I’m thinking that is where a lot of pain comes from.  If I start looking around for reassurance, or for support or praise or acceptance or love, even — what about if I give that to myself? I can do that any time. and it’s AWESOME how much happier I am when I do that.