Emotions, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

Dark Side Cookies

I was doing some research on the Pillars of Solomon and part of that included listening to Taliesin McKnight’s video post on the subject. The idea of the Great Work in general is uniting both halves of the self into a unified whole, or regenerating the soul is the term he used. The topic of looking at the light (known) and dark (unknown) parts of ourselves in the endless quest to bring more of ourselves into the light of understanding is pretty much the topic of this journal/blog.

In the cited video, at about 21:50, where he is talking about the repressed and expressed sides of the self, he uses his own literal shadow to illustrate this point.

In that moment, a word sprang across my brain: Doppelganger. Literally, it means “double self” and I always thought the doppelganger would find a “host” by stepping into their shadow and becoming that person’s shadow – only once it had fully imprinted on the person, it could detach at will and become an exact duplicate of that person. Essentially an Evil Twin. It would do its mischief, and then return to the host as their shadow, the person being none the wiser. In researching the doppelganger, I didn’t find too much about the shadow part so forgive the error but that was my understanding of this word which encapsulated the concept to follow.

The shadow, or the repressed and unacknowledged aspect of ourself, is still us, still me. I may not acknowledge my inner cheerleader but she’s there – lurking in the shadow of me, waiting to pop out to prance around and shake pompoms. Like all aspects of the self, it wants to be expressed. It WANTS to see the light of day and dance in the sun; but it can’t, because I have that perky little bitch in chains chucked into the basement. Alas, the more I seek to deny and bury these repressed aspects, the more they can sneak around and get out on their own. Indeed, this is the very concept behind the Hall of Mirrors – what I repress in myself I give to others, and they are my mirror. The more unaware of this whole process I am, the more I live deep in a Hall of Mirrors having no idea that what I am seeing are actually distorted versions of myself.

So the myth of the doppelganger, or shadow person, is a PERFECT allegory for this. That shadow self IS me, and when it slips away from my conscious control it’s like someone other than me is sitting at the helm, using my body to dick with people.

I sat agog at how beautiful this myth perfectly illustrated the concept. Then other images flashed to mind and I started to see just how many of our myths include the concept that while the Dark may be evil, that’s where true power lies, and if courted or sometimes just given half a chance then it will take us over.

I’ve been hot-boxing Supernatural (DEAN! *faints dead away*), since they are now up to like season 13 and I originally stopped watching after season 5. It’s not really a show you can just catch piecemeal, so I had to stop and now I’m finally catching up. Anyway, I’ve totally been stewing in the demon and witch mythos that the show really hits hard. Talk about a perfect illustration of the idea!

  • Witches get their otherworldly power from a pact with a demon, a being from the darkest pits of Hell. Once granted, it’s really not feasible to be a nice person still.
  • Demons, well, they are darkness and they can take over a person and do all manner of evil then, leaving the person to pay for the crimes of this controlling “alien” entity that made them do these things.
  • The werewolf is somewhat similar, in that it comes out at night and is uncontrollable evil, taking over the helpless daytime self.
  • Switching shows a bit: “If only you knew the POWAAH of the Dark Side!” Dude. Archetypal much?

So yeah, this shadow aspect of ourselves which has the power to take over in some form or other is so freaking common in our stories and myths that when I stopped to see it … it was impressive. How could I have missed this?? But now that I see it, I’m starting to really re-evaluate a lot of storylines…

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Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

We are One

Ohotto has a new title that he’s chosen for his work in astrology: HoloKompass. It’s a blend of the words “hologram” and “compass”. A hologram is a 3-d image made of light. What makes true holograms really cool is that no matter how you slice it up or take it apart, each piece will still contain the whole picture. If my body were a hologram, and I pulled out a single liver cell, that liver cell would still be my entire body — just tiny. Of course, my body is not a hologram.

A while ago I did an examination of a cultural wound, and afterwards I was wondering just what the heck I could do to actually address the wound? I mean, I’m one person, and my blog here hardly has any traffic. It’s not like my work is actually going to impact anyone. Why bother?

So a few days later there I am driving in the car, listening to Ohotto’s latest offering of Jupiter/Venus Retrograde and he’s talking about what he means by his use of holokompass. Random things begin to rise to the surface of my awareness, like flashcards.

Hologram.

One Person.

All is One.

What All does affects the One.

What One does affects the All.

Suddenly it coalesced in my brain. I know that the individual physical self is both real and illusion, that beneath the meat suit is a soul which is connected to the All and thus all is already one while being many – even if we don’t see it yet. In addition to this, I know that every individual human contains the full range of Humanity within them. If one human is capable of murder, so are all. If one human is capable of love, so are all. I could be Jeffrey Dahmer or Mother Theresa but for the choices I have made and the circumstances I exist within. You will never hear me say “Oh I could never do such-and-such” because I know I’m capable of anything any human anywhere has ever done for emotional reasons — but for the choices I make. In this way, Humanity is a hologram.

When I start to see and work with emotional conditions, even if it’s just me by myself in my little ill-traveled corner of the internet, those ideas and emotional realities are being shared with the whole of humanity through our holographic nature, through the unity. So is my work truly wasted? Even if no one ever reads it?

I suddenly now realize, no. It’s not wasted. None of it is wasted. It may not be a tsunami, but it is a drop, a steady drip drip drip. And with enough time, a steady drip can carve great things.

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Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

Trusting Others

I’ve been hotboxing the StarGate family of series and one really struck me. It was a StarGate SG1 episode called Past and Present in which a returning character had her memory wiped and she didn’t remember that she was a sociopathic murderer and as a result, now she’s nice. That said, there were clues sprinkled very subtly in a couple of places that perhaps some part of her is still not that nice. In the end, she takes something to help restore her memories and decides she hates the person she was … so she takes the original drug again in order to wipe away the memory.

Interesting. Of course it’s the “nature versus nurture” type of question but something struck me. Do you know Aesop’s fable of the Scorpion and the Frog?  If not, look it up. It’s worth knowing. Essentially, in the case of this character, will her lack of memory about who she was truly change who she is?

Will erasing a scorpion’s memory allow it believe it is something else? For the rest of its life?

Long ago I was talking to hubby about trusting people and feelings of betrayal. I said I pretty much take the approach that everyone is who they are – a scorpion is a scorpion and a frog is a frog. I have the ability read people pretty quickly, thus I can always trust them to be true to their basic nature as I understand it. Words mean little, even some actions mean little. If someone surprises me, it means I didn’t really see their nature in the first place. To that, they will be true.

The only person I’ve ever truly felt betrayed by was me, and this always boiled down to me failing to recognize my own nature and then putting myself in situations which I could not honestly support.

You can only ever trust someone to be who they are.

The episode had a lot of potential to really dig into this question but they chose not to. They remained light and fluffy. Disappointing. What is fascinating is that through that series you can really see the American shadow hero. It’s very interesting from that standpoint.

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Hall of Mirrors

Personal Inventories

I had a thought today while driving home and listening once again to Ohotto‘s Saturn in Sagittarius series. The part he was talking about was taking a personal inventory of where you are in relation to your concepts of truth. This is an idea I hear a lot of teachers include which essentially I translate as “interview yourself to find out where your blind spots are.”

Huh. If I knew where my blind spots are, they wouldn’t be blind spots.

In this particular part, he’s talking about inconvenient truths. They are inconvenient in that by recognizing them we have to decide what to do about them. I will add in that instinctively we know that by recognizing a situation’s truth we have to make a choice, and that choice will ultimately either be right or wrong to greater or lesser degrees. Better to ignore the situation then make the wrong choice, because I can blame inaction on “how I was supposed to know?” as opposed to “Yeah, I knew full well and did it anyway.”

So to retranslate into this example, “interview myself to find out what inconvenient truths I need to recognize but haven’t yet.” *blink*blink* That’s a tall order. I absolutely agree it is something that every thinking person needs to do, but I don’t think it’s a moment in time where I can sit down and say “what am I not seeing about myself and my situation?” I’m not seeing it for a host of reasons! There are some I can rattle off, but definitely not the deeper or larger ones.

What I would need is a mindset shift and a set of tools to help trigger me into recognizing “wait a minute, is this one of my inconvenient truths?” Not only a set of tools to help me recognize either in the moment or afterwards, but also tools on working through the emotional system which was forcing that truth to go unrecognized in the first place.

This is actually what I think my Hall of Mirrors training provided for me. By owning that I am indeed IN a Hall of Mirrors I put the first tool of recognition into my kit. The rest of the Hall includes steps on different types of recognition – internal and external. The more I used it, the easier it got until right in the middle of a projection flare-up I could recognize what was happening to me and consciously choose what my next step would be.

Interestingly, with those tools in my arsenal, I’ve found them exceedingly useful when it comes to feeling out when familial and cultural wounds are running amok in my psyche in real time.

Anyway, that was my thought on this approach. An inventory is great, but it’s not a one-time thing and being able to do it well requires a bit more emotional savvy than most people are experienced with. Anyone can learn it, of course, and once learned it is applicable in SOOO many ways.

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Archetypes, Emotions, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth, Spirituality

An Unpopular Cultural Wound

There’s a topic that popped into my head one day while doing my usual “talking to myself” shtick. This time, what came out turned into a rather heated rant revolving around a specific, unaddressed, unacknowledged … actually denied cultural wound. It’s a long standing wound and by this point in time it’s gangrenous and has caused a great deal of harm. It is long past time that someone, somewhere, give this wound a voice. Not to vent or spew poison — but rather with the intention of healing.

Those who’ve read this blog know of my work with familial wounding, and through that alchemizing process I hit upon some pretty nasty cultural wounds which go beyond my family. Most of them are gender related, but not this one. See, a cultural wound affects everyone to some degree who identifies with that particular culture. As to just what a “cultural wound” is, I shall you point you once again to the brilliant work of Robert Ohotto.

In this case, I’m talking about the wounded Southern cultural ego.

What is that wound? Well, it actually revolves around the Civil War and specifically the aftermath. My mom is a huge Civil War buff and I spent my childhood eventually visiting every single major battlefield with the exceptions of Antietam and Shiloh. I’ve been to every major surviving plantation home, from presidents (Hermitage, Monticello, etc) to families (Shirley, Bel Meade, etc). I was steeped in a strongly Confederate-leaning upbringing, and with that I am also very socially liberal. I see no conflict between individual sovereignty and social equality – in fact, they go hand-in-hand.

Despite all this exposure, I always thought “that was over 100 years ago; the issues are long dead”. Then I attended the 150th Battle of Gettysburg re-enactment. The final event was Pickett’s Charge. The two sides then stopped to face each other – Yankee and Confederate. Women walked between the lines carrying wreaths in honor of all the Americans who died during that battle. Then the two sides were supposed to come together and shake hands. What literally blew me away and hit me to my core was watching just how many of the re-enactors turned their backs and walked away … on both sides. The expressions of the men who chose this action were all different levels of furious. It was in that moment that I truly realized … “It’s not over. Not by a long shot.” I then remembered catching my mom once in a rant against Sherman and what an evil bastard he is. IS. She was on a roll, angry and impassioned, and speaking entirely in present tense. Truly, it’s not over for the cultural psyche if those who are plugged into it speak in present terms.

The wounds inflicted in that war were triaged somewhat, then picked at and picked at and picked at before being left to fester. The Reconstruction era was a dark chapter that doesn’t get talked about much, indeed it’s typically glossed over as if “and then we rebuilt yay! koombayah” No. My mom always said that the absolute worst thing that happened to the South other than the war itself was Lincoln’s assassination. Knowing history as I do now, I agree with her completely. My great-grandparents lived in a home built in the 1840s and expanded in the late-1860s and it included traps specifically to defend against Carpetbaggers. That blew me away when I was shown the cubby holes where the family would hide when the looters came. Or the trap door which allowed defenders to drop down on top of anyone at the front door. “Reconstruction” was roughly 40 years of deliberate abuse aimed at punishing the culture which dared to defy the powers that be, and part of that abuse was ensuring blame got heaped aplenty. Scapegoat anyone? Here’s what it goes like:

*cue the music* The North was the righteous hero who fought for the moral cause and won.  They were innocent of any wrong doing. It was those ill-bred, dirty uneducated Southerners who fought to keep slaves. They are bad people and it was all their fault.

*raised eyebrow* Really? How simplistic.

Do you honestly think that brothers would feel so strongly about whether or not rich people could buy other people that they would literally face off to kill each other? Especially for a single statement/issue. It was indeed a war that tore families apart, with the whole “brother against brother” and “father against son” being LITERAL. Not figurative. Literal. And you want to convince me that brothers were willing to kill their brothers over THAT issue? Hell, if you know anything about history you know that the institution of slavery was dying all on its own and rightly so. Rightly so! Hear that — rightly so, but if you think slavery is over then think again — “human trafficking” is just a PC term for “slave trading”. It’s not legally sanctioned here, but we sure do loose a lot of people to slave traders and I’m not about to church it up so we can pretend the gritty truth is less ugly than it is. *clears throat* My apologies for the digression.

So if the Southerners got all the blame for the war and had to accept the moral judgment to boot, what do you think this did? Bear in mind, there was pretty much not a single whole male left after that war, and by “whole” I mean that literally – as in “not missing body parts”. It’s eye opening to read the accounts of the hardships the women faced in that period because SOOOOO many men were missing hands, legs, feet, arms or were otherwise so scarred as to require operating at less than full capacity — if they came home at all. Being a largely agricultural economy at the time, this was beyond devastating. Then the carpetbaggers come in, aiming to pillage and loot the larger wealthy looking homes which were all the support many of these communities had left. There wasn’t much organized opposition to these bands of murderous robbers because … hello! Devastated to begin with. So, in the midst of this poverty hardship and pain, now start with the moralizing and judgments, the scapegoating and the blame throwing, and allow the poverty to go on and on and on. Anger goes somewhere, and who do you think is the unfortunate group to get shit on even more?

If you said the black community, you are indeed correct. Scapegoats for the scapegoats. The saying is “shit rolls downhill” and that definitely includes bearing cultural shadows. Let’s move forward a few decades, a century. The Civil Rights movement comes along, long overdue for sure. Voting rights for blacks. Equal access to amenities and services, education and jobs. HUZZAH! So the cultural wounding for the black Southerner is somewhat being addressed, but in the process now the white Southerner is once again being told “you are bad” and “you are evil” and “you are wrong”. That cultural archetype was angry and wounded to begin with! Let’s let this anger fester for another few generations, with the occasional violent flare-ups but otherwise unaddressed and unacknowledged as a legitimate wound. Now we’ll throw in a black President. I will admit that I was caught up in the “I hate him so virulently that I can’t look at him” emotionality. I actually had to stop and actively look at the “why” before I could unravel the rejection and see its source more than 150 years in the past. Then I was free of that crap and glad for it because that rage wasn’t mine as in me-personally – it was the voice of my cultural wounding. Alas, most people are not self-aware and so never once ask “why am I so unreasonably angry about this??” So after this presidential episode let’s trot out the white guy who says all the “right things” to a group who by now is caught firmly in the activation of a flamingly infected cultural wound.

Given all this, it now makes absolute sense to me where “this” is coming from. Where all the vile rage that I’m hearing pouring from the mouths of people I call friends but I know, KNOW are good people who wouldn’t even think such things on their own.  Aaaah, yes. I see. I understand. I empathize. Now it’s time to heal.

So what happens now? Well, firstly, recognition. The number of people who actually deny that white Southerners have a wound or deserve to have their wounding validated is staggering. Another manifestation of cultural wounding! There’s plenty to go around! And do you know what? Saying “the wounds suffered by the white Southerners deserve to be recognized” does NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT in any way take away, negate or diminish the wounds suffered by the black Southerners. Remember I said that shit rolls downhill? Energetically speaking, the lowest tier is trying to rise up and throw their own shit plus the projected shit they’ve been carrying which is NOT theirs onto another group, and that other group is rejecting the attempt.  I tend to think of societies as interconnected pieces, and if we want to heal one part we have to also heal another as well. That means acknowledging the wounds that are present … without judgment.

This is just as true of the cultural wound inflicted on the Native Americans! As I said, there’s plenty of wounding to go around and acknowledging one group’s wound does not diminish the impact of another group’s wound. I’m not Native, I’m not plugged into the Yankee cultural psyche, etc. But I can still see where the wounds they are dealing with are just as invasive, painful and damaging. It’s not a competition.

I actually think that right now our many and sundry cultural wounds are tap dancing down the center of the street practically begging us to be adult enough to own them. Just look at Trump having even the slightest degree of political success, then toss in the Black Lives Matter movement, the amazing cooperation and unity of the Native Peoples in their fight for control of their land, then the governmental responses across the board to this, and then the women’s march is a cherry on top. Holy shit balls, Batman! Something is energetically afoot and if we as a people don’t stop and ask ourselves “whaaaa?” then we’re going to be in even more trouble. This shit is coming up for a reason. We are being asked to own it and then alchemize it – turn it from led into gold. Heal the many wounds and move through them. Not past them, through them. Each of these groups and cultures has the right to be angry about the wounds suffered. It’s ok to be angry – but it’s the disempowered victim that demands everybody apologize and grovel and cater. Don’t be ‘that guy’. Be adult enough to ask what is your personal relationship to your cultural inheritance (whatever your personal one is) and what can you do to ease the suffering?

 

About the featured image: from the 1981 movie “Heavy Metal”. It’s my answer to the question of: “what happens if we refuse to question the wounds that we carry?”

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Emotions, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

Co-Dependence and Shame

There’s a few themes I’m internally working on.

One of them is the gender divide and how to heal it. It’s damaging to all involved and must be addressed with firm compassion.

Related to this is my work with co-dependence, its cultural pervasiveness, and how to identify it in action.

The other theme which is rising to the fore is working on the concept of shame in our culture and just how damaging and pervasive that is. Interestingly, I’m discovering that it’s actually tied with the first, and also the second.

Related to this is my work on owning and accepting the entirety of myself, for which my Hall of Mirrors is a key step. Culturally, what gets rejected are aspects we are ashamed of. Ex: women can’t own their anger or assertiveness, men can’t own their submissive or loving aspects.

Why are those things (whatever they may be) being rejected? If discovered, they are used as weapons to shame … to control. By whom? Others in society – the trolls, the family members, friends, that lady at the grocery store whose lip curled in disgust but otherwise said nothing.

Shame is an emotional weapon used to control. Want someone to stop doing something? Publically shame them and get others to join in. It’s as old as humanity itself. It’s not new. Social media certainly didn’t invent it! Women have been shamed for being female. Men are shamed for having any emotion deemed “feminine” which is anything other than anger. I’ve heard Indian women say that husbands who actually care for and treat their wives well are looked down on as being weak. So yeah, simple human decency is something for a man to be ashamed of in some cultures.

And you know what? It works. Shaming people to control their actions WORKS. But only, and I repeat, ONLY if the individual being shamed actually feels any degree of shame for their actions, choices, or being. Try shaming someone who’s actually proud of or just doesn’t give a fig about the very thing you’re trying to shame them for. The response I hear when someone attempts to shame me for something I’m not ashamed of: “Have you no shame?!” It’s usually hissed or said with incredulity.

But I digress. So these are the themes that I’m working on and I’m starting to see just how tied together these all are. Disown what is culturally unaccepted, prove to culture that we toe the line by shaming others to feel better about ourselves or secure our place of safety, but when huge swathes of our own self is carved out and cast away, SOMEONE has to carry it. In the case of gender, masculine carved out of itself everything it deemed unworthy and dumped it on feminine with orders to ‘carry that shit, it’s yours now’ Guess what? Then feminine replied ‘ok, but now you have to carry this crap for me’. So if one is carrying half the other’s junk while we carry theirs …. now in order to be whole we HAVE to have some relationship with the rejected other half in order to feel complete, whole, safe. Hello co-dependence! Hello recipe for resentment and bitterness!

And this is NOT restricted to gender. I’m looking at the various strata of society and seeing the same thing. All those at the top saying “eeew, I’m not like thooooose people” just push their shit down the social ladder until folks at the bottom are the ones forced to carry all kinds of shit. Why do you think it’s so hard to engage with the homeless or whatever other “untouchable” level your society has? They are covered in shit not their own, including MINE, but now I have the luxury of turning away to energetically say “no, I’m fine with you being the dirty one. Thanks for your service, but if I acknowledge you than I might get dirty myself. Can’t have that, so I have to ignore you.”

I’m starting to realize that even though I’ve called myself a whole and complete person for many years now, I didn’t recognize just how much of myself I was still rejecting and expecting the masculine or others to carry for me. (“could you flag down our waitress? I don’t want to make a scene.”) Well I didn’t realize it until I walked into my Hall of Mirrors and eventually started to find my way out. Now I see that in order to recall home all these parts of me I have to de-shame them first. I have to take shit-covered aspects of humanity and embrace them without making a face. It’s hard to own something I don’t even want to look at, let alone acknowledge. But every aspect that tries to come home also runs the Judgmental Gauntlet, provoking others to react, and thereby forcing me to act. What will I choose? Rejection of myself in order to gain social acceptance, or acceptance of myself and gain social rejection?

We are human, and we are social. Our ability to survive is dependent upon the social connections we have. To be rejected socially is literally interpreted by our emotional system as a threat to our very survival. That’s why shaming someone in an attempt to control them is so  effective – it’s hitting that primal part of ourself which says “MUST be part of a social unit for safety and survival MUST”.

So in trying to own myself, I’m actually risking social rejection. To my emotional mind, I’m risking my very survival. That’s not small, and it definitely is NOT for the feint for heart. It’s hard work and demands emotional fortitude and a willingness to stand alone.

 

 

About the image:  I snagged this off of a youtube video. I loathe how everything is getting a syndrome or a disorder now. I’m all for finding support and a way out, but labels don’t usually offer ways out. Labels NEED for adherents to continue subscribing to them, not moving on from them. But I liked the picture.

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Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

Responding and Reacting

As those of you who’ve actually followed this blog know, I am a HUGE fan of Robert Ohotto. In his latest release “Jupiter/Venus Retrograde“, he spoke a little bit about responding (conscious choice) versus reacting (unconscious pattern following).

What a beautiful way of putting it!

I’ve spoken a bit about this with my Hall of Mirrors, about the different ways I act when projections are triggered. Anytime there is a strong emotional reaction (REACT) my training has taught me that I’m dealing with subconscious patterns and I really need to pay attention. It’s a waving red flag and learning how to recognize and work with, from and within these emotional states is essentially step one in my Hall of Mirrors training.

I will speak for myself here. When I react, it’s completely without conscious thought. I am following patterns and established pathways of behavior because they are easiest. Like the tires of a car falling into the deep ruts on a muddy road – for those who’ve actually driven on roads like that. Those deep ruts essentially trap the tires, and trying to get out of traveling in this established path is not easy and requires a great deal of active effort and perhaps some luck. But now I know the FEELING of reaction. I know what that feels like in my system.

But knowing what this feels and therefore looks like also means that I can now see when others are reacting as well. It’s been very helpful to cut down and almost eliminate taking things personally that have nothing to do with me, but I haven’t mastered the Crucial Conversations skills of how to engage these in constructive ways … yet. But what I was missing is that some people choose to do this *deliberately*. They use these impassioned, knee-jerk reactions as weapons, to knock an opponent off their center and then trample them underfoot.

It was actually just yesterday when I watched someone use this technique on me which made me  realize that for some abusive people, this type of reaction is not at all unconscious. Now I talk all tough, but I’m a damn marshmallow and have entirely too many footprints on my back where jerks wipe their feet … and I let them. It’s an aspect of me that I loathe, but there it is, in all it’s ‘compassionate’ glory. And this person yesterday is perhaps the single biggest offender in the dirty-soles department (heh). I’m slowly clueing in as to just how manipulative and deliberate this individual is with regards to how they use their temper as a weapon to ensure everybody around them remains manageable. At this point, I don’t give a shit what the background and excuses are for the whys, this behavior is NOT cool. And I’m allowing it to continue. *wags finger at self*

So yesterday this individual starts attacking, using techniques that I have often fallen for in the past. This time, I’m watching her, listening to her, acknowledging she has a point but also actually put forth my own point (!!) and then I apologize for misinterpreting the situation, give her a hug, and go about the rest of my day. This time, I’m choosing not to respond with my typical catering to the simmering passive-aggressive smile-with-narrowed-eyes BS, hoping for forgiveness. Stuff that! I’m choosing instead to not be controlled by this tactic … but in a non-confrontational way. Getting all up in there will only further destabilize me, and *that* would be me reacting. Instead, I’m choosing to respond by thinking about my options and selecting one that is in keeping with my character and doesn’t terribly betray my energy system. This was also the first time that I recognized what was happening in nearly real-time. Very happy with that, it means progress!

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