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Boundaries Of The Incomplete

I’ve totally been hot-boxing all of the various series by Robert Ohotto that I have and every time he says something that sparks a thought or a realization or a question, I make a voice note so that I can remember all the sparks. In his “Creating Intimacy” series, he flat out says the Patriarchy doesn’t permit women to have boundaries.

Talk about a “duh” moment.

All those incidences where women’s polite “not interested” is responded to as if this was some code for “please continue the unwanted advances but up the aggression factor”? Disrespect for boundaries!

There are thousands of permutations on this theme that I can think of to illustrate this, and I’m sure you can as well. What’s fascinating is that, from my observations, those who are most likely to disregard boundaries are also unbalanced themselves. It’s like they completely steamroller attempted boundaries because they literally cannot tolerate them on a psycho-spiritual level, feeling the need for something outside of themselves to ‘make them complete’ – like a black hole sucking in everything around it.

“No! I don’t want to be sucked in!”
“Now don’t be rude. You’re just playing hard to get. I like it.”
*agog*

It’s … pathological. (Apparently that’s my new favorite word.) I also think it’s part of the whole co-dependence thing I’ve talked about before, where an incomplete thing seeks to complete itself from outside sources. An inability or unwillingness to recognize the boundaries of that which is considered necessary for completion then begins to make some sense — as well as understanding why it affects some and not others.

Exactly how this can be meaningfully addressed is best left to those more educated than I am, but it’s an awareness that needs to be more widespread. Pointing this out for what it is, in a calm and rational way, is far more likely to get attention than shaming and blaming. Crucial Conversations teaches that the best and fastest way to shut down any form of communication is to put someone into a position where they feel they must emotionally defend themselves. Doing the shame and blame thing is an instant conversation killer and nothing productive will result from it — except for more shame and blame with increasing levels of  resentment.

 

Featured Image: That just totally cracked me up and had me laughing for a good hour afterwards. It came from a post on Anger Mentor entitled “How to Control Your Anger by Setting Solid Personal Boundaries.”

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Lessons in Bullihood

I used to be a bully when I was very little. I admit it. Here’s the thing, I never bullied people directly. It’s not like I confronted anyone and pushed them into the dirt. Or stood as part of a circle to taunt someone to their face. That’s not what I did.

I only made comments when I thought the target couldn’t hear me. Why? Because I never actually wanted to hurt the target. That was NOT my goal. My goal was to gain social acceptance with the group I was already a part of who decided to target the unfortunate recipient.

There’s one I recall very specifically. I don’t remember her name, and I was like in 2nd or 3rd grade. She lived in the trailer park at the last stop before reaching the school on a route that otherwise went through a very moneyed neighborhood. She stood out in poor fitting hand-me-downs and bad haircut and being overweight (a crime for a kid in the 80s and earlier).

I was newish to this neighborhood and only had one friend. I wanted to keep her! So when my friend started to make fun of this other girl from the back of the bus while she was in the front, I joined in. I don’t think we were yelling. Besides, I do remember that I never wanted her to hear us, and in my childish naiveté I actually honestly did not think our voices could carry that far. Children get odd ideas about things, and I apparently thought I couldn’t be heard.

This went on for maybe a month and it gave me acceptance with my new friend. I felt safe then, because I had my little group of one other.

Then one day, this poor girl shot a look of hurt and anger to the back of the bus. To us. To me. In that instant I realized with no small amount of genuine shock: ‘she can hear us!’ No amount of acceptance was worth actively hurting another person! I remember that feeling very clearly, and I remember being ashamed of myself for hurting her. Especially since it wasn’t my intention that she should ever even be aware of it. I then remember sitting back in my seat and saying “I don’t want do that anymore”. Surprisingly, my friend readily agreed. We found something else to do to while away the bus ride and we never picked on that kid ever again.

In 4th grade another class scapegoat rose to the fore. Her name I remember. I never said a word to her, but I watched her with a degree of pity and fear. A pretty enough girl with long glossy straight blonde hair, always held back with a plastic barrette over her ears. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I’d say she had one hell of a rough home life. At the time, with all the wisdom and life experience of a 4th grader, I only saw a girl who let snot run down her face until it literally dripped into her mouth. A girl who could never find her homework though she’d slowly and listlessly poke through the piles of crumpled up dirty papers in her desk. A girl that others in the class relentlessly picked on and made fun of. I think of her now and my heart breaks for her and I wonder how she grew up. She was only in my school for that one year.

Many years later, another girl, similar, but instead of being beaten down and broken she was angry. At the time, I was taking riding lessons and she loved horses. Apparently she lived nearby where I rode. When I saw her and witnessed her obvious longing look at the horse I was working with, I invited her in to brush the other side. We had maybe two or three shared grooming sessions before the stable owner chased her off rather soundly. Sadly, she never came back to the stable after that though I did look for her and missed her company. I later had a gym class with her, but she kept to herself. I saw from her notebook doodles what an extremely talented artist she was. Told her so when the locker room was empty. She gave me a guarded look to see if I was making fun of her, but apparently saw I was being sincere. She gave me a nod. The next year I ventured into the wrong girl’s restroom during class to discover the Gang Of Girls With Which You Do Not Fuck. The ones who will literally cut a bitch. She’s one of them. Since I needed to go, I did. On my way out, the leader is giving me the “tell and I’ll cut you” death glare with the others doing the same. Quietly, this girl says “she’s ok” and the others nod and back down. I never felt so profoundly grateful to hear two words as I did in that moment. After that, this group of girls never bothered me again. Several years later, she came to school with a pet rat, using it to scare the girls and smirking as they squealed and flinched or ran away. She thrust this fancy rat at me, I guess expecting the same but instead I cooed and petted it. It was very friendly. She stopped after that, at least that day, letting it ride on her shoulder under her hair before she cut school. That was the last time I saw her.

In college, my group of friends decided this one girl was a good target. I could feel the swell of emotion, the need to prove themselves superior. I turned away and said “I have better things to do”. What truly shocked me is that I could feel the energy deflate, like a balloon punctured. My words and attitude reminded my friends at the time that there were indeed better things to do, and making fun of someone was not a good use of time or energy. Since then, I’ve found that I actually have a pretty strong effect on my friends with regard to this. I’m not at the mercy of social acceptance – I help create it. At work one day, a friend from India had some seriously ugly things to say about someone we were walking past. I gave her my view without calling hers wrong. She tried to stop and engage her target, but I kept walking. So she abandoned her effort to catch up to me and listened to what I said. The next time we walked by this person, she didn’t even react to him.

I understand viscerally the temptation to pick on others, and I know the reason I started doing it as a youngster. But I’m also far too empathic to actively watch the hurt on someone’s face and then keep causing it. I feel sorry for those so caught up in the emotional need for acceptance that it outweighs anything else. I don’t hate them for this though. I hear people say “I hate bullies!” but I don’t. I do not approve of the actions, but the root cause is all too human and that pain I have compassion for. I address that now when I’m confronted with it. It’s not the same precisely from case to case, but typically it’s something along these lines. Publically shaming bullies may or may not work. Instead, find their humanity and address that. Be emotionally savvy enough to see past the hurt on all sides. It doesn’t mean it can ever be excused or tolerated, but firm lines can be drawn with heart. Anger only results in more anger. If people can’t listen to each other out of a need to defend themselves then nothing will be fixed. There’s enough hurt in the world already.

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Personal Growth, Rant, Uncategorized

Using Telepathy Instead of Words

Have you ever been in a situation where you told someone something would be ok when you knew as the words were coming out of your mouth that indeed it would NOT be ok?

How about heard or even said the words: “You should have just known!” or the dreaded “If you really loved me, you would have known that already.” Or the ever funny “I shouldn’t have HAD to tell you I wouldn’t like X.”

Yeeeeaaaaah.

Personally, these words have never crossed my mind with any degree of earnestness but I have known people who use them like freakin’ hand grenades. I’ve also never been on the receiving end because guys are generally pretty up front with “yeah, not cool with that” rather than the passive-aggressive approach employed by some women I’ve known. (Granted, I’m SURE there are plenty of men who use this tactic so don’t get knackered, I just haven’t encountered them.)

I was reading a blog post and the writer said something akin to this:

Sure, I said “okay” at the time, but what I really hoped for was that you would telepathically divine my thoughts and instead of saying “good, I’ll do that” you would actually say: “hrm, I’m getting the sense that you’re not really okay with this. So I’m gonna do something to fix that part that I have magically determined that you’re not okay with. Then I’ll just deal with it for you so you won’t have to say or do anything uncomfortable.”

Just reading this sparked this entire little post because I could literally hear the real statement from these words and I wanted to put it out there.

See, this passive-aggressive thought process goes back to the previous post I did on responsibility for our own happiness and about being a whole, independent, autonomous person. Now let me take those words above and put them into my language. This is what I hear being said by the subconscious mind behind the words being given:

“I don’t want to own that I have a problem with whatever this is, so I’m going to silently and without warning give the onus of not only perceiving that I have a problem but also the resolution for this problem over to you, so that I don’t have to deal with it. And when you fail, because you can’t read my mind and so you will, then I’ll get to punish you for failing to magically notice that I lied to you to your face and you were stupid enough to actually trust me. This way, I get to maintain the power dynamic in our relationship because after I get upset then you will go into ‘solve the problem’ mode and come to my rescue.”

Yeah. Really not a fan of this. If I have a problem with something and then say “sure” … the problem is fucking MINE and I will damn well deal with the aftermath. It doesn’t get trotted out later, because I SAID sure. No take backs. Be an adult here. This whole “you should have known” bullshit is just that. BULLSHIT. And it’s a deliberate emotional manipulation tactic of the lowest order. Maybe not conscious, but deliberate. Call people on that shit!

My husband’s ex-wife apparently loved to do this to him. So much so that it’s a joke for us. But I told him if I EVER did that to him, his response needs to be “And if you loved me, you would have had the courage to talk about this issue before it happened.” Like I said, call people on that shit. Doesn’t need to be nasty, but it does need to be clear so that “I see what you are trying to do, and it’s not going to work” gets conveyed.

 

 

About the Featured Image: I found it on Pinterest but I don’t know the source. If you know it, let me know and I’ll cite it. It’s a scene from “Star Ship Troopers” where the queen bug injects a probe into the brain of the captive and sucks his skull hollow. This is pretty much what I imagine the emotional impact of that “you should have known” statement has on the recipient of it.

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*singsong* Missed Connections

It’s funny the things we remember.
I’ll never know his name, but he’s a favorite memory. It was an SCA Collegium sometime in the early 1990s at Appalachia College in Boone, NC. One of the classes was on some military campaign using cannons – or at least that’s what I remember of it. Now normally I don’t give a fig about this topic, but it was the most interesting one in that time slot. I could either go to a class or wander around, and I opted to go to the class.
The fellow teaching the class was, ironically, dressed as a monk. Bonus he was CUTE, but apart from that he made the presentation very interesting. I was surprised how interesting it was. I was paying attention as I would in any class – watching the teacher directly and absorbing the information. I remember about 10 minutes into the class he was glancing around the small classroom at the few people in there and we had a tiny moment of direct eye contact before he continued skimming the room. He did a quick double take back to me, then returned his attention to his notes. Throughout the rest of the class, when he’d glance around the room his gaze kept straying repeatedly to me – the only deliberate motion of his eyes during the ‘glance at the class’ move. I was watching him directly every time, but then, he was teaching. Where else am I supposed to look? I remember being very pleased by those looks.
After the class, I left. A few minutes later I saw him in the hallway. We stood there, just looking at each other but not saying anything. Perhaps 10 seconds? Not long, but enough. I could feel it, that energy of an inhale to say something which instead gets swallowed rather than expressed. Then we both turned and walked on as if by mutual decision.
I have no idea who he was or what that truly was about but it was a delicious moment that I replay from time to time. In my mind, even after all these years, he’s “my monk” and I wonder idly what could have been if either of us had had the nerve to say even a single word to the other.
Featured Image: from an Etsy seller called Mad Wolf Costumes making custom garb. This is their monk outfit.
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Conversing Through Fear

Every major shift in consciousness sees a retraction afterward – like breathing in and out. The marvelous shift of the 60s was preceded by the hell of the 50s and 40s. 1969 was so tumultuous and chaotic there were those who feared the nation was on the verge of collapse – that divisiveness would destroy everything. Obviously that didn’t happen, but ’69 was the watershed year. And it heralded the beginning of the “sexual revolution” which is still ongoing, though it’s changed shape.

We’ve had not only a big shift in the gender roles our Western society dubs “normal” and “natural” but this is being compounded by a shift into One World Consciousness. That fear is running riot is actually very natural, especially among the lesser educated and those not secure in themselves and their position in the world. They fear being ground up in the shifting gears of what is going on globally, and it’s a valid fear.

It’s valid.

I can tell that the one world consciousness is a driving force of the fear because the focus is on immigration. Fear of being rendered obsolete. Fear of being unable to provide for myself and my family because the skills being asked aren’t something I can do – either by choice or circumstance. Circling the wagons is a perfectly rational response to this fear. Unfortunately, it also feeds the fear and – as Churchill I think said – then fear becomes the mind killer. The ability to think is lost, drowned under the weight of fear.

Hating the fear for their survival and well-being is hardly productive. This does nothing to address the fear, and most definitely does not re-engage the brain. When fear rules, you’re dealing with the human animal fighting for survival. Unfortunately, fear gives humanity permission to do some truly heinous things.

At the same time, when faced with fury (anger is a mask worn by fear) it’s truly difficult to maintain my own mind. This is where the Crucial Conversations course has done so much to help me see through the words and actions and look for the roots. Becoming defensive does not further the conversation.

Right now, neither the “liberals” nor the “conservatives” are even remotely interested in a conversation. That leaves it up to the rest of us who aren’t polarized into either camp to understand the fears and articulate them without the emotion or the judgement. Holy fuck the judgement. *groans*

Here’s what I know though. Children and victims look to blame others, while adults own their own shit. If I’m terrified that I will be made irrelevant by someone coming in who is hungrier and willing to work harder than I am … then I need to take serious stock of what I have at my disposal. There is not a single instance in the history of this world and human migrations where the incoming people are successfully shut out in the long term. Not even the Great Wall was successful! And with climates changing, there will be more population shifts.

Deny the cause until the cows come home, but the middle eastern deserts were reaching temperatures ABOVE 160 degrees F this summer past. That’s a typical migration prompt right there, especially if it looks like it will continue – and it does. A massive population shift is coming, and we know it on a collective unconscious level — and walls and border patrols won’t do crap in the long term. So have as many Crucial Conversations as you can and work to own your own shit while helping others to do the same if possible.

Fear is indeed the mind killer. Look past the fear. Work the problem. Find solutions.

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Hermetic, Magick, Uncategorized

Hierophant

There are two ways to approach looking at understanding titles: one is through the word itself, and the other is through its use in history. I think here, I’ll try both.

In terms of the word itself, it is a modernized version of an ancient Greek word-combination. The term “Hierophant” comes from ancient Greek, ‘hieros’ meaning ‘sacred‘, and ‘phainein’ meaning ‘reveal‘ or ‘bring to light‘. (1) Apparently, the word in its modern form here first appeared in the 1670s. This is the dawning and proliferation of the Age of Englightenment and is withing in the same 50 year period where organizations such as Masonry also saw their founding and rise. Secret orders were being founded all over the place throughout here, but I’m no scholar on this particular era – it was my absolute favorite era and one I focused a lot on, but it’s been a long time and my knowledge is rusty. Suffice to say, that the word in its modern incarnation and use being coined at the point in time is quite fitting.

But in terms of historical context, the hierophantes was a very specific role within a very specific tradition – as the head priest of the Eleusinian Mysteries in Eleusis, Greece. The Eleusinian Mysteries (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone, and while we do not know specifically what went on, we do have a lot of references by those who were initiated — considering the rites were practiced for well over a thousand years, there are a quite a few comments available to us today. Essentially, to those intiated, the hierophantes demonstrated/ instructed/ guided/ showed them the sacred symbols and knowledge and thus helped them to understand “the truths of life, of death, and the promise of rebirth.” (2) It’s really no shock at all that Theodosius closed the temple in 392 CE due its threat to the budding Christianity, but the temple was actually destroyed in 4 years laters when the city was sacked by the Goths.

As for the modern role of the Hierophant within a GD lodge, the Neophyte grade ritual has this to say:

My station is on the Throne of the East in the place where the Sun rises, and I am the Master of the Hall, governing it according to the Laws of the Order, as HE whose Image I am, is the Master of all who work for the Hidden Knowledge. My robe is the red because Uncreated Fire and Created Fire, and I hold the Banner of the Morning Light which is the Banner of the East. I am called Power and Mercy and Light and Abudnance, and I am the Expounder of the Mysteries. (3)

While I’ll leave the references to the Uncreated Fire and Created Fire as well as the Banner and the “as HE whose Image I am” for another post, the role of the Hierophant here is very similar to that of the Eleusian Mysteries, as least as can understand them. The role is one of not only governance of the order (master of the lodge), but also one who shows/explains/demonstrates to the initiates the symbols of the order.

 

1 http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=hierophant
2 http://www.ancient.eu/article/32/
3 Regardie, Isreal. Golden Dawn. pg 119

 

About the Featured Image: from the Art of Cathy McClelland and her work on the Hierophant tarot card.

 

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What the Child-Mind Decides…

Have you ever had a moment which changed everything?

Sometimes those moments are good, sometimes not. Sometimes, things just change – not good or bad, just … different.

I had one of those moments last summer. It shattered an idea that I had which I would have sworn up and down was complete idiocy – and yet, the moment it shattered is the moment I knew that it had been so deeply imbedded that it had colored everything I saw of the world.

See, the very first aspect of ourselves who first faces this world is the Child Self. An infant, a toddler, a kid must learn very quickly How The World Works so that they attempt to survive. Caroline Myss calls the Child archetype one of the 4 core survival archetypes, but my take is a little to the side. While still a major survival archetype,  I view the Child as our “Guardian of Faith.” By this I mean that a child figures out How The World Works because those are the rules they managed to live by, and I mean literally ‘survive because of’. Those stories a child has, makes up, decides rule everything of how we see the world going forward. Not only see, but interact with, expect.

Rarely, very rarely, do those stories, those rules, that Faith in How The World Works gets challenged. How many ideas do you have are because a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old version of you decided it was so? I’m learning that I have thousands of them, thousands of core ideas which are hiding so deep in the psyche that until they get challenged I don’t have much hope of finding them myself.

I’m at work one day, and my co-worker is a young man, mid- to late-twenties. A real “guns and cars” kind of guy who gets a kick out of his mutton chops or that weird thin-beard-but-shaved-chin kind of stuff. His phone rings and in that moment he learns that a long-time friend has just been killed in a car accident not more than a few miles from where we were standing. He had plans to go hang with this friend on the weekend. He’s devastated. He actually starts crying. Like real tears. Not a messy sobby kind of cry, but the kind of cry where ‘this hurts so deep I can’t stop it’.

That was the moment. I had never seen so much obvious, undeniable emotion from a man before. Not even from my father at his own dad’s funeral. I’d never seen a man cry before.

*shattering glass*

Men do have emotions.

Whoa. WTF? Where did that thought come from??? Of COURSE they have emotions….

Right?

Apparently, my Child self had decided at some point early on that males didn’t really feel anything deeply. Not really. Obviously they had emotions, but only on the surface.

By now, I’m freaking the fuck out because where the hell did this idea get into my head and just how much has it been affecting me and my interactions with others?? Honestly, I have no idea when but it doesn’t take a genius to quickly remember that a Real Man is “strong” because he doesn’t show his emotions, and to a child that gets translated as “he doesn’t have emotions”. I mean, what a child can’t see…

Peek-A-Boo!!

Since then, I’ve been looking around, watching specifically men interacting with emotion. I watch them playing with dogs, kids, friends, etc. It’s like suddenly having a filter taken off, to reveal that the green grass is actually quite a strikingly vivid hue when it never really registered before.

I also feel quite a bit of shame that this thought was in there, in me. Part of me, part of my concept of How The World Works. But it’s wrong. It doesn’t work that way.

I can’t be the only child-mind who ever reached this conclusion. It is, after all, an ideal of the Patriarchy. And it took a guy so comfortable with his own emotions that he could cry openly after learning a cherished friend had died in order for me to see it clearly.

Damn.

I told him all this later, and thanked him for helping me learn something about myself I didn’t know. He was quite humbled, I think. Now? I absolutely LOVE watching guys being all emotional, most especially when they are expressing caring. Heh. Making up for lost time?

 

About the Featured Image: It’s from WWII I think, based on the helmet and uniform. I don’t know who to give the credit to, but it’s a famous picture. A soldier in a bunker/fox hole patiently bottle feeding a tiny kitten. A perfect demonstration of masculine humanity.

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