Category Archives: Sacred Contract

Turning Trauma Into Art

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I’m sitting in the Anchor Eatery in the next neighbourhood over from mine, which is currently without power for the next two to three hours.  I’m cozily ensconced beside a gas fireplace with my custom ordered vegan smoothie, listening to the conversations floating past from this table and that.  The rain continues to pour down outside, but we’re all warmly happy here drinking our smoothies and lattes and eating our scones.

I’ve just returned from NYC where I studied with my great teacher Larry Moss, who is not only my acting teacher but also one of my most treasured spiritual teachers.  Acting has become one of my most profound spiritual practices.  When I immerse myself in the study of a play, in the world of “my” character, I oftentimes find lost fragments of myself that I hadn’t known were lost.  I find where and when I’m not breathing fully into my whole body, and where and when my voice becomes trapped or choked down.  My character speaks to me from the inside out and reveals herself to me in colours painted from the well-spring of my glorious swampy reservoir of memories and emotions.  So, so much of great acting is learned and practiced technique.  And so, so much of great acting is the unfettered access to that deep swamp of healed wounds.

To dip into the ink of sores still festering, that we have either long forgotten or have actively chosen to ignore, is to step into dangerous territory.  We risk losing ourselves once more in the darkness of the injury and our physical bodies act instinctively and stop our voices and our deep, belly breathing, which is the conduit through which we travel to the magnificence of our swamp.

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To honour the writer, to honour the story and the truth of the character, I have to know which parts of myself to bring to the table and which parts do not serve.  In order to allow the character to animate fully into the truth of her being and in order to fully serve the story the writer has imagined, I have to first not only learn and become proficient at the technique of my craft, but equally, and perhaps more importantly, I have to do my own deep, ongoing inner work.  I need to work on healing all of my wounds on every level – physical, emotional and spiritual.  It is only when I come from a neutral place of being that my character is fully brought to life.  And when that happens….it is magical and mystical.

Which brings me to the impetus for writing this in the first place – I have always been a tangential writer.  My last post pulled back the curtain to reveal the sexual abuse that happened to me as a child and it was shocking to many and instigated a domino of clunking healing.  My job here – and by here I mean here in my physical existence – is to free my voice, in all ways.  To stand in and speak the truth of the feminine.  To crack open the feminine heart.

Larry Moss says, “There is no higher healing than turning trauma into art.”  By writing the words that shines a light on the childhood sexual abuse, I am calling on the power of the Midas within me and I’m invoking the powerful alchemy of turning my wound into a powerful force of healing.

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And here is the important element – without this there is no healing, there is no gold being offered.  In order for my words to be an agent of healing for others, I must FIRST HEAL MYSELF.  Otherwise I am doing a great disservice.  If I have not done my own inner work and if I am not writing from that powerful place of higher healing, then what I am doing instead is spreading the poisonous toxins of a still infected wound – and that is dark magic.

However, if I dip my pen into the blood of my healed wounds, then my words can act as a catalyst of higher healing for others.  And this is where the reader of my words can sometimes become confused.

If they read my story of sexual abuse and find themselves feeling great pain and discomfort, then that is their body speaking to them, telling them that they have an unhealed wound inside of them.  The arrow of the story has pierced their own wound and the blood they feel flowing is not mine, but their own.  The pain they feel is emanating from their own wound.  And this is the both the rainspout of their confusion and also of their possible cleansing.  They think they are feeling the pain from my own original injury, when in fact, they are feeling the pain of their own, long-hidden wound.

my hand outstretched over a background of summer grass, the word truth written in red inside a red heart

It is the healed Truth of my wound that is the alchemical agent.  As I write and as I act, I pull from the blood of my healed injuries to bring the alchemical truth to light.  I never, ever write or act from the poisonous venom of unhealed wounds.  If you feel pain when reading my words, lovingly ask yourselves what within you is asking to be healed.  What a gracious opportunity you have been given.

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. 
The challenge is to silence the mind.” ~ Caroline Myss

 

 

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Seeking my Lover…

*I started this the middle of December!…..rather than begin again, I decided to simply jump back in and carry on. :-)*

Caroline Myss Lover Archetype card. Light Attributes: Great passion and devotion. Unbridled appreciated of someone or something. Shadow Attributes: Obsessive passion that harms others. Self-destructive devotion.

This month I am tasked with animating my Lover archetype, in companion with my Seeker and Pioneer.  In October I made a Sacred Contract with myself to spend the next year working to pick open a fate lock in my life.  One that is keeping me locked in a lingering pattern of pain and suffering and away from a path of Destiny.

Working with my archetypal energies and with the support and guidance of my Soul Sisters, four much cherished women working on their own fate/destiny journey, I am using the method and manner I’ve spent many months learning from Caroline Myss at the CMED Institute.  I’m passionate about the process and the deep inner work.

“Take your Lover out for a walk, to places you’ve never been.” Jim advises me via phone from Los Angeles.  I like the suggestion, but as I look out my window and see the ever-present rain coming down, I pull my blue, fuzzy blanket closer around me.  I can feel the cold dampness seeping through the window right into my bones.  Jim has never been to the rainforest we call Vancouver.   It’s close to Christmas and my kids are home from school bringing with them their exuberant energy as well as bags of laundry, dirty dishes left by the sink and expectations of a stocked fridge and pantry.  I’m wondering where my Lover archetype will find the time to take solitary walks.  I’m wondering if my Lover archetype likes walking in the driving, freezing rain, because I’m not too sure I do.

Two days later I’m walking down streets I’ve only ever before driven.  I’m seeking new and different, simple pleasures through the eyes of my Lover archetype.  The wind picks up and I wrap my scarf tighter around my neck.  At least it isn’t raining.  Bailey, my little Yorkie mixed mutt is pulling me ahead with her long red leash, criss-crossing the narrow road from one tantalizing smell to another.  She ‘sees’ through her nose.  I’ve brought my camera with me, thinking it will force me to slow down and walk more mindfully.

I stop to take a picture of a wooden gate with a wrought iron curlicued design set into it, through which I can see the ocean and the tip of Point Grey beyond that.  Almost directly across the street is another gate, this one an older white picket framed between two dense bushes, the fence on either side missing several pickets and falling into disrepair.  I love them both equally, each one an invitation to a secret garden and my imagination is set free to make-believe entire new worlds beyond.

I’m standing in front of the falling-down white, picket fence, my mind full of English countryside and orphans and faeries and my fingers fumbling to pull my gloves back on, when I almost drop my camera.  Bailey is pulling at the leash and nearly tugs it out of my hands along with my camera; something she’s been doing the entire walk and my frustration is growing.  How can I walk slowly and mindfully, taking the time to notice new, simple pleasures if she keeps tugging me to go faster!  Plus my hands are getting colder and colder every time I take my gloves off to take a picture.  And my hair keep blowing across my face and sticking to the lip-gloss I put on to keep my lips from drying out in the wind.

A car honks.  I call Bailey back to my side of the road and smile at the woman in the blue Volvo station wagon as she drives slowly past.  She smiles back at me and waves her fingers off the steering wheel as she passes.  Something inside me softens and releases as we share a smiling connection.  Patience.

The wind picks up some leaves and brushes a new, enticing scent along Bailey’s nose.  Her Yoda ears perk up and she’s once again trotting off, following the leaf down the road.  I smile again, tuck my camera into my pocket and let my wise, furry four-legged joy lead the way.  I allow the Grace of surrender to soften my mind’s tight control over how I think this walk ‘should’ go and instead embrace, with gratitude, what IS happening.  Now I’m actually seeing instead of looking.

Two weeks later I’m lying on the floor by the fire at my sister, Shari’s, house, warming my back after spending the day cross-country skiing with my brother and his family.  I’m alone with my book in the living room, but I’m surrounded by love.  I listen to the gathering in the kitchen as Shari and my sister-in-law, Amy, chop the vegetables that will go into the vegan spaghetti sauce.  My mom, brother and a couple of the older cousins sip wine and visit, sharing about their day.  A roar of laughter tumbles up the stairs.  My five-year old nephew, Fyn, has just scored in a rousing game of knee-hockey with his older cousins.

The Lover Archetype is all around me and I think back to my moments of frustration, wondering how I could possibly find the time to animate the Lover within me during such a busy month.  I chuckle to myself as Bailey trots over and drops her new squeaky toy onto my head.

It’s not about finding the time to animate the Lover Archetype; it’s about recognizing, with gratitude, the many wonderful, simple pleasures that already surround me every day.  I don’t have to seek the Lover within, I simply have to allow her to see.  Surrendering to the joy in the moment, instead of looking beyond to what hasn’t happened yet.  Surrendering to Now….with Gratitude.

My own little Yoda, Bailey

 I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog “God.”

First he looked

confused,

then he started smiling, then he even
danced.

I kept at it:  now he doesn’t even
bite.

I am wondering if this
might work on
people?

Tukaram

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I Am A Warrior Woman!

I am a Warrior Woman.

I’m on the phone with my spiritual director and we’re speaking the language of archetypes, a language I’m learning and a language in which Jim is both highly gifted and knowledgeable.  I’m becoming more fluent but have SO much more to learn, especially when it comes to speaking archetypically about my own life.  I am immersing myself in the world of archetypes and myths as a way of becoming more conscious and aware of the many different personalities that live within me.  I yearn to discover “who” is speaking and why.

In a blue folder on the desk beside me lays a certificate from the CMED Institute that certifies that I have “Completed the Sacred Contracts Program and Has Met all Academic Requirements Set Forth by the CMED Institute to Qualify as an Archetypal Consultant.”  Even after seven months of work and research at home and three VERY intensive, very long four-day classroom workshops, I feel like a two-year old still learning to speak.  The only people to whom I’ll be consulting in the near future will be myself and the other four members of my group, but I’m incredibly excited and energized to be learning this new language!

My phone crackles and buzzes and Jim’s voice cuts out once again.  I give up trying to record the call and take the phone off “speaker” and press it to my ear.  Jim’s voice now comes through loud and clear and I pick up a pen to begin madly scribbling notes to myself.  I don’t want to miss a word of his incredible guidance and knowledge.  I’m devoting the next twelve months to meticulously and mindfully release a fate lock in my life and allow space for the threads of destiny to begin weaving a new pattern of energy and grace.  I’m deep in the muddy muck of fate and have called Jim to help me find the tools to scrape the gumbo that’s sucking me in place and keeping me stuck.

I give Jim the Cole’s notes of my life, of the wounds that are wrapped around my fate lock.  I am working to release the pattern of pain and suffering stemming from my husband’s and the Other Woman’s betrayal and replacing it with a Love and a deep knowledge of my self worth.  I have done much and worked hard to heal but I still feel the hooks of a burr rubbing against me.  In healing myself, I offer healing to all other women who have been so wounded.  We are all interconnected and what is in the one is in the whole.

I’ve finished outlining to Jim the story of my blind-sided hit and the ensuing destruction.  I’ve skimmed over the lengthy, stressful, highly complicated settlement negotiations that have just recently been concluded five long years after the end of my marriage.

I finish speaking and without pause I hear Jim exclaim, “What a worthy woman!”

Immediately the rich meaning of those words fill me and sink down deep into my being, grounding me in the truth I haven’t been able to see or feel.  Tears of knowing fill my eyes as the worthy energy vibrates through every cell.  I am worthy.  I am a worthy woman.  I am seeing through a new clarity of knowledge.

When the tsunami of the knowledge of my husband’s betrayal bashed against me I was hit hard with a feeling of humiliation and all the detritus that comes with that.  I am filled with the very visceral perception of the meaning of that word and the ever expansive wounding it causes.  It is a scatter bomb, tearing through tissue and burying little landmines in hidden places in my psyche.  Long after the initial destruction has occurred, I’m still finding the cracks in the foundation of my Self.

I am a Warrior come back from a long, dark, warring night and I share my stories with you.  I pull back my Warrior armor and show you my healed wounds and point to the injuries still seeping, still healing.  Beneath my Warrior armor lives a Wounded Healer.

Be careful when reading these words, be careful not to infer meaning where there is none.  A Wounded Healer is a healer who has been initiated into her power by way of a wounding, and it is with the mindful and active healing of these wounds that the healing power grows.  A deeply empowered and powerful Wounded Healer is one who has been greatly injured (physically and/or psychically) and who has peeled back the scabs time and time again to release the pus of toxins held within.

My Wounded Healer speaks through the voice of my Warrior, telling the stories of my wounds so that you may find the wounds within you; so that you may begin the process of healing.  I shed my armor and show you my vulnerable under belly, not because I am unhealed, not because I am still wounded – but because I AM healed, because the wounds have given me the great gift of becoming a Wounded Healer and a Warrior Woman.  The injuries remaining are not inconsequential, but I am actively healing them, I am living my healing.  I invite you to live yours.

I am a Warrior Woman and I am Worthy!

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Sacred Contract Part 2

I am eating an early dinner, or more like a late lunch, with my son this afternoon and I’m telling him about my intention to write a Sacred Contract with myself.  As is often the case, by explaining to him it becomes even clearer to me.  Speaking the words aloud helps clear away the fog and this is something I don’t want to rush.

I have a practice I call ‘sitting in silence’, which is exactly what it sounds like.  I sit in silence.   Without anything distracting me I explore what emotion is thrumming through me.  I take the time to sink deeper and deeper, beneath the surface and thoughts that try to distract and dissuade me.  My favourite place to practice this is in my bathtub.  For me there is something about being surrounded by water that helps bring clarity.

By taking the time to reflect and ruminate, to sit silently soaking in a bath of Epson salts while tears of pain and sadness run from within.  By letting the emotions simply come, or come simply, without judgment, as with passing thoughts in meditation.  By asking the right questions, “Where?” Why?” “What?”  the fog of distraction slowly dissipates.

Where do these emotions come from, from what wound do they bleed?  Why are they rising to the surface now?  What lesson do they bring and what am I guided to do?  Slowly, as the tears ebb and the bathwater wrinkle-prune my fingertips the truth settles in and I know what I am meant to do.  Forgive.

It will take a book to explain the deep, strong roots of the wound, where the need for forgiveness first grew alongside.  When the long-held and deeply loved illusion of my marriage and my world both peeled away slowly and exploded suddenly and violently around me.  A period of time that began with a second and lasted 18 months.  A time in the past that continues today.  This moment began yesterday and will continue tomorrow, but here, right now, I can work on healing my yesterdays and tomorrows.

As we eat too greasy fish and chips in the fading, much welcomed, all too infrequent Vancouver sunlight, I explain to Patrick what I have come to realize about my Sacred Contract.  It is less about a singular goal and more about a process.  And it is much bigger and much more important that I had originally thought.  What was I thinking?  It makes me laugh now – a joke played on myself by my Self.  I invoke all that is inherent in the word “Sacred” and expect to get away with small intentions?  Funny how life can trick us into doing what we were meant to do all along.

The idea of writing a Sacred Contract with myself began to grow on our flight back from the recent Sages and Scientists Symposium organized by the Chopra Foundation.   Alison Rose Levy wrote about it for the Huffington post here. It was an amazing weekend of learning, growth and connections.  At first I imagined my contract to be a way of keeping a commitment to myself.  By actually writing the words down in the form of a contract and then witnessing and signing it I would be compelled to adhere to it.  A Sacred Contract above all else must not be broken.

I pick a piece of haddock free from the greasy fried batter and try to explain to Patrick the evolution of my Sacred Contract.

“I came to realize….I became conscious, that what I was thinking of as my Sacred Contract was actually just a series of steps….”  I’m frustrated because I can’t find the right words, but Patrick knows exactly what I mean.

“A plan of action,” he inserts, pushing his plate away from him.

“Yes!” I smile back.  “That’s exactly what it is!  I wasn’t writing a Sacred Contract at all!”  Which is not to say that all was lost.  In fact, what I found was that I now have a Sacred Contract and the guidance to follow it.  Guidance in the form of a Plan of Action.

The seeds of awareness are often planted long before we hear the bugle that calls us awake.  In my case, for the knowing birth of my Sacred Contract, the seed was planted just over a year ago and the strong, persistent little plant pushed its way up from the earth of my own denial two weeks ago.  It was going to grow despite the thickness of my blindfold.  I would feel it in my mind’s eye if not clearly in front of me.  It slammed into me and burrowed a hole in the scab of a time-to-be-healed wound and the blood that flowed became tears that will turn toxically bitter if I don’t do the work now.  The work of forgiveness.

Two weeks ago, on a day not unlike today, with the sun shining warm unexpectedly after too many days of grey Vancouver rain, my son Patrick took our dog on a forest walk to take some pictures for his upcoming photography course.  He returned satisfied and with a happy, tail-wagging dog and said, “I ran into dad.”

Someone who had been in my life since I was seventeen years old and I haven’t seen in over two years.  Someone I haven’t spoken with in over four years.  The someone who led me to the edge of an abyss and pushed me over when he chose to betray our marriage vows for two years with another woman, before I woke up gasping for air and the truth.  Someone who has then chosen to cut me from his life so completely that I no longer even know his phone number or email address.  That someone.

“Did he have his dog with him?” I asked.

“No,” Patrick replied.  “He had Susan with him.”  And with that, the little fledgling plant of forgiveness punctured into my wound.

‘Susan’ is The Other Woman.  Someone from the same small hometown as Kevin and I.  Someone who went to the same high school.  Someone I used to run into and talk with at the local grocery store.  Someone who I used to think was one of the sincerely, genuinely, nice people of the world.  Until she wasn’t.

Until I learned how complicit she was in the deception and betrayal.  Someone I haven’t “run into” since she ran away with my husband.  Someone none of my four children have even met before now.

Forgiveness.

There is much, much more to the story than what is written here, but it is necessary to include even a brief illustration of the personal apocalypse that is leading to such a powerful transformational journey.  I am finding it difficult to find just the right snippet of thread to unwind, because the spool is so knotted and tangled.  Part of the work of the transformation lies in patiently and truthfully working those knots free and unraveling the truth.  In separating the facts from the ‘story’.  Forgiveness.

And so my Sacred Contract is the work of Forgiveness.  Finding, feeling and embodying forgiveness.  For myself.  For Kevin.  For Susan.  For all of us.

My Plan of Action is simple.

  1. Maintain my daily meditation practice
  2. Incorporate a practice of compassion meditation
  3. Journal daily
  4. Share my journey into forgiveness via my blog

When my world first fell away and I found myself at the very sharp edge of just wanting the pain to end, the mantra that kept me breathing was, I will show my children what is possible in a time of crisis. Those words still guide me.

I do this for my Self.

Terri Anne Taylor

 

 

 

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Sacred Contracts

Every time I make a promise that I don’t keep I chisel another crack in core of my truth.  I patch these cracks with the lies I tell others and the lies I tell myself.  Little white lies made of papier maché that crumbles under the weight of the truth it is holding back.

Sacred Vows are promises made of the highest level, witnessed by the highest Self.  A marriage oath, the covenant made when you bring a new little being into the world – these are examples of Sacred Vows.  Break these vows and the earthquake is felt throughout your entire body.  A continental drift between the truth that is known in every cell of your body and the lie that is perpetuated by the Ego mind.  A disconnect so great that illness – of body, mind and soul – seeps into the schism.  An energy-blocking gluey pustule of disease.

Dis-ease:

1.  a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or      developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness  sickness; ailment.

2.  any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society: His fascination with executions is a disease.

Each Sacred vow is a contract witnessed from within.  Negligently break any part of that contract and you break with your Self.   If you seek to end such a vow, do so with great integrity and gentle grace of spirit.

When the sacred vow of my long-term marriage was broken it felt like the force of a tsunami had walloped me and it kept pounding into me over and over again.  The power of the pain was great enough to break me open and for that I will always be grateful.  But this is a story that deserves a much longer visit – I’m mentioning it here simply to illustrate my experience with broken vows.  That I know, intimately, the consequence of breaking them.

And this is all just a rambling interlude – a preface to what I’m going to do.  I intend to write my own Sacred Vow to myself.  A contract from within to without, from me to Me, between self and Self.  Perhaps the most sacred of all contracts.

I make resolutions, intentions and challenges every New Year, and again in September because since having school-age children it has become the ‘real’ new year.  This time it’s slightly different.  This time I’m fully committing, deeply committing.  What it actually feels like is not that I’m having to write my Vow – but that I only have to LISTEN, for it’s already inscribed in my soul.  I just have to get out of my own way and let the truth come forth and then commit to hearing it every day.  In short, my Sacred Contract with myself is to be a congruent human being.  Live in my truth.

And so I’ll be writing the HOW of the Vow…..included in my Sacred Contract will be what tools I’ll use to help guide me.  Also included will be the grace of forgiveness.  As one of my great acting teachers said, “Stumble, bumble, fumble, forgive, let go, go on.”

I’ll post my Sacred Contract when I’ve transcribed it.  After I’ve taken the time to sit in silence, to meditate and to listen.  What would your own personal Sacred Contract look like?

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