Tag Archives: truth

WAKE UP! Transition to Trump signals time for inner change

There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen

A dream woke me up, as they often do.

It’s the wee small hours of the morning and the last refrains of Rufus Wainwright singing Hallelujah is hugging my heart. I need the sacred poetry of Leonard Cohen. To calm me before I write about my rage and sorrow.

I dreamt an old story of Betrayal. I wrote an article about it for the Vancouver Observer. Read it here. Please share the article. I’ve never written anything more important.

“We must all wake up to the power of the divinity within us, and this takes work. It will be the most important work you will ever do”

This election has cracked us wide open.

58471698 - wake up megaphone message. illustration design graphic

Leave a comment

Filed under Betrayal, Dreams, Spirituality, Vancouver Observer

Queen of Sunset By The Sea

1J6A6795I’m soaking in bath oil and Epsom salt and listening to the song my house sings. The way the rain sounds on the roof, the three clicks the furnace makes before it lurches into life, the way it somehow, sometimes, strangely sounds exactly like a garage door opening beneath me. These sounds wrap themselves around me like a well-worn quilt, comforting me with their deep familiarity.

I’m moving in two weeks. To my new-to-me little 1938 cottage above the sea. The one that is half the size of my current home and twice as old. The one that I’ve just spent almost $10,000 to replace old clay pipes. Pipes that were so past the time of replacement, so root-bound, clogged and crumbling that raw sewage backed up into the downstairs tub. Did I mention how gross it was? How unsanitary and unhealthy? How incredibly yucky?

Yuck

Yuck

Tree roots love water and sewage

Tree roots love water and sewage

This impending move has already offered me so many gifts of growth. Opportunities to shed the last vestiges of my Damsel in Distress and to realize more and more of my own power. What used to rock me off my feet no longer even causes me to wobble. I am standing strong as the compassionate and benevolent Queen, boundaries firmly set.

In many ways I’ve been preparing for this transition my entire life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have shivers of trepidation at times. Remember the backed up sewer? I’m about to spend another three thousand dollars, this time correcting electrical deficiencies. Two sudden, large expenses and I can’t help wondering how many more loom in front of me.

I’ve grown solid in my Queendom, my cloak of empowerment is ever-present and rather than feeling anxious and upset at each unexpected discovery, I simply took the steps needed to move forward. Called the plumber. Talked to the previous homeowner. Fixed the problem.

I listen to the music this house makes as I walk through the empty cottage, measuring and taping where my furniture might fit. The creaks in the floorboards with each step I take, the sound of the passing car through the single-pane windows, the rain tap dancing on the bedroom skylight. Soon these unfamiliar sounds will soothe me into a new-felt safety. I’m coming home to my Self.

My new view!

My new view!

7 Comments

Filed under Transitions

The Quiet Gift of Desperation

river wide

I seem to be at a pivot point in my writing ‘project’ and feel like I’m standing on a slippery moss-covered rock in the midst of crossing a fast moving stream and suddenly the way forward is blocked. Perhaps the reason I’m blocked is because I keep calling it a ‘project’ instead of admitting and committing to the fact that I’m writing a book.

Because it’s scary to even think I’m writing a book.

Because, “Who am I to think I can write a book?”

But then…..who am I to think that I can’t write a book?

I’ve written a lot of words, almost 50,000 of them, covering the wounding-enmeshed-in-Victim part of the story. My story. This part is called The Red Bird of Betrayal because I like the colour red, which is also meant to convey the blood of the wounding. And because I like alliteration. And because it’s only a ‘for me’ title, not one which will carry forward into the book. Yes, it’s a book.

Red Bird of Betrayal ~ line drawing by Patrick O'Neill

Red Bird of Betrayal ~ line drawing by Patrick O’Neill

Now I’m at the pivot point, the point where the healing begins. Where I begin living by my new mantra of I will show my children what is possible in a time of crisis (which later, much later, became shortened simply to I will show what is possible).

And this is where we find me standing on the slippery moss-covered rock in the middle of that fast moving stream. Confused and frustrated. I’ve written the first part in almost chronological order, but that doesn’t feel right for the next part, so the way ahead isn’t clearly marked with stepping-stones. I have to find a new path, a new way to forge the river.

And maybe that’s just perfectly fitting because that’s exactly what I had to do in my life, in my healing. Find a new way of Being. Perhaps I need to just begin where I am and trust in the process.  Trust that the right words will find me.  Step off the rock and slip into the flow of the stream and stop trying to row the boat.  Now is the time to let go, to surrender completely into the writing and be surprised by the discoveries that move through my fingers.

And now I’m excited because I know the words are there, that the wisdom is there, just waiting for the opportunity to download onto the page.  I simply have to surrender to the process and delight in the discoveries.

1468584_10151655603116706_126589783_n

By the way, the title of my newly proclaimed book is, Transcending Forgiveness – Healing into Wholeness After Betrayal.

2 Comments

Filed under forgiveness

Turning Trauma Into Art

IMG_1149

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.

5125969_m

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Sacred Contract

Claiming my Child ~ Re-Membering My Self

Shame ~

noun

1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous,etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.

2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.

3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.

4. a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn’t come with us.

verb (used with object), shamed, sham·ing.

5. to cause to feel shame; make ashamed: His cowardice shamed him.

6. to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going.

7. to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.

Why is it that shame, guilt and humiliation are often the first emotions running through our bodies when we are sexually abused?  When I am sexually abused.  Let me own the truth of my story.  Let me speak the words that have been silent within me for way too long.  Silent in words but present in my body.

I am tiny, small for my age.  Am I five years old or six?  Close to five, I think.  I am a Magical Child, meaning that I live easily within the Realm of Possibility, the world of my imagination just as real to me as the physical world around me.

So I am five, maybe six, years old, and am sent next door to the Wilson’s to fetch my younger sister.  She often goes next door to have tea with Mrs. Wilson or to play with their youngest child, Tim.  Mrs. Wilson is busy in the kitchen and I’m sent down to the basement to see if Susan is there.  Monsters live in basements.

Down the wooden stairs in the unfinished basement are two things I remember.  Black wrestling mats and a large pool table with enticing coloured pool balls.  And grey cement walls.  I remember the cold, stark walls and the many colours of the pool table balls.  I remember Timmy standing, silent and afraid, on the black wrestling mats.

There is something else in that basement.  The monster.  He is big, with big hands and big, fat fingers, and I’m sitting on his lap.  Or rather, he is holding me on one of his big, fat legs.  His legs are spread apart and my tiny, little girl body is being held on one of those legs, his big arm wrapped around me.  His left arm.  The hand of that left arm is inside my little girl underpants and his big, sausage finger is pushed inside my tiny, little girl vagina.

He is violating me in a way no little girl should be violated.  And I am filled with shame, humiliation and guilt.  Where does this come from?  What kind of world is it where a big man sexually assaults a little girl and it’s the little girl that feels shame?

I remember being held on the monster’s knee at the side of the pool table being told to play with the brightly coloured balls.  The very same brightly coloured balls that were so enticing, now revolt me.  I focus on the cool smoothness as I reluctantly roll the yellow ball back and forth.

Disassociating, I learn many, many years later, separating my Self from my body as those fat sausage fingers claim my vagina.  Disassociating, as my tiny right hand is wrapped around the monster’s erect penis, cupped within the monster’s own right hand.

I am five, maybe six years old.  I told no one.

Until fifteen or sixteen years later and the long suppressed memory surfaces with amazing buoyancy while watching a TV show about childhood sexual abuse.  The body remembers what the mind cannot.

I told my then husband the biggest truth of my life.  I gave voice to the shameful secret and was met with silence.  I tried again, but again the words were doused with a blanket of uncomfortable silence.

9846025_m

And so I buried my poor silent Wounded Child far deep inside me.

Until now.  Now I surrender my voice.  Wrong words.  I give my voice with love to my Wounded Child.  To my Magical Child.  One day a horrible thing happened to my Magical Child that wounded her greatly.  She did nothing wrong and everything right.

Today I invoke The Opening of the Mouth*

It is time for what has been silenced to be heard.

It is enough!  It is enough!!

IT IS ENOUGH!!!

With these words I release that which is no longer serving me.  Which never served me – the guilt and shame that silenced my voice.

May all beings who need to be healed by touched the grace of healing.

3 Comments

Filed under truth

The Alchemist Within

Sunrise over the lake. Kate O'Neill photo

Sunrise over the lake.
Kate O’Neill photo

I’m sitting at my makeshift desk on the deck at the lake.  Down below I can see the back of my niece Lauren as she relaxes on the dock.  A quiet breeze is brushing through the branches of the trees and rhythmically lapping the water onto the shale rock shore.  The perfect background music for writing.

I was fortunate enough to realize a long-held dream last summer when I purchased this piece of heaven on Shuswap Lake not far from where I spent many happy years growing up and where my mom still lives.  It’s a bit rough and ready, but it came with a couple RV’s that are just perfect for the warm summer months, and even the cooler and rainier book-end weather.  Plans are underway for a more permanent all-season cabin in the near future, but for now my plastic patio table desk is sublime.

photo (5)I feel a bit like a kid at an overlarge desk because even propped up on a pillow my laptop is still chest high.  Bailey is perched behind me, removing all possibility of simply reclining, mesmerized by the view and sounds of nature that has become my writing studio.

Image credit: raywoo / 123RF Stock PhotoMy dream within this dream is to write the book on my Forgiveness journey.  I’ve been writing, in splits and splots, but now I think I’ve finally found the structure that will hold the splatter of what has been feeling like a rorschach test in writing.

By sharing this here, I’m invoking the powerful Alchemist archetype within me to transmute the ephemeral of the Dream into the more palpable Intention.  My Will will carry me through to the gold of Destiny.

And now I’m off to stack a few logs….

photo (6)

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

All Trees Are NOT The Same ~ Truth in Storytelling

IMGP2835

I’m a Storyteller, sometimes through acting and sometimes through writing.  It’s both my vocation and my occupation, so I take it very seriously in a not so serious way.  After all, I’m not a brain surgeon.  No one will live or die by my words, but sometimes those words, either through my pen or through my body, will bring the beginning of a healing.

I’m also a voracious reader.  I think it’s a requirement of my vocation and occupation.  If the only thing around to read is a cereal box, I’ll read that…often while pretending to film a commercial at the same time (that’s where the line between acting/reading/writing often blurs)

Another word for my vocation might be Truth Teller.  This is where the ‘serious’ part of being a Storyteller comes into play.  “Play.”  I don’t use serious to mean ‘severe’ or ‘humourless’; I use it to mean ‘with conscious intent.’  We build a world with our words, and our trust and believability is built on a foundation of truth.

I’ve written before about a ritual I have as I wait in the darkened wings to go onstage when I’m acting.  “I close my eyes and go within.  I ask to be used as an agent of healing and to honour the words of the playwright.  May I dwell in the breath of the Truth.  May my healed wounds touch one within you and so begin your own healing.”

Before my fingers touch the keyboard of my laptop I sit quietly with my intention.  May I dwell in the breath of Truth and write without shame, blame or guilt.

State of WonderI’ve just finished A State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, one of my favourite authors.  The vast majority of the book takes place in Manaus and then the jungle along the banks of the Rio Negro in Brazil.  The setting is one of the major characters of the book and the only non-fictional element.

I’ve recently returned from a pilgrimage in Brazil, where I spent magical days on a small boat cruising the Rio Negro and I was excited to be immersing myself once more in the sublime peace that washed over me there.

But the Rio Negro that I experienced is not Patchett’s Rio Negro.  In fact, it is so far from my experience that I wondered which one of us had gotten it so wrong.

Before I left on my journey I did a bit of research, reading the requisite guide-books and getting advice and inoculations from the travel clinic.  “Take lots of mosquito repellant, with the highest concentration of DEET possible!”  And so my suitcase was weighed down with numerous bottles of DEET packed neatly beside an equal amount of sunscreen, just waiting to ward off the hoards of mosquitoes and other winged annoyances that promised to surround my every moment in the Amazon.

I used the sunscreen liberally and often but squirted myself with DEET just once, a precautionary covering my first evening on the river in advance of the swarms of mosquitoes and bugs that never did materialize.  I asked our guide, Luiz, “Where are all the mosquitoes?”

Sunset boat on Rio Negro

Sunset boat on Rio Negro

It turns out that the Rio Negro (the largest left tributary of the Amazon), unlike her more famous sister, the Amazon River, rarely has a problem with mosquitoes.  The river gets her rusty black appearance and name from the biodegradation of the surrounding jungle, and that biodegradation of the dead organic matter also makes the river very acidic, something the mosquitoes and other pesky insects don’t like.

The meeting of the Rio Negro and the Amazon

The meeting of the Rio Negro and the Amazon

This is where Truth comes to play in the fiction sandbox.  If an author, such as Ann Patchett, chooses to set her story in a location that actually exists, then she is beholden to use that location truthfully, most especially if that location is so central to the story that it becomes a leading character.  You can’t insert constant swarms of mosquitoes and insects into a story just because you want to if doing so means lying.  Either change the location or change the elements of the story to maintain integrity and truth.  Believability and trust.

It turns out that Ann has never been to Brazil and certainly has never set foot in the jungle along the banks of the Rio Negro.  She decided to do her research along the Peruvian Amazon.

When asked if she visited the jungle about which she writes so extensively, she replies in part, “I wound up going to Peru instead of Brazil because I wanted to go on a boat trip and I wanted a certain type of boat. I didn’t want to go on a cruise ship or on some nasty little raft with cockroaches.  In Peru, I found a boat which was so perfect. I thought the Amazon in Peru is the same as the Amazon in Brazil. A tree is a tree, a snake is a snake.

(read the entire interview here.)

She thought wrong.  She lost my respect when she said, “A tree is a tree, a snake is a snake.”

One tree....

One tree….

One tree is as different from…

High water mark from record flood in 2012

High water mark from record flood in 2012

…another tree….

A buttress rooted canopy tree

A buttress rooted canopy tree

….as another tree.

She also gets her snakes wrong in State of Wonder, giving the anaconda the characteristics of a python in one crucial scene.  How could Ann Patchett, who writes with such beauty and such power, get it so wrong?  I sit in sadness when I think how cavalier she seems.

The job of a storyteller is not simply to tell stories and entertain. We are Truth Tellers.  It is our responsibility to weave our tapestry of tales using the strong threads of truth.  To do otherwise does us all a disservice.

What do you think?

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

5 Comments

Filed under Brazil, Writing