The Grand Illusion/Delusion



Having read @godlessindixie, Neil Carter’s, story on the clandestine dealings with a group with which he was involved, so much of it rang resonant with my own story, and those stories which have been shared with me, that I had to take a bit to process. It seems that my concept of spiritual trauma is growing in definition, partly because my definition of “spirit” is growing and changing.


Some may argue that it is “just semantics,” and while I agree, I also know that people hang a lot of emotion on given words and phrases. To refer to a “spiritual core” to an atheist or agnostic would be missing the point, and likely alienate him or her, and rightly so. Also, to deny a “spiritual core” to someone who highly identifies with that would be to miss the mark there as well, and alienate him or her, and again, rightly so.


Perhaps this concept of “spirit” could be better defined (and again, the problem of words being limiting in and of themselves) as the essence of who someone is, and around which ideologies can be selected and developed, beliefs can form, and perhaps a worldview can be constructed. The trauma, or injury, of this can happen when one person or group behaves in such a way that their ideologies, beliefs and worldview(s) should be exacted upon another, in order to coerce or manipulate the other into compliance to the former’s desires or wishes.


This is something which I fear: the notion that we are all either manipulating someone, somewhere, or being manipulated by someone, somewhere, to an end which whose good is questionable.


I am thinking that in order to be willing to heal, we may have to be willing to see that we can be as much perpetrator as victim, when we use the tactics of the “enemy.” When we engage in the style of rhetoric that is shaming, blaming, snarky, scapegoating and alienating, we don’t really get the right to say what they are doing is wrong, and we have only ourselves to blame when we are alone. We may be “right” and we are also very much alone. We also don’t have the right to say that what we did “in the name of righteousness” didn’t hurt someone else emotionally, psychologically or spiritually. While some may want to tell me that I am not hurt, that I am weak or that I need to “get over it,” it is these people that don’t get it, don’t seem to want to get it, and it would probably be best to just reduce my interactions with these people as much as possible. The bigger problem is when they may be psychotherapy providers. A big question remains is how can one give feedback to someone who does not seem to be receptive to it, or willing to change his or her behavior, so that the relationship can be healed and there can be mutual respect, even if they do not agree.


Yesterday, a friend of mine was talking about a commune in Europe called L’Abri. He said that it was a comingling of people from every possible ideology coming together to share and to learn from each other. I can imagine the discussions, which would take place, with deep passion, strong conviction and great civility. Yet I don’t think that it was for the sake of conversion, but for idea exchange and increased mental and ideological flexibility. I am thinking that we could all heal more rapidly in an environment such as that. Dr. Sue Johnson, as well as Drs. John and Julie Gottman, among others, have researched and stated that healing from trauma occurs more completely, and quickly in a healthy relationship. I am thinking that a connection whose purpose is growing each other, rather than draining the other or injecting poison into the other, is that healthy relationship. I am also wondering if this can simply exist among friends.


Do you have friends who just “get” you, and do you find that you have greater resilience and healing by just being with them?

Karma Popcorn

I’m a mom. Some days, I don’t suck. Some days, well, I do. Seriously. And I hate myself for it. For a long time. And yet, not all of me is in hate mode. Some part is in guilt mode. Some part is in worry mode. Some part is in compassion mode (gets drowned out a lot by the hate/guilt/worry parts).


My son, his father and I were embroiled in a battle over homework/school. I live away from him, and it is difficult for me to parent the way that I would like to at a considerable distance (3000 miles). To sum it up, there was a lot of blame and shame (from me), and I just got angry that it didn’t seem like anyone else was “trying hard enough.” I mean, how DO you measure “trying?” I thought that things should be better than they are, and they weren’t, and it was because “no one was trying.” I refused to allow the idea of “trying AND not doing well” to enter my head. Stubborn Me! It’s a gift (and a curse).


So, I’m trying to get my business up and running, both offline and online, and it’s a serious learning curve (and I am nowhere near the summit). Along with getting my license in North Carolina as well as maintaining my license in Washington State, I’m figuring out online marketing, creating content, techy stuff, and other skills.


Two days ago, in the process of communicating with the people who have subscribed to my email list, I sent out an email with a dead link. I’d worked on that email 100 ways to Wednesday, checking for grammar and spelling, tone and content, and then I put a broken link in it. The worst part was that this was MY OWN LINK for my YouTube channel. When someone responded by email, saying that they couldn’t access the video with the link, I was horrified. I felt like such an idiot. Embarrassed, I responded, apologizing, and fixed the link. And then sat stewing in it for hours.


The irony of it all is that the link had to do with contempt, specifically self-contempt. The further irony is that I did try AND I did fail. I know what my son was experiencing, only to a much lesser degree because the person who pointed out my error was WAAAAY more gracious than I was to my son. The apology tonight will be hard. He is usually rather gracious, but I would completely understand if he weren’t, in this case.


Repairing relationships is hard.


Regret is harder.


What does this have to do with spiritual trauma?  To me, everything.  If I have damaged a relationship with someone, that is a form of spiritual trauma.  Taking ownership of it is my way to heal both myself and the person that I hurt.