A Day in a Life: Confronting the Uncomfortable

WARNING: Please note, as the title suggests, this blog contains adult content that may be disturbing. If you are in the midst of doing deep work it may be too uncomfortable. Please don’t read it if you feel you may be triggered.

It was important to keep going back into the woods, for as dark as it was that was where I found the light... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
It was important to keep going back into the woods, for as dark as it was that was where I found the light… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

By the time the second year of my recapitulation journey began I was confronting some very deep truths. I’d already recalled hundreds of visceral memories of rape, sodomy, and other forms of sexual assault, as well as deep emotional trauma. As hard as the memories were to accept, my psyche would not let me refuse them. I had to face what was coming through. Here is what I wrote on July 1, 2002:

The memories come like bombs, fast and furious, explosions taking place in my own private war zone. As the bombing missions fly overhead I crouch down and hide, shielding myself from their impact, but in so doing I know I’m refusing to connect with what’s being triggered at a deeper level. I catch a glimpse of something new as each memory bomb explodes, but I still refuse to fully accept what was truly happening to my child self. Jolted, the frightened self turns away, though it’s practically impossible to do so, for the pains are almost constant now, present throughout the day; my hands numb, my shoulders tense, my genitals sore and painful. I don’t have a choice in how this recapitulation process is unfolding—just as I never had a choice when I was a child—it’s just happening. I know what a frightened little bunny feels like; heart beating so hard you’d think it might burst.

On that same day, I went deeper still and confronted what was really being presented as my next challenge. I just couldn’t ignore it:

I admit that I’m avoiding the stark truth that my abuser was having sex, in one form or another, with a very small child, and that child was me. It’s been the hardest part of this recapitulation to accept. Even while excavating all the pieces of the puzzle of the unknown self over the past year and discovering the mysterious, hidden world of my childhood I wasn’t always able to face what my abuser was actually doing to me. Now as new memories torpedo into awareness, the truth presents itself all over again, but each time I admit that he was indeed having sex with my tiny child self, overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame come tumbling out of the depths of me. At the same time, I know I won’t be able refuse the blatant truth. I must fully accept what was truly happening so long ago, and my body insists, not letting me rest until I do. As soon as I lie down in bed at night and curl up to go to sleep, it all hits me again. Fear, pain, and the desperation of my child self come crashing out of nowhere, searing through my body like shrapnel. Much as I’d like to, I can’t really avoid the bombs. Even if I sit down on the couch for a few minutes of respite during a busy day it’s the same thing: BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The memory bombs go off and all I want to do is run, to look for safe places to hide, to keep moving, ducking and dodging the incessant attacks, but I know it’s not productive, nor is it really possible.

So shame and guilt arose from my deeper self and came to teach me my next lessons. I confronted the supposed bad self, the self who thought she was at fault and to blame for what happened, and the self who felt so guilty for partaking. By the end of the second year I confronted just how attached I was to those elements of shame and guilt, for they defined me, who I had always been, showing me just how deeply embedded they were in my psyche and just how attached I, a little Catholic school girl, had been—and still was—to their bitter presence. Almost a year later, on June 2, 2003, as I prepared to finally release myself from their cloying attachment, gaining even deeper insight, I wrote the following:

Aware that I’ve just barely stayed in control, by force of will and old habit, I admit to myself that I don’t really want to be the old self anymore. I don’t want to “hold on” or “hang in there.” Physically, I’m exhausted and I’m fairly sure I’ll be unable to keep up this charade much longer. I’m wearing down.

“Try for stillness. Go for stillness,” I hear Jeanne saying.

I barely remember concluding last week that I do indeed need stillness—unhurried, unstressed, quiet living—and a break from this torture. I hoard my feelings, afraid that when they’re gone I won’t have anything left inside me and yet this is my torture as well. At this point, it still feels far better, and safer, to retain my stand, though the children in my dream (from last week’s blog) want me to be a feeling being. Their disappointment was clear as I passed them by and drove on toward the house of fear and emptiness, rather than greet them with equal joy. If I let go, I fear that all that keeps me connected to life will go too, that all my desperate attempts to align myself somewhere in this world will disappear. Maybe I don’t need to try so hard, as Chuck constantly tells me, but there’s a part of me that cannot abide the idea of not being in control, the thought alone sending me into a place of deep shame and anxiety. I know that such deep shame stems from my upbringing, for it was expected that I handle everything so expertly, without a show of emotion; coolly, without expressing needs or desires of any kind. Rather than be scolded, I found it far easier to be the unemotional being that I was so often reprimanded to be. I deduced that to want affection and love were shameful weaknesses to be avoided at all costs, though I harbored a secret desire for them. I was a child full of what I considered shameful thoughts, desiring simple human touch and affection. And yet I do not blame my child self for such basic human needs. She needs to know that it’s perfectly acceptable to want and need simple affection, to know that it’s allowed and necessary. Love is allowed. It is, isn’t it? An epiphany: Love is allowed! Wanting to be loved is allowed too!

The whole idea of needing and expressing love, tenderness, and affection was presented as something shameful: don’t even go there, don’t touch or be touched, it’s disgusting! This is what I was taught at home. Emotions are disgusting; expressing them is disgusting, letting anyone know you have emotions or feelings is strictly forbidden. No touching, no gentleness, no love was exchanged between parent and child, perhaps very rarely a pat on the head, maybe, if I was sick. No hugs, no kisses, no emotional support. Such an unemotional upbringing is wrong. To make a person feel so ashamed and so emotionally isolated is wrong. To deprive another of the most basic of human needs is wrong.

On top if it, I had to deal with my abuser, but I see where his abusive affections, as perverted as they were, tapped into that void created by my upbringing. Even though his type of affection was totally aberrant, I wouldn’t have known that as a child. I had nothing to compare it to. Perhaps I was drawn to him as much as he was drawn to me. I was trapped coming and going. I had no choice. I was a child living in a family completely devoid of human touch and emotions, the most basic of which were squelched at an early age. And then I walked into a family where they took their clothes off and touched each other all over the place, where feelings I never knew existed inside me were drawn out. And then I had to go back to my own family, which, with its cold, distant, and strict Victorian morals was as insidiously abusive and bizarre as my abuser’s family. And all I ever wanted was for someone to simply love me, just for who I was. I just want to be loved for me; that’s all. I see how easily a young child, starved for affection, could be confused and tricked by the attentions of a pedophile.

And so, as I followed where my psyche led me, pushed me, and often times forced me to go, I gained valuable insights. New ideas began to replace old ideas. Old themes that had defined me began to crumble. In that crumbling came new life. I gradually learned to take with me only what truly belonged to me, only what I truly believed about myself and life in general. I learned how to shush up the old voices and how to release my child self from her unemotional upbringing. I learned how to love that child self, as I taught her what I was learning. Having been apart for much of the recapitulation journey, we now joined forces more often. We now knew there was more to life and more to us that had to be discovered and lived.

By the end of the second year of recapitulation I was transforming rapidly. I had burned a lot of stuff that didn’t belong to me, and I was emerging from the ashes a new being. I was evolving in a very personally relevant way. Freed of what I felt I had to uphold—an old world that I no longer fit into—I was becoming the real me.

Thank you for reading. I send love and wishes for good journeying,

Readers of Infinity: Attend To The Chaos On The Inside

Here is this week’s channeled message from Jeanne. May it guide and aid you over the next few days.

Attend to your personal chaos first... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Attend to your personal chaos first… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

I continue to stress how important the inner work is. If you do not know yourself how can you know any other being or creature upon that earth? How can you criticize, judge, and teach if you have not gone deeper into the self where all the answers lie.

Pay attention to what comes to guide you. Outside of the self will arrive many teachings, ideas, concepts and proclamations. Many significant signs will be presented to guide you, but it is only in knowing the deeper self that you will be able to grasp and utilize what your outer world uses to guide you.

Even your inner world will provide you with tools by which growth may be cultivated and expanded, and awareness achieved, but if you have not attended to the inner self such things will have no meaning. In fact, fear may arise and your inner process be cut short by your judging mind, always ready to have some fun with you!

It is time now for all humanity to detach from the insanity of life on the outside and attend to the insanity on the inside. Only in resolving your internal issues and fears, and by addressing the purpose of your true life, will you find balance, compassion, and love.

Life is a journey of significance for each one of you. Look for that significance inwardly, even as you live your lives in a world of chaos. The chaos in the world will not cease until your personal inner chaos is attended to. You know what that process is. We have discussed it for years: Do the inner work, take the inner journey, ask for guidance in how to undertake it, and then see what happens. The answers will come both from without and from within!

Thank you, Jeanne and all of our guides! Most humbly channeled.

A Day in a Life: Deeper Into The Deepness Within

When we are ready... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
When we are ready… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

“You must go deeper still.” Those were oft-repeated and frightening words spoken by Chuck as I went through my three-year long recapitulation. Each time he said them I shuttered. I knew what it would entail to go deeper still.

As Chuck writes about in his blog earlier this week, taking the journey within means going into the inferno within, similar to the Inferno of Dante’s Divine Comedy. And just as Dante’s pilgrim had a guide, I recommend that the deeper journey within be taken with a seasoned guide as well. That being said, the journey can only be taken, fully experienced and its gold excavated, by you—the brave pilgrim.

A note of warning is in order. This may not be the lifetime to take this journey, and that’s okay, but if you dare to venture deeper within, to take the journey through the fires of the inner self: Be careful! It is a dark and treacherous journey. You must have a mature adult self firmly established as your main stabilizing partner, even as your child self often leads the way.

If you decide that it’s time to take such a journey, you will encounter all that you fear, but you will also encounter all that you need. You will receive the most profound of insights even as you walk through the fires and encounter the demons that reside deeper within. You will be granted those “calm and illuminating moments” that Chuck mentions in his blog, glimpses of greater insight and brighter life to come, even as you struggle for footing along your treacherous path. The journey within is the most profound of journeys. When you are ready to take it, in this life or another, know that you will be able to face what lies deeper within.

I am now in the last month of editing my next book, On the Edge of the Abyss, the second year of my recapitulation journey. As Chuck was writing his blog earlier this week I was in the midst of editing some passages from my book that struck me as quite apropos, examples of what it’s like to take that journey, to encounter the deeper darkness within, as well as the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few excerpts.

On June 1, 2003, when I was deep within, I wrote the following: When night finally comes I fall exhausted into bed and right into a dream. I’m in a new house where everything is empty, clean, and very white. The house is unfurnished and I know I’ll only be here for a little while. I’ve driven down narrow, crowded streets to get here. Children ran up to me as I drove, their faces alive with excitement, but as soon as they caught sight of my face they stopped just short of stepping off the curb. Their exuberance quelled into silence, as they somberly watched me drive past. I’m inside the house for a short while when I realize that someone else is here. I see that a sliding glass door has been left open and someone has tracked snow onto the carpet, the big footprints of a man. When I look out the door I see footprints in the snow outside as well, circling the house. Suddenly fearful, I’m certain that someone else is in the house with me and I no longer feel safe. I search all over for the man I am certain is hiding somewhere in the house. I can’t find him, but I also see that there’s really no place for him to hide. The house is empty; there are no possessions and no furniture to hide behind. I’m also aware that this is only a temporary place of fear, intense and real though it appears.

Jolted awake by this dream, I see by the clock that I’ve only slept a few minutes, but I know immediately what this dream symbolizes. As long I insist on keeping in what my psyche is pushing me to release then, yes, I must suffer. The children in the dream seem to be eagerly awaiting me—my inner children waiting all day for me to turn to them—for they rush up expectantly, calling out, “Here she comes! Here she comes!” They are stunned that I won’t receive them. They are perhaps expecting me to be different in dreamland, but I coldly drive by. Their enthusiasm dies as soon as they see me. They stand silently, with serious faces, and watch me drive past, my dour expression revealing that I’m not ready yet, that I’m on a different mission, still entangled in the trappings of fear. But it’s as if I’ve conjured up the fears, for although I see the footsteps of a man, there is really no man in the house, and thus nothing to really fear. I understand that if I fail to release my old fears, they will continue to haunt me. My dream makes it pretty clear that this is temporary housing, a transitional stage. And I get it—choosing to conjure up fear is of my own doing!

A few days later, on June 3rd, I wrote the following as I was challenged with going deeper still: I am mostly in the grips of fear at the moment, the fear of letting go, and the vast nothingness that I anticipate awaits the moment of letting go. I envision that letting go and leaping off the edge of the precipice, into the darkness of the abyss, means encountering an even deeper underworld filled with more fear, with more shame and more guilt. And I envision having to encounter all that once led to that pile of shame and guilt to begin with. Disgust lies down there at the bottom of the abyss too, disgust that I have needs and desires.

Even in the darkness there are glimpses of the Buddha in all of us... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Even in the darkness there are glimpses of the Buddha in all of us… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

A few days later, on June 6th I confronted some inner truths, what Chuck wrote about: being human and a deeper understanding of just what that means, one of those calm and illuminating moments that show up in the midst of deep work to encourage us to keep going. Here is what I wrote in my journal on that day:

The yoga studio I’ve been attending for several years now will be closing at the end of the month. I’m sad that one of my safe places will be gone. In the meantime, I’ll practice on my own, as I’ve done for most of my life, though I’ll miss the regular practice that I’ve anchored so deeply in and my fine teacher. I have to take care of myself and learn to give to myself, not only learn how to do it, but learn that it’s allowed. Giving and wanting love are so basic. I’m also slowly learning that I’m allowed to have feelings, that they are human qualities and needs. I must accept that I’m human, though my experiences of being human have been far from delightful. That’s why it’s so important to keep going deeply into the devastation inside and acknowledge it, not only accept the truth of it, but really allow myself to understand that I have indeed been devastated by it, by the lack of affection in my upbringing and by the sexual abuse, and every other abusive situation I’ve landed in. The choices I’d made in order to survive as a child, and all the choices since, have gotten me to the point I’m at today, and excavating and understanding the dynamic behind them is the solution to changing how I react and live my continuing journey.

Though I understand now that I was desperately needy as a child, I mostly recall the bubble of numbness where most of my childhood was spent, my needs dulled and untapped. I realize that I needed love and affection then and I need it now; and although those needs were rarely acknowledged, I’m learning that in order to become a full-fledged human being I must wake them up. I must learn to give to myself, but I also need to learn to accept from others. I deserve, just as every human being deserves, the experiences of being human. We all deserve access to our highest potential. I deserve the praise, the thanks, and the well-meaning gestures of recognition, so that I may fully access the meaning of my own life. I must accept that it’s okay to be happy with my accomplishments, and that it’s okay to FEEL. All of these things are part of making me real.

My second book ends as I go deeper still and tussle with the demon energies of fear, and the demon voices of negativity and control that had dominated me my whole life. It ends on a glorious note, but I had to go even deeper still. The journey would not be over for another year. There were many more moments of pain and fear to be encountered and there were, increasingly, moments of illuminating insight as well. I gained balance as the two—fear and illumination—accompanied me deeper still. I gained a greater understanding of my abusive childhood, what it meant to me as a human being and a spiritual being. I understood why I had to take the deeper journey within. I began to see the greater meaning of all life, understanding that I would have to take the same painful journey repeatedly unless I was willing to put a stop to the endless cycles of living and dying. Like Dante’s pilgrim I had to pass through my own nine circles of hell and see my life for what it really is—realized without ego and without shame, for they were burned in the fires too—a journey of the utmost importance.

We too will transform and rise one day... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We too will transform and rise one day… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

I believe that at some point we are all ready to take the deeper journey within, into our darkness, and that we will be ready then to encounter all that lies waiting for us there. It will be frightening, and we will have to “abandon all hope” as Dante writes, in order to truly be open to what will eventually bring us new life. Only in burning off all that I once thought was meaningful and important was I able to discover what was truly meaningful and important: accepting that my human self is taking a most meaningful journey through life itself, within and without.

I emerged after my three-year long journey, like Dante’s pilgrim, to be greeted by a star-studded sky, released from all that had once pained and frightened me. Cleansed by the fires of my own inferno, I rose like the phoenix from the ashes a new human being, my spirit reignited. I had been reborn into this human life.

And the journey continues,

Chuck’s Place: Within Without

Chuck’s blog is ready today so we are publishing it ahead of schedule. Jan’s blog will appear later in the week.

We go within to untangle the tangled web of our lives lived... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We go within to untangle the tangled web of our lives lived… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we are in this world we are in it for a physical reason. There may be other reasons, but we cannot escape the primary truth that we are physical beings that require sustenance and attachment to the world around us to survive and grow. Failures in attachment at the most basic level can be fatal in what’s called “Failure To Thrive” Syndrome (FTT).

Though most humans pass through the first challenge of survival, the subsequent journey to adulthood is fraught with significant challenges as the molding of a solid physical and emotional self is prepared in order to enter and thrive in the unfolding challenges of independence and adulthood. In fact, much of the first half of life is spent trying to successfully navigate adult challenges with a fragile foundation of security.

Regardless of whether our foundations were secure and loving or filled with abuse and neglect, we are all confronted, by midlife, with the growing awareness of the universal equalizer: death. And with that awareness we are confronted with the meaning of life, the meaning of being born into a physical world. Why am I here?

And when we take up the Grail of that question we begin our spiritual journey, our inward journey. We turn, as Jeanne’s message on Monday suggests: Within. Jeanne speaks of building a relationship with the higher self within. This requires that we draw in our mental activity that has appropriately attached to the sensate world for many years. Regardless of success or failure in that physical world, it is time to turn inward and take up the next challenge of why: why am I here? It is time to open to the resources latent within that have waited all these years for attention so that we may be guided to fulfillment and illumination.

To persist in spending energy on the physical world for answers, at this stage, results in confusion and loss of purpose. The Bhagavad-Gita states:

Thinking about sense-objects
Will attach you to sense-objects;
Grow attached, and you become addicted;
Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger;
Be angry, and you confuse your mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.

The inner journey begins with a full recapitulation of the journey thus far taken. We must first settle with the truth of what has happened in this life. The inner higher self will sprinkle plenty of guidance along the path—calm and illuminating moments—as you take that inner journey, guiding and supporting you with dreams, visions, synchronicities, channelings, etc.

The completion of our lives in this physical realm is likely to require that we indeed reengage our extroverted focus, our sensual life, as beings in this world. However, return to that world after recapitulation is no longer a journey of craving but one of loving completion, the completion of the journey within without.

Journeying within and without,

Note: Quote from the Bhagavad-Gita by Swami Prabhavananda; page 49; copyright 1944.

Readers of Infinity: Within

Here is Jeanne’s weekly message, channeled most humbly by Jan.

The time of sunrise brings new light and an opportunity to go within, into the network of the inner self... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
The time of sunrise brings new light and an opportunity to go within, into the network of the inner self… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

Having made the decision to change, you must hold yourself to the promise of new life. This requires attention, discipline, and commitment to a new path. In order to achieve your goals you must constantly pull yourself back to the bigger picture. Why am I here? Find that answer within. Within is all you need. There is no greater or more meaningful question or answer. All is within. And this you will only discover the truth of as you go within, turning always inward, even as you move forward into new life. The answers to all you seek lie within. I cannot stress this enough. Let that be enough. In allowing Within to be your guide, you will succeed in all your endeavors. Seek first within, seek connection to your higher self within. Then all else will naturally fall into place, and all else that you seek will be discovered, revealed, and supported as well. There is nothing as provocative and magical as what awaits within.