Our woundings define us, control us, give us structure and purpose. They offer crutches so we can limp along through life making the best of it. What would happen if we threw away those crutches, if we decided to let go of everything we think we need and instead go in search of our dreams? If we lose touch with our dreams we lose touch with our spirit. The only way of getting back to our spirit is to get back to not only dreaming our dreams but actualizing them, and to do that we must get rid of our crutches.
Crutches can be everything from ideas, such as that we are not worthy of success, or a mate, or wealth or health, that we must bear the life we have, continually punishing ourselves because of some idea that that’s just the way life is, or because we repeatedly blame someone else for hurting us, for leaving us, for abusing us. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Crutches are also our comforts, and that’s where it gets tricky when we try to let them go. Part of us wants to just throw them away, but if we do will our back and legs be strong enough to carry us forward? Will our feet know where to take us? Do we have what it takes to go it alone without our crutches? Whatever our crutches may be they will try to convince us that we need them, that we can’t live without them, that we owe them for how they have helped us survive. How can you leave something, or someone, that has been so important to you? How can you just walk away?
When the time comes to change, to move on, to throw away the crutches, we have to dare ourselves to stand on our own two feet. It can feel as if we are throwing ourselves into the great unknown, which we are. As if we are jumping off a cliff, which we are. As if we are taking a great leap of faith, which we are. The first thing we will encounter as we take that leap is fear.
As we untether ourselves from what has kept us safe and secure for so long we go reeling into the great nothingness of free fall. We don’t know where we are, who we are, or how to navigate without our crutches. We don’t know what to do, so we grasp for our crutches again. “Just stay with me a little bit longer,” we say. “I know you and I trust you. Even though you are bad for me, you keep me safe and grounded.”
During my recapitulation such times of free fall indicated that I was actually making strides. I was being challenged to embrace life, to get out of my safety zone and confront reality. Perhaps letting go of a crutch meant challenging myself to go beyond my depression, such as: “I won’t stay in bed all day today. Today I will go to the grocery store, or make a phone call, or take a walk.” Such simple things, you might say, but to a traumatized person these present major feats. Sometimes every day could be like that.
Perhaps a moment of free fall was instigated by an outside influence, such as someone requesting something of me, someone else needing me, or a job that needed to be done. To go outside our comfort zone when we have been badly wounded takes courage, fortitude, and strength, such ordinary characteristics of being human that for someone suffering from PTSD present mountains to cross, rivers to ford, the great unknown to encounter, and all without our usual crutches!
If we are to heal we have to change, and if we are to change we have to leave our crutches behind. The things that now keep us safe also keep us isolated, lonely, stuck in reliving our woundings and our ideas of ourselves as wounded, over and over again.
“I am wounded, poor me! I will never have a good life because someone did something bad to me! I have trauma in my background so I have permission to be sad and lonely. It’s my lot in life.” These are some of the things we tell ourselves to keep us aligned with our woundings, and each time we speak them our crutches are right there for us to grab onto, saying, “Yes, you need me. I told you that you would always need me. You don’t need anything else. I am here for you.” Are we really going to settle for that?
We are easily convinced by our crutches because the truth is that yes, they have been our salvation, they have stood by us through it all, and they have worked for us, to a certain extent. But they have also kept us stuck in our nightmares, and the truth is we would be better off without them. We’d be healthier without them.
I used to run every day. It was one of my crutches. I thought I needed running to survive. I have not run in 12 years now. I just stopped one day. At first I felt bad about not running, thinking I’d get out of shape, physically and mentally, and for a long time I’d whine, “Oh, I should be running.” But I never did again and once I really let go of it, in my mind too, I was just fine. I am physically and mentally healthier than ever. I don’t need to rely on running anymore. I have myself to rely on.
When it’s time to finally let go of the crutches, the crutches will try to stay attached. We suffer with them and we suffer without them. But if we can look at them closely, examine them, ask why we think we need them, we are well on our way to getting rid of them forever. We have to ask: “Are they part of some idea, some ideal that I latched onto a long time ago at a time when I needed something to support me? Do I really need that kind of support now?”
Times change. We change. As we choose to heal from our traumas, our dreams come back to haunt us, reminding us of what we have left behind that might really matter to us. In the long run, it’s our dreams that we should go running to. Is it time to throw away the crutches and go running toward your dreams?
In this time of #METOO, it is so important that we point fingers, that we expose the hypocrites, that we gather together, united against what has been going on in the shadows, but at the same time we can’t just stop there. It does no one any good if all we do is point fingers. If we are to heal our wounds we have to be willing to do the healing work, and that is an individual task. No one else can heal our wounds for us, for only we know what they truly are. Only we know what they have done to us and how we have survived with them and in spite of them. And only we know what all of our crutches are, many of which we have kept in the shadows of our own psyches.
Healing can only happen if we are each ready to take the personal journey within. If we are to heal we must put down our crutches, one at a time, and head off into free fall. In the end, I can attest, that we will land on our feet, and that our own two feet are indeed strong enough to bear the tension of taking back our health and our energy, as well as take us where we will go next. Time to take the dream back.
A blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries
Here is our audio channeling for this week of February 27, 2017 and not 2016 as I say on the recording. Oops! Anyway, may it clarify, even a little bit, what taking the inward journey might mean. Every journey is unique, but it doesn’t hurt to have a starting point.
Have a wonderful week! And don’t forget to check out our daily Soulbytes and Chuck’s blog, all of which are published on our website as well as on our Facebook page.
Here is this week’s channeled message, may it offer you the guidance you seek, as well as some good advice as you make new choices in your life. Most humbly channeled and posted for your listening pleasure!
After four sweat lodges and several days on a vision quest, Jonas Elrod—the seeker who made the documentary Wake Up that Jan references in her blog earlier this week—reaches out to God, as throughout his quest his concept of God has constantly changed and now he is befuddled. He begs for clarity on the meaning of God, of religion, the correct path, etc., and is met with a vision of fingers pointing at a bigtop tent. He sees that the tent is empty, the posts fall down and the tent collapses. This vision is accompanied by the words: “All pointers point in the same direction.” He understands that what he seeks has nothing to do with religion or church, that there is no life, or only the illusion of life, inside the tent, inside the church. Inside the tent there is nothing.
Jung unmasked the same truth about modern religion: dogma and ritual are dressed in archetypal wrappings with no life inside them, no pathways to spirit. In his youth, Jung had a powerful dream where the heavens opened up and dropped excrement upon the church steeple. He was to spend the rest of his life carving a pathway to spirit for modern humanity.
Jung journeyed through the ancient religions, East and West, in search of valid pathways to the soul. He, like Joseph Campbell, discovered that religious symbolism and practice were relative to the time and place of their emergence. The gods and saviors of one era were merely local masks or pathways to spirit that fit the style and custom of those times. Evolution, however, requires that new pathways emerge, relevant to changing times. All religions that cling to the images of another time cannot support or transport the modern soul to its destiny and fulfillment.
Jung’s greatest discovery was that connection to spirit lies not in attachment to some mask of God, but in direct contact with spirit in numinous experience. Jung’s process of psychotherapy opens the door to direct encounter, direct experience, direct communication between consciousness and the greater self—Spirit—to arrive at healing and fulfillment. The challenge for all seekers and initiates, of all times, is to take the journey into the unknown—like Jonas Elrod did—to become heroes in search of their souls. Such a journey means encountering, confronting, and slaying all the energies that lie in the unknown, in the form of sensations, intense emotions, and powerful beliefs and images.
In our time, the quest for wholeness with spirit has been largely projected outwardly onto materialism, romanticism, and consumption. As a consequence, spirit has lodged itself inside the empty circus tent of consumerism on a grand scale, in the empty search for romantic love, in the desire for more, and in the addiction to substance. Modern humanity is compelled to seek its wholeness in the tent of emptiness. Spirit is behind this, but as a trickster now, ravaging us with knocks of the spirit as we relentlessly grasp for our wholeness in that which shines with promise.
Spirit comes in the form of the trickster because it needs to meet us where our projections are caught. It’s the only way we can engage it, so it meets us where we are. If we are bent on romantic love that’s where spirit will meet us. It has to have us wake up to our fixation—that’s not a judgment. God comes in the form that God comes in, to wake us up. Hence, the emptiness of the tent, because that’s where we all are. It’s only through fully grasping and crushing in the emptiness, in collapsing that empty tent, that we will be forged for the next step of the journey—direct experience within.
Bill W., ultimately through a connection with Jung, had his direct experience in a vision that lifted his thirst for spirit without—from “spirits”—to spirit within, to inner union and wholeness. AA was founded on direct contact with spirit, with the mask of spirit unmasked. As spirit is freed of its empty substance container, it is brought home, inwardly to self. Thus, AA works as a valid religion when its adherents find their way to direct experience and union with spirit within. Short of that, AA leads only to control of dry spirits.
Jung warned against the seduction of adopting the garbs of exotic practices and ritual as a replacement for empty local religions. He frowned upon yoga and Buddhism replacing religion in the West. Though I think his warning is valid, he himself used yoga to withstand the energies of the collective unconscious as he went deeper into his own night sea journey. The message being: take what works, but go inward and do the work there rather than wearing it outwardly.
The key to direct experience lies in the methodologies, not the wrappings of many ancient traditions. Witness the sweat lodge and the vision quest in Wake Up.
So do engage in the practices of yoga or the meditation techniques of Buddhism, the prayers of many traditions, and the many worlds of dreaming, or whatever works for you.
When Carlos Castaneda would discuss the Magical Passes of Tensegrity, he’d exclaim: “Suspend judgment! Just do it and see what happens!” In other words, avoid the trappings of faith, belief and deity. Just do the techniques, and see what happens: Communion, or not?
Furthermore, if your spirit lands somewhere in the circus tent just accept it. You must pursue it until you unmask its emptiness—the direct experience of emptiness. This is what Jonas Elrod finally achieved during his own spiritual quest, the emptiness that led to his own direct experience.
From the emptiness of the circus tent, you may be ready to encounter spirit directly, in direct experience at home, in the depths of the self.