HOW MANY OF US HAVE DONE WHAT WE COULD?

A TIMELY (AND EARLY) OCTOBER NEWSLETTER 

Unlike most previous newsletters, which have had a single article about one theme,
this month’s newsletter will consist of notes from my heart related to
several things going on in our world today.

IT’S 5 YEARS LATER . . . AFTER THE ECONOMY CRASHED
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED IN THESE 5 YEARS?

We have recently passed through the 5-year anniversary of the economic crash on September 15, 2008, the day the recession began. What have we learned? What have we really done since then?

I am so deeply concerned about all that has been done in the outer world that may have helped only temporarily, and all that has been done in the outer world that hasn’t helped at all . . . by the government, by companies and corporations, by states, communities, families, and individuals.  We need to take action in the outer world. Of course we do. But if we only take action outside us . . . what is inside us that unconsciously drives us in the outer world will remain unknown, untouched, untransformed, unhealed. And as a result, eventually, whatever action we have taken will be undone, undermined, turned upside down and inside out. The consequence of what lies within beneath our awareness, in the shadows of ourselves.

There are so very many possibilities of what could be driving us individually and communally that hasn’t been tended to. Here is just one.

What about all the people in our country and our world who made an early decision in their childhoods that affects our economies today? What about all the people who decided:  I’ll never have enough? 

Their early decision could have been about something physical like food or warmth. Imagine a baby who isn’t getting enough food because he can’t keep his food down. Or imagine a baby who needs to be swaddled more warmly, and is cold all the time. The early decision could also be about something emotional, which to a baby is actually very physical. Imagine a baby needing more connection with mother. Perhaps the bonding isn’t taking place because of something going on with the mother. Perhaps she is physically ill. Perhaps she’s triggered by something about her baby – maybe a reminder of her own frightening infancy.

The baby makes a decision, which then doesn’t have words, of course. But the inner experience of the baby is of not having enough, never having enough. And later, as a child, the words that connect with the experience come, either into consciousness and maybe even spoken; or maybe only unconsciously in mind.

Maybe one baby who has made that early decision will grow up and live the decision again and again, finding him- or herself never having enough. Maybe that baby will not have enough food, or warmth, or money to purchase them. Maybe another baby with that decision will grow up and push and push and push to get enough. Maybe that second baby, for reasons yet unknown to us, will make lots of money — money to purchase food and warmth and more.  To us it would seem that person certainly has enough. But having made the early decision I’ll never have enough, that person will keep working to make more . . .

And more and more and more and more.  People may write that person off as just “greedy,” but the truth is . . . that person is just as driven by an early decision as the person who is going without food and warmth.

Do you see the impact of the early decisions we make?

So, how many of us in the US and how many of us all over the world have done our inner exploration in these 5 years to find our early decisions relating to money and the economy and to heal them – the early decision itself, the consequences that have developed from the early decision, and the roots of the early decision in childhood?

Have you?

And if we haven’t done our own inner work with this . . . how can we possibly expect anything to really change in 5 years? Or 10? Or 20? Or more?  And how can we possibly expect anything in the outer world to sustain?

*****

WE’VE HAD SO MUCH VIOLENCE OUT IN FULL VIEW IN OUR WORLD.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

9/11. Columbine. Aurora, Colorado. Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The Boston Marathon.  Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. Nairobi, Kenya mall attack.  Unfortunately this names just a few of the incidents publicly known.

What have we learned? What have we done? We can’t even claim successful action in the outer world.  We can’t even establish laws that would protect. And in the news as I write this, there was once again talk about mental health. People deem those who are violent “mentally ill” and talk about getting health care benefits for the mentally ill. There’s a controversy over health care benefits. Not that working for benefits for trauma isn’t important.  But in addition to making sure those who need help can get it, we need to also address a larger question: what kind of treatment are they going to receive?  Medication? Training on controlling their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. And nothing more? And what about the choice we need to make: whether we’re going to stay on the surface or go to the root?

Again, I am so deeply concerned about all that has been done in the outer world that may help only temporarily, and all that has been done in the outer world that hasn’t helped at all and won’t help at all, really . . . by the government, by companies and corporations, by states, communities, families, and individuals.  We need to take action in the outer world. Of course we do. But if we only take action outside us . . . what is inside us that unconsciously drives us in the outer world will remain unknown, untouched, untransformed, unhealed. And as a result, eventually, whatever action we have taken will be undone, undermined, turned upside down and inside out.  The consequence of what lies within beneath our awareness, in the shadows of ourselves.

There are so very many possibilities of what could be driving us individually and communally that hasn’t been tended to.  Here is just one.

We need to concentrate on all violence, not just occurrences we consider public tragedies.  We need to focus on bullying everywhere it occurs . . . at home in our families, at school, in religious institutions, in doctor’s offices, in companies, in the military, in the Congress, all over the world in war. And by everyone who bullies . . . even parents who bully their children.

We need to understand that this kind of pervasive violence in our societies begins in our homes, begins in our childhoods. We need to know that when a child has experienced violence, that child will somehow repeat that violence . . . whether visiting it upon someone else, upon him or herself, or just carrying the potential beneath consciousness until at some point there is an experience that is “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” At that point, the violence is enacted.  And the vicious cycle begins again. People suffer from the violence and then will carry that on with them to enact themselves at some point.

The truth is . . . we need to re-weave the fabric of our societies and help people heal their childhood wounds to the root. And we need to intervene where people are acting out their childhood wounds on others, so that the children of today and tomorrow don’t suffer wounds that they don’t heal . . . then passing them onto future generations.

There is far more violence going on in our world than we can even imagine. Than some of us are willing to know. It keeps coming out into the open, calling us to do the work to heal it. Not by fighting. Not by laws. But by healing, truly healing it.

There’s so much more to be said, so much more to be taught, so much more to be done. But the inner work of healing is the core.  It’s the heart of the matter.

Do you see the impact of the wounding each of us has experienced?

So, how many of us in the US and how many of us all over the world have done our inner exploration even since 9/11 to find our own early wounds that may have been experiences of violence or could possibly cause violence?

Have you?

And if we haven’t done our own inner work with this . . . how can we possibly expect anything to really change in 5 years? Or 10? Or 20? Or more?  And how can we possibly expect anything in the outer world to sustain?

*****

WILLFULNESS – THIS NEEDS TO BE HEALED 

There is so much willfulness out in the open in our world today.  It cannot be hidden anymore. It is coming out into the light of day where we can notice it, see it, name it, and heal it.

Willfulness:  planning, threatening, taking action without concern for potential harm to self or others, without concern for the feelings, needs, safety of self or others, the consequences be damned.

We have seen this with those who have been violent – individually, in groups, and as heads of state. We have seen this most recently in Syria, with the chemical weapons used against Syrian citizens . . . the consequences be damned. We have seen this with banks and corporations who  set the economy up to crash and individuals to lose their life savings, their homes, their jobs, and more . . . the consequences be damned.  We have seen this with people like Bernie Madoff who cheated people out of the means with which they were planning to take care of themselves and their families . . . the consequences be damned. And we are watching some members of government on the verge of creating a disaster with the US economy and the world economies . . . the consequences be damned.

Just as we need to let what’s happening in the outer world in relation to money and in relation to violence be a mirror of what we need to look at in ourselves . . . so also do we need to look at our own willfulness.

Do you see the impact of the willfulness each of us has experienced?  And the impact of the willfulness each of us has enacted or may yet enact?

So, how many of us in the US and how many of us all over the world have done our inner exploration to find our own willfulness??

Have you?

So much is happening in our world today that shows that we need to make real sustainable change . . . from the inside out. But if we haven’t done our own inner work with willfulness . . . how can we possibly expect anything to really change in 5 years? Or 10? Or 20? Or more?  And how can we possibly expect anything in the outer world to sustain?

On the other hand . . . imagine if, as part of making those changes, we all make the commitment to do the inner work we need to do to heal those wounds which are hampering our efforts at sustainable change . . . Imagine how different our world would be!

It begins with each one of us . . . one by one by one.  It begins with you.  Will you make the commitment to do your inner healing work with your relationship with money? With your relationship with violence?  With your relationship with willfulness?   Will you do your part in helping to heal both yourself and our world?

© Judith Barr, 2013

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WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR AND OUR WORLD SAFE . . .
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Many of us are working to help bring change to our world – seeking an end to poverty, violence, abuse of power. As you help to work toward those changes, you can help your own efforts by acknowledging your own wounds, how they impact your life and the lives of those around you, and by making a deep commitment to do the inner work needed to heal those wounds in the inner world so you can help create and sustain true and lasting change in our outer world.

A good start would be becoming aware of your feelings as you go through your day. How intense are your feelings? Are they more intense than the situation warrants? If so . . . can you trace those intense feelings back into your early life? When before have you felt this particular feeling? How far back in your life can you remember feeling this way? And what situations in your early life caused you to feel this same feeling?

You may find, as you go deeper and deeper into the roots of your feelings, that you need help to tease apart the here-and-now situation from those ancient roots. You may find you need the help of a caring, integritous therapist . . . and if you do, commit to finding the right therapist for you, and working with him or her to go deeper and deeper in your journey . . . all the way to the roots!

If you’re open to sharing what this article brought up for you, I welcome your emails.

We can help create sustainable change in all areas of our lives and the life of our world . . . if we are open and willing to devote our time and energy, our mind, body, heart, and soul, to exploring and healing our own inner worlds.

Changing Things From The Inside Out: The Bankruptcy Is Within

It’s 2013. There is so much in our world that is distressing and frightening in these times. And we keep trying to fix it all by doing things out there in the world!  But no matter how hard we try, even if we seem to succeed – for a while – the changes we make in the outer world unravel and threaten to return to the way they were, or worse.

We’re not looking at what’s happening through a big enough lens. We’re not looking at what’s happening through enough dimensions . . . our view is so limited. To put it simply . . . We’re not seeing the big picture. We’re not seeing the whole picture.

We’re not looking far enough. We’re not looking close enough. We’re not looking wide enough. We’re not looking deep enough.  Stay with me to really understand.

As a depth psychotherapist, when I work with an individual person, (I use the masculine pronoun here to simplify, though it applies to both men and women) we look at what has happened in his life that has affected not only his outer world but also his inner world – the world of mind, heart, and soul. We look at how he reflexively protected himself against the pain of the distress or even trauma he suffered. We look at how the originally involuntary protections took hold and became defenses, hardening as time went on and eventually splitting off from their original intentions – first protection against what for a child was unbearable suffering, and later defenses against the pain that was still alive within that child.  We look at inner defenses and outer defenses. And we look at how those defenses created problems that a child couldn’t possibly foresee . . . including distortedly proving to that person what he originally decided about himself, others, and life in response to the original painful events. We look at the vicious cycle all of that sets up for the person’s life, both in his inner world and his outer world.  And the illusion that he and others believe as he grows into what we think of as an adult – a person in a big body with the child still alive within. We also look at how that vicious cycle in his life affects those around him – both up close and personal and also not so close. And, of course, we look at, talk about, and help him truly enter into the deep healing that is possible for him.

That’s a lot to take in and digest in one paragraph. Let me give you an example.

Joe is a 43-year old businessman. He’s married and has two sons, one 6 and the other 12.  He has a wife who loves him, but can’t tolerate his walls, his outbursts, or the power struggles she witnesses and experiences with him.

As a tiny baby, Joe had colic that went on for far too long.  He cried in pain too much of each day. His mother was, herself, distressed that she could not soothe him. Eventually at some point in the day she would put him in his crib, leave the room, closing the door behind her and turning up the volume on the music or T.V. to drown out his crying. His crying would change again and again from that of a hungry, wet baby needing to be responded to, held and loved, to that of a baby with a tummy in pain, to cries of frustration and finally rage at being left alone, hurting, uncomforted, unaided, till he cried himself to sleep. When he awakened, the cycle began again. Mom and Joe pretty much lived in the house without much exposure to the outside world until Joe grew out of the colic. So the only other person who would see this cycle was Joe’s dad. When his father was home, sometimes his father would become so triggered by Joe’s inconsolability and ceaseless crying, that he would throw Joe into the crib yelling at him and leave the room, slamming the door behind him . . . sometimes off its hinges.

Joe did eventually, thank goodness, grow out of the colic, and there was so much less crying. By comparison, almost none.

But when Joe did cry, even as an older baby, even as a toddler, even as a little boy . . . both mom and dad had reactions.  What was triggered in them when he was a baby, was again and again activated by the slightest sign of crying, as if it were a hair trigger. Joe learned to suppress and then completely turn off his crying. He learned to keep his chin from quivering. He learned to keep his eyes dry – no tears. He learned not to do the things that would cause his parents to react in ways that might hurt him enough to cry . . . or if they did, he would either pretend they weren’t hurting him or count the seconds until their verbal lashings or spankings were over. One day he told his sister that he made it through 5 whole minutes without shedding a tear or even wincing.  From his once vulnerable, powerless state as a baby, he had grown defenses that made him feel like the powerful one; he had become contemptuous, proud of his strength, and determined to show his strength whenever he wanted.  He had decided:  I’ll never be powerless again; those monsters’ll be sorry they ever hurt me; and life is a long wait till you get ‘em back. Only no one knew he’d made those decisions, nor that he was busy re-deciding them, even in his dreams and fantasies . . . not even Joe himself.

Yet unconsciously, just like the rest of us, he re-enacted his earlier experiences again and again, transferring his parents and his experiences with them onto other people and his experiences with these people – like his teachers, his boy scout leader, his coaches, his minister. And every time someone hurt him, he hid the signs of the pain – even from himself – and instead acted strong and felt contempt for them that they had to hurt other people. But one day, when he was 12, his minister lashed out at him. Joe saw red and lashed back, this time physically, giving his minister a bloody nose. Joe’s father had a fit about what his son had done and hit Joe so hard he had black and blue marks. Joe took his defensive position with his father and decided again the same decisions he’d decided earlier in his life, this time more specifically personalized to his dad:  I’ll never be powerless again; you’ll be sorry you ever hurt me, you horrible monster; and life’ll be a long wait till I get you back.

In essence, Joe had run through a whole vicious cycle or maze, as I call it.

He’d gone from being powerless with the minister; he’d come to the end of the long wait till he could “get him back” and made the minister-monster sorry, only to be powerless with his father once again and reinforce those decisions for himself all over again. Joe’s classmates cheered him on for decking the minister (which they were afraid to do); they empathized with him for the bruises his father left on him; and secretly they were afraid of him. Somewhat consciously and somewhat beneath his awareness, Joe felt this combination, especially the fear, gave him a lot of power with them: he could turn them into monsters and get them back at any time, too. They knew their fear meant he had a lot of power with them, and did their best not to antagonize him.

But Joe’s father was oblivious. He had no fear of Joe, no inkling Joe was waiting to get him back, and not the slightest awareness that one day Joe would beat him up at the slightest provocation . . . when Joe’s own son was 12. Joe’s twelve year old son hadn’t a clue that his father would yell at him for what seemed like hours on his 12th birthday. And his business partners couldn’t even imagine the potential of the same occurring at work with one of them on that very day.  No one understood the trigger that age 12 had become for Joe.

Do you see how the cycle works and affects everyone? What occurred in Joe’s childhood, so early he didn’t remember it consciously, affected his life and everyone in it . . .

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Now let’s take a big step. There are many, many, many more people in our country than most people can imagine . . . who experience trauma in the form of some kind of abuse.* There are many more than most can imagine – both children and adults. Many more than most want to imagine. Many more than most want to know.  But we need to know. Because these people are not just the guy or gal across the world, across the country, or across town. They are the guy and gal across the street and next door. They are also us, right in our own homes, right in our own lives.

Some of them know they have been or are being abused. I’ve known people, even therapists, who are glad they were hit every day of their childhood . . . because compared to some of their patients who were more subtly humiliated and otherwise emotionally battered, they knew they were being abused. I’ve known others who were so glad they weren’t hit and used that as a defense to prove to themselves they weren’t abused, hiding from their own awareness the more subtle – but equally damaging – forms of abuse they experienced.

So again . . . if we weren’t in denial, we would find there are many more people in our country who have been abused and experienced in that abuse some form of violence. They are people who have buried their memories and their feelings, built defenses against the pain, made decisions about themselves others and life, and are haunted by all of this. They’re haunted by the buried memories, the buried feelings, the defenses they spend their energy keeping strong to hold the memories and feelings at bay . . . and the thing they’re unconsciously waiting to have happen as each cycle comes to a close.

This makes the possibility of abuse and violence acted out physically much more likely than most want to know. But it also increases the likelihood of our unconscious support of violence, a support that ends up as acting out violence and feeds the violence amongst us. For example . . . sports like football and boxing during which fans cheer the violence on; movies and T.V programs that are filled with violence, during which many cheer the violence aloud or secretly get off on the violence; there are those who disparage the paparazzi, yet it is our population who reads the “rags”; many decry human trafficking, yet it is our citizens who buy the humans and use them for sex; the whole political campaign season we just went through was violent in its own right – from lies to verbal attacks and more; not to mention the wars we are waging, often under the guise of laws, righteousness, patriotism, and “helping others”; the violence that’s been done to our economic system; and now after the Sandy Hook tragedy, mental health is in the spotlight – but mental health as a bankrupt system, without the necessary leadership, tools, support, and means with which to truly bring about the healing needed . . . all through society, all over the world.

Here’s where the larger picture really needs to be seen.  .  . or we will never work our way through the painful crossroads we’re at. If Joe, as I described him to you, were to be in serious financial debt and even go bankrupt, I, as his therapist, would not only work with him on the issues on the here and now practical level, recommending he talk with an accountant and/or a financial planner, and working with him on his relationship with money . . . I would also work with him on the debt within himself. I would work with him on the bankruptcy I have described to you above. I would help him acknowledge the bankruptcy within and heal it debt by debt by debt.  I would help him become conscious of his early decisions about himself, others, and life. I would help him both utilize them to access his early memories and feelings and heal them so he isn’t driven by them in his life in the future. I would help him build his capacity to feel the feelings he has been defending against.  I would assist him as he transforms the use of his energy to defend against his early experiences and feelings into a use of his energy and other inner resources for constructive, creative possibilities in his future.  It will be crucial that he does all this, beginning with acknowledging the inner bankruptcy, in order to resolve things from the inside out. He cannot simply fix the outer bankruptcy and stop there . . . it will just occur and recur again and again till the inner bankruptcy is acknowledged and healed.

And this is true of our society, too. What happens within individuals, happens also within societies.  What happens within individuals, happens within the society of the family, the community, the business world, the country, and the global society, as well. You can see it in the example of Joe above. And you can see it in our society today.  While our Congress purports to be trying to help us at the edge of a fiscal cliff, too many of its members are revealing their individual inner bankruptcies and our country’s inner bankruptcy. While our country purports to be fighting against violence, it is acting out its inner bankruptcy of violence right and left. While our country purports to value women and want to keep them safe, the inner bankruptcy of our relationship to woman and the feminine reveals itself in both male and female leaders and citizens every day.

It’s 2013.  It’s time to look at the big picture. It’s time to look up close – at ourselves individually and communally. It’s time to look to the depths – within ourselves and our national and global communities.  It’s time to see the bankruptcy that has been revealed both financially and in other areas of our lives.

It’s time to see the inner bankruptcy from which the outer bankruptcy has been created. It’s time to go to the root and heal this within ourselves and our society – from the inside out.

Each one of us who does that in ourselves, helps not only ourselves but also our society.  You can’t just work to heal societal inner bankruptcy and neglect your own.  It may not be obvious to you, but from my breadth and depth of experience . . . I’m quite sure there is some aspect of inner bankruptcy within us all. Where will you start? What will you do to heal your own inner bankruptcy and our global one as well?

It’s 2013. It is time to begin reweaving the underlying fabric of our society. It is the time of healing from the root, from the inside out . . . within each of us and all over our precious world.

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* Today I’m using the violence facet of the big picture – I could use any side to help us see the relationship between the inner and its outpicturing in the world outside. To help us see the relationship between the inner in the individual and society and the outer for the individual and society. The grief side, for example. It’s less than a month after the violence at Sandy Hook. The grief is tremendous. But instead of grieving, which would help us turn within . . . we’re fighting. About guns. About violence. About the mentally ill. About the fiscal cliff. About who’s right and who’s wrong. And instead of grieving, we’re pushing ourselves and those who have lost so much to get back to normal, albeit perhaps, another new normal. To let go of grief. To not weep for those who are in a better place. All showing our inner bankruptcies, personal and communal. Our fear of grieving and the resulting layers and layers of grief within us just waiting to be triggered.

After 9/11 instead of grieving, we began fighting. We went to war. We declared we were the axis of good and others the axis of evil. A sign of our inner bankruptcy. When the tragedy occurred in Norway, I wrote a public letter and urged them not to make the same mistake we made. . . not to let the grief ungrieved create still more events that would cause yet more grief. Are we really going to make the same mistake again? Or are we going to heal the inner bankruptcy now?

To learn more, you can read these articles at my Huffington Post blog:
An Open Letter to Norway… Don’t Make the Mistake We Made at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-barr/an-open-letter-to-norway-_b_911739.html

Help Your Family and You Through 9/11 Anniversary and Terror Threats at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-barr/911-anniversary_b_956015.html

and these articles on my blog, PoliPsych:
Healing Clues in the Aftermath of The Sandy Hook Tragedy – in Newtown and All Over The World – The Clue Of Grief at
http://judithbarr.com/2012/12/17/healing-clues-in-the-aftermath-of-the-sandy-hook-tragedy-in-newtown-and-all-over-the-world-the-clue-of-grief/.

Healing Clues in the Aftermath of The Sandy Hook Tragedy – in Newtown and All Over The World – The Clue Of Safety at
http://judithbarr.com/2012/12/18/healing-clues-in-the-aftermath-of-the-sandy-hook-tragedy-in-newtown-and-all-over-the-world-the-clue-of-safety/.

© Judith Barr, 2013.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR WORLD SAFE . . .
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

This year, make a true commitment to explore, find, and heal the bankruptcy within you . . . as one aspect of doing your part to help reweave the fabric of our society and our world. And as part of healing the bankruptcy within, make a commitment to explore the feelings that arise as you go about your day, tracing those feelings back to their roots in your early life,

And this year, make a true commitment to help bring this message to others in your world – the message of change from the roots, from the inside out.

If you feel called, pass this post on to those in your life you feel would be open and ready to receive the message. It might inform them, inspire them, intrigue them, or simply plant seeds in them. It might help them. It might help someone they know. It might start a dialogue between them and you that would, perhaps, not otherwise have begun.

We can all work together to heal our world, fully and sustainably – from the inside out — if we can commit to doing the inner work we all need to do to help create true and lasting change.

Why Did We Let S&P Scare Us?

Some may be done with the S&P downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.

But I’m not.

Although it was awhile ago linearly, it’s not over in its impact . . . and it’s still having an impact on me! Enough to write about. And I hope it’s still having an impact on you! Enough to read, think, feel, and talk about. So here goes . . .

Why did we let the downgrade of our country’s credit rating by S&P scare us so much? So much that our market dropped over 500 points the next day? And a couple days later? And a couple days after that? Why did we pay attention to this rating agency? Couldn’t we see they have no credibility?

Strike #1 against their credibility: S&P (along with other credit rating agencies) gave AAA ratings to subprime-backed securities . . . the ones that caused Ugly Monday, September 15, 2008.

Strike #2 against their credibility: S&P (and other credit rating agencies) gave Lehman Brothers a risk rating of ‘satisfactory’ a mere quarter before it collapsed.

Strike #3 against their credibility: S&P got their math wrong in their justification of their US downgrade . . . overstating the debt by approximately $2 trillion.

Three strikes, S&P, and you’re out!

Even the head of S&P, Deven Sharma, has stepped down as a result of too many strikes.

With three very obvious strikes, and likely many that aren’t so obvious, why would we be okay with their staying in the game for strike 4 . . . and beyond?

Why would we give the power to affect our investments, markets, country, lives, responses . . . to a group of people who’ve made repeated mistakes that caused such harm to our citizens, our country, and even our world already? Why would we allow such misuse, if not abuse, of power to continue?

This is a huge, crucial question for us, especially now. For us as individuals, as a nation . . . and as a world.

The question again: Why would we be okay with allowing a person or group to have a destructive impact on us? Especially when they’ve done the same thing a number of times before that we know about? And who knows how many times that we don’t know about?

Put another way: Why would we allow a person or a group to abuse their power with us? To abuse us? This is a question explored regularly with many people who come to work with me. It’s also a question we need to ask ourselves not only in our individual lives, but also in our communal lives – in our families, communities, houses of worship, schools, in our states, countries, and world. Our lives and our sanity may depend on our asking and answering this question.

Let’s begin to answer this question . . .

We could follow a round-about path, or we could go straight to the core. In this time when our deeply exploring and finding the truth about power is so crucial . . . are you open to going straight to the core with me?

Our relationship with power – its misuse and abuse and its magnificent use for true good – begins at conception and forms itself unconsciously within us from that moment through our childhoods. . . and into our adult lives.

Let’s take two imaginary people, a man and a woman, Janet and Nathan, and ask questions that could apply to both of them. How were they conceived? Consciously or unconsciously? In real love? In the mask of love? With clear intention or ulterior motive? In a situation where one person took advantage of the other? In a cycle of abuse – did the act of conception come during the abuse phase of the cycle or the remorse phase of the cycle?

However they were conceived, that was Janet’s and Nathan’s first experience of power. And that will drive them, perhaps haunt them, likely without their even being aware of it.

  • So driven, will they respond to themselves, each other, and others consciously? Unconsciously? With real love? With the mask of love? With clear or ulterior intention? With advantage-taking? In the cycle of abuse?
  • Will they treat others and allow others to treat them in these ways in their homes? In their schools? In their houses of worship? In their jobs? In their communities? In their states? In their country? In their world?

Lots of very important questions! We cannot become aware of our relationship with power without these questions. Today, let’s ponder and feel into these questions as a step in exploring this crucial theme. A theme that addresses how we deal with power as individuals and as groups – from our own family to our global community. Exploring this theme not only helps individuals heal by looking in the mirror of the larger more public events and world, but also helps our world heal by encouraging each citizen to explore and heal, one individual at a time. The cumulative effect is more powerful than you can imagine!

© Judith Barr, 2011

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WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR WORLD SAFE . . .
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As we navigate these often turbulent times in our country and our world – economically, politically, environmentally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and more – we all need to explore the roots of our relationship with power . . . not only in relation to how we use our power through our own actions, but also in relation to ceding our power to those who may not hold our best interests in heart and mind . . . not only in relation to how we respond to being and feelingpowerless, but also in relation to any ways in which we may consciously and unconsciously contribute to our being and feeling powerless.

Every single step each of us can take to explore our relationship with power will help us and those we touch in our daily life as well as those all over our country and our world.

As you can see from this month’s article, this is a very deep journey…You may want to seek the help of a good, integritous therapist to help you navigatethis journey. If you need help to explore the deep roots of your relationship with power, please feel free to contact me.

RESOLVING THE DEBT ISSUES AT THE ROOT!

In our world today, there is a known and much talked about issue of personal financial debt and national financial debt. It is real and it is serious.

But there is another form of personal, national, and even global debt that is just as real and far more serious. It is at least part of the cause of the financial debt, and at the same time, it is also one of the most devastating consequences of the financial debt. This form of debt is numbing . . . emotional numbing.

As babies and little children, when we experience pain and trauma, perhaps one of our only protections is to numb ourselves to the painful experience and the feelings that go with it. But as we grow, what was once a protection against death, either physical or psychological, becomes a defense . . . not only against something in the outer world that will be painful or traumatic, but also – maybe even moreso – against those painful feelings from before being evoked and awakened again. And as we become adolescents and then adults, what was originally a reflexive protection becomes a defense against our own feelings, and then hardens more and more, becomes increasingly more brittle, and breaks off from its original intention, taking on a life of its own. The numbness that was once a young child’s momentary self protection becomes a consistent way of life.

If we numb ourselves to our feelings – in response to pain, trauma, crisis – it makes it impossible for us to consciously, purposefully, safely work with and work through the pain, trauma, crisis . . . to resolution. Instead, our conscious and unconscious energies are dedicated to staying numb, not feeling the pain – not feeling the here-and-now pain and not feeling the buried pain from the past. The consequence of this numbing: it becomes impossible to clearly discern if there is pain, if the pain is here-and-now, if the pain is from long ago still alive within us, or if the pain is a consequence of both. It also becomes impossible to determine if there is a problem in the current day that needs to be resolved, and if so . . . if it is in our inner world, our outer world, or both. And it also becomes extremely improbable that any problem that does, in fact exist, will be resolved with heart. If we are numb, we may feign caring, but where is the real caring? Buried beneath the numbness!

So from this new perspective . . . how did we get to the debt problem in our nation and our world today?

From numbing ourselves to our feelings. Some who experienced pain as children – abuse or huge lacks or excesses – may grow up greedy for money or power. Others who suffered as children, perhaps even from the same things as those who grow up greedy, may grow up resigned and hopeless. Unproductive, unfruitful, even destructive action and inaction will likely result from these places, supporting the numbness that holds at bay the real roots of the pain. Feeding the numbness that deadens us to our own suffering and to the suffering of others. Bolstering our temptation to not contribute our fair share or to turn a blind eye to the needs of others. Reinforcing any difficulty we have asking for help, offering help, and discerning what help will be truly healthy and what help will actually undermine by collusion or enabling, for instance. From our numbed selves, we may relate to resolving the current day problems as well as the childhood, still-alive-within-us inner problems in unfeeling, even heartless ways . . . that continue to cause us and others pain, and that continue to create more numbness.

These examples are just that – examples. And very tender ones, at that. The depth and breadth of the whole reality is much bigger, much deeper, and much more complex. But I invite, even urge you, to take these examples and this essence of the deeper debt problem . . . and to seriously work with this level of debt within yourself. I also invite you to share this with others you know . . . for we deeply, urgently need to resolve the debt issue at this level of our beings individually, nationally, and globally.

©
Judith Barr, 2011

****

WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR WORLD SAFE . . . FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As we near the deadline for debt ceiling negotiations in this country – and at any and every time during the year – make time to explore within yourself your own “debt of numbness.”

When and in what areas of your life do you feel numb emotionally?
And how does this emotional numbness affect your life and your interactions in the world?
Can you trace back to much earlier in your life when you began to feel numb? Go as far back as you can trace the numbness . . .

Only by exploring our own emotional numbness can we hope to make meaningful, sustainable change in our inner world and our outer world – in relation to debt, not just in the financial sense, but in any area of our lives and the life of our world. What will you do to help clear the debt of numbness within you?

RECESSIONS,REVOLUTIONS,TSUNAMIS,AND POWERLESSNESS – INSIDE AND OUT

There is so much occurring in our world today. So much that stirs up deep primal feelings in each of us. Shock. Anger. Anxiety. Fear. Lack of Control. Powerlessness.

What is it about powerlessness that makes us quake in our boots? How about . . . It’s the first thing we experienced when we began to move from womb-held and protected to birthed-on-earth baby. Tiny, helpless, totally unable to take care of ourselves. Waters broke and flowed over us. The ground beneath us opened up. We were pushed and pulled into and through a passageway that felt like it was swallowing us up, consuming us, trapping us. Shocked and terrified, perhaps we froze; perhaps we tried to escape; or maybe we found a way inside ourselves to resist and protest this movement that was much bigger than we were. Where once we had plenty – all that we needed – then we didn’t have enough of anything – nourishment, warmth, what we needed to breathe, connection.

No wonder we are in such a primal state right now! If reading this helps you understand and hold yourself better as you feel all your feelings, that’s wonderful. But this is an opportunity for much more than simply understanding. It is an opportunity to feel those primal feelings consciously and work through them from your own early life . . . so they won’t shake you to your core tomorrow, the next day, the month after, the following year.

It is my deep hope that this post will inspire you to do the deepest work you possibly can with these feelings. It will help you personally. It will help everyone with whom you come into contact. And it will help our suffering world.

© Judith Barr 2011

ARE WE GOING TO PUT OUT ANOTHER BRUSHFIRE? OR . . .

TSA screenings and pat downs.
Our civil rights.
Wikileaks leaks.
North Korean nukes.
The economy.
Jobs – no jobs.
Houses.
Big Pharma.
Drug firms paying doctors.
Food safety.
What to do about Iran?
Social security.
Medicare.
Taxing whom?
Cutting taxes for whom?
Who gets the next bail out?
One election begins right after the previous one takes place.
Republicans or Democrats?
Right or Left?
Far left or Tea Partyers?
Women forced to wear red bracelets when menstruating!

One after another, we put out brushfires, trying to make everything better in our world.
We ask  . . .
our doctors to do this for us
our teachers to do this for us
our clergy people to do this for us
our congress people to do this for us
our governors to do this for us
our presidents to do this for us
our media to do this for us
our military to do this for us
our money to do this for us . . .
and on and on and on.

When are we going to realize that at this level of our evolution, the only thing we can do in the outer world is put out brush fires . . .
and that we will be putting out brush fires forever, if we don’t take a leap of faith in our development …
if we don’t deal with the real cause of the forest fire that lives within each of us.
The forest fire of our own fear of our feelings, our own defenses against our feelings, our own denial of our feelings,
and our own wounds, both conscious and unconscious, burning to be healed.

© Judith Barr, 2010

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND – AND ON WHAT?

Among many things that are in my mind and heart after this past week’s election . . .
I keep coming back to the issue of money.

According to NPR’s Morning Edition, literally billions of dollars were spent on the election nationwide!*
Let’s look at some specifics.
Candidate for California governor, Meg Whitman, spent $71 million dollars of her own money on her campaign.*
Rick Scott, Florida gubernatorial candidate, spent about $73 million of his own money to win.**
Linda McMahon – spent at least 50 million dollars, mostly her own money, on her campaign in Connecticut . . . more than any other Senate candidate this year. **
Candidate for New York governor, Carl Paladino, spent $3 million of his own money in the last week of the election alone.*

Extraordinary amounts of money . . . spent on political contests and governmental seats.

Think of all that money.
With that amount of money . . .
Imagine how many people’s houses could be saved from foreclosure!
Imagine how many people could be helped to move from the streets into safe households.
Imagine how many people could be fed.
Imagine how many people could be given good medical care.
Imagine how many children could receive wonderful educations.
Imagine how many people could participate in psychotherapy to heal the wounds of their childhood to the root … so as not to perpetuate them onto another generation!
And imagine the impact on our country and our world if we all had access to the deep inner healing we all need!
Imagine!

What are we doing?
Where are our values?
How distorted our values have become!
Look at all we spend for things outside us!
What about investing in finding the distortions at the roots of our relationships with money?
What about investing in healing the wounds we live with that would cause us to spend all that money on a government position that lasts for just a few years!

© Judith Barr 2010

* http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20101102/VIEWPOINTS03/11020338/Over-the-Top-Election-Spending

**
http://topnews360.tmcnet.com/topics/associated-press/articles/2010/11/07/114854-wealthy-self-funded-candidates-found-wins-elusive.htm

A Year Ago – Ugly Monday

Today is the one year anniversary of Ugly Monday.
On September 15, 2008, the Dow dropped 500 points,
the economy took a crumbling dive, and took us on a ride that isn’t over yet. . . even though some people believe it is.

One of the not-well-known reasons it isn’t over yet . . .
People have been doing things on the level of outer actions all through the year.
But very few have explored the roots of their thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and relationships with money.  

These unexplored roots actually drive what occurs in our financial lives individually, nationally, and globally.

As I’ve said many times before . . . The anxiety people have in their relationships with money preceded the recession and all the
economic turmoil by a long, long time.  That anxiety will be here after the chaos has been calmed and we are on seemingly solid
ground again, or even actually solid ground.  For many people, that anxiety exists all the time. It’s not going to go away – certainly not
any time soon. Certainly not as a result of things we do on the practical level in the outer world, either – not by selling our assets,
growing our savings, getting another job, cashing in an IRA, buying lottery tickets, or any amount of planning.

The only thing that can help resolve that anxiety is for us to do the work in our inner world – the world of our psyche and soul – to
discover, explore, heal and improve our relationship with money.  In other words, the things we do in the outer world cannot be
sustained without our also doing things in our inner world that bring healing and transformation.

You may have a hard time believing this, but at the root, people’s relationships with money are based on a young child’s thoughts,
feelings, and decisions about money and even more, about the things money symbolizes for them. So when under financial stress,
people regress to a young age . . . even if they’re not aware of it, even if they don’t believe it.   And from this young age, while
believing they are full adults, they make young decisions about things which need an adult to decide them.

So imagine if you, your friends, your parents, your community leaders, your state and federal leaders are all regressed and making
decisions from places within them of which they have no awareness . . . of which we have no awareness.

Sadly, there have been few in the media and financial worlds, and even the therapeutic world, who are talking about this aspect of the solution.
Having this conversation is crucial. Bringing this conversation out into the world for all to hear and take part in is crucial.
Taking action on these understandings is crucial. 

It’s time to become aware. It’s time to heal what interferes with our wisdom and heart.
It’s time.

© 2009, Judith Barr

*I addressed this theme in more detail in my article A Recession Regression. If you would like to receive a free pdf copy of this article, please email me at Info@PowerAbusedPowerHealed.com.