FREEDOM – SIMPLE AND TO THE POINT

Freedom is not adults – people in big bodies –
acting out like children.

Freedom is not another word for
“I have a free pass to act as I wish,
regardless of its consequences on others.”

Freedom is not another word for
“I’ll do whatever I want the consequences be damned!”

Freedom is not another word for
“I can get away with anything without
myself suffering any impact of my actions.”

Freedom is not another word for
“I don’t have or have to follow any rules.”

Freedom - Simple and to the Point
Runtime
5:05
Description
This is the message that complements Judith's blog post on the same topic: https://judithbarr.com/2020/07/01/freedom-simple-and-to-the-point/

Freedom is not another word for
“You don’t have any authority over me.”
Or “You don’t have any power over me.”

Freedom is not a synonym for
“See if you can stop me!”

Freedom is not a synonym for
“I can justify my behavior with anything …
with anything I wish to use as a rationalization
or an excuse.”

Freedom is not a synonym for
“you can’t make me do anything!”

Freedom isn’t a synonym for anything you choose to do
under the guise of free will.
It doesn’t mean rebelling under the guise of free will.
it doesn’t mean damaging people, property, and systems
under the guise of free will.
It doesn’t mean causing harm for everyone else
under the guise of free will.
It doesn’t mean ignoring safety
under the guise of free will.
It doesn’t mean being destructive to society, the earth,
all beings here on earth …
under the guise of free will.

Freedom isn’t a license to act out our childhood traumas,
creating more trauma as we act out,
refusing to heal those wounds,
and that trauma, past, present, and future.

Supposedly, in a few days, we, in America, will be celebrating the anniversary of our freedom from Britain.

If we love and honor our country and want to work to help it become its best …
we will need to look under the guises and heal everything within us that pretends to be freedom.

If we celebrate something that is not really freedom . . .
we will increase and escalate everything within and without —
that is creating harm again and again and again in our country and abroad.

To celebrate real freedom means taking personal responsibility.
To celebrate real freedom means taking responsibility for your actions, words, thoughts, and feelings.
To celebrate real freedom means taking responsibility for healing your wounding, instead of acting it out on other people and the world, even under the guise of freedom.
To celebrate real freedom means taking responsibility for healing to the point of being a real Adult, not a child who pretends to be an adult.
To celebrate real freedom means being individuated.
To celebrate real freedom means being in your power, using your power well –
not over others.
To celebrate real freedom means using your gifts in service for you and others.
To celebrate real freedom means being and living in the spirit of Truth and Love.

© Judith Barr, 2020

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS

STOP! THIS ISN’T ABOUT POLITICS!

What’s going on in our country and our world is not about politics, although so many people think it is. It’s about our human defenses against feeling being acted out in the political arena day after day, hour after hour. People may insist it’s about politics and become addicted to politics as a new defense mechanism against what’s deep at the root.

An Open Letter to Congress - from Judith Barr
Runtime
11:59
Description
This is the message that complements Judith's blog post on the same topic: https://judithbarr.com/2019/03/07/an-open-letter-to-congress/
This isn’t about politics! It’s really about our fighting against remembering and feeling the traumas we’ve experienced – especially the ones from when we were children.  And it’s about that every time we defend against the past traumas that still live within us, we create new traumas that mirror the ancient ones.  And the new traumas we create have a traumatic impact on us, those around us, and even our world. And especially our children!

Sue Grafton, best-selling author of the alphabet mystery series, writes about this phenomenon in her book, O Is for Outlaw: “[When she built her current house,] was Laddie conscious of what she’d done or had she mimicked Duncan’s house inadvertently?  What is it that prompts us to reenact our unresolved issues? We revisit our wounds, constructing the past in hopes that this time we can make the ending turn out right.”

We, the people, do this all the time … individually, in our families, and communally on a larger scale … generation after generation after generation.  This is the true underlying cause of history repeating itself.

But instead of unconsciously and compulsively trying to make the ending turn out right, we need to heal the wound to its root. We need to become aware. We need the help to feel safely, our feelings from the trauma, and our other feelings, as well. We need the assistance to go through the feelings and come out the other side … without the need to hold those feelings at bay, without the resulting compulsion to act them out in our lives and our world, and without the blocks to our utilizing our minds, hearts, bodies and souls for healing, health, and well-being for all … that is now beyond our imagination. Only then can we help our children and generations to come with their feelings, with healing trauma, and with preventing future trauma.

Fred Rogers knew about feelings and their crucial place in our lives many decades ago, when he created his show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and when he testified before Congress in 1969 in an appeal for public television funding.

Mister Rogers created a relationship with each child who watched his show. He helped children know they were unique and liked just the way they are. He wanted Congress to experience and know the importance of a child’s being safe and able to express feelings in healthy ways – for self and with others. He knew the connection between that safe expression of feeling and mental health. And he was very clear that “it’s much more dramatic that two men could be working out their feelings of anger – much more dramatic than showing something of gunfire.”

To give an example to the Congress people, Mister Rogers told them the words to a song:

“What do you do with the mad that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite. When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right. What do you do? Do you punch a bag? Do you pound some clay or some dough? Do you round up friends for a game of tag or see how fast you go? It’s great to be able to stop when you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong. And be able to do something else instead, and think this song —

“I can stop when I want to. Can stop when I wish. Can stop, stop, stop anytime…. And what a good feeling to feel like this! And know that the feeling is really mine. Know that there’s something deep inside that helps us become what we can.”

In our world today, our healthy relationship with our feelings is desperately needed. Just as desperately as when Mister Rogers was working to help us with our feelings, and maybe even more.

I help adults create a healthy relationship with their feelings on a daily basis …
to help them heal from past trauma …
to help them prevent re-enactments of those past traumas …
to help prevent trauma to their children,
and to help them live healthy, full and fulfilling lives.

It is my honor and privilege to do so.
And it is my deep intention to continue to do so.

In addition, now I have a dream …
I am sitting in Congress, speaking to those who are considered leaders in government.
I am telling these men and women:

Each one of us was somehow wounded long, long ago when we were young.
The wound was too painful for a child to bear.
So we buried it and our feelings, too.
And then we invented ways to keep it all buried,
without even realizing we were doing that.

We didn’t have people to help us with those wounds and that pain.
Either our parents hadn’t learned how from their own experience
or maybe they were the ones who wounded us.

Left buried beneath our awareness, those wounds and traumas happened again and again –
at different ages, with different people, in different forms.
At some point, without realizing it, we were creating or re-enacting them over and over again.
Some say, “in an attempt to make it turn out right.”
Some say, “in an attempt to bring it into our consciousness so undeniably that we would finally work to heal it.”
And some say “both.”

I say “both.”

Unless we understand this, we cannot change it.
Unless we say “yes” to learning about it –
both in our minds and experientially in our lives –
we cannot change it.

The acting out in our country as a defense against ancient wounds
has escalated and escalated and escalated.
The degree of escalation is immeasurable.
But all we need to do is look, and we can see it …
yes, we can see it.
It is all around us.

You are leaders in our country.
Just like everyone else, you are reenacting painful experiences from your childhood … without even being aware of it.
Just like everyone else, you are trying to hold the memories and the feelings at bay.
Just like everyone else, you are acting out to defend against the pain of your own “once upon a time.”
It is destructive beyond measure.

Just like everyone else, you have the opportunity to explore, discover, and heal –
both from the trauma long ago and the impact of your reenactments on yourself, our country, and our whole world.
You are leaders in our country.
You have the responsibility to do this healing.
You have the ethical, moral, humanitarian, and soul responsibility to do your part of the healing …
and while doing so to help set our country and our government in alignment again;
and while doing so to model something new, something courageous, something life- and world-changing for our citizens.

I know it is painful to face and feel the trauma from the past,
but better that than create more trauma in order to avoid the past trauma.

Our citizens need to do this same work.
We each have that responsibility.
 But if you are our leaders …
your responsibility is even greater!

Our people are counting on you.
Our children are counting on you.
Our whole world is counting on you.
I am counting on you.

I waken and know this dream is reality.
I waken and I am still holding you accountable.
I waken and I am still counting on you.

With many prayers that you will take this responsibility seriously
and do your healing work.

Judith Barr

© Judith Barr, 2019

 

 

AFRAID OF THE DARK? PART 2 – A BRIDGE INTO THE NEW YEAR

We’re afraid of the dark

People are afraid of the dark for many reasons–
some known, some not-yet-known.
Our unexplored fear of the dark makes it even worse —
even scarier.
When people are afraid of something,
we often make it “bad,” even call it “evil.”
When people run away from their fears,
refuse to meet them, face them, explore them,
we make them more frightening, and
we make resolving them less and less possible.
And then the fear expands, the projecting evil onto it escalates,
and the possibility of resolution seems to disappear.

When we close the door to self discovery

At this point we may close the door to our self-examination, to searching within and to true solutions. We may find or create distractions, even distractions that appear to be kind, giving, and helpful. For example, charity can help someone, but that doesn’t erase the underlying wounds and fears that live in the darkness within us. Or, activism can be important in our outer world, but that doesn’t erase the underlying traumas and terrors that live in the darkness in our inner world.

Or we may add hype to the fear, use it as a turn on, and help someone make money off it – as with horror stories and movies. This brings fear more out into the open, but doesn’t bring our particular fear out in the open. It doesn’t get to the real roots of our fear; it doesn’t help heal our fear; and it doesn’t help transform our relationship with our own fear.  Most important – our relationship with it.

We are limitless souls …
so much of us is unknown —
to ourselves and to others.
That means so much of us is in the darkness.
So much of us is in the unknown.
Why would we turn away from discovering ourselves?
And what are the consequences?

How we hold what is in the darkness

Our wounds, traumas, and fears from long, long ago are found in the dark underground labyrinths within us … and are also triggered by the darkness in the world around us. The world up close in our everyday lives. The world out there that we know nothing about, and the world out there that we witness on tv, the internet, radio, and social media on a daily basis … for some of us all day long.

What too many of us don’t know:  our unacknowledged, unworked with, unresolved wounds, traumas, and fears within contribute to the darkness in the world all around us. They help feed it. They help grow it. They help escalate it.

Once, long ago, we were innocent victims, traumatized in ways we should never have been traumatized. That was not our responsibility. But if we grow up and don’t take responsibility to heal our own ancient traumas, we are no longer victims. We become the victimizers.  We create trauma from the trauma within that we’re holding at bay and hiding from.

Back then it wasn’t our responsibility that we were traumatized. Now it is our responsibility to heal our trauma … whatever it takes.  It is our responsibility to do the inner work to heal. Healing is an inside job. Healing is our job.

Why would we turn away from discovering ourselves?

We don’t know we can.
Then read this article, the one before this,
and as many as you need to before that one.
Read Power Abused, Power Healed.*
Read How Did We Get Here?**
You will know we can.

We don’t believe it’s possible …
But I’ve seen it. I’ve helped make it possible.
I know for a fact that it’s possible.

We’re afraid to try.
We’re afraid to try and fail.
But the only way you fail is if you give up.
I’ve seen both choices.
The trying with commitment brings healing.
The trying with giving up does not.
The giving up actually brings more pain than the staying committed.
And it reflects a re-enactment of the trauma long ago,
the trauma that created such decisions as
“it’s not possible,”
“it’s not possible for me,”
“I’ll fail,”
“I give up.”

We don’t want to do the hard work.
We’d rather live in the defenses we created as children
than help the child within us heal.
We’d rather act out what was done to us again and again
than help the little one still alive within us heal.
We’d rather act out the suffering we experienced,
within, with others, and as we witness others in our world repeating the same thing.

We’d rather numb ourselves, blind ourselves, deafen ourselves
to the pain within
and all around us
calling us to heal from the inside out.
Out of fear that we need to explore,
we’d rather avoid the real pain, the soft pain at the root.
We’d rather live from and create from our defenses, and from
the false pain, the hardened pain of our defenses.


And what are the consequences?

People are doing this all over our world – in the north, in the south, in the east, and in the west. Acting out their early suffering on themselves and others alike. Acting it out blatantly or subtly. Acting it out consciously or unconsciously.

In my country, for example, the 24/7 political saga is drawing people in. It’s not because what’s happening is really about politics. Rather, it’s because politics is a stage. Politics is merely a stage on which we act out our childhood trauma. We act it out whether we’re in the government, running for government office, reporting on those in the political arena, voting for those running for office, evaluating those in office, idealizing those in office, trying to get rid of those in office, trying to ignore those in office, triggered by those in office, and more …

Who in the current scenario is like your father was?  Who like your mother?  Who is like your brother or sister? Who like your childhood clergy person or a teacher?  Who like a neighbor? Who like the image you had of yourself when you would grow up?

I’m not a betting person, but on this I would bet. Together we could talk — for the sake of healing — and discover what from your early life is getting acted out and what from your early life is getting triggered on today’s political stage. If those in government would be willing, together we could talk – still for the sake of healing – and discover what from their early lives they are acting out and what from their early lives is getting triggered on today’s political stage.  These talks and explorations could occur anywhere in the world: in the US, in Great Britain, in Europe, in the middle east, in Africa, in South America, in India, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and more. All over the world.

We are all in this together. And we are all creating it together.
Just like in any family … Everyone of us who does nothing to find out the consequences of our own trauma on our lives and our world today … keeps creating it, keeps co-creating it, keeps enabling it, keeps colluding with it … keeps feeding it, keeps driving it to continue and to escalate.

And …

Just like in any family … Everyone of us who starts to explore what it is in us that is involved today, and who begins to heal whatever that is … begins to end our collusion in and contribution to the ugliness, the chaos, the destructiveness, and the trauma that is right in front of us and all around us. This is the hope.

What choice will you make?

There is a touching, profound, powerful, inspirational poem by Daniel Berrigan.*
It’s called “Some.” I recommend your reading it in its entirety. For now,
it begins …

Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,

And later it says …

Some stood and stood and stood.
… Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.


Are you going to be someone who stands up and sits down?
Someone who stands up and then walks away?
Or …
Are you going to be someone who stands and stands and stands?
And walks and walks and walks?

In the new year … and the years to come …
May you be someone who stands and stands and stands.
May you be someone who walks and walks and walks.
May you be someone who comes and stands and walks with me
and with those who are standing and walking.***

© Judith Barr, 2018.

* Power Abused, Power Healed, Judith Barr, Mysteries of Life, 2007.
** How Did We Get Here? Our Refusal to Know the Truth About Ourselves, Judith Barr, Mysteries of Life, 2018.
*** “Some” by Daniel Berrigan. You can listen to him reading his own poem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGzQ9wEdjeE
Note from me to you: If you want to know more … let me know. If you want to know more, come explore with me.

 

HOW DID WE GET HERE? WE’RE LIVING THE MEDICINE – Part 2

PART TWO

So how does this connect to our living the medicine?
I’ll show you . . .
but before you read on …
Be sure you’ve read  How Did We Get Here? We’re Living the Medicine – Part 1

We are living the medicine of our not having used the poison we’ve created communally as the medicine to heal ourselves – both individually and communally.

You can see in Part One, that people wounded as children will re-enact the wounding again and again in their adult lives, escalating the re-enactment as time continues. Of course, this will impact others in their lives. And the ripples of the impact will spread out in wider and wider ripples as they continue:  the ripples will spread out into their schools, their workplaces, their places of worship, their families. Once they have children, the ripples will spread out to their children and then on to another generation. If they become leaders in any way, their wounding will impact communities, states, countries, and the world.
If they are citizens and voters, their wounding will impact as widely as the leaders’ impact, since the citizens vote for the leaders. The citizens can support the leaders or take actions to intervene. And what the citizens do will depend upon their wounding and their re-enactments.

In turn, not only do individuals wound each other,
but also the culture in the communities, states, countries, and the world wound the individuals.
This is part of the vicious cycle.

At the very beginning of Part One, I said,
“People have all sorts of explanations for how we got here – nationally and globally.
It’s financial. It’s political. It’s patriarchal. It’s prejudicial. It’s misogynistic. It’s abuse. And more.”

Let’s look at a few of these.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s financial.”

The major re-enactment is that people are trying to take care of their finances (individually) or their economies (communally) in the outer world. Budgeting or not budgeting. Saving or not saving. Investing or not investing. Working harder and harder or not working harder. Paying taxes or not paying taxes. And so on.

But most people have absolutely no idea what is at the root of their relationships with money. And most people aren’t investing in discovering those roots. The people who have worked with me individually or in workshops to find this root have been amazed. Amazed at the depth of the real roots. Amazed at how young, even primal the roots are. Amazed at the possibility of healing their relationship with money if they do the work – if they use the poison as the medicine. And fascinated by the truth and power of what they’ve found … both for themselves, and also for our world, as others discover what they have discovered.

If we don’t do the deep work of finding the roots of our relationships with money, we will keep re-enacting the wounding that is at the root. We will keep impacting our own relationships with money, and we will keep impacting the communal economy. We will not be using the poison as the medicine for healing.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s political.”

The television, radio, and internet are filled with people discussing, explaining, teaching, entertaining, and pontificating about how what’s going on, for example, in the United States is political.  They are only seeing the political aspect of what’s going on. Many of them specialize in politics. Often they are addicted to politics. You can experience the adrenaline rush they get when they are discussing politics.  It is their lens and they’re sticking to it.

But while they’ve been sticking to the political viewpoint, what’s going on in the US has been escalating in repeated vicious cycles.  If only they would understand that there is something beneath the political that is driving the politics. If only they would understand that the politics are driven by the wounding and the re-enacting:  of citizens – all citizens in one way or another – of candidates for leadership, and of leaders, again all leaders one way or another.  Then they could help teach and advocate for utilizing the poison we’ve created together as the medicine to heal.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s sexual abuse.”

In the recent past, sexual abuse and domestic violence have come more into the light of day in the US. It started before the 2016 presidential campaign, but the campaign brought them more into public view.  The sexual abuse tape on the bus, with Donald Trump and Billy Bush laughing at Trump’s admissions. Followed by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of women. And then all the men after that … dominoes falling one by one.

What the men named have done to women (and men) is horrifying, painful, destructive, and more. The revelations that have followed are important, even vital, to bringing the reality of sexual abuse out into the open for everybody to see.  It is clear there is an attempt to utilize the poison as the medicine as the brave people who were sexually abused come out to tell about it, as others believe them, as movements like #MeToo and #Times Up emerge.  But this is only the beginning.

People are talking about the sexual harassment or abuse in industries – the entertainment industry, the sports industry, the corporate world, the media, religious institutions, and more.  Things got closer to the root when it was exposed that Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who ran for Senator from Alabama, had “dated” children, and been sexual with them. The movement closer to the root came in the exposure of Dr. Larry Nasser and his sexually abusing hundreds, possibly even thousands of young girls, gymnasts, in his care. Finally people were talking about children being sexually abused.

But I have not heard anyone talking about how much sexual abuse of children occurs in their homes … by the people they should be able to trust.  And I have not heard anyone talking about how the laws of our country don’t really protect these children. I have not heard anyone talking about the devastating effect on children of sexual abuse in their lives. And I have not heard anyone talking about the need to help in the healing of those who were victimized by sexual abusers, and to help in the healing of those who are sexual abusers who likely were sexually abused themselves.

Until we are going to that root …
Until we are working to heal that root …
Until we are all looking into our hearts and souls to see if and how we have experienced any part of that root …

We will not have utilized the poison of the epidemic of sexual abuse exposures in the country today,
as the medicine to heal the epidemic of sexual abuse in our country … and our world.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s abuse in the form of domestic violence.”

Rob Porter, Donald Trump’s White House Staff Secretary, and his exposure as someone who was violent with his wives has brought into clear view in the light of day … domestic violence in the US and in the world. We can look at it through many lenses, but … they all fall short of the deepest root:

The amount and degree of abuse of partners, men and women alike, and children in their homes is greater than anyone knows. Greater than most people want to know. Greater than most people can imagine. Greater than there is any way to prove. Most people ignore or deny the amount and degree of abuse that goes on in homes all over the country and world … even those who are abused and believe they are all alone.

I have written about this again and again. The statistics are heartbreaking. The details are heartbreaking. For me personally, one of the most heartbreaking, painful moments was when I discovered that the United States has loopholes in its laws in every state … loopholes that allow partners to be abused and unprotected, loopholes that allow children to be abused, even physically abused, by their parents.  And not only that … I discovered at that same time that there is a list of countries that has legally banned the abuse of children completely, and that the US is not among them. I felt sickened.

Just as Rob Porter, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and others have worn a mask of civility for years … so also the US has worn a mask of civility for years, decades, centuries.  And now it has been exposed. The poison is coming out into view – the poison of domestic violence and sexual abuse right in the nation’s homes.

Once again, we have a chance to use the poison as the medicine to heal this scourge.  Will we do it this time?  Will we not only talk about it, bemoan it … and not only work to change our laws, but will we also heal at the root the places each of us has been exposed in some way to abuse and violence in our homes, our schools, our culture?  It’s all spilling out into view now, with Donald Trump as President.  Will we use it for healing?  Or will we sit passively by allowing it to go around the vicious cycle again and escalate more?

Will we use it for healing?  Or will we become active in the outer world, believing that will stop the cycle, while going around the vicious cycle again, letting it escalate further?

The poison is the medicine.
Will we use the poison of our finances and economy as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our politics as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our sexual abuse as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our domestic violence as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use it for healing? From the inside out?
Will we use it for healing? To the root of our being?
It is a choice. It is our choice. It is your choice.
What will you choose?

© Judith Barr, 2018.

1 To read How Did We Get Here? Part One, go to www.JudithBarr.com  then to PoliPsych Blog on top navbar, and click on “Latest Post.”

Note: Although the examples in this article are from and about the US, the themes, the meaning, and the truth of the examples apply all over our world.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? WE’RE LIVING THE MEDICINE – Part 1

PART ONE

People have all sorts of explanations for how we got here – nationally and globally.
It’s financial. It’s political. It’s patriarchal. It’s prejudicial. It’s misogynistic. It’s abuse. And more.
Each viewpoint can be discussed and seem to explain the cause from a valid standpoint.
Yet … they all are accounts at or near the surface. No matter how longstanding they seem to apply … no matter how deep they appear to go … none of them reaches the roots of the way in which we got here. And none of them even alludes to the reality that the roots underlie each explanation.

So … how did we get here?
The poison is the medicine.
“What?” you ask.
The poison is the medicine and we’ve neglected to use the poison as medicine.
“What in the world are you talking about?” you question and exclaim at the same time … probably in a more colloquial manner, and understandably.

I’m glad you want to know.

There is a knowledge in many healing traditions – both spiritual and otherwise –
that “the poison is the medicine.” 1
It is the heartbeat of homeopathy.
It is the transformation in numerous natural healing traditions.
It is the healing crisis that brings us into and through a healing passageway,
with the potential of our coming out the other side.
It’s inherent in the depth psychotherapy I practice.
It’s the essence of why, in addition to calling myself a depth psychotherapist,
I identify myself as a midwife to the soul.

“The poison is the medicine” reaches to the root of the difficulty.
It works from the root.
It works from the inside out.

Stay with me as we go deeper.

“The poison is the medicine” means …
If we are wounded as children –
and we all are in one way or another –
we create ways to defend ourselves against the pain of that wound,
ways that take hold within us and in our lives way into and through adulthood.
Perhaps we shut down our feelings.
Perhaps we numb ourselves physically and emotionally.
Perhaps we are paralyzed by the trauma of the wound.
Maybe we build walls to keep others from getting close and hurting us again.
Maybe we hide from others and even from ourselves.
Maybe we go through life waiting to be hurt … in the same way we once were.
Or perhaps we do the hurting of others as a means of defense.
Possibly, the wounding was before we had words.
Even so, it is likely that once we’re old enough to have words, we attach an early decision to the wounding experience.
Decisions like:
“No one will ever hurt me again.”
“If anyone’s gonna do the hurting, it will be me.”
“I will always be hurt.”
“No matter how much I try to protect myself, they always get me.”
“When I grow up, I’ll be the one with all the power …
to do what I want …
to make people do what I want …”

Most often, people aren’t aware of these defenses, including the early decisions.
And if they’re aware, for example, of an early decision …
They don’t realize that the early decision drives their life beneath their consciousness.
So if someone has decided “No one will ever hurt me again,”
that person will very likely draw into his/her life experience
people who will be hurtful, people who will, perhaps,
re-enact the same wound s/he experienced as a child.

Here’s the vicious circle, or as I call it “The Maze”:
When the wound is re-enacted, the person proves to him/herself
that people are trying to hurt him/her …
and uses that proof to decide once again:
“No one will ever hurt me again.”
This becomes the justification to use the same defenses all over again,
maybe even doubling or tripling them in number and size.

If this person doesn’t utilize the re-enactment of the wounding as the poison …
and if this person doesn’t utilize the poison as the medicine to heal the original wound –
at its root …
the re-enactments will keep occurring,
over and over again,
at some point beginning to escalate.

The longer the person goes without utilizing the poison as the medicine to heal …
the more the re-enactment and cycle escalates,
until possibly the wounding  becomes really harmful, even dangerous.
Then the person is “living the medicine,”
instead of using the poison as the medicine for healing.

This is not a criticism.
This is not a punishment.
It is simply the consequence of not using the poison as the medicine.
It happens to all of us.
Even without our being conscious of it.

So how does this connect with our living the medicine communally,
in our country, in our world?
Stay tuned for Part Two coming very soon ………………

© Judith Barr, 2018.

1 I explained “the poison is the medicine” over 2 years ago, November 19, 2015. This article can be found on my website on the carousel, by clicking “Read More” under “Reflections on How Healing Ourselves Helps to Heal Our World” and then clicking on “Grief, Shock, Another Tragedy and … the Poison is the Medicine …” or by going to “PoliPsych Blog” at the top navbar, and then clicking on “Blog Spotlight: The Paris Trilogy.” It can also be accessed through this link: https://judithbarr.com/2015/11/19/grief-shock-another-tragedy-and-the-poison-is-the-medicine/

IT’S TIME FOR MIRACLES

In this time when the light shines through on the darkest day …
In this time when we celebrate miracles from times gone by …
It is time for miracles.
It is time for our consciousness to grow.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to realize that sexual abuse doesn’t begin in the workplace;
it begins in the home.
It is time for us to be aware that sexual abuse doesn’t begin with
the abuse of adolescents and young women and men;
It begins with the abuse of children.

It is time for us to know that the supportive reactions to men like Roy Moore –
here in the United States and all over the world –
are the same kinds of reactions that families have to the men in incestuous families …
frank denial, support no matter what, lies by the mouthful, guises by the dozens;
not believing the one who has been sexually abused, blaming the victimized,
bullying, buying off or exiling anyone who dares to speak the truth;
staying aligned with the family’s sexual abuser in an attempt to accomplish one’s own agenda – to protect one’s own interests, the consequences be damned.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to realize that what is occurring in our government –
here in the United States and in many other governments the world over –
is not political,
is not partisan,
is not about purported causes and agendas,
is not adult,
is not conscious.
It is time for us to know …
what is occurring in our government
is not the work of grown-ups;
It is the acting out of little children –
wounded in childhood.
Little children wounded in childhood –
who either don’t yet know they are wounded and acting out,
or who don’t know the child they once were is still alive inside them and acting out today,
or who don’t choose to know,
or who don’t choose to heal their childhood wounds.

Little children wounded in childhood –
who, in not choosing to heal …
are acting out their childhood wounds
in the halls of government,
on the stage of our country,
on the stage of our world and our earth.
Acting out their childhood wounds
on millions of innocent people
all over our country,
all over our world.
Acting out their childhood wounds
on Mother Earth.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to wake up and see that each of us plays a part,
even if we didn’t realize it before now.
It’s time to wake ourselves up and acknowledge
that even “the best” of us plays a part.
Even “the best” of us is somehow re-enacting our painful childhood
experiences …
in the family of the country, in the human family.
Even those in the media who seem to be trying to offer the truth –
the real truth, not the fake truth –
are playing a part.
Their fascination with politics somehow mirrors the politics
in their family of origin.
Their roles in the media somehow reveal their roles in their
childhood families.
This is true of us all.

It isn’t obvious; we’ll have to dig.
It will take time; we’ll have to sustain.
It doesn’t just happen; we can’t just be passive.
It will be hard work; we’ll have to commit.
We’ll need to feel … safely and for healing.
We’ll need to let our defenses dissolve and open our hearts.
We’ll need to change; we’ll need to grow.
But we all need to wake up and become conscious
of our part in what is happening in our country and our world today.
Conscious of the escalated, painful, re-enactments
the unhealed children within us are together acting out on our world stage.

Conscious of the suffering we are causing
by “forgetting,” ignoring, trying to hold at bay
the suffering we experienced once upon a time long ago
in our childhoods.
And we all need to wake ourselves up and be accountable
for doing the healing we’re called to do.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is not political. This is not economic.
This is not religious. This is not racial.
This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It’s a time for miracles …
leaps in the growth of our consciousness …
leaps in the growth of our willingness …
leaps in the growth of our holding ourselves accountable …
leaps in the growth of our healing our childhood wounds …
leaps in the growth of taking responsibility for the personal
so we don’t contaminate the political, the religious, the business,
the cultural with the roots of our own wounding.

It’s a time for miracles …
I pray for these miracles …
I work every day for these miracles.

© Judith Barr, 2017

CATHOLIC PRIESTS, COSBY, WEINSTEIN AND MORE

CAN YOU SEE IT?

This occurs all over the world, not solely in the U.S.
But recent events in the U.S. are instructive to us all.

Sexual abuse of the young and vulnerable by the rich and powerful has been brought out of the halls of secrecy into the light of day. The part of the Catholic Church in childhood sexual abuse came out in the open many years ago – brought out by the Boston Globe in 2002. More recently we’ve seen this in the cases of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. And after Harvey, men in entertainment and other arenas of our world, as well … James Toback (screenwriter/director,) Ben Affleck (actor,) Chris Savino (animator,) Roy Price (entertainment executive,) Lockhart Steele (Vox media editorial director,) John Besh (celebrity chef,) Mark Halperin (author and political analyst.)

It is a healthy step for our society that journalists are finding and documenting the stories of sexual abusers. It is also a healthy step that those who have been abused by them are coming forth and speaking out. Each step taken helps us get closer to the root. But we’re not there yet.

A number of things from this past week give us glimpses that can lead us to the root.

  • Corey Feldman, of the movie “Stand by Me,” has spoken about Hollywood’s secret of childhood sexual abuse of children in the entertainment industry, expanding the view past young adults and adults.
  • Ashley Judd’s statement in her interview with Diane Sawyer, that “we act like we’re between 3 and 6 years old in those moments,” meaning the moments when someone is starting to or in the act of sexually abusing us. We usually do regress to a young age within ourselves when traumatized. And sometimes it’s to the age we were first traumatized when we were children.
  • Ashley, responding to Diane’s question, what would she say to Harvey if she saw him today, responded: “What I would say to Harvey is, ‘I love you, and I understand that you are sick and suffering, and there is help for a guy like you, too. And it’s entirely up to you to get that help.’”
  • Ashley also described her response to her getting out of harm’s way and away from Harvey by making a deal with him to do what he was pressuring her to do after she won an Oscar in a movie he produced. “Am I proud of that? I’m of two minds: The part that shames myself says ‘no.’ The part of me that understands the way shame works says, ‘That was absolutely brilliant. Good job kid, you got out of there. Well done.’”
  • Alternet published an article recently, whose title is, “How on Earth Is Corporal Punishment Still Legal at School in 19 States?”1
  • “Law & Order: True Crime” is airing a television series about the story of the Menendez brothers’ murder of their parents and the real cause of that murder. Whether the brothers are in jail or not, whether or not you believe the series’ portrayal of the real cause as the brothers’ having been sexually abused and threatened by their parents, the series is clearly showing us all some of the deadly consequences of childhood sexual abuse.

All of these point to the root – the part that hasn’t yet been brought out into the light of day. What is coming out into the open is not just about powerful men out in the world today sexually abusing women, men, and even children in the arenas in which they work – entertainment, media, politics, business, spiritual, and more. It is showing us the outpicturing into our world of what occurs every day in families all over our country – and the world.

Powerful parents – fathers and sometimes mothers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – who are kings and queens of their domains, sexually abuse children in their homes, where it can be done in secret. Or if others know – like the extended family – they collude in keeping the secret. The children are vulnerable and innocent and terrified. The very people they are supposed to be able to trust are the people sexually abusing them. And others who could protect them are not protecting them … at all. Even the law in the US, which should be protecting, ends up colluding in the abuse by protecting the abuser.1

People are afraid of looking at what their part is in the perpetuation of this family dynamic. People are afraid of seeing how their part of the family dynamic outpictures into our world outside the home – whether they have sexually abused others, whether they have been sexually abused, or whether they have colluded in the sexual abuse in the home.

It is urgent that we look. It is urgent that we see. And it is urgent that we each heal our part in what is showing itself out in the world, but starts in our childhood homes.

We can see the huge, damaging impact it has on ourselves and on others when we don’t. We can see and feel the destructive consequences for ourselves, our families, and our societies, when we don’t.

This is the root of what we’re seeing in the exposure of sexual abuse in our world today. Healing it necessitates going to the root.

All of us, those who have been sexually abused, those who have colluded with sexual abuse, and those who have sexually abused others …
All of us who are part of this are sick or wounded … and our society is, as well.
All of us who are part of this are suffering … and our society is, as well.
There is help for all of us … and our society, as well.
The help for our society depends on all of us, each one of us individually.

And it is entirely up to each of us to get that help.

Will you do your part?

© Judith Barr, 2017

1 To learn more about how the law can be used to dehumanize and allow abuse in our country and world, see my article What Is Beneath the Willfulness in Our World? at https://judithbarr.com/2017/10/01/beneath-willfulness-world/

 

INSTEAD OF FORCE, WHAT ABOUT MAGIC?

In a number of days, I will begin leading a six-day intensive
with participants who are deeply committed to their healing and growth.
Over time, they have come to know there are depths within them
they didn’t know before,
and that as they meet themselves in their own depths,
they will have the opportunity to discover or re-discover
traumas they experienced long, long ago,
feelings they buried in the midst of the trauma,
thoughts, decisions, behaviors, physical responses, and plans (conscious and unconscious)
for how they would relate to others and life itself.

They will have the opportunity to find where they are stuck within
in their own healing and their own development.
In a world where so much is attempted by force,
they will get to experience the reality of healing.
In a world where so much seeking is done in the outer world,
they will have a chance to search for themselves in their inner world.
In a world where so many attempt to accomplish in the outer world,
they will have the chance to open into their inner world
to make felt but unseen changes within
from which something new will be birthed inside,
and something new will be created from the inside out.
In a world where so much seeking to connect with the Divine
is done through prayer,
they will have the opportunity to dissolve within their very selves,
the blocks between them and the Divine.

They will meet within themselves
the light and the dark
and go through the gateway of each.
They will meet what they experienced long, long ago;
they will meet their involuntary responses to their ancient experiences;
and they will meet the defenses they created in response –
once protections for the child they were,
now, if acted out, destructive for themselves and perhaps others.

They will do this safely,
and purposefully for healing,
and at their own organic rhythm and pace.

They will do this for themselves.
They will do this for those they hold dear.
They will do this for our world.
For every piece of work we do during this intensive
will have a healing effect on us all.
There is a magical mystery in this healing work
that changes things inside and out.

I am so thankful for these people committed to healing to the root …
for themselves …
for all of us.

© Judith Barr, 2016

WE’RE ALL HUMAN

Sitting in the waiting room before a checkup,
I witnessed everyone sitting by themselves –
looking at their mobile phones, staring into space, just looking down,
or watching other people without any contact at all.
Except one golden skinned, middle-aged woman,
who said “Good morning,” as she came in
and sat down a few seats away from me.
“Good morning,” I replied, with a smile.
A moment later I leaned toward her and said,
“That’s lovely of you to make contact with me.”
She smiled.
And a few moments later, I wanted to –
but didn’t – stand up and say to everyone in the room:

Hello, everybody …
We’re all human beings
with hearts that love
and hearts that have been hurt,
whether we let ourselves feel it or not.

We’re all human beings,
with hearts that feel
happy and scared, angry and sad, confused and hurt
and more.

We’re all human beings
with hearts that feel
hope and hopelessness,
power and powerlessness,
connected and disconnected,
companioned and isolated.

We’re all human beings
with hearts that need to matter,
with hearts that need to be their selves …
with hearts that need to not have been frightened or
threatened out of being our-selves.

We’re all human beings
with hearts that have learned, been “taught,” induced, or threatened
to not feel –
to not feel safely –
to hide our feelings,
to close ourselves off and bury our feelings …
to defend ourselves from pain.
Defend ourselves.
At all costs defend ourselves!
Keep our deepest thoughts and feelings
to ourselves, even from those closest to us.
Build a moat …
So we can’t be hurt.
Build a gate, a wall, a steel door, a trap door …
so we can’t be hurt.
Gather an army that can lash out and protect us …
so we can’t be hurt.
Keep our deepest thoughts and feelings
even from ourselves.
Numb ourselves. Deaden ourselves…
So we can’t feel the hurt.
Defend ourselves.
At all costs defend ourselves!

Where has this led us?
‘Round the world in however many years we’ve been alive …
and right back into the patriarchy.
All those years we’ve lived in the patriarchy and didn’t know it …
here we are again, with a patriarchy stronger than ever.
All those years we’ve worked so hard to move out of the patriarchy …
here we are again, seeing how deeply entrenched we still are in the patriarchy.
All those years we’ve thought we had moved out of the patriarchy …
here we are again, seeing “out in the open” the patriarchy
that was alive and well beneath our view.
All those years we’ve thought we were free from the patriarchy …
here we are again, needing to see the patriarchy alive outside us
and needing to see, hear, experience the patriarchy alive within our very selves.

The patriarchy within and without.
The patriarchy that refuses to feel real, authentic feelings.
The patriarchy that feels and acts out intense, raw, destructive feelings
from long, long ago …
giving others pseudo-permission to do the same.
The patriarchy that disconnects itself from the heart,
while acting out under the guise of goodness.
The patriarchy that refuses to feel real, authentic feelings.
The patriarchy that refuses to go through its own renewal.
The patriarchy that would rather be shot by an assassin’s bullet
than go through its own renewal …
its own death and rebirth right here in this life.

And where has this led us?
Right here into the mess we’re immersed in right now —
in the U.S. and all over the world.
And repeating it over and over again.
Making the mess worse and worse with each repetition.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on “Morning Joe”
after the terrorist attack in London:
“The city is now getting on with its business.
All our transportation systems are running.
Parliament is continuing its work.
It is business as normal.
That is the way to defy these people.
The worst way to lose the war on terror is to be terrified for a second.
We are not terrified and we will go on.”

In my heart, I could hear the little boy, Boris,
saying what he had decided as a child.
And I could hear the parents of young Boris
telling him to do the same thing he had already decided reflexively.
Defend against your feelings no matter what.
Defend against your terror no matter what.
Let your defiance defend you against what you’re really feeling.
Let your defiance be yet another defense against what you’re really feeling.
Let your defiance numb you to your terror,
making it impossible for you to feel your terror …
making it impossible for you to utilize your terror
in a healthy way …
as part of bearing your own renewal,
as part of your country’s bearing its own renewal,
as part of our world’s bearing its own renewal.

There are many social and political steps we need to take
right now in our world.
But there are steps so much more deeply needed than those
outer steps.
We need to heal the patriarchy within ourselves – men and women alike.
We need to go through our own death and rebirth
right here in our lives.
We need to safely do the inner work of renewal
that helps us go back through
the feelings we buried from our long-ago wounds …
so we cannot be cruel to another without feeling the pain ourselves.
so we cannot be cruel to ourselves without feeling the pain.
so we cannot feel the cruelty of others without feeling the pain.
so we cannot normalize, rationalize, justify anyone’s cruel actions
and the pain those cruel actions cause.
so we cannot allow ourselves or anyone else to go unaccountable for cruel actions…
so we can hold responsible those who are creating havoc in our lives –
in our families, in our churches, in our schools, in our businesses, in our government.
So we can hold ourselves and each other responsible for
going through our own renewal…
our own healing of the patriarchy within us and all around us.

We are born into this world defenseless.
We are also born into this world undefended.
We reflexively defend ourselves and, at the same time,
are taught and pushed into defending ourselves
by the others around us who are doing the same.

But did you know …
the choice is not between
being defended or defenseless?
Did you know …
we can be undefended
without being defenseless?

© Judith Barr, 2017

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP KEEP OUR WORLD SAFE
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

It’s so easy for us to forget our own humanity and each others’ humanity.  And it’s so easy for us, to try to “forget” our own feelings, as we have been “taught” to do – blatantly and subtly. But our feelings don’t just “disappear” if we defend against them … and our buried feelings still cry out from deep within us to be felt, explored and healed.

As you go about your day, begin first to notice the humanity in those around you. Each person you encounter has a heart … with both here-and-now feelings and ancient feelings under the surface. Many people you encounter may be defending against painful feelings in a myriad of ways … by becoming numb, for example, or by acting out in a multiplicity of ways, from the extreme of attacking to that of retreating.

Then, take a look at your own humanity. Are there feelings you have within you against which you feel you need to defend … even beneath your awareness? Is there pain within you that seems so overwhelming that you feel you need to repress or bury it … without even realizing it? Commit today to begin (or deepen) the journey to feel, explore and heal the feelings against which you’ve been defending, with the help of a caring, feeling therapist when you need the help to go deeper than you can on your own.

I welcome your sharing this article – on social media, in email or by word of mouth – with those you feel may be touched or inspired by its message. It’s my prayer that it inspires anyone who reads it to truly feel their own humanity, to feel the humanity of others, and to make the commitment to learn to feel undefendedly, knowing that we can truly be undefended and not defenseless. Imagine if all of us – including those in positions of power in our world – made that commitment!

INNER ACTIVISM IS CRUCIAL, TOO.

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Our Country and Our World

In our world today, with so much abuse of power coming out into the light of day, it is crucial that we all work to help create the healthy, healing change we want to see in our world. Often, we call this crucial work “activism.”

As a psychotherapist in private practice, I am, in my own way, an activist. And I have helped other activists learn about an important part of helping our world that most of us overlook.

As I have said many times in my work – aloud and in writing – action in the outer world is very important to help create change in our world. However, there is an element that many of us overlook in our activism that is equally crucial, and must be included in our activist efforts: doing the inner work within our own individual selves to explore and heal our inner wounding. I call this “inner activism,” and it is essential that we do this inner work so that our efforts at outer change – no matter how devoted they are – are not “secretly” driven by unconscious wounding from our past which actually undermines the outer work we’re doing, and sabotages the sustainability of the changes we’re working to make in our world.  This is what we have witnessed in the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the peace movement, the movement toward financial and economic stability, and more … Our not having done our inner healing has undermined the outer efforts we’ve made.

It is essential that we become “inner activists” as well. Especially in these times where we are called upon to yet again make important lasting changes in the outer world, but cannot do so without also making the changes in our inner worlds.

It is unfortunate that we, whether we are activists or not, are often not taught this one important thing: that if we try to simply change things in the outer world and not the inner world, too, we will then find ourselves creating the same things in the outer world all over again. If we don’t explore and heal our own wounding, we will keep recreating – and escalating the re-creation of – the very country and world we have already created.

Thank you for your own efforts to create change in our world. To help in those efforts, I would be open to exploring with you how I may offer my services and this healing message about “inner activism” to your group, your organization, your community, your government.

With thanks, hope, and many blessings …
Judith