HAUNTED – NOW WHAT?

We are haunted. Not only on Halloween, but every day of the year.
Not only every day, but every month. Every year. Every decade. Every century.

We are haunted not only by our own personal ghosts, but also by those of our ancestors. And if we don’t find a healthy way to heal the haunting  …
… we will continue to create and escalate destruction and trauma for ourselves, our children, and each other.
… those who come after us will be haunted not only by their own personal ghosts, but also by those of their ancestors – us.

What is this haunting?
The traumas we experienced long, long ago that we have buried,
that we insist on keeping beneath our awareness,
that we persist in holding at bay,
that we refuse to heal.

What is this haunting?
The traumas that have collected in our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls
and are still alive within us today.
Those still-living traumas that – whether we realize it or not – keep creating traumas …
for we, ourselves – inside and out.
for those around us, close by and far away – inside and out.
for those in our communities, neighborhoods, nations, and planet.

What is this haunting?
The individual and collective traumas of our ancestors – yours and mine –
that were not healed, so instead got passed down …
to us, to our families, to our societies, to our world.

It boggles minds and hearts that so many of us
do not want to know we have trauma still alive within us
that is driving us – too often destructively – both subtly and blatantly in our lives.

It strains credulity and breaks hearts
that we choose to create more and more trauma in our world
today and tomorrow …
rather than face and do the inner work to heal
the trauma still alive within us
from yesterday and yesteryears.

It breaks my heart
that we choose to create trauma in our world
now and in the future
rather than face ourselves and
do our inner healing work
to heal the trauma we carry with us from our own past.

What is the state of your heart
if you can continue to make such a choice …
knowing the consequences?

 WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP HEAL THE HAUNTING?

*You can read How Did We Get Here? My recently published book that explores our haunting by trauma much more deeply. It can help you in many ways, including … informing you and helping you reflect more deeply.

*You can work with me individually.  If you are able to do in-person sessions at least periodically, and live in Connecticut, New York, or Florida and can do phone sessions for the remaining sessions . . . we can work together towards your healing your trauma.

*You can work with me in community.
Margaret Mead’s words have always touched hearts and souls:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I lead a group of women who meet on a monthly basis, who have worked deeply and committedly for years to heal their wounds and traumas to the root.
These women know that they are not only doing their own healing, but are also participating in the healing of our country and our world.
They know the real healing needs to be done from the inside out.

They know the truth – that every one of us, even if we don’t blatantly act out destructively, plays a part in the destructiveness that is occurring and escalating today.
They know the reality that we all are part of the patriarchy, and they are working to heal the patriarchy within themselves.

They are unique, self-responsible, integritous, caring women, passionate about doing their own healing work, and aware of how combining individual work with this group work multiplies boundlessly both the support and the healing.

They would welcome new women to join this safe group — women who have these same qualities, intentions and the commitment and longing to heal and help heal.

This group is certainly one that fits Margaret Mead’s description of a group that can change the world.

© Judith Barr, 2018

WHO’S MINING YOUR UNCONSCIOUS?

And Who’s Mining Your Children’s Unconscious?

Recently it was revealed that President Trump’s campaign data firm has been mining the unconscious of millions of people in the U.S. (and elsewhere) through data on Facebook (and perhaps other places, too) to impact election results. People at the top of this company, Cambridge Analytica, have been exposed on film in Great Britain as having the purposeful intention to find and exploit people’s inner demons, their deep fears and hopes – both the ones that are merely unspoken and the ones that are unconscious. The top people at the company actually talked about psychological profiling of people deeper into the unconscious than anyone else.  “There is no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it’s all about emotion,” said one of the executives of the company. This company – or any other – can say that about elections, or about anything else that is truly based not on facts, but on emotions.

Mining people’s unconscious is not new in our world. Scam artists, snake oil salesmen, false prophets and more have existed since the beginning of time. Many years ago, ironically in 1984, there was a movie, “Dreamscape,” in which a government project tasked with training psychics to enter people’s dreams, purportedly to help them, ends up with a goal of assassination through dreams.

Although others mining our unconscious is frightening in any age and any form – and of course, it is frightening – more frightening still today is the part we ourselves have played in others mining our unconscious selves. Some may think our part is the outer participation in our use of the internet, and particularly Facebook.  But that isn’t the part that is of the greatest concern … for all of us.

The crucial part we have played is by our neglecting to mine our own unconscious selves. As time has gone on and we have been seduced into reaching for band-aids, trying to get rid of symptoms, looking outside ourselves, rising above ourselves, and ignoring the real deep roots of our problems, our pains, our unfulfilled hopes, our fears, our distress … we have become more and more disconnected from our own deep selves alive within our very own unconscious. As a result, we have cut ourselves off from the possibility of healing this disconnection.  And from the true help, the art, the skill, and the journey that exists to help us reconnect.

If we, the adults – the parents, the teachers, the leaders – don’t mine our own unconscious …
how are we going to teach our children to mine theirs?

If we, the adults don’t discover, face, and use for healing and growth our deepest demons, our deepest fears, and our deepest hopes …
how are we going to teach our children to do the same?

And what a setup it is for our children’s unconscious selves to be mined by others,
if we don’t help them learn to mine their own.

Mining our own unconscious needs to be part of the fabric of truth and love at the foundation of our work with ourselves and our work with our children.
Mining our own unconscious needs to be part of the fabric of truth and love at the foundation of our work in our families, our communities, our countries, our world.

This is core to what I help people do with themselves – for themselves, for the sake of their children, and for the sake of our world.

© 2018 Judith Barr

 

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

SEXUAL ABUSE: OUR COUNTRIES MIRROR OUR FAMILIES

Although it is starting to come out in the open in the U.S. …
This occurs not only in the U.S. but all over our world.

There is a growing list of men who are being exposed for having sexually abused women, men, and children … not only in the recent past but in years long ago. This ugly and painful aspect of the patriarchy has been known, yet kept secret, for far too long.  For too long there have been:  the one who perpetrated the sexual abuse, the one who was victimized by him, and those who colluded with the perpetrator – each for his or her own reasons. We recently got a very public glimpse into this dynamic when the accusations against Harvey Weinstein in the U.S. (and abroad) started coming out into the open in the public realm. An even more public view of the perpetrator-victim-colluder dynamic is being seen as Roy Moore, candidate for Senate from Alabama and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, denies his sexual abuse of young women and even worse … of children. Those in collusion with him, support his denials with all sorts of guises – from his “godliness,” to the guise of his “innocence,” to claims of dirty politics by the other side, to the insistence on voting for him even if he did these things … just to keep the other side from winning.

This plague of sexual abuse – isn’t only limited to male abusers. It also includes women.  But still it is part of the patriarchy – which includes men and women. And the women who stand by their abuser husbands are definitely part of the patriarchy.  Just like the women who stood by Clarence Thomas were part of the patriarchy, when Anita Hill was exposing to the world his sexual abuse.

The sexual abuse aspect of the patriarchy – and the destructive patriarchy itself – must end. How? Through healing to the root. When? Now.

***************************

When the sexual abuse is over…
The end has only just begun.
The end of sexual abuse in the church.
The end of sexual abuse on the couch – in the therapy room.
The end of sexual abuse in entertainment, by producer, director, agent, actor.
The end of sexual abuse in business – the board room, the CEO’s office, the supply room.
The end of sexual abuse in the doctor’s office, the hospital, the ambulance.
The end of sexual abuse in sports, by coaches.
The end of sexual abuse by national and world leaders, by government officials, and
candidates running for office.
These brave women and even men … they’re exposing the abusers, one by one by one.
The numbers grow and flood the news.
The exposure gives hope to millions of women and also to men.
Hope for the end of sexual abuse.

But alas, that will not come
until …
the exposure of sexual abuse in families
all across our nation,
all across our world,
has taken us closer to the roots of the painful experience …
closer to the source of the wound that causes the wound of sexual abuse.

Though committed by men and women alike,
sexual abuse is a scourge in our world.
In too many places, an accepted scourge,
a normalized scourge,
a way of life.
A wound that’s passed down,
generation to generation,
mostly by men.
Acted out upon women, and other men,
and innocent children.

Innocent children …
needing, trusting, loving freely,
hopeful, growing, expressing, being.
Innocent children
stopped in their tracks.
Frightened, frozen, running away,
frightened, angry, fighting against …
Stopped on the path to becoming their selves.

Innocent children …
Powerless in the face of the sexual abuse.
Powerless in the face of the grossly distorted sexuality.
Powerless in the face of the grossly distorted use of power over them.
By someone who …
once was an innocent child sexually abused himself.
Once was an innocent child powerless in the face of distorted sexuality.
Once was an innocent child powerless in the face of distorted use of power.
Once was an innocent child who so deeply wounded,
turned into someone else.

Those who have been sexually abused in their families,
alone in a patriarchal family culture,
are terrified of telling their experiences of being sexually abused.
They’re frightened of not being believed.
They’re frightened of being blamed and scape-goated.
They’re afraid of being humiliated, threatened, abused.
They’re terrified at the possibility of being cast out, abandoned.
If all those possible consequences of talking
are intolerable to an adult in the entertainment industry,
how can they be at all bearable to a child?

When the sexual abuse is over …
The end has only just begun.
The end won’t be completed until
we want to know.
But we don’t want to know.
Too few of us want to know.
Too few of us want to know the truth.
Too few of us are willing to go through the fear
and through the painful feelings
the truth will bring.
Too many of us want to defend ourselves against
the truth and all those feelings …
the consequences be damned.

And they are …
the consequences are damned by the willful defense
and denial of the painful truth.

So when you defend against the reality of sexual abuse –
somebody else’s or your own …
you fan the flames of sexual abuse at its roots.
And when you defend against the reality of sexual abuse –
the abuse you, yourself have committed …
you fan the flames of sexual abuse at its roots
in your family and in families all over our world.

But should you dare to end your denial …
you have begun to contribute to the end of this horrible wound.
And should you dare to dissolve your defenses against this painful wound …
you have begun to feed the end of this terrible wound.
You have begun to feed the end of the wound of sexual abuse
not only out in the world in public arenas,
but even more importantly …
right at its source …
right in the homes of families all over our world.

© Judith Barr, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA?

THE UNDERCURRENT

What is happening with healthcare in America?
You may think it’s about politics. It is not.
You may think it’s about policy. It’s not.
You may believe it’s about good financial planning. No, it’s not.

If you know people who will be impacted by the Graham-Cassidy bill up in Congress now, you can clearly see that the bill will cause great harm to them. It will cause great harm to millions of others in our country, too. Perhaps even you, yourself … if not now, at some point in your life.

Physicians, as part of their passage into practicing medicine, commit to do no harm. Some of them do anyway, but many don’t. Have you ever heard of a governmental leader committing to do no harm? I haven’t either. But it needs to be part of the passage into governing or leading in any way.

So, if what’s happening with healthcare in America isn’t about politics, or policy, or good financial planning, what is it about? It’s about human willfulness. My understanding and definition of willfulness is when you do or attempt to do something – the consequences be damned. The key phrase: “the consequences be damned.”

And that is what is happening with our healthcare. That is what’s happening with our ability to have safe, secure, affordable, and accessible medical care when we need it. People are willfully attempting to destroy our healthcare system for their own benefit . . . under so many guises.

And how do people become willful? It is a defense we create when we’re young, a defense against wounds we experienced in our lives long ago. Perhaps our parents, or someone else in our young lives, willfully did things that harmed us … the consequences be damned. Perhaps we reacted in kind. Perhaps we passed it on to others more vulnerable than we were, or maybe even willfully harmed ourselves.

Willfulness is a current in each of us. Some of us don’t know about it at all. Some of us know about it and have healed it. Some of us know about it and try to keep from acting on it, not knowing it is possible to heal. Some of us know about it and act on it with awareness and intent.

Most of us deny it even exists – in others and in ourselves. How is it that so many of our leaders are acting on their willful aspects all at the same time … in relation to our health and well-being? Our denial has allowed it to come so far out into the open that it has become undeniable.

So now we have a choice.
Even though it is undeniable, we can still attempt to deny it – in ourselves and our leaders. We can, like little children who want to deny that mommy or daddy is willfully doing harm to them, transfer that onto our leaders, and want to deny that in our leaders. And we can, like little children who don’t want to “get in trouble” deny it in ourselves.

Or … we can see the willfulness, name it, hold our leaders accountable for their willfulness, and stop them … while at the same time exploring, discovering, finding, and healing our own willfulness. Then, and only then, can we be certain that we are not coming from a place of willfulness, but rather that we are coming from a place of real truth within ourselves, and from a truly loving place at the same time.

© Judith Barr, 2017.

“We Need Mothers Who …” Mother’s Day All Over the World

Countries and cultures all over the world celebrate Mother in some way.
It may be a healthy way. It may be a distorted, ritualized, or even an unhealthy way.
Perhaps it’s the personal mother who is celebrated. Perhaps it’s the idealized mother who is celebrated. Perhaps the normalized mother. Possibly it’s the essence of Mother we need.

Our mothers have an impact on us as individuals and on us as a society … whatever society we live in. Both consciously and unconsciously, our mothers have an impact on our personal lives, and an impact on the life of our planet.

There is no perfect mother. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. If someone pretends to be perfect, she teaches her children they have to be perfect. Because they never can be perfect, she teaches her children they can never be good enough. She also teaches them there is no process in life or human relationship. The mother who is human – imperfect but a good enough mother in all the ways children most deeply need – teaches her children it is possible to make mistakes and create a repair for the mistakes they’ve made. She does that with them when she makes a mistake. She helps them do that when they make a mistake. This deepens their trust with her, with themselves, with process, and with life itself.

When have you seen that from a mother in public life? From a mother or a father in public life? It is sorely lacking. Especially in these times.

Just as important as that acknowledgment of a mistake and the repair that needs to follow, is the mother who realizes she has made a mistake out of her own wounding, acknowledges it, and gets the help to do her own inner healing work instead of continuing to act out her wounding with her children, family, and others. This deepens her own and her children’s faith in real repair – for their relationship with mother and for their ability to do the same. It is a profound and wonderful role model for everyone in her life who witnesses her in the process of healing inside and out.

When have you seen that from a mother in public life? From a mother? From a father? It is tragically lacking in our world. Especially in these times.

But … I remember a time not long ago, reading about two public figures who did acknowledge – to themselves and apparently to others – that the work they did in the world was an acting out of their defenses against their wounds. It was a good example of the possibility that we may do important work in our outer world, yet it may unconsciously be a way to hold at bay the pain of our wounding as children that is still alive in our inner world.

Gloria Steinem acknowledged that “being a social activist can be a drug that keeps you from going back and looking at yourself. You keep trying to fill up this emptiness.”* How courageous! How honest! How real! And what a model for our world. Was anybody listening? Did anybody get it? She was acknowledging out loud that she invested herself in a cause in the outer world to avoid the pain still alive in her inner world.

I once led a workshop called Conscious Activism from the Inside Out on the topic of outer activism as a defense against inner activism. As people explored how they used social and political activism to hold their inner world at bay, I was also helping them realize that it is possible to do the inner healing and also help in the outer world. And that it was of great concern how frenzied and distorted the outer activism can become as a defense against the inner. All we have to do to see an example of that is to look at the political scene in the United States today.

Betty Friedan offered an acknowledgement similar to that of Gloria Steinem in a later edition of The Feminine Mystique. She wrote about her hatred for her mother, and then admitted, “It was easier for me to start the women’s movement than it was to change my own personal life.”

These were the “mothers” of the women’s movement. Their acknowledgments don’t discount the actual good done by and through the women’s movement. But they may explain the roots of some of the harms. Here’s a perfect example of no mother being perfect. But by their taking responsibility for the deep roots of their unconscious intentions, these mothers of the women’s movement … freed themselves to do their inner healing and offered a profound model to those who came after them. Who knows how few or many of the “daughters” and “sons” of the women’s movement welcomed and utilized that model in their own lives and their own activism? This brings to the foreground the understanding that the unconscious intentions of avoiding their own inner pain contributed to the unsustainability of many of the outer successes they achieved.

For example, if each of them had first worked with the young pain of not having choices over their own minds, bodies, hearts, and souls … they would have modeled for all those who worked with them and came after them to do their own inner work and then the outer work.

How many other women have made these acknowledgments? How many men have done the same? How very different our political scene would be today if both women and men did their inner work before bringing their energies to such important arenas in our outer world!

But back to mothers … and a deep hope that more mothers – both in private life and public life – will do their own inner healing work for their own sakes, for the sake of their children, and for the sake of our world.

This is my Mother’s Day wish.

This is my Mother’s Day prayer.

© Judith Barr, 2016.

* from the synopsis for the HBO documentary, “In Her Own Words,” http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/gloria-in-her-own-words/synopsis.html

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

Whether we are mothers or not, whether we are activists or not, whether we are men or women, old or young, single or married … we all need to very carefully explore and heal the wounded currents within us that affect our lives, our relationships, our world.

This Mother’s Day, make a commitment to begin that crucial healing journey. Or to take that next big step in it. As you reflect on your own relationship with your mother – past and present – allow yourself to feel whatever arises within you … committing not to act out on those feelings but rather to feel and explore the roots of those feelings. What are the earliest feelings you can recall in relation to your mother? And … when in your here-and-now life do you feel those same feelings? About whom in your here-and-now life do you feel that same way?

When exploring, we may find we need the help of a skilled, caring therapist to truly heal many of our deepest feelings about our mothers. Even to bring into consciousness for healing feelings we can’t remember or don’t consciously connect with our relationship with mother. Commit as well to find that help when you need it.

Whether we are parents or not, we all need to do the inner work necessary to explore and heal our inner wounding…for the sake of our families, our communities, and the children in our world – and the adults they will someday become.

If I Were A Rich Man … ‘Twas the Night Before Tax Day!

‘Twas the night before Tax Day
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse
who could nibble at a dollar bill
and carry it to build his nest
or back to his nest already-built.  

‘Twas the night before Tax Day
and all through the house
all the creatures were dreaming
of what they would do with nests full of money.
Many dreaming, like Tevye,*
that they wouldn’t have to work hard,
would have big houses right in the middle of town,
and would be thought to be wise and powerful
just because they’re rich.
Many asking, like Tevye,
“Would it spoil some vast eternal plan.
If I were a wealthy man?”**

Any day of the year is a good day to learn about money …
To learn different things about money than they teach you at home, in school, at the bank, on the job, in an accountant’s office, and certainly in the media. To learn deeper truths about money than you learn anywhere else.

Tax day is a particularly good day.

With all the issues we have related to money in our individual lives, in our national economies, and our world economy …
And of course, in our politics …
The Fiddler on the Roof song and fantasy can help us dissolve the illusions we have about money …
And learn the deepest truth about what drives us in our relationships with money.

For example …
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean s/he has a healthy relationship with money.
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean his/her relationship with money is about the here and now, and not some other time long ago.
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean his/her relationship with money is that of an adult.
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean his/her relationship with money is really about money.

*****

As a depth psychotherapist and a financial therapist, I have worked with many people over the years to help them discover the roots of their relationship with money. Despite my numerous articles, the most thorough of which is my home study course, A Recession Regression – Finding the Root of Our Relationships with Money, people often, if not usually, have the misconception that if you’re rich, you have a healthy relationship with money. Not necessarily so.

Many people I’ve worked with who were not rich, knew their relationship with money was not good for them. Many even knew it was not good for their family or our world. But until they did the depth work, they often imagined being rich would fix their relationship with money.

Many of the wealthy people I’ve worked with knew something was distorted about their relationship with money and came to me for the help to discover what. Many didn’t know, and were very surprised and thankful to find out.

People willing to go to the depths of themselves consistently discover in our work together that it is the little child they once were – still alive within them – who is truly driving their relationship with money. Sometimes experiences with money as a child do form a layer of that child’s experience driving their financial life today. But almost always there is another layer of early experience that isn’t about money at all. It’s about something going on in that child’s life, in that child’s relationships, in that child’s pains or even trauma, that ends up being transferred unconsciously onto money.

Here’s a profound example that could apply to a child who grew up to be poor or a child who grew up to be rich. Sal grew up, the oldest child in a large family: mother, father, aged maternal grandmother and grandfather, and 8 siblings.  His father worked in a factory long, long hours. His mother took in sewing so she could also be home to take care of her parents and children during the day. They were far from rich financially, and he felt it. But the greatest deprivation Sal suffered was from not having enough of his mother. She felt she had too much else to take care of, and his being the oldest, she enlisted his help taking care of the other children.

Sal decided very early in his life … before he even had words to express his decision: I’ll never have enough. It was a decision that lived in his little heart, his little body, his little mind. Later he might have had, thought, and even said the words. Or perhaps not. If he did, it is unlikely he could have realized how powerfully that early decision would affect his life, even drive his life, from his unconscious self. One thing’s for sure: it definitely would drive his life in very profound ways from the underground labyrinths of his psyche.

For instance, with an early decision of I’ll never have enough, he might struggle and struggle and work so very hard trying to make a good living, and find that no matter how hard he works, he does, in fact, end up never having enough money. He fulfills the early decision by its coming true actually in his finances, followed by his feelings.

He might also find a way to earn a really good living, bring in lots of money, and still feel he doesn’t have enough. He might change jobs, start his own business, hit a jackpot investment, and still feel he doesn’t have enough, even though he has in the current day more than enough many times over. He fulfills the early decision by its coming true in his perception and most of all in his feelings.

In both versions of Sal’s here-and-now experience, he is always experiencing and afraid of not having enough. In both versions, he is blocked by a decision he made long ago in his childhood – the decision “I’ll never have enough.” He is blocked by that decision. He is blocked by his being unaware of it. He is blocked by his transferring an experience he had with his mother onto money. And he is blocked by his own not working with this issue in his life and not healing and resolving it to its root.

Furthermore, he is not the only one impacted by his early decision and his reactions to it – his internal reactions, his relational reactions, his financial reactions. This is one of those places where it is becoming more and more obvious that we’re all connected.

Babies are not born greedy. Babies are born innocent, vulnerable, needing. It is the experiences our babies have and the unconscious early decisions they make from within those experiences that end up driving them to become greedy – greedy for money, greedy for power, greedy for attention, greedy for love … or hopeless in relation to the same things.

When you come right down to it, most of the profoundly intense feelings we feel in today’s world have their roots in the experiences of the child still alive within us from his/her world long, long ago.

If only we would do our inner work to discover the roots and to heal all the way to the roots … our world today could be a very different world.

This is not work for just one of us or just a few of us.
Every one of us who does this work helps him/herself and contributes to the communal healing.
But this is work every one of us needs to find a way to do.
For our own sakes, for our children’s sake, and for the sake of our world.

© Judith Barr 2016

*Tevye is the main character in the popular Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

**From “If I Were A Rich Man,” song from “Fiddler on the Roof.” © 1964 Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.

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

As you begin to “wind down” from Tax Day – whether you’re rich, poor, or in-between … whether you get a refund or have to make a payment – take this wonderful opportunity to explore your true relationship with money.

Explore how you felt doing your taxes, or having them done for you. Were you tense or relaxed? Were you angry? Sad? Elated? Scared? And take some time to explore as well how you feel in the wake of this Tax Day. How do you really feel towards money? If you could speak with money, what would you say?

We all sometimes need the help of a skilled, caring professional in the things we do … and the labor of love that is exploring your relationship with money is no different. When you’re ready to go deeper into yourself, and truly heal your relationship with money, seek out a caring, integritous therapist to help you find and heal your early decisions about, and wounding to your relationship with, money.

Imagine if we all, rich and poor, did the crucial inner work to heal our relationships with money! Imagine how different our economy – and our world – would be!

A Call to Healing in the Wake of Violence

A few days ago, there was violence at political rallies for Donald Trump. It was disturbing and heartbreaking to watch.

As we become aware of violent events – in the political arena and in any area of our world – we need to also become aware of an important truth: Violence begins within each of us.

There is a current of violence within each of us that we have the potential to act out on. That current can be provoked, triggered, fed, by anyone and anything. Sure as it’s sunny in the day and dark in the night, we are all vulnerable to that current being triggered. It may be triggered by our dreams at night, by our memories during the day. It may be evoked by something we’re aware of – like an interaction with someone close to us – or by something we’re not aware of at all. It may be evoked by our transferring onto a person or situation in today’s world deep experiences we had long ago when we were children. It may be triggered by someone who has no intention whatsoever for us to be triggered. And it may be triggered by someone who definitely has an intention to trigger us and get us stirred up … and then use us for his/her own agenda.

If we are to help heal the violence in the world, we need to heal the violence and potential for violence within us. We each need to find that current of anger, rage, violence, and work with it and through it. Each person who does this makes him/herself less vulnerable to his/her inner current of violence being triggered. And certainly less vulnerable to acting out on that inner current of violence. Every one of us who acknowledges, claims, owns the current of violence within, does not act out on that current, and, in fact, works through that part of us … helps heal the well of violence in the human community.

A clue: When we are stressed in our current day, we regress to the child within us still alive and needing healing. Different here-and-now stresses will cause us to regress to different times, ages, experiences, and moments of suffering in our childhoods. If we don’t know this, we believe we’re simply in the here-and-now suffering today. If we don’t know about our regression, we are very likely to act out with our big bodies today the little child’s feelings from long ago. We may, for example, have temper tantrums, hurting ourselves and other people

If those around us don’t know about the regressions in themselves, us, and others … they are likely to normalize the violence being acted out. They are likely to claim it is just about today because of something occurring today. They are likely to abdicate their self-responsibility in the situation. They are likely deny their part in the violence erupting. They are likely to refuse to own up to how they provoked it, triggered it, used it … even though it’s clear as day to others.

If we are to help heal the violence in the world, we need to heal the violence and potential for violence within us.

I have written about healing violence many times in my blog in the hopes that my posts will inspire us all to commit to heal violence from the inside out. You can find many of my past posts about the true roots of violence and how we can all help to heal it here: https://polipsych101.wordpress.com/tag/violence/.

“Why aren’t our efforts to end the violence working?

“Very simply, our efforts to end the violence aren’t working because we are doing things that don’t work, can’t work, and often include violence within them. For example, punishment for violence doesn’t work. Laws outlawing violence and then punishing it don’t work. Have they ever really worked? Look at our world today before you even attempt to answer that question.

“Gun control – although it may prevent guns from being used for violence in some cases – won’t work to end the violence. Someone who is defending against their pain with striking out will just find another way to strike out. And praying for violence to end – although it may be a useful, even necessary help toward ending the violence – will not work all by itself to end violence in our world. And though it may help on some deep level, some people who pray don’t commit violence (even though they may have it within them as an escape hatch), and some people who pray also commit violence. That may seem like a contradiction, but we human beings are filled with contradictions, aren’t we?”*

We say and maybe even believe that we don’t want violence … that we don’t contribute to violence … that we don’t co-create violence. We say and maybe we’re even sure –  in our own minds – that others have a violent current but we don’t. And we rip off permission to not honestly acknowledge the violence within us and its roots in the child within. And yet here is the violence right in the midst of us. This is a perfect example of the poison-is-the-medicine dynamic I wrote about in November. **

“We can attempt to end violence from the outside in …
And fail.
Or we can commit to heal violence from the inside out, to the root,
and over time succeed.” ***

Right now, we are failing.

It is my hope that my work will help you in your own healing journey, and that together we can help heal the violence so prevalent in our world today.

Blessings,
Judith

© Judith Barr, 2015.

* From my home study course Violence: Finding And Healing The Roots from the Inside Out, © Judith Barr, 2013, page 13.

** http://judithbarr.com/2015/11/19/grief-shock-another-tragedy-and-the-poison-is-the-medicine/

*** Adapted from the opening quote in my home study course Healing Bullying to The Root: A Unique Approach to A Painful Epidemic, © Judith Barr, 2013, page 2.

UNCONSCIOUS

I CAN’T PROVE IT TO YOU.
It’s a feeling.

I CAN’T WRITE IT DOWN FOR YOU.
It has no clear, definable voice – yet.

I CAN’T TELL YOU
what scientific principle
or mathematical theorem
supports it …
It isn’t guided by anything
that’s rational
or
logical
that’s been discovered yet!

NO! I CAN’T SHOW YOU PHOTOGRAPHS OF IT.
It isn’t visible in that way.
You can’t see it as clear, discernible,
duplicatable images,
but rather only as light and dark
inchoate forms.

I CANNOT SHOW YOU UNDER A MAGNIFYING GLASS!
You would not want to see it that large –
if it could be reduced to fit a glass.
Yet you recreate it large as life
day by day
and minute by minute.
Yes, you are recreating it this very moment,
between us and in our world.

NO! I CAN’T MAKE IT TANGIBLE –
But if you do not
acknowledge it and
the messages it brings …
You will, Oh my God! Oh my Goddess!
do everything you can
to make it tangible …
even create horrors in our
everyday world.

I CANNOT SEW IT INTO A FABRIC –
I assure you, however,
that it weaves a pattern
with threads so strong
they can never be
fully cut out from the weave.

NO, I CANNOT SHOW YOU UNDER A SPOTLIGHT.
It’s not that containable.
Though if you truly wanted to see it,
You would shine your own light on it –
the only way
in truth
it can be shown!

NO! NO! NO! I CANNOT GIVE YOU EVIDENCE.
This is not hewn of the stuff that
your laws and science are made of.
This is born of a deep Knowing,
of a deep and true reality,
That I trust from within my very bones.
A reality that has been washed
from both our shores
to other beaches
far ago and long away …

So far that we have
lost our names for it,
our voices for it,
our sight and our ear for it,
our taste and our feel for it,
our trust in it!

Yet there it remains,
hiding in a cave at the edge of a beach,
being battered and bathed
by the waves of
roaring and gentle oceans.
Waiting, waiting, waiting patiently
for those of us
who dare
courageously
search for it,
seek it out,
creatively find a way
to bring it home
to us again
and
befriend it,
help it heal and transform.

And … without it
we may or may not survive.
And … without it
we will not LIVE.
And … without it
we will not THRIVE.

Original version: © Judith Barr, 1987. Revised version: © Judith Barr, 2016.

An Open Letter to Morning Joe Scarborough and Your Team: The Fish Hook Dynamic!

Dear Morning Joe and your team,

You have recently been asking an important question with increasing frequency and intensity: “Why? What has been causing Donald Trump’s soaring in the polls, caucuses, and primaries?

As a depth psychotherapist, a woman, and a citizen of the United States and of our world, I cannot hear your repeated question without offering an understanding on a different and deeper level than those that have been offered from media, government, politics, historians, and the public itself.

When we connect with someone we connect with them on many levels both conscious and way beneath our conscious awareness: whether up-close-and-personal – a romantic partner, a friend, a boss, – or from afar – a spiritual leader like the Pope, a celebrity like any movie star up for an Oscar, a political figure, like the now-political-candidate Donald Trump.

The level most frequently missed by individuals and culturally is that of the wounds we experienced as children, still alive within us today. Still alive within us whether we are 20, 33, 55, 68, 89, or 106. Since we are unaware that wounded child is still alive within us, we are also unaware that wounded child is driving us in ways we can’t even imagine.

We believe we’re thinking, feeling, and acting in an adult way, while it is the young child within that is acting out in a big body. We believe we’re trying to resolve a conflict in the present moment, when unbeknownst to us, we’re trying to resolve something from long ago that is triggered in the present moment. The more we make it about today, the more we fail in finding a solution. Failing triggers us more because we cannot solve yesterday’s issues under the guise of today’s actions and interactions. Then, in the pain of the past, triggered and enmeshed with the pain of not being able to solve the present, we will likely resort to the defenses our parents used and those we, ourselves, developed, thus frantically escalating the current situation beyond all recognition because we are still driven by our unconscious reactions to painful, even traumatic experiences from long, long ago.

So, when we connect with someone else, we connect on the levels of our wounds and on the level of the child within us unconsciously and often desperately trying to resolve something today that occurred in our past. I call this the “fish hook dynamic.” One person’s wounds hook together with another’s wounds like two fish hooks hooking together. Then as the two pull to get away from the intense tug of war – within themselves and with the other in this dynamic – they are only strengthening the dynamic of the two fish hooks hooked together, pulling against each other. As the hooking intensifies and escalates, so does the trapped feeling from long ago and the thoughts and feelings from the past are more and more intensely acted out today.

Let’s look at an example of how the fish hook dynamic can work in the life of a relationship. A woman who was abandoned by her father in childhood and a man who was suffocated emotionally by his mother in childhood meet and fall in love. She, afraid of being abandoned, clings to him. He, afraid of being suffocated, distances a little more each time she clings. She feels abandoned and clings more; he feels suffocated and withdraws more. Things escalate and escalate until he leaves. They have recreated their childhood wounds unconsciously, and in the end, he has proven to himself that all women suffocate, and she has proven to herself that all men abandon … and so the vicious cycle goes, until they each do the inner healing work to truly resolve the painful wounds at their root in childhood.

This fish hook dynamic doesn’t just occur in individual lives or the life of romantic relationships. It is occurring in many ways all over the world. It is very obviously occurring in the election cycle right now. The Republican Debate this past Thursday night was such a blatant picture of what I’m describing.* Little boys in big bodies all dressed up in suits, yelling at each other, bullying each other, attacking each other as if they were in the school yard, perhaps fighting for the position of leader of the gang … all under the guise of a debate for the office of president.

I’m quite sure if we knew the histories of those little-boys-acting-as-if-they-were-grown-ups, we would know more about how they were unconsciously acting out their wounds and their young defenses against their wounds.

I’m just as sure that each supporter of the candidates has wounds that unconsciously hook together with his or her candidate’s wounds … and that have drawn them to their candidate. I would need to know more about each supporter to be specific about how that person hooks together with Donald Trump or any other candidate, for that matter. But here are some beginning hunches:

Since your question, Morning Joe, was about Donald Trump in particular, we’ll delve a bit into what we know about him in order to give some examples.

It is a known fact that Donald Trump decided he would never be made a fool.** Perhaps some of his supporters were shamed and humiliated as children and didn’t want to become fools themselves. They might project themselves onto Trump and try to help him not be made into a fool. Or they might see him as a role model, or idealized parent who’s showing them how to not become a fool, especially if nobody helped them as a child, or if the person who humiliated them was a parent. They might applaud his every move to dodge being turned into a fool. They might, most of all, applaud his making a fool of the other candidates. They might align with him to keep him – in their imagination – from turning on them and making a fool of them. They might even take permission – I call it “ripping off permission” – to act out in their own lives the way Donald is acting out in his: to act out in a big body a child’s defense against being made a fool. And then we don’t just have a candidate believing he’s being adult while acting out like a child, we have a whole “support team” doing the same.

These are just some of the possibilities. They are limitless … as limitless as the ways in which a child can be wounded. As limitless as the depths to which a child can bury his or her memories of pains and traumas and the feelings with them. As limitless as the ways in which we normalize behaviors that are defenses against the childhood trauma. As limitless as the lack of awareness of our own unconscious selves driving our lives and acting out on the stage of our lives – individually and communally.

Something mysterious is happening deep beneath the surface for Donald Trump to be surging as he is and has been for months. I’ve seen the unconscious wounds hooking together in couples, in families, in groups … and in countries, as with Hitler’s Germany.

We have no contingency plan in our political, legal, media, cultural systems for protecting our society from a presidential candidate triggering the early wounding in the citizenry. Most people don’t even realize what’s happening or that it’s happening beneath the surface. And too much of our mental health treatment has discarded teaching people about the unconscious roots of their suffering and helping them heal to those roots.

We all need to help people understand. We all need to take this seriously. It affects us every day in our personal lives. It affects us for lifetimes in our personal lives. It also affects us every day and for lifetimes in our societal lives. And this “fish hook dynamic” in the race for president, and in Donald Trump’s candidacy most obviously, will affect us for years, decades, generations to come.***

With hope …
Judith Barr

© Judith Barr 2016

* Perhaps this happens in most, if not every political debate, whether Democratic or Republican. Sometimes more subtly than others. Sometimes right out in the open.

**“I realized then and there, that if you let people treat you how they want, you’ll be made a fool. I realized then and there something I would never forget: I don’t want to be made anybody’s sucker.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/01/opinion/putting-donald-trump-on-the-couch.html?_r=0

*** If you want to understand more, Joe, the following links will take you to a trilogy I wrote in my blog, PoliPsych, to help people more deeply comprehend what’s happening in our world today and how each of us can help.

http://judithbarr.com/2015/11/19/grief-shock-another-tragedy-and-the-poison-is-the-medicine/

http://judithbarr.com/2015/12/05/when-are-we-going-to-heal-the-repetitive-vicious-cycle-from-the-inside-out/

http://judithbarr.com/2015/12/28/safety-from-the-inside-out/

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

As we continue on towards the election, commit to becoming very aware of your reactions to the candidates – the one you support and the ones you don’t – whenever you come across them … when you watch them debate, when they show up in the campaign ads, when you read about them in the news.

Be aware that all of us have unresolved wounds and feelings from childhood, and those feelings can color any aspect of your life – including your voting choices. What feelings do each of the candidates trigger in you? Can you trace back those feelings to your early life? Can you identify the fish hook dynamic in your own reactions?

I’m asked sometimes “Where is the hope for healing our world?” If we become aware of and understand the fish hook dynamic, we can choose to commit to explore it for ourselves and find a way to do our own individual healing. In doing so, we can all help to create lasting change for our world. That is the hope!