Victim Mentality

victim mentality

As I take the next month to prepare myself for soul camp I thought it might be a good time to really sit down with some of my shadow pieces that I try to deny and ignore and get to know them better. I have been doing this for a while; I have gotten to know my manipulative piece pretty well and in doing so have found love and gratitude for her which has resulted in her not having to work so hard. I have also been doing a lot of work with my entitled piece, that relationship is a work in progress but there is progress so I am satisfied with that. I am finding the same truth with each shadow piece I work on/with; the more attention I give my shadow pieces the easier it becomes for me to find compassion for myself in these dark places. In addition I realized the more compassion these pieces get the less I need them.

This is what wholeness looks like for me, talking openly about my darkness and showing it light by not keeping my shadows as dirty little secrets that I am ashamed of. There is no reason for me to be ashamed of my shadows, everyone has them, everyone. Your shadows may show up differently but they are there, just beneath the surface, just like mine.

One shadow piece that I am aware of but have had trouble building a relationship with up to this point is my victim mentality. This is my piece that allows me to be innocent and untouched by the events of my life. This is the piece that keeps my hands clean and points the finger. “It wasn’t my fault, he was a habitual liar”, “I was the victim, I had no control”, “This happened to me, pity me”.

I have made some progress with this shadow piece over the years, the truth is though it has been slow going and I have been stuck for quite some time. The first step towards showing this piece light and love came roughly 5 years ago when it finally sunk in that I am the common denominator to everything that has ever happened in my life. I do not get to have clean hands when it comes to failed relationship after failed relationship, I do not get to have clean hands when jobs do not work out, I do not get to have clean hands in regards to why I struggled in college my first go around. I do not have clean hands. My hands are dirty.

Taking accountability for how I show up in relationships was a huge step forward for me. I credit this epiphany for the success of my marriage thus far. My husband came into my life just as I was starting my journey into self-discovery and from the beginning he has been on board with all that comes with my process of rebuilding and putting my pieces back together. By me taking accountability for how I show up in our interactions with one another he has been willing to do the same. We don’t have relationships all figured out by any means, although owning our stuff and recognizing when we are projecting or trying to play the victim is part of what has made this relationship different and healthier for both of us compared to any relationship either of us experienced previously.

Aside from holding myself more accountable in my social and intimate relationships I have to admit I have experienced very little growth with this shadow piece. There are relationships where I know I still play the victim, like with my family. There are parts of my past that I still view through the lens of victimhood, unwilling to take any accountability. I recognize this to be true, it does  not mean I have any insight into how to pull back that curtain and show these shadows light though. I am stuck and I know it. I have been for some time.

One of my intentions for soul camp this time around is to absolutely work on my relationship with this shadow. She has been surrounded by darkness for a long time and I would love to bring her the light and remind her the goodness and fullness of love. I know I will continue working with my entitled shadow piece, and my self-righteous shadow piece as well as any other shadow that rises to the surface ready to feel the light again. I say again because I believe that every piece of me was born in light and love. The process of loving my shadows is a process of guiding long lost family members home.

soul work

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Now I Know Why I Am Here

I don’t know how to write about this weekend. I don’t know where to start. I know there is much I will not share but there is some I would like to. I cannot figure out how to give words, words that are so limited and flat, to what took place. How do you illustrate the shifting of a soul with words? How do you describe a fractal of light that can split a room in half and then fuse it back together? How do define a power so great that it is beyond understanding?

This weekend I allowed myself to be seen in a way I have never felt safe to do in my entire life. In a way I have always wanted to, but was too scared. This weekend I allowed one of my darkest pieces to feel the warmth  of light on her face for the first time. I did not realize how little I actually understood about the AND I am always talking about until that moment. It was the most terrifying moment I have experienced since the trauma itself, it was also the most liberating moment of my entire life. Something broke apart in me when that trauma took place, something broke apart in me when I set a piece of free as well. For the first time in my entire life I felt TRULY SEEN. It was terrifying AND liberating. It was the most powerful “AND” I have ever experienced.

I didn’t feel like myself for a while after. I received love and support and other things I do not have words for. It was so special and it was also very hard. When you have done things one way for so long (hiding) you do not know what to do when that changes (being seen). It took a while to adjust and I have to be honest I am still adjusting. I am taking the week off from school to give myself time.

The morning after my shift I was sitting on the couch drinking tea and having more soul talk with some of my housemates/soul work companions and one of them said the most important thing to me that anyone has ever said.

To give a little context to this particular soul work companion, she is a self-proclaimed skeptic. She came to soul camp, was present physically in every group, and participated on a certain level, however she seemed to have trouble with the deep work. She would say things like I have nothing, or I don’t believe in this, or I don’t believe you (to our therapist) and she rarely shared much. She appears to be a realist who is very grounded in rationality and facts but this is not a retreat where we learn breath work for our anxiety, this is SOUL work. I know it was a struggle for her at times. Here is the thing about her though, (before you start wondering why she was there or having any kind of negative feelings about her) she was invited to be there and chose to come knowing it was deep work. She did not have to to come she chose to. And my therapist did not have to invite her, not all clients were invited only the ones she felt like were called to this. These decisions were made for a reason. Whether she understood it or not she was called to this for a reason and whether my therapist fully understood it or not this person was meant to be invited.

So as we are sitting on the couch drinking our tea and talking one of the companions asked this companion (the skeptic) – who happened to be sitting next to me- if she felt like she was getting anything our of soul camp and how she was feeling about it. The skeptical companion, who never minces words and always says exactly what she means, told us how  the day before (which was a 12 hour day of soul work – almost nonstop) she was wondering what she was doing here, how she kept asking herself why am I here? Then she said that it wasn’t until after I shared my story with the group and experienced my shift that she knew. She said That’s when I knew, I was here to hear Jillian’s story.

I don’t want to share our exchange after that because it is sacred. I just feel the need to document those words though. I do not know what it means to her. I don’t know how she knew that I am what called her to soul camp. I can only tell you what it meant to me..

It was a validation of my life. I have told my story to others before, mostly out of what felt like necessity because I needed to know that they could love me even though I carry this terrible darkness, and I have been loved but never like this. For some reason her bearing witness to this life changing moment for me is part of what makes it life changing. I do not know why her presence is important in this shift but I know in the depths of my being that it is.

I tried to express my gratitude multiple times to her and for her but again I feel my words fall short, how do you truly show someone what is burning inside of you with mere words?

I do not know what to do now that this happened. I feel called to something bigger than myself now this has happened but I do not understand any of it yet. This woman is from another country, another culture, another generation, another life perspective, but for some reason we were called to each other this weekend. I do not understand any of it yet but I know know know KNOW it means something.

I didn’t know that was the work my soul was bringing to soul camp, I had a different plan entirely for the work I was going do. This all happened for a reason though and one day I will know why.

bear-witness

Leaving for Soul Camp

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Well the week blew by, as I half expected it would. I feel the urgency to write a bit before I leave in a few hours for soul camp. I would like to release some of what is banging around inside of me now so I can hopefully arrive at soul camp with a blank slate completely open to what will be.

I have been roaming the house for a few weeks picking up little pieces of this and that which I will bring with me. A rock from our mountain vacation last year that hubs inscripted a love note on for me, photos from childhood, a small acorn filled branch from Nana, a piece of my grandmother’s jewelry.. Things that are holding energy that feels important on this journey.

I finished packing the majority of my bags last night, this morning I have been running over my check list, and gathering what is left.

I have mixed emotions this morning about leaving. I am excited for sure so there is that underlying current of energy running through me, it feels like a child before going to Disney. I also feel an overwhelming sense of calm, like that of an old woman who has lived and seen so much that the world can no longer rattle her. With that I also feel a small vibration of anxiety in my chest above my heart but below my throat. It is just sitting there twisting around sending off sparks like a very very small live wire that has been severed and is now dancing in the street. This is not where my anxiety normally sits so I am a little surprised to feel it there but that is where it is showing up today and I am sure I will find out why at some point over the course of this weekend.

For the few remaining hours at home before I leave I plan to embrace the silence of our home, paint my nails, maybe write some more, and love on Lucy. Then it will be time to go. When I wrote that I felt a snap or spark from the anxiety sitting in my chest. She is clearly afraid, and that is okay, there is room for fear in the work I will be doing this weekend. The whole purpose of this retreat is to connect deeper with every piece of myself so all parts are welcome, there is enough space for everyone on this soul journey.

Preparing for Soul Camp

In a few short weeks I will be leaving for a weekend retreat at the beach and as the time grows nearer I am feeling all kinds of emotions bubble to the surface.

Soul Camp is a weekend therapeutic retreat led by my therapist and a co-facilitator where I will be involved in group therapy surrounding topics related to trauma, self-love, healing, family, women issues, and whatever else happens to pop up for us while we are there.

Yesterday I attended a meeting related to Soul Camp where I met all the other women who will be attending. We had a chance to talk and work out some of the jitters because we are essentially all being thrusted into each other’s work and that is kind of a big deal. I knew most of the women present as we have been attending workshops together over the course of the last year, that was reassuring. I also met someone new and this someone new will be my roommate while at Soul Camp. I am really excited about that.

The roommate situation made me a bit nervous because we will all be bringing different emotional baggage to soul camp as well as different energies around what our stuff is. I was concerned about being impacted by someone else’s energy because when in close quarters for extended periods of time it can get harder to keep up an emotional boundary. I don’t want to absorb someone else’s stuff and get distracted from what I am bringing that I need to work on.

When I first encountered this person yesterday at the meeting I did not feel overwhelmed by her energy, which was a good sign. She felt open and vulnerable which is what I try to bring as well, I think it will be a good match.

I will spend the next few weeks collecting items around my home that I want to bring with me, maybe a photo from childhood, or some other little thing that feels connected to the work I am doing. This space that is being created for us at Soul Camp feels like it might amplify the work we are already doing so I am trying to emotionally and mentally prepare myself for that.

I am looking forward to it though. I am trying to lean back a bit and not control it, I am trying not to think about it to much or create expectations for what it might be.I am going to pack a bag, leave on a Friday, and let it be whatever it is meant to be.

soul-camp