Monday, May 25, 2015

Rivers of Love

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
                                                                                 -Winston Churchill


The rivers are flowing freely; our hearts are filled with love as this beautiful and flowery month shows us. It is the spring of our nature cycle, and a time to fill our own well springs. If we look at this analogy and connect it with our own growth in life from childhood through all the life stages: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, older adult, and crone, we can see many similarities. I learn so much from nature. In nature, when we dont get enough rain in the spring months, our earth dries up at a time of planting. This affects our food bounty and also the very water that is so necessary for life. The same effects happen with our life growth. When we dont have enough love, or our needs arent met when we are little, or we are abused, and the cycle of love isnt able to be freely passed on, we dont have enough. This affects our inner bounty; our inner resources. 

I see this a lot with my patients, and of course with myself and my family. None of us are immune; in some way all of us are affected by our early upbringing. One of the ways this lack affects us is by some of us feeling like we cant get enough..food, for example. Some people literally dont know what full feels like. They keep eating beyond their satiety. They confuse their hungers for love and attention with hunger for food. A beautiful story is with a young client. He is a young man of twelve. For most of his life, he could eat and eat, way beyond his physical hunger, and was still hungry for more. His mother tried to help him to understand his physical hunger, but what ever she tried didnt help. He couldnt get enough. He was adopted, and was taken away from his first mother very young. His adopted mother works full time. In addition, as with all of us, she struggles with her own issues from her mother who was depressed most of her life and wasnt able to be present for her. She cant do very well with what she didnt experience. She found herself repeating her own experience, even though she didnt want to. She has now gotten help for her son and for herself, and she is learning how to change this pattern and to see her son more clearly and be there for him in a more full and consistent way. The difference is stunning. This boy, young man of 12, now stops eating when he is full and states he is full. He feels his physical fullness and doesnt need to keep eating. More of his needs, his internal river is filled. 

I also see this dynamic of not having enough inner resources in other ways. There are people I work with who are service oriented and in the service profession; nurses, doctors, therapists, massage therapists, and so on who feel very drained after their work. Sometimes they feel it physically through aches and pains, and sometimes emotionally by feeling exhausted or drained. After they work with their patients, they come home exhausted or develop symptoms of illnesses like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. If we dont fill ourselves with what gives us life, we tend to give too much, maybe hoping to receive something we missed when we were young children. Our parents were our first well spring in life. We learn to nurture ourselves, or not, through our parents. When they werent available for whatever reason, we can grow up having an open wound, and unconsciously looking for others to heal it, by their taking care of us and us getting ill, or by our over care-taking of others, hoping by giving, we will finally receive enough. 

My father taught us to care and give to others; probably too much so. He could do this because of his need to save others. He could give and give and this gave him a purpose. This purpose was for him as he needed to be saved. So he gained strength; sometimes at the expense of others. He unconsciously took something from them by saving them instead of helping them to help themselves. As a result, he gave, and had enough of a river inside of him. Neither extreme is helpful. Becoming conscious of our inner wellspring or river, and learning how to replete it without taking from others helps us to live whole, healthy and vital lives. 


Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization/Meditation

Get yourself comfortable. Place your feet gently on the floor in front of you and take 2 or 3 deep breaths. Close your eyes and breathe. Imagine yourself traveling down your inner self. As you are traveling open your minds eye and see around you. You are traveling beside your inner river or inner wellspring. See the spring as you would a creek or river or spring on a walk in nature. Travel along its path. As you walk, imagine yourself stopping and kneeling down beside it and taking a sip of its water. How does it taste on your tongue? Feel its fullness and depth. Watch its gentle ebb and flow and its natural curves as you walk. Stop and breathe in its scent. Take a minute as you stroll and thank it for being there for you even when you take it for granted. Ask it if it has anything it would like to tell you; is there a message for you? Remember it, and if it doesnt, that is okay too. It just likes to be seen and recognized. Tell it you will be back to visit it again, and thank it for being there. Walk along its shores for a couple more minutes and then breathe deeply again. Gently become aware of your surroundings in your body, and open your eyes.

Write down what you remember as soon as possible, and especially the message it had for you. Remember to visit your river again. 

If you feel like sending me a message please do, and what you might have learned from your river of love.