It takes a few moments to remember that none of the dreams are real. And the fears, well, those don't have to be made real unless I allow that. It's best for me to get up and get moving, rather than to lie there and let the mind reel.
All that abandonment stuff seems so real when it plays out in technicolor when I'm asleep. Maybe it is there with me even when I'm awake, just lurking beneath the surface, ready to come out and wipe away peace of mind.
Once traumatized, do we ever really rid ourselves of the feelings and images that have held such power in the past? Maybe the point is to not have to rid ourselves of anything but to simply acknowledge the feelings, check the barometer of life on this day, and make a decision on how to proceed. I found the following from the psychologist, Carl Rogers, to be interesting:
"I sometimes fantasy about what it would mean if a child....never had to disown his feelings in order to be loved. Suppose his parents were free to have and express their own unique feelings, which often would be different from his, and often different between themselves. I like to think of all the meanings that such an experience would have. It would mean that the child would grow up respecting himself as a unique person. It would mean that even when his behavior had to be thwarted, he could retain open "ownership" of his feelings. It would mean that his behavior would be a realistic balance, taking into account his own feelings and the known and open feelings of others. He would, I believe, be a responsible and self-directing individual, who would never need to conceal his feelings from himself, who would never need to live behind a facade. He would be relatively free of the maladjustments which cripple so many of us." ~ Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person
I suppose it's easy enough to be crippled by what happened in childhood, what our parents did to us, what others did or said that made us feel less than or fearful. So many people are wounded today. That wounding comes from all manner of things--loved ones, jobs, the economy, life. But it doesn't seem to be so easy to be whole again. Or is it?
It seems easier to blame others for unhappiness. Or perhaps to find fault with others rather than looking inward at myself. I like what Rogers describes as ways to live a "good life". It makes a lot of sense to me.
- A growing openness to experience – move away from defensiveness and have no need for unconsciously applying strategies to prevent something troubling from entering the consciousness.
- An increasingly existential lifestyle – living each moment fully – not distorting the moment to fit personality or self concept but allowing personality and self concept to emanate from the experience. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust.
- Increasing trust – Trusting my own judgment and ability to choose behavior that is appropriate for each moment. Not relying on existing social norms but trust that by being open to experiences, I will be able to trust my own sense of right and wrong.
- Freedom of choice – not being shackled by the restrictions that influence an incongruent individual (= a false individual in pursuit of personal regard), I am able to make a wider range of choices more fluently. Believing that I play a role in determining my own behavior and so feel responsible for my own behavior.
- Creativity – feel more free to be creative without feeling a need to conform.
- Reliability and constructiveness – Acting constructively. An individual who is open to all their needs will be able to maintain a balance between them. Aggressive needs will be matched and balanced by intrinsic goodness in authentic people.
- A rich full life – he describes the life of the fully functioning individual as rich, full and exciting and suggests that they experience joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear and courage more intensely.
I like the idea of launching myself fully into the stream of life: the good, the bad, the perceived, the real, the imagined, the ugly, the beauty, the wonder and the joy. Let's do it.This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.