Day 219/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
This is a tricky subject but one that it's time to address. Both in this series of blogs and in my life itself.
My current research project is on the subject of betrayal trauma. That insidious range of experiences that one acquires, and no doubt passes on, when a primary caregiver is unavailable emotionally to truly fulfil the needs of relational attunement.
In a Western world that is characterised by schizophrenic and narcissistic leadership traits it's clear that betrayal trauma is not so uncommon. Don't be perturbed if you find that this sounds like you also.
For good relational attunement, it required... well, relationships. Relational attunement tones the autonomic nervous system and supports healthy, balanced, social development, the absence of which has many ramifications, none more damaging than the void where the heart belongs.
That's the background to my story this morning.
For a long time I've been aware that I cannot feel my heart. It worries me. I am a sociable kind of person, I've learned to be relational fairly recently, and I'm still scratching my head about the absence of feeling in my heart.
Recently I can actually feel sadness in that void where my heart belongs, when I feel sad emotionally. My heart is beginning to bring me some messages.
But what about love. It's not enough to love cognitively. I want to feel it, experience it, know it. I'm on a mission.
There's every chance that the key to feeling love is the release of oxytocin hormones. That's an aside and not that important unless you're measuring it, but explains the absence of feeling. It could also be that you're just not well connected to your physical body as many/most people don't seem to be, but I am. I want to feel something!
Those of us who have experienced betrayal trauma are not that great at relationships. After decades of unsuccessful attempts we've given up. I've given up.
In the meantime I've learned to be capable, independent and enormously resourceful, but not loved, and not loving!
Back to that mission.
Entraining my heart, that seems for all intents and purposes, absent, is the process of toning up the nervous system that feeds it. Yes, my technical mind has the answers for every emotion and feeling that it fails to experience. Here's what I'm working with so far:
Heart Math have a wonderful heart coherence monitoring software that teaches the art of heart coherence. That, in fact, is a heart entrainment programme. Who'd have thought? I've had it for decades and haven't used it well at all, not knowing exactly what the purpose of it was until now! (I'm not affiliated with this product.)
I also have a beautiful kitty. Until recently our relationship was purely transactional. She would grace my home and look gorgeous and I would feed her. She would provide company and I would brush her once a month. She would catch my tears and I would change her bed linen. Wow! No heart in that at all! I began to deliberately become more relational with her some months ago and she is faithfully and forgivingly accepting me as I come closer. Of course there is the dread that I'll get too close and then she will leave me an I will be heartbroken all over again. My heart seems to remember that particular feeling well! Until now that was a risk I wasn't prepared to take. I'm rethinking that idea.
There are some very beautiful people in my life that I will be especially careful to be relational with. Paying attention to how I speak with them, how I listen to them and how I respond to them. All skills that I've just spent the last 4 years, and $40K learning. The more I am able to do this, the more we entrain each other's hearts for relational connections.
I'm sure there are other ways to support this mission however they haven't yet come to mind. I'll keep you posted.
This is my mission. Will you join me? Shall we begin?
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.