Why I do Inner Work

March 9, 2006

Someone asked me how to do soulwork when there is the nitty gritty of life and if the soulwork is done, someone might get hurt.

For me, I do the shadow work, soul work, inner work so that I can be more authentic in my nitty gritty life. Each challenge in my “real life” is filled with opportunities for inner work and sometimes I despair that this will be all that I do for the rest of my life – shadow work, soul work, inner work, dream work, work, work, work, work, what about live, live, live, and fun, fun, fun, and joy, joy, joy???

After two years of very intense work, I am finding it easier to be authentic while struggling with the practicalities of my nitty gritty life. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is hard, but now that I have discovered the riches in the depths of me, I don’t know how to be any other way – nor do I want to.

At one point in working with a dream of running away I burst into tears and asked my analyst what type of mother runs off and spends a week by herself at the beach? What will I be modelling for my son? abandonment? selfishness? irresponsibilty? I wept bitter tears and was so conflicted.

My analyst asked me if I want my son to grow up believing that it is heroic to squash our dreams and ignore the summons of the soul? Or would I rather than he learn that his mother is on a path of soul work – she may go away but she will come back bringing riches from unknown and distant lands. And so I do go – not as much as I would like because taxes have to be done, there are domestic responsibilties, orthodontist appointments and on and on.

How do I find the balance of being true to myself and being selfish? And when am I being responsible and when am I denying my true calling? I have no answers.

To be in my real life – my challenge is – and always has been – not carrying other’s projections.

I work on hearing and acknowledging with compassion when I am told I am a disrepectful employee, or a disobedient daughter, or a selfish wife, or a mean mother. I work on not projecting you are an authoritarian boss, a controlling mother, a clingy husband, or a bratty son. I work on seeing the authoritarian in me and the rebel in me and how they can be assigned more productive tasks.

And the part of this work that I think is invaluable is that at the end of each hero’s journey – she returns to her people carrying gifts. It is these gifts that can be used for the mending of her family and the mending of the world. I want to be part of the mending of the world. For me the best way to do that is to mend myself.

As the poet David Whyte says – Each of us is here – to accomplish something – and the world is holding its breath – waiting for us to take our place…

And sometimes I get irritated with others for not taking the heroic path. Some people are content with the safety of staying in the village while the heroes pass through. But, when we are on the path of following our heart, instead of the rules of society, then doors will open up for us and the universe will give us the help we need. Sometimes we have to ask :)

She then asked:
The fact is that I would rather I get hurt than hurt anyone else. Is that possible?
For me, the more I mend myself and take responsibilty for myself, the
less I hurt the people who love me. It is when I am struggling with
something in me and believe that it is something they are “doing to
me” that I get in trouble.

I still get in lots of trouble…

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