Category Archives: Psychological projection

When Things Fall Apart: Learning to Lighten Up

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It was 9pm and my oldest son and I were raring for our rockin’ road-trip to MA, in the morning. Then I got the call from one of my dearest friends, Lisa, whose house we’d be staying at for 4 days. She says there’s been a miscommunication – she isn’t expecting us until the following weekend.

WHAT THE!?!?!

I’m STUNNED. My brain is DUMBSTRUCK. I’m trying to fathom this news. Recalibrate. I GOT IT WRONG!? HOW DID I MESS UP SO BADLY?!

My hubby has taken off work. My older son has been so excited to see his friend! We’re ALL PACKED!!! ACK! This is cataclysmic to me! Perfectionist me. Inflexible me. Unforgiving me. I manage my calendar like a hawk. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???

I feel heartbroken and I’m starting to cry. But… Lisa doesn’t sound as demolished as I feel. That’s when my protective inner Mob Boss picks up her armor, knowing just what to do with my mortifying emotions. Shut. Them. Down. Lock & Load.

Rut row.

I’d better hang up with Lisa before the heavy-duty blamer BS (Belief System) starts misfiring. It speaks fluent Aim & Blame in dramatic CAPITALS and exclamation points!!!! Have you noticed?!?!

Crap. I thought I was past this. I’m all about taking responsibility for myself, my reactions, feelings and beliefs. But here I am acting like a full-fledged card-carrying defensive victim. Ugh. *Hangs head in shame.*

Growing up, I became slightly militant about the ways I should/could/would be RIGHT. About details, plans, times, people. I feared that my body and I were just wrong all over the place. Making mistakes made me even more WRONG and unlovable. My Mobster BS insisted I’d better be perfect, if I wanted to be kept safe from a heartbreaking world.

BS #2 (they run in packs) was also hibernating in the dark recesses of my mind. “I should be able to perfectly heal and release these beliefs, once and for all.” Hahaha. Apparently, there is no such thing as “done” while living in a sticky earth-bound-suit.

#3 on the BS hit parade is C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Or my illusions of having it. Nuf said.

Blame, criticism, intolerance etc are powerhouse viruses. They’re going around. When fear runs amuck inside us, but we don’t want to feel or own those feelings, it’s very tempting to deny, dodge and judge. Hot potato. Toss the blame at someone else!

But since we perceive what is OUTSIDE us in response to what we experience INSIDE us, we’re still glued to the gloom. No matter how we serve up that French-fried blame, we’ll be wrecked by the wrongness we feel around us, because it is also simmering within us.

I think we revisit these painful old wounds, circumstances and BS because there is always another silver lining to light upon. 

There is always more humanness to forgive.

If we can notice the fears, and just embrace the little darlings, question the BS, and love our silly selves anyway (imagine!) we won’t be as reactive when other people (children, spouses, presidents) do what they do or be who they are. We’ll feel more inspired to settle the war inside ourselves and radiate the peaceful warrior self, instead of the bossy blamer babe.

The following morning, still very mad at myself, my hubster Bill calls out, “Hon! Come see this butterfly on the stairs – INside!”

Aw!  The little girl in me is thrilled when I spot it. I carefully lower my finger down in front of the butterfly and she climbs on.

Be.

Still.

My.

Heart.

I bring her to my bedroom, where the dog and cat are less likely to interfere. It’s freezing outside, so releasing her isn’t an option. As I get close to the window, she takes flight and lands on the sunny lace curtain. The light pours through her gauzy body and I’m infused with joy.

But. What about food?

The flowers from Bill! Come to think of it, maybe that is how she hitched a ride inside? A Valentine Visitor?

I put the vase of cut flowers, every flowering plant we have, sliced oranges, bananas and a tray of sugar water, in the window. “We are now The Butterfly Cafe,” Bill says with a smile.

The internet reports she’s a female “Cloudless Sulfur” butterfly – an inch high, fragile as pale yellow tissue paper, with tiny black dots on her wings. In Native American medicine, butterflies are a symbol of personal transformation. “The ability to go through changes with grace and lightness.”

Their transformation from caterpillar, to liquid DNA goo, to winged confetti, is miraculous! Vulnerable and strong, weightless and free. They seem directionless, and yet they have quite the internal GPS.

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness and still become something beautiful.”

My attention to the butterfly, brings me into the present moment, and breathes me back into grace. (Bug bus to the rescue!) How can my heaviness stand up against her lightness of being?

The following day, I take some honey water on my finger and slowly put it in front of her. She hops aboard. And then I watch in awe – her teensy curled tongue (proboscis) which is a hair-thin straw, unfurls and begins probing the sweetness. And then . . . DRINKING. WHOA. I’m feeding a butterfly!

See the sugar water on my finger?

HEART.

BLOWN.

OPEN.

Did you know they can taste through the bottoms of their wee feet?

After a spellbinding minute, my feathery friend re-curls her tongue and stands like a quiet statue. Both of us are satiated.

The week flies by, and it’s time for my son and I to take the trip we’d planned! Bill is on butterfly duty while I’m away.

Soon after we arrive in MA, my son and his friend have a major miscommunication about a pick-up time and place. We land at his friend’s mom’s house (an hour from Lisa’s) while his friend is at the dad’s house (another hour drive.) WHAT?!?! My inner GPS is still MIA.

Rinse and repeat.

Guess who grabbed the wheel first? I wanted to blame his friend, then the dad, then my son, who wasn’t sure if his friend HAD given him the right address. I said I wanted to smack him.

Ouch.

After some wild texting with the dad, we were back on the road and I was breathing easy again. Quick turnaround! Phew.

But my son.

I noticed he was quiet and asked if he was ok. He said that NOW he understood why I cried over the previous mix-up with Lisa. He added, “I think of myself as a smart person, but this mistake makes me wonder.”

Oh boy can I relate!

Even our positive qualities can become limiting if we’re overly attached to that identity and too hard on ourselves when we ‘fall short’. I apologized to my son about my “smack you” attitude. Several times. We had a great talk, connecting over our shared BS. It felt freeing to be imperfect together. We don’t have to go it alone.

Humanness unites hearts. 

There is always more to love.

If Lisa and I hadn’t miscommunicated the week before, I might have missed the heart to heart with my son. I might have missed the laughter and openness with her.

I might have missed the butterfly.

I might have missed the walk in the woods when faeries seemed to send up <– rainbow flares from my camera.

I might have missed the opportunity to see more of who I am. Pimples and all. And to blossom anyway.

I might have missed the chance to draw closer to the divine. To flutter more like the butterfly, in and out of these changes and challenges. Isn’t this the everyday nectar of life on earth? Learning to grow with the flow – with butterflies, blamers, and mob bosses. They prepare us for the bigger dance – when life doesn’t do what we want it to do. When things fall apart. If we’re ready to release the heavy baggage – to step out of our comfortable cocoon, to let go and to trust our untested wings – then the soul offers abundant opportunities to lighten up and fly.

A female “orange Julia” landed on my forehead! At the Butterfly Conservatory, ONT Canada 2015

with love, lightness & more fun,

 Keep Calm and Shine on,

Julie

 

“When was the last time you sat and talked with a butterfly?” Pat Rodegast

My oldest with two butterflies (one is a “blue morpho”) at the Butterfly Conservatory 2016

 

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My youngest with a “banded peacock” at the Butterfly Conservatory 2011

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Has the Election Galvanized the Good? Plus Holiday Watercolor Cards :)

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Warm Holiday Greetings!

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My new blog post, Has the Election Galvanized the Good? is below.  Also, my one-of-a-kind watercolor holiday cards are for sale over here! To see my 3 new bookmarks – scroll to the bottom :)

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“Heaven and Nature sing” holiday bookmark :)

Has the Election Galvanized the Good? 

%22i-have-come-into-this-world-to-see-this-there-is-just-one-flesh-we-can-wound

After the shock and bewilderment of the political circus, my fears and flaws (which prefer to disguise themselves as ‘righteous’ anger) quickly convinced me that the menace was now truly OUT THERE. It’s an age old coping mechanism – the need to blame an enemy when life seems out-of-my-control. Unfortunately, this habit ignores the inner lions, tigers and elephants that need to be tamed, before the outer work can get done.

Wikipedia: Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”

Like blaming the boss. The corporations. The media. The government. The man.

At first, I was finger pointing and condemning Trump, just like he was doing to others. Judging, defiling and making him wrongity-wrong, just like he was. Hmmmm. Two wrongs still won’t make the world right. Or me.

for-no-one-walks-the-world-in-armature-but-must-have-terror-striking-at-his-heart“For no one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart.” A Course in Miracles

My fear had suddenly grabbed the wheel and peeled out, while madly chanting, if I let down my guard, anger and indignation, I’ll be lulled into complacency, powerlessness, blind to injustice, and “they” will walk-all-over-me-and-you. Then we are TOAST.

We lose. The haters win.

The old “Us against Them” belief quickly enlists the most reckless driver of all – Anger (with defense riding shotgun.) Battles ensue. Guilt, Shame, Regret and Separation all pile into the scary clown car.

Outrage feels like a well-defended tank. A safe place to hide my vulnerability. My victimhood. Powerlessness. A place where my heart is closed. Where nothing upsetting can touch me. If I’m busy hating them it will numb my own hurt and sadness.

as-i-walked-out-the-door-to-the-gate-that-would-lead-to-my-freedom-i-knew-if-i-didnt-leave-my-bitterness-and-hatred-behind-id-still-be-in-prisonBeing walled off, though, means I’m separated from the empowering feelings, too. From hope. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Tolerance. Love. My past reaction to injustice was to shut down and fight, which just furthered the divide, mistrust, and isolation. The banishment became self inflicted.

If I thrash and spit at them, I’m disowning my own sovereignty, inner peace and freedom. If I blame the bully, for the unhealed wounds inside me, then I’m believing that the power is in their hands. I’m leaking my divinity by believing the BS. 

If I refuse to bear witness to the war within me, I can’t stop the outer struggle either. If I’m unloving toward myself, it’s difficult to feel love outside myself. I’m stuck on a crazy carousel.

So I have to pause. Breathe. Write (this post has already had three discouraging and discarded incarnations.) Meditate. Talk. Befriend the fears. Walk. Sob. Share. Chill.

When old fearful beliefs, lurking inside me, are sparked by a loud carnival OUTSIDE me, the circumstances don’t cause my fear, they reveal it. Oh it’s so embarrassing. I’ll still try to insist – it’s really THEM this time, THEIR monkeys! This can’t be me? Again? Why should I change? THEY need to change!

Step away from the scary clown car.

If I deny the fear, it just gets projected outside myself where I’ll see it high-flying all over everyone else! A clever universal mirror of The Greatest Show on Earth. We just can’t get away from our own acrobatic reflection. 

Resistance is futile.

Our feelings, like rejected kids who ran away to the circus, just want to be welcomed back home. They’re ashamed. Vulnerable. Oppressed. Exiled. Invite them in. Share a bowl of buttery popcorn. Turn off the circus music. Let them speak of their terror. Despair. Armageddon. It’s a shock to recognize our abandoned selves. We’ve been protesting our own humanness. Marching against our inner madness.

{{{{{{ Breathe. }}}}}}

As we tame the lions inside ourselves, we won’t need to shame the beasts on the outside. In fact, we might discover it’s our own gnashing teeth. It’s our own fearful ring master. If we focus, instead, on creating an inner playground, then we can stop feeding the fears. Eventually, the outer war will have no battlefield.

I keep working at (and this part is hardest for the ego) sincerely appreciating the traveling scoundrels and situations that have triggered my vulnerability. They’re the shocking (and fabulously under appreciated) answer to years of hopes and prayers. I’ve been asking for joy, equality, abundance, love, safety, healing, growth, contribution, unity, world peace. Only to find, via said scoundrels, that I’m standing in my own way by rejecting the alarming wake-up calls.

 I’ve forgotten that this earthly extravaganza is the healing path – the power of seeing myself in you and coming together to recognize our Oneness. “There is just one flesh we can wound.”

Yeah, somedays, I SO want someone else to fix it, do the right things, use their magic wand and make life grand. For us all.

But if it were all up to someone OUT THERE, how would I discover my own power, passion and purpose? How would I celebrate this life I’ve been given, if someone else held the keys to my daily Queendom? 

There is no external jailor for our inner joie de vivre.

And then Trump speaks… And I’m back to square one. I’m a work in progress with this whole Love thy enemy thing.

The vulnerability, hiding under the venom, is a pathway to our shared humanness.

the-holiest-spot-on-earth-is-where-an-ancient-hatred-has-become-a-present-love“The holiest spot on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” ~A Course in Miracles

So how do I stay mindful, powerful and take inspired action? Blissipline… A daily practice (lifelong practice…) of inner calm. Of learning to love the unlovable, in me. Then you. Patience with the impatient. In me. Then you. Tolerance for the intolerant. Me. You. Compassion. Courage. Creativity. Kindness. Especially for the toughest circus – ‘they’ show us our own underbelly. 

%22never-doubt-that-a-small-group-of-thoughtful-committed-citizens-margaret-meadeGood-will is a powerful picket line against reactivity, blame and any walls we’ve built within ourselves and against each other. The dark side is illuminating all the crud that’s blocking Love’s way into our hearts and out into our lives. As we heal our personal issues, we help heal the global ones.

Everywhere, there are awesome people doing awesome things. Let’s keep the spotlight turned on that goodness. With our conscious intent and focus, we embolden that universal light. Send love-bombs to the political arena, but don’t buy a ticket and park there. 

Let the chaos move us into a bigger heart space, transforming fear, growing our courage, calling forth our decency, evolving our sustainable spirit and creating a more humane world. Inside and out. 

The election was a zoo. But it has galvanized the good.

As peace deepens it’s roots within us, waves of love and cooperation move out into the world. We’re gathering momentum as we work, transform and play under our beautiful blue big-top.

See it.%22i-honor-your-gods-i-drink-at-your-well-ralph-blum

Believe it.

Make it so!

I love you. Thank you. 

Julie

p.s. For a powerful exercise to recognize and heal our projection, check out Byron Katie’s “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet.” 

These new bookmarks below, are now available (1 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ laminated)

“Taking a step backward after taking a step forward isn’t a disaster it’s a cha-cha.” 

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“They tried to bury us but they didn’t know that we were seeds.”

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“Heaven and Nature sing”

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