As I have worked some today on The Fellowship of the Heart, my thoughts revolved around my Morning Pages entry this morning, something I would like to deal with here a bit more.
My heart recently brought me to consider, helped me, urged me to consider, a version of a boyhood self that created a shadow self within me. This soul work has been ongoing over the last couple of weeks. This morning, as I wrote in my personal pages, I remembered a little terry cloth stuffed dog I had. I just called it a wiener dog. It lived in a shoe box that I made nice and neat and safe and orderly, all qualities my younger self yearned for.
Part of the exploration of this memory included hearing the words “We are not the wiener dog anymore.” What? I thought about it and evaluated it in the light of Heart. The little stuffed dog, my treatment of it, and affection for it were symptomatic of limitations that had been created for me.
After undergoing a long-unremembered event, I also remembered how I was hushed, quieted, silenced in reference to a traumatic event I experienced. In essence, my voice to speak for myself, to tell the truth, to simply be heard was removed, and that created limitations for me for a very long time. Oh, I functioned and did well enough. I know it has all been just as it should have been.
What, though, is the significance of limitations? Unjust limitations result in many possible symptoms. For me, the limitation of silencing my voice meant isolation and loneliness, represented by my creation of an imaginary life with my little cloth dog. That, too, was taken away from me because family thought I was too old — at like seven — to have this little animal in his shoebox house. More limitation.
Who I was and what my needs were were not deemed significant enough to give me a say. I accepted it — and conformed. And to me that’s one of the worst effects of forcing or prescribing limitations on others, especially those who have no voice: conformity. Conformity is an Ego response that ensures difficulty in discovering self in a sea of those who all seem the same.
Is it any wonder inspirational and motivational leaders, speakers, and writers warn about the dangers of conformity, tell us to dream big dreams, and take leaps of faith to act on those dreams? My experience, while meant to silence me, created in me a disdain for almost all authority, created a nonconformist waiting to erupt.
Flashes of that self were seen many times when I shunned conventional wisdom about what to do to have safe, secure, steady employment or to be moderate in my beliefs. No, I sympathize with the oppressed; sometimes, I am enraged at the shallow but controlling minds that engineer oppression to create limitations that force conformity — (historically, dealings with Native Americans and African Americans, symptoms of which we are still experiencing — no Heart-light shed on problems mean little real progress).
I will end my little personal segment here by saying I am proud to be a nonconformist. I will rebel at anyone trying to force me into a mold or tell me I have to believe some certain religious, political, or economic “truth.” No, I will be who I came to be, and I will live the life purpose I have co-created.
And part of that is wiring and speaking about the issues of hearing your own heart and becoming your own brand of nonconformist. Discovering self — oh, so many things become so clear and simple, but it is not easy work, nor should it be.
Carl Jung said, “The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.” I want you to tell your story, to make sure that authentic voice of You shouts to the world who you are and that what you do matters.
Jung also said, “Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.” The shadow selves, when encountered, need to be enlightened and the substance of one who created the shadow needs to be embraced. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I suppose sometimes those selves are welcomed as allies, encouragers, and assets and sometimes as respected enemies. All, however, comprise an individual and one’s whole personality.
I had thought to share a bit more of Eric’s progress in the novel as he becomes more self-aware and forges ahead in his created purpose, but I will not do that today.
If you would have spent another two minutes reading 400 or 500 more words, please tonight just use that time to speak to your own heart about who you are and what you want to do to express that You, that voice — no limitations, no conformity, no evaluation through others’ eyes or expectations. None.
Facing the dark places and memories in our soul is painful. It is more necessary than painful, though, if we are going to walk in Heart-light, the same Heart-light that illumines those dark selves.
Last night when I shared the new introduction that initiates the dynamic of a shadow self of Eric Lafarnge, I felt a number of emotions, including gratitude and wonder. How could I have written a whole novel and not ever thought of this? It’s like applying a filter to a picture that adds a dramatic, artistic expression.
I mean, really, how does it happen? I think I have the same brain, probably some neurons shorter than when I wrote the book originally. Same biochemicals, neurotransmitters, cell, nerves. Oh, maybe some changes but basic goo is all still the same.
So how do words appear, rearrange, reorganize themselves, and jump down the nerve pathways from my brain to explode out of my fingers either through the keyboard or a pen and set themselves onto the page? Why didn’t it go like this the first time?
Ultimately, readers will decide how dramatic and effective this rewrite is, but I’m loving it. Of course, I think I am expanding my purpose in writing about discovering Self through hearing the voice of the heart. I do it by writing here every day. For 230 days, I have themed these articles around Heart and all the corollaries. I have even termed this concept as the Grand Unified Theory of Humanity. I think it’s that important.
Maybe you don’t, and that’s fine. I just want to help you discover Self, Purpose, peace, love, and fulfillment. Maybe just help you think a little bit. I hope so because doing this helps me think a lot. It’s not like I’m a math professor who knows the immutable formula to get to the correct answer. No. Just thinking aloud. I hope it’s useful.
Useful, too, for facing our own darknesses. We all have them, embodied in those shadow selves I have written of. It hurts to face them. It’s made me weep, occasionally, and that was necessary for me to awaken to and enlighten more of my soul. This helps me to move onward and upward, to learn, be stronger. It helps me to add these parts of myself, now under Heart-light, to the richness of my personality and experience in this physical body on this earth.
Not everyone wants to do such work on self, though. Why? Carl Jung, a whole hell of a lot smarter and insightful than I am, said, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.” I think “absurd” is a curious, complex word choice. Absurd, ridiculous.
Some things we would readily identify as ridiculous. Someone might not be able to get along with others or maybe can’t emotionally handle the responsibility of their job, so they quit and get another job in another place, maybe another city, state, or even country, and they are doing the exact same thing. Can’t leave out the idea here, although the source is disputed: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Coming to know our heart and face our soul, to discover who we really are, is part of enlightenment, part of the sane move to know who core Self is and create a purpose for that core Self being here. Look what happens with Eric a few chapters after the intro I shared last night. He faces his own soul.
Obviously. It’s also obvious my outlook is different. I mean really different.
“How? This is important, Eric. How is it different?”
I’m thinking through you, Heart. It’s like a new pathway of energy is running through me.
“Oh, you’ve got it. It is energy. It is all about energy and where that energy is focused. Where did we feel this difference already?”
With Jack, for sure. You told me, I heard you, to let it go. His energy wouldn’t hear what I was going to say, would it?
“That’s right. And what were you going to say?”
I’m not sure about the partnership. I want to work for people, to help them when the deck is stacked against them, when life just doesn’t seem fair because selfish assholes in power rig the system.
“What kind of assholes?”
Eric snapped to a rigid, straight position on the bench. He couldn’t even process the thought before the tears started flowing, actually dripping off of his cheeks, making splattered drops on his pants, a few hitting his tie. I can’t do this here, now.
“Yes, you can and you will. No one to see. No one to interfere; it’s past lunch break. You must face this, Eric. What kind of assholes?”
He put his hands to his eyes. He wretched briefly, one spasm. He resisted breaking down in public view, but he was only partially successful. Silence except for the gentle sobs. Finally, his shoulders shuddered. He bent over, his elbows on his knees now, and his face in his hands. He could not control it. He screamed. And he screamed again. His tears were hot, now.
“Yes, Eric, those kinds of assholes.”
That’s the connection. That’s why I have been plagued by this memory.
“Oh, it’s no plague, Eric. It’s part of you, of us. It’s a little self who had no voice sufficient enough to express truth and to battle the evil of those who willfully refuse their heart. You had to bring this little self to light, because this little self is you. Who are you, Eric, and what is your purpose?”
Oh my God! This has been the key, hasn’t it. I am One who knows how to and will fight for justice, justice against a system of justice that won’t hear the plain voice of truth, of those who don’t know the words or process in the rigged plan. Justice against unjust laws that allow murderers to go free on technicalites or any of a thousand other injustices.
“How do you feel, Eric, Fighter for Justice? What will you do, now?”
I feel cleansed, my Heart. I feel purged. And I know what I’m not going to do, for sure. I’m not pursuing or accepting the partnership. I can’t care for people like Ms. Oprimida when I’m in that position. She doesn’t have enough money; her case would be handled by assistants and the outcome would be inconsequential to Actov and Colboard, wouldn’t it?
Soul work is more important than homework, more important than career work, more important than anything else. Why? Because that is why we are here — to know and love Self so that Self can know and love the world.
Once we do that basic soul work, then everything else takes on a vivid, color-drenched, rainbow enshrouded character, and then everything else is significant.
I wish that for all of us. Peace and love.
I love how complex we are as human beings. Amazing creatures, amazing minds, amazing psyches, amazing bodies. We are the whole package, and not many of us know or actively appreciate how incredible we are.
Why bring this obviousness up? As I have been reworking The Fellowship of the Heart, I have decided to give more background to the characters, at least more exposure, to give them more depth and help readers understand and respond to them.
In doing this, I have discovered some things about myself. I realize the context for these characters must have their root in our realities. Now, I cannot include everyone’s realities in the sense of everyone’s experiences. For instance, when I hear conversations Eric, and ultimately others, have with their own heart, that is my experience. Others, probably many others, haven’t processed or experienced this interaction with their own heart in this way, but it is authentic.
And so are things like memories that have created shadow selves (Jung) who populate our psyche, those aspects, sub-entities of our personality, ego responses and constructs to traumas, at least in part. When they are left in the shadows, when they are not exposed and discovered by Heart-light, then they can hold us back in pursuit of life Purpose.
Of course, discovering life Purpose only happens when we discover our own core Self through Heart. Many times the challenges we face in living core Self result directly from the resistance of Ego through some shadow self.
If we seek Heart with questions about resistance or lack of progress or any of dozens of possible hindrances, we can expect exposure of a shadow self. We need to know them, understand them, let them have their voice in Heart-light in order to be more complete; we learn to let go of their traumas and enjoy them making up part of the richness of who we are.
This is complex, but it is part of my experience and that of Eric Lafarnge in the novel. Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Powerful. And this is why we must awaken to the voice of the Heart — if we don’t wish to be victims, if we want to live in freedom of soul and spirit, if we want to love and be loved.
Heart is the mechanism, the aspect of self, that makes “the unconscious conscious,” those shadow selves and all associated thoughts, actions, reactions, frameworks, reasoning produced through ego. As I’ve said, a person isn’t evil or inferior who doesn’t awaken to self, but they are going to be unfulfilled and occasionally wondering who they are and what they are doing here on planet Earth.
And I have added some of this element to the beginning of the novel. Here it is.
The bloodied little boy looked all around. His parents weren’t there. Cars were stopping. “Mom! Dad? I’m hurt. Help me, please! Where are you?” He could barely raise his head.
“Shhh! Hush, boy. You need to lie still.” No one else had made it to him yet, but this man thrust his face close to the boy’s. “I said to shut up, boy. You will hurt worse if you speak, I’ll make sure of that.”
The little boy’s eyes widened in terror. He recognized the face. This was the angry man who kept getting closer and closer to his family’s car. This was the man who had a gun and pointed it at his dad. This was the man…
Before the man could say another word, someone who knew what to do in a medical emergency arrived in a sprint, pulled the man away, and started tending to the boy. The car, not more than fifty feet away, was consumed in an inferno.
The next memory jumped over a year into the future. The woman who had saved Eric’s life and pulled the angry man away remembered the man and gave a description to the police. Other people remembered little bits, enough to find the threatening man.
The courtroom. The announcement. Not guilty. The man looking straight at the boy, older now, and sneering at him. Scream! Scream! Scream! No sound emerged from his throat. They all knew he did it. The man killed his parents. He was free because of the law, “technicalities” the judge had said, and the mean lawyer made his story sound false.
Scream! Unfair. Scream, Eric, scream! No sound. No voice. Who would tell the truth? Who would tell his story?
“Scream, Eric! Scream!” Eric heard it, knew it was in his head, and tried to ignore it.
No, I won’t. Then, the vision followed, just as it had for months now.
Eric Lafarnge strode quickly out of the modern, glass-faced high rise that housed the five floors of Actov and Colboard, along with many other business concerns. The building reflected the mature oak and pine trees in the strip park opposite. He breathed deeply at the bottom of the marble stairs, briefly closing his eyes and looking up towards the noonday sun.
His reputation at the prestigious law firm run by Jack Actov and Peter Colboard had grown quickly, especially in his area of government litigation. He had won several civil suits against the state of Missouri, but none of that seemed important just then. He only wanted to breathe and think.
Peace, I just want my mind to stop racing.
Spying a secluded bench in the broad strip of park land dividing the boulevard, he marched with purpose to claim the spot. The forest green wood and wrought iron bench sat at one end of a reflecting pool bordered by flat granite. Before he sat down, he stood transfixed gazing into the clear water reflecting the light azure sky.
What am I doing with my life? What do I want to do? I don’t even recognize myself anymore. And why is that horrible time and memory part of this?
“Why, indeed, Eric?” He heard these words, and he knew it was within him. No one else was around. It was the same voice that had been telling him to scream in the memory.
Whenever we hear the voice of Heart, we will only ever profit by responding to it, engaging it. Really!
But the decision will always be yours. Just remember, though, that to blame a lack of living a life purpose cannot be blamed on fate. You are the fate. You and I can create our own fate through the fellowship of the heart.
Are we going to allow Ego to pull the strings of our life and blame other forces, or are we going to engage Heart to realize how truly amazing we are? I choose Heart, co-creating my own life Purpose, love, and peace.
I love the way we are tested in life. Well, not when it’s happening, not at all. So often when we make decisions the alternative we didn’t choose presents itself as a lovely little package of possibilities.
A few words come to mind. Determination. Sincerity. Self-love. When we choose a path based on heart, I don’t really believe some invisible force jumps in to throw a temptation our way. I believe ego just does a dandy job of repackaging the rejected way; then, ego begins its powerful work of rationalizing. “Wouldn’t it be safer? Did you really consider all the options? You didn’t think of it in the right way, did you? Don’t you think this would be wiser, less risky, safer?”
When that happens, I ask, “For whom?” I am aware now — aware because I’ve awakened to self, because I have come to know my heart and fellowship with it — and when I have heard my heart, explored the options, and made my choice, I proceed.
But damned if my ego doesn’t kick into overdrive. Want a for instance? I determined no matter what I would not mess around with little snatches of work if they interfered with my writing, and writing includes corollary activities like keeping up with social media and reading like a maniac, neither of which I have gotten very efficient in.
I lack knowledge in social media — no, I cannot pay for a consultant — and I read but not what I have scheduled for myself. And I have just this week laid out a regimen. Actually writing and publishing takes about eight hours a day. I have budgeted two hours a day for social media and an hour and a half for reading. Every day I do this, and I publish on Medium, FB, Twitter, and Instagram, main focus on Instagram. If you do the math, that’s a little over eleven hours a day. Today, I tutored for three hours, which means I drove for another hour. I shouldn’t forget the time it takes with my puppies — I have to walk them in a half hour or so — and everyday things like vacuuming, mowing and trimming the lawn, and taking care of other little chores occasionally.
Yes, I sleep about four or five hours a night, but that catches up with me. So, when time gets shaved, it’s out of my writing schedule. I haven’t read today at all in my stack of books. I only worked on The Fellowship of the Heart for about an hour with little to show for it. I am determined, though, and I will make it happen — with the help of the Spirit and Universe.
And guess what, since I have really closely evaluated time constraints and laid out this new schedule, I had a guy talk to me about taking on some of his overflow students, and those will probably occur at inopportune times in terms of my writing. It’s 9:30 right now. I cannot go back out and tutor for the evening like I did tonight on a regular basis.
How does ego work? “You need the money, don’t you? He respects you. Don’t let people down. What will your friends and family say if you turn down paying work?” I don’t know, but I’ll find out if they say anything. Mostly Ego is doing all the talking!
So, I have still written, and my five or six hours a day doing Morning Pages, this article, and the Instagram picture at night are inviolable. Before I sleep tonight, I will read, but not for long because my eyes will close. The last week, my phone has actually fallen out of my hand multiple times while trying to prepare the Instagram picture and caption.
But you know what? I’m not stopping. My heart decision has been made. I am a writer. I will have a book published along with these articles, and I’m doing it because I believe a great many folks long to discover their own hearts, awaken to their core Self, and live a life Purpose that matters, that fulfills, that is significant to them — a pretty big Why are you doing this?
So, this is the life of this writer, for now. I have a portion of my writing ready to share — it’s pasted right underneath this. It keeps jumping down a line every time I do, really! And in it Eric Lafarnge deals with his boss’ renewed interest in Eric claiming a partnership in the law firm that two of his bosses groomed him for. He has awakened, become self-aware, but not quite sure where he is heading. Ego comes galloping into his mind. However, it will keep for tomorrow.
For tonight, I wish you peace as you speak to your heart and make decisions for your life. I wish you awareness to be able to distinguish between ego and heart. And I wish you determination to firmly pursue your passion in love.
I told you last night, didn’t I? I’m unstuck. My heart helped me process some really significant internal conflict I had, some real shit I needed to break down and shed heart-light on. And that was an amazing, freeing, blessed time this morning. Faith in myself, my heart, the Spirit and Universe — so freakin’ awesome.
Maybe I overplayed this, because this is only the draft of a rewrite of my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart, and maybe it won’t seem like much to you, especially if you’re not current with my posts. However, here is how Eric begins to realize, with the processing and fellowship of his heart, his personal truth.
Eric looked down at his pad before he answered. He saw the words scrawled in semi-calligraphic styles, over and over again: “Justice. Inequity. Just. Morals. Rebel.” No mystery here. “Jack, I didn’t think you noticed, not anyone for that matter.”
“God, Eric, you’re not that naive. If one person knows or sees something in any organization, you better assume that everyone knows when it comes to reputation. People like to talk.”
“Of course you’re right, Jack. And you’re right about no fire, no drive. I don’t need ambition. I saw you looking at my scribbles here. Look there — ‘Justice. Rebel.’ In a sense, that’s the fire I’ve been lacking.”
“Okay, wonderful, but your lack of ambition, no matter what else you call it, has been noted by people you really don’t want to notice such things. Peter and I have pushed for you to be made partner. You wanted the goddam status, and you have been moping around for a couple months.”
“Whoa, Jack, where’s this coming from. You sound like my wife.”
“You should take a few lessons from Anne. Peter, the other partners, and I keep track of public dealings that could affect possible partners. Anne must know how to play the game.”
“It’s no game to me, Jack. And Anne is an accomplished engineer and leader.”
“Shit, Eric, just shit. You don’t become a partner or the first female senior associate in a firm with the clout of Paragon without playing politics. It’s a fucking game and you know it. That’s what you seem to have opted out of. And Peter and I have basically groomed you for this. We told you to save your pennies for the goddam buy-in. Wake the fuck up, Eric.” Jack’s voice had risen.
Eric looked at him very calmly. He heard the voice in his own head: Your heart, Eric, not the firm’s opinion. You see the words on your pad. What is your truth? What do you really want? In the few seconds in which Eric heard his heart, he had risen deliberately, walked from behind his desk and around Jack, and closed his office door.
Jack stood collecting his thoughts after his little tirade. He was shocked to see Eric move as he did.
“Jack, I’m very sure of what I want for right now. I don’t give a shit about partnerships or the partners’ opinions of me or my wife. I want to fight for this young lady and her family. I want to rub this stinking decision in the face of the smug asshole legislators who passed such a piece of shit legislation for political, electable advantage, not to mention in the face of that nitwit, bought-off judge. I will win.”
Jack smiled. “Eric, that’s the fire I’m talking about. Looks like Peter and I were right on target. You’re going to make a great partner, but a little prioritizing may be in line.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s not about individual cases when you’re a partner. It’s about power, appearances, and control. Cases come and go. We’ll talk more later.”
Eric, who sat back down, now stood and leaned across his desk. “Bullshit, Jack. I’ve made a lot of money for this firm, and I don’t need a priority lecture. I’m a big boy, and I will stay focused on justice for people like Ms. Oprimida.”
“Don’t be so melodramatic. We’re not sacrificing clients here. You just need to take on a different role with a different attitude.”
The voice spoke again: Let it go for now. It’s enough. “Jack, let me get to work. I’m sure we’ll talk later.”
What happens when we recognize our personal truth, when we are engaged in or headed towards a created life purpose? We gain confidence in the face of opposition, common sense, practicality, prevailing wisdom, the press for conformity. Enough said.
Whether for fictional characters or for you or me, the Carl Jung quote from two days ago has direct application here, has helped to inform me through my stuck-ness: “I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.” Eric is choosing to become a fighter for justice based on his Heart. He is beginning the wonderful process of co-creation. More about that tomorrow, maybe.
I will see what my heart says!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!