Nurture Newsletter June 2022
Here we are, midway through the month of June & midway through 2022!!!
June has historically been a time of vitality, filled with the abundance of nature & creativity as the Sun reaches it’s highest peak at Summer Solstice on June 21st. The word June derives from the latin word Iunis meaning “of Juno or Iuno”, the Roman queen of the gods, the goddess of marriage, fertility, childbirth, youth & protection. Juno’s attributes include energy, youthfulness and creative power. As we navigate inflationary times and the perpetuation of lack at present in society, this is an opportunity to reflect upon an aspect of our humanness that can hinder our creative power & drain the very life force that June symbolises. That is the emotion of guilt.
Guilt offers us a opportunity to find remorse & seek forgiveness when we have done something wrong but it is also an emotion we can wrongly assume. I sit with awareness of and wish to acknowledge when we have experienced harm, neglect or abuse, how we can often experience more guilt than those who have actually carried out the harmful deed. Our conditioning often means that we take on the burden of guilt, feeling that we have done something wrong or bad when in actual fact we have done nothing but exist as a human being with their own needs & experience. I am reminded of the last recession we experienced, when those who assumed responsibility for the collective were often not those who had in fact committed crimes, yet those guilty of wrongful acts seemed impervious to remorse & reparation. Interesting yet so tragic and such a common human dynamic.
“Guilt seeks punishment.”
In my experience, I see how those who have defense mechanisms against feelings like guilt, fail to see their deeds through the lens of wrong-doing and instead justify their position or project those feelings elsewhere. Alternatively, those with high empathy assume a responsibility that is not theirs to take on. This can be done by personalising it, asking “What is it about me that attracts this?”, “What could I have done differently”, “How could I have stopped it”? etc. Those who hold a high standard, who see themselves as morally superior at times, the perfectionist, the rescuer, the responsible one, the upstander, can take on the task of experiencing guilt & responsibility, rather than leaving the other to work through their own experience. Unequal standards are then perpetuated. Those with narcissistic tendencies rarely experience guilt however, while those who live in victimhood often avoid taking responsibility for their own wellbeing, yet are often plagued with so much guilt.
“Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
In my fascination with our ability to take on this excess guilt, I find myself asking “What do we get from this behaviour? What’s in it for us?” By asking these questions, we are allowing our own awareness & insight to uncover another hidden aspect of our psyche. This is how we can make the unconscious conscious. Meditate on this question, doodle it out & notice what comes to mind? Is the answer punishment? Is it self-sabotage? Is this a subconscious way of turning anger inwards? Does it give us some sense of control over the outcome? Does it distract us from what was actually triggered in us originally? Is it another way of accessing our old wounds & reconfirming an old belief, like that of a repetition compulsion? Is it holding us in a humble position or even a superior position because we are the ones doing the penance? Does it prove that we are in fact good people?
I can see how by taking on the responsibility, we move away from the helplessness of the situation. It offers a sense of control over the uncontrollable actions of another but does it also tell us that we have done something wrong to warrant the wrong behaviour towards us? That doesn’t seem to leave the possibility that actually people can just act out from their own hurts. If it is pointed in our direction, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves “How do I feel in response to this?”, “How can I support myself in this response?” However, where we often tend to go is to try to figure out what WE did wrong to warrant their behaviour. What unhealed part of ourselves is being reflected? Yet, is their behaviour not just theirs? Are we taking the blame for someone else’s wrong doing? Is this where we need a healthy boundary between what is theirs and what is in fact our own in order to protect our sense of self & maintain our self-esteem?
“He who wakes me always wounds me.”
Theoretically, our super-ego is responsible for this harsh judgement & criticism of ourselves. It wants to keep us in line but often holds us to standards beyond our humanness. While the antidote to guilt is of course responsibility, remorse and forgiveness, this only works when we have done something wrong. This other guilt, which holds us in an unhealthy bind actually needs our understanding & compassion. We can only take responsibility for our own actions but we can allow forgiveness of ourselves and the other to unfold as part of the natural process, rather than force ourselves to forgive because it is seen as the right thing to do. It is not up to one individual to clean up the act of others. In fact, is it not more beneficial to accept their behaviour as being so & recognise our own behaviour in relation to that person. Rather than playing into a role of scapegoat, rescuer, martyr, saviour etc. perhaps we can take that super-human cape off & recognise that charity starts at home with all of the self-compassion we can muster.
“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”
If we note that this is in fact their behaviour then we can revert to the helplessness or powerlessness in the scenario as we cannot control the behaviour of another. Here we can invite ourselves to surrender what has happened and permit ourselves to leave it broken or unresolved, a rupture in the relationship perhaps. In this place we tend to experience a void, the unknown, a space of discomfort however also a space of great potential. To fix it & return to the old behaviour is to continue the cycle. To allow the void may leave the potential for newness, a new creation that is not of our design but perhaps a shard of divine light. If we feel guilt for not fixing it, can we sit with it, acknowledge it and recognise that old unhelpful aspect while also recognising the new potential we are offering in this moment. If we feel hurt by their behaviour, this offers us a chance to work with what has been triggered in us e.g. rejection, abandonment, fear, unlovability, unworthiness, not good enough etc. Allow the light to shine on that aspect of us that needs support, love, compassion & acceptance.
From a relational perspective, it is worth noting if they are even aware of their wrong-doing & are they experiencing remorse? Have they tried to make amends? You also have a choice to bring your experience to them or not. At the very least you are now clear about what is in fact your responsibility and also what has been triggered within you.
At times like this I find it helpful to remember that destruction comes before creation. The challenge is to surrender the old to allow the new to be formed. How can you surrender unhealthy relational dynamics & unwarranted guilt at this turning point in the year & invite in the vitality & abundance of Solstice?
It can be so interesting to reflect on our behaviour around guilt. Here are some further questions to reflect upon: Do we experience our own guilt? Do we only experience guilt if caught? Do we feel guilty unnecessarily? Do we over-compensate for another rather than allowing them to experience their own guilt? Do we enable the wrong-doing of others rather than say “I don’t want to go along with that”? Do we forgive ourselves and others or do we hold onto the slight for a long time? Can we allow the humanness of ourselves & others or do we stand in judgement & dish out the guilt-trip?
These are my musings on the topic & as you can see I raise more questions than provide answers because for each of us, we will have our own beliefs, opinions & experiences to add. I am interested in also hearing your thoughts so please feel free to comment on my website, social media or email me directly.
I have included some resources below and links to my online courses which include the EPV teachers training on self-esteem, my brand new course “Free your Mind – The step by step guide to elevated thinking” & the next phase of Aware courses which will begin next week.
I wish you well & I thank you for reading,
Breath – The new science of a lost art
by James Nestor
Could it be possible that we are not breathing correctly? It seems that we have lost the ability to breathe optimally for our health & well being. In this book, James Nestor takes us on a fascinating journey to explore how to reclaim the practice of breathing. As you read you will find you become very conscious of every inhale & exhale while exploring your pace & depth of this vital resource.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping is a practice based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology in which we tap on meridian points in our body while addressing the emotions we are experiencing. The result is a soothing and calming of the sensations in our body as we work through the sequence. The video attached offers a speedy introduction however you can find further free resources from The Tapping Solution here.
By The Woodgate Family
I love the concept behind this brand & the fact that Cuddle+Kind have already donated 22,850 300 meals to children around the world, truly highlights that one good idea can go such a long way. These dolls not only provide meals to many little mouths that are desperately crying out for nourishment but they also provide an income to peruvian crafters who lovingly produce these beautiful gifts.
The spirit & intention behind this product is an inspiration to those wishing to make a difference in the world.
Read more about Cuddle+Kind here.