Honesty and Self-intimacy

Oh those darned ugly parts of mine!

I’m starting with a tough one!  As time goes on in my life I feel a sense of knowing about myself. I have had the opportunity to look down deep and see those parts that I desperately attempt to hide and push down. What I can say about the process is that I didn’t go there willingly. I do not know of anyone that has gone to this well from a good place. I am referring to the opportunities I have to look at my behaviors. But, in order to learn to live in my skin I must take the time to examine why and how I tick. Why do I make the choices I make, where does it come from and what are the results. I must look at all of the parts that make up me because I am the only one responsible for myself.

Using this as a guide I can think about the many times I ended up on the wrong side of the choice point. Meaning I made a choice, a decision and it didn’t turn out so well. I hoped I would be better equipped the next time to discover why I made the choice in the first place. That’s easier said than done. I have had many opportunities to make good, sound choices and still make the wrong turn. Why does this happen? For me it’s the inability to be completely honest with myself. I learned this in AA several years ago. I have taught the classes and read the book yet struggle to change my behavior.

In order to get to the other side, and a better place, I must be entirely honest in all my relationships and that includes being honest with myself. I spend lots of time thinking of what is in it for me. I must own my selfishness, my desire to dominate others and really look deeper. What I really want is joy, peace and to be seen. That is all I think anyone wants but instead of moving in that direction and building relationships that support that, I find myself continuing to choose between a  jacket of self-importance, or the role of victim:  both defenses, masks and barriers to honesty and connection.

Learning to know oneself and accept oneself at a deep level, including the ugly parts, will help us navigate the hard and dark corners of life and bring in light.  As I write this down I can sense a feeling of withholding inside of me…a resistance to looking.  I can see myself letting others in just so much, and of course this includes what I allow myself to see of myself.  So, if this sounds familiar, ask yourself what I’m asking myself now:

What am I resisting?  Why am I resisting?  What is so scary in myself that I can’t simply look at it?  What am I holding on to and keeping to myself that if brought into the open would benefit the greater picture of my life?  What could I possibly lose if I took a chance? Take the opportunity to know who you are, all of you, to share it with others.  Know that this is the only path to loving yourself and loving others and take courage in knowing that you’re not alone on this journey.

Learning Through Family Constellations

If you are on the fence regarding the upcoming Family Constellations Weekend Workshop offered here in Berkley on November 9 please call me. I’d love to share my experience and my belief in this model and I trust and know that the people in the room will make this a safe, empowering experience that will change the way you see yourself and your path.

Family Constellations has a certain astrologic sound to it, and when I first heard of this model I was turned off because I dismissed it as being about the “hokey pokey” alignment of the stars, moon etc. What I learned from my own interpretation of just the title has been that I shut down, turn off and otherwise justify my attempt to avoid looking deeper. So I sat on the fence for several years before attending my first day long Family Constellations workshop earlier this year, but I made the leap and can say, without hesitation, that this interactive and therapeutic model has brought me a perspective and understanding that is unparalleled.

Family Constellation work has brought me face to face with my desire to look deeper from a very loving, strong, supported and empowering place. It has brought me awareness of the impacts of the women and men who came before me, laid the groundwork for me and allowed me to become the strong man I am today.  I hope to see you on November 9th!

 

Pray Where You Are

Last week I was at a retreat community where many people come to be bathed in hot springs. I have come to this place for many years and find it close to magical.  Its a place to go deep within and discover yourself.   I find myself stuck in that place for weeks after I leave and return to the “default world”. The default world is what the residents of Black Rock City, NV call the place beyond the desert. This is the place most of us live everyday.  After returning from the hot springs and my deep internal journey, I am always struck by the state of fear and joylessness that permeate our society. After this most recent visit I found myself wondering what we’re trying to protect ourselves from and realized what we truly fear is the big bad wolf who lives in the forest of our own soul.  We are afraid of our own selves.

 

This revelation startled me.  I found myself wanting to go back and never return to the default world.  So I sat down and prayed.  Right where I was.   I prayed for the same understanding, acceptance and peace I feel at the hot springs.   I understood that I, like many, had been conditioned by the disapproval of others and had internalized this.  I had learned to withhold, to avoid intimacy and had ultimately lived a life that was stress ridden and unfulfilling.  What I realized was that I had a responsibility to myself and to those who came before me to step into my power and be authentic every day.

 

Find comfort in prayer; do not wait for the right moment. I have spent too much time attempting to “get it right”:  go to the right church, joining the right group, going to the right school, marry the right person, and raising good children.  And what’s funny (or maybe not) is that there is no right, and there is no wrong.  There simply is.  By looking deep inside, we can understand the bigger picture of our path, learn from those who came before us and gain the courage to return to the default world and live genuinely. So pray where you are.  And let the answers come to you.

“Claude, you are the real deal you’re patient, kind, and have a no B.S. approach to transformation. You have shown me that it is possible to be fully myself without losing those I love. Thank you for this gift”

Jim Donovan, Musician