This post is part of a series of posts that was initiated by Barbara of Me My Magnificent Self. In this challenge each blogger writes of their own experience and then highlights the blogger that will be posting the next in the series. For all the original detail please see the January Challenge on Barabra’s own blog and for the next in this series please go to Crowing Crone Woman of Wisdom. For a full schedule of contributors scroll down to the bottom of this post.
Catching the Light
The radio was on, the latest tune was coming to a close and the adverts kicked in. Cheaper insurance, an upcoming gig, another sale just started and then my ears pricked up, it was as if the voice was speaking to me:
“Why are you always so messy?”
“Can’t you just tie your shoes for once in your life?”
“Why do you have to be so stupid?”
“After all that I’ve done for you!”
There was a short pause between each, to let the words take effect and finally a second voice asked the listener how they felt after hearing the words. A wry smile spread across my face as the words resonated in my head. The next record came on, though I barely heard it, lost in my own thoughts. I was now over 40 and much enlightened by all the tough work that had been put in over the past five years or so. Years in which every counsellor I met shed tears as the story was told.
In 1981 my father died. I was devastated but was told I had to get on with my school work, my future would depend upon my exam results. The trouble was I had told a huge lie to the judge and then promised myself that I would make things up with my father as soon as I was old enough to legally travel by myself. With my father dying tragically young, I was unable to make amends and unable to grieve. There was no one I could talk to, if it got back home it would almost certainly earn more reprimands and reminders of why I was a worthless, ungrateful child. So buried it remained for a long, long time.
I was close to 40 and yet another relationship had ended. I ended it, it felt terrible but I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. I also knew that unless I did something I was never going to have a long-lasting relationship, but quite why I knew not. This is not what I wanted.
True, there were signs before this, like when I was at university and drove down to a landmark bridge, got out the car and let the tears flow. In a foreign capital I periodically got such excess pains in the abdominal region that I was unable to walk, had to wait for a short while before being able to take a further step. I saw doctors and was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), on the basis that they couldn’t pin it on anything else.
In some ways it doesn’t matter, what matters is that I wanted to change, wanted to address whatever it was that was holding me back. I felt it was linked to my father’s death but could not provide a link. I sought counselling, simply dipped into the yellow pages as it wasn’t something I wanted to talk about with people I knew. And so my story was told and retold to a stranger. I looked back at things I preferred to keep buried, shed many a tear and found myself exhausted. It was not easy to do, but then I wanted to live and live well so I had to do it. That I think was the awakening, knowing I had to look back in order to go forward. In this case it was triggered by yet another failed relationship.
In all of this, there was one exercise that I found particularly difficult, I physically could not utter the words. My throat would dry up, my mouth would freeze and tears would well in the eyes. I simply could not state three very simple words:
“I am loveable”
The first time I did get them out of my mouth I was shaking, lips trembled and breaths were taken between each word. After they had all left my mouth I slumped back into the chair with exhaustion. I could not get my head around it, that someone could really love this wretched boy.
I needed to talk, but to who? The one person who has been there for me was my twin sister, but she had a young family and had recently been diagnosed with cancer. I had no choice, she was the only one. After almost 30 years we spoke about what happened, spoke of those things that we never spoke of before when we were caught frozen, unable to talk, living in fear. It was time to take off the mask that I had been living behind.
We talked of the great holiday we had in the Outer Hebrides when Dad hitched up the caravan to the car and off we went on a great adventure.
We loved the outdoors and on the way back climbed Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. It then came to that fateful lie. As the bitter divorce proceeded, a judge individually asked us three children whether we wanted to live with our mother or father. This is an impossible question for a child to answer, to say one is to reject the other. In any case, I just wanted the family to be back together as a normal family unit, all living under the one roof, including the family dog.
If it was just me, I would have chosen my Dad, but critically I did not want to be alone. I felt my two sisters would both say Mum, so I lied in order not to be alone. The reality is we were each alone as we were too frightened to talk, it was the big elephant in the room. So my twin and I traced where my Dad was buried, I booked my flights and we met again in the month of January in the Highlands of Scotland. We found the unmarked grave, helpfully marked by a bright orange traffic cone courtesy of the cemetery workers. Twelve months later we returned to see the grave marked by a beautiful, simple granite headstone.
The Second Awakening
Incredibly, I got married in a small ceremony in May 2010, on the banks of a bonnie loch not far from where my father is buried. It was, however, the passing of my dear twin sister that sparked the second awakening. In such extreme circumstances true colours are often shown and I learnt a lot. My twin and I talked much, we wished we could turn the clock back, but at least we could talk and still be there for each other. Whatever happened I was not going to have any regrets this time round. I learnt a lot, about myself and about others; that I had carried around so much guilt all my life when it wasn’t mine to lug around
To help myself further, I went to a place called Dzgochen Beara in West Cork to attend a couple of courses. While the centre does include Buddhist teachings, the courses were not of a religious nature but designed to help people addressing loss and looking at relationships. At the heart of this was ‘loving kindness’ and looking after oneself. This was the antithesis to what I knew, the one who was always told that he was ungrateful and selfish so always put himself at the bottom of the list just to try and do right. I now see that putting oneself first makes complete sense, how can you look after others if you are not fit and well yourself?
At last I am becoming myself, freed from the chains that have held me down for so long, freed from the beliefs and guilt that were simply erroneous thoughts. Of course we’d all like to be woken up sooner, but I think the important thing is grasping the opportunity at whatever time in life it comes. You cannot force somebody into awakening, ultimately it has to be their decision.
- I have not been able to find the words of the radio campaign held here in Ireland that so resonated with me – if you recognise what I am talking of and can provide a link or the actual words that would be brilliant.
- Needless to say I have had to omit many details from the above, but I hope the essence is sufficiently held together
Schedule of posts in the Awakening Series
1st Barbara – http://memymagnificentself.wordpress.com
2nd Paddy – http://paddypicasso.wordpress.com
3rd Emanuel- http://emantable.com/musings-of-a-table/
6th Julianne – http://juliannevictoria.com
7th Sarah – http://rayoflight7777.wordpress.com
8th Shree – http://heartsongsblog.wordpress.com
9th Dace – http://mywaytotruth.wordpress.com
10th Korinn – http://www.korinn.com
11th Sindy – http://bluebutterfliesandme.wordpress.com
12th Stefenie – http://dancingwithstefanie.com
13th Mick – https://meticulousmick.wordpress.com
14th Joss – http://ccwow.wordpress.com
15th Megan – http://mychroniclifejourney.wordpress.com
16th Pat – http://patinspire.org
17th Marga – http://lifeasimprov.com
18th Kimberley – http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com
19th Becki – http://isurvivedamurderattackmyfamilydidnt.com
20th Serena – http://beingmefromatoz.com
21st Heather – http://wildflowerwomen.wordpress.com
22nd PurpleRay – http://purplerays.wordpress.com
23rd Sue – http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com
24th M… – http://seeingm.wordpress.com
25th Brian G – http://middlepane.com
26th Dotta – http://dottaraphels.wordpress.com
27th CW – http://sunflowerrosecw.wordpress.com
28th Laurie – http://lauriesnotes.wordpress.com
29th Debra – http://ptero9.com
30th Linda – http://lindalitebeing.wordpress.com
31th Michael – http://navigator1965.wordpress.com
44 thoughts on “Challenge January 2014… My Awakening Experience …”
How on earth did I miss this one? You must feel as if a huge weight has been lifted – sometimes we don’t even realise just how heavy it is until it is released. Thank you for sharing, John. You are indeed an amazing, wonderful human being!
It’s too easy to dismiss it as nothing and just keep the shoulder to the grindstone but then when you look back and study closely you can see just what a big thing it is. You don’t want to make anything of it, as all you want to do is get on with life, but there can come a time when you have no other choice. Thank you Dale, John 💚
“At last I am becoming myself, freed from the chains that have held me down for so long, freed from the beliefs and guilt that were simply erroneous thoughts.” I often think that we spend the shortest period of our life in childhood, and the rest of our life dealing with what happened there. Kudos to you for deciding, for choosing, to awaken and doing the hard, hard work and for reaching out to your twin sister and working together on things. What a long painful journey and here you are! We are truly amazing, miraculous human beings.
Agreed with you there Joss, 🍀
Very moving story, Mick… Thank you for sharing memories and thoughts.
I almost started crying…
It is just a story that happens to be true. Thank you for commenting, hugs MM 💚
Hugs back at you.
MM. This must have been so hard to write about, not to mention think about. You are very brave to share this. The picture of you as an adorable little boy, who is so far from ‘wretched’ that it is almost hard to read that word, says it all – a gorgeous little chap who had no control over circumstances. You didn’t have any choice really and I reckon that your dad would be very proud of you.
Thank you Wild Sherkin, I had to think twice about writing the piece and posting it here. It is what it is mind and may be it could also help others as well. I know my Dad is proud of me now, just took a lot of work. MM 🍀
Such a beautiful and touching story Mick, and so wonderfully written! I’m very sure most people can relate to your story in one way or another… and also feel the awakening in the sense that life happens, to all of us… and we need to walk our path, go through easier and tougher phases to solve things and reach a new understanding, and hopefully greater peace. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve gone through such rough things in life, but I am really happy about your awakening and that you feel good now. I think it is so lovely of you to share your story.
Elina, you are a gracious and kind woman. If it helps others, make them strive forward and simply look into themselves then it is worth it. We all have our own experiences and as you say,”most people can relate to your story…..” No matter how tough things are I am so aware there are plenty of others who have much tougher pains to bear. Thank you for your appreciation and taking time not only to read the post but to put together a thoughtful response. Now let’s get on out there and live, MM 💚
Thank you MM! And yes, let’s get out there and live. 🙂 x
Beautifully written, MM.
Coming from a background of similar childhood criticism, I can relate and appreciate where you’re coming from.
Well done and thanks for sharing your story and feelings on this difficult journey.
Thank you Vicki, sorry to hear you can relate but completely understand having swapped many comments to date. The fact that one of the parents was seen to be a pillar of society made it harder for me, as all these thoughts I was having just showed that it must be me that is wrong / bad etc. Time has shown that I was right all along. MM
This is a great post! I love the way you made it clear that there can be more than one awakening.
I think we can all continually awaken, in this case it was rather a thud of awakening mind….
Words are close to failing me here. No child should ever have to choose between parents. It is a craven act on the part of courts and society that they permit this.
This was done to my children too.
It is insane and I am glad they handle things differently these days. What is the kid to say? There is no right answer.
Exactly, and their souls rot from guilt and shame as a result.
If you’re ever looking for a relevant read, fire me an email at email@example.com. No strings, no worries if you’re not interested. I’ve been getting very encouraging feedback from test readers, and I think the book would resonate with you to some degree/
Your story is one that reaches the heart… I can so resonate with the unloved feeling of self.. And the Mask one wears until something occurs that that rips it apart to expose the raw emotion which has so long been held within.. So many go through similar experiences as we wake up to our real selves.. No two stories are the same, We each of us do battle with self. and our awakening is unique to us all.. Awakening isn’t all about a spiritual experience. Its about learning and growing, loving and being.. Awakening is Discovering who we are..
So loved being part of Barbara’s Awakening January Experience..
Blessings and pleased to meet you
I agree so fully that no two stories are the same, even within my own family, the three children affected by all of us have different experiences. Religion my experience has felt so wrong and hypocritical that for me awakening has nothing to do with that but with, as you say, finding out who we truly are. I am glad you loved being part of Barbara;s Awakening experience.
Beautiful sharing, and yes you are loveable!
Thank you Wildflower Women, I am glad you appreciated the writing. MM 🍀
A poignant, uplifting post, MM, thanks for sharing. Will explore this series. 🙂
Thank you Lee-Anne, if it helps others that is great. Simple.
Moving and inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story! That takes courage to do whatnyou did and to let go of the past. I agree with you about awakening. Not only takes time, but it has to be ones own choice. However, when it happens, it all makes sense. I belive life is a wonderful journey, whether or not doesn’t seem like it at times. By the way, because it is a never ending road or at least a long one, to reach constant awaraness I always have a book to remind me. I just started “the untethered soul” by Michael Singer. Great Book! Many Blessings!
Thank you Patricia, will look into the book. Was advised to read ‘Racing in the Rain’ but somehow it didn’t really do much for me. Have read plenty of other stuff such as ‘Toxic Parents’, ‘Feel the Fear….”
Great read, Mick. So touching.
Thank you Sreejith, stripped to the bone.
Thanks for sharing, Mick!
Wow I’ve never seen a series like this. It’s wonderful to get to know you a bit more. Thank you for “flying” here with us MM. 🙂
If you want a crack at it yourself I think Barbara has a couple of vacancies for the start of February – feel free to get in touch with her. Thank you four your kind words. MM 🍀
Mick – it’s never easy to deal with the painful scars of our childhood. I am glad you went “back there” in different ways to begin to resolve what held you back (talking with your sister, seeing a therapist). Writing is a powerful medium to dig even deeper and let things “fly”. Blessings and courage to you …. with the promise of greater freedom!
Thank you so much Beauty, writing has certainly been therapeutic and something my counsellor considers me to be skilled in. MM 🍀
Bare to the bones. How brave you are. It is tender, wonderful.
May your soul now be cleansed of the past hurts.
Your mates here on WP love you just as you are~
Thank you Gator, it was not easy to do but if it helps why not.
Sometimes, just writing it out or saying it, gives it release and sends it on its way!
I wish you peace and joy.
I love it too… and thank you so much for sharing your most inner and vulnerable self… What journey’s we take ourself on, to experience life in the fullest sense, trusting ourself to wake up at the appropriate time to remember that it is all about loving ourself… and living in freedom… now… Your true life story is an inspiration… Thank you Mick… Barbara p.s. I really wonder who wrote and sung that song… so familiar…
If it helps someone else, that is good. Simple really.
Very moving Mick. Not sure if John Simpson means anything in Ireland (BBC Foreign Correspondent) but his book “Days from a Different World – A memoir of childhood” tells a similar story – a young boy faced with an impossible choice between parents. I recommend it.
Thanks Robin, was completely unaware of that, but am familiar with John Simpson as the FC. Of course all of this was in the days when divorce was rare.
MIcki I love this! Mick
I’m glad you like it, there is a whole month series of them. Barbara asked me to participate and I agreed. MM 🍀
I love them Mick talented man you are😄😄