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|The Ecstasy of Surrender by Judith Orloff, MD is our September 2022 book of the month. A bestselling author, speaker, and psychiatrist, she proudly admits that she uses intuition and empathy (in addition to what I will call scientifically recognized skills) in her practice of psychiatry. Judith has also contributed tremendously to the collective spiritual and conventional wisdom around the theme of surrender and the idea of the HSP or Highly Sensitive Person. She says that sensitivity is a superpower, and I agree wholeheartedly! She explains that “surrender is a theme that occurs from the moment you’re born to the moment you die.” She goes on to say that, “If you don’t surrender to this life it’s going to be a very painful, tension-filled experience.” In this and other books the author has written on the topic of surrender, she shares practical advice and techniques on how to surrender our attachment to the intellectual mind or linear thinking. Surrender liberates us from an over-reliance on our logical minds, opening up doors of possibility that we previously thought impossible or extremely difficult. I hope you enjoy this book! I look forward to seeing you on the Zoom call scheduled for September 30, 2022 at 4 pm Pacific. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the book club here ($9.97 recurring monthly subscription): Rainbow Healing Book Club.|
|Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss is our August 2022 book of the month. Among many other titles she has earned over the years, Carolyn Myss (pronounced like MACE), is a renowned teacher and writer in the spiritual space. I must admit that I also relate to her personal story because she, like me, was brought up in a Christian (Catholic) culture. Incidentally she also happens to be from Chicago. Personal reasons aside, in Anatomy of the Spirit, Carolyn takes the reader through a journey of learning/healing via the 7 chakra systems, drawing parallels between monotheistic traditions and spirituality/mysticism that will leave you feeling more connected to the oneness of humanity. Enjoy! I look forward to seeing you on the Zoom call scheduled for August 31, 2022 at 5 pm Pacific. Subscribe to the book club here ($9.97 recurring monthly subscription): Rainbow Healing Book Club.|
|The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is our June 2022 book of the month. It has been my experience that the simplest teachings are the most effective and profound. Not surprisingly it is the simplicity of this wonderful book, based on ancient Toltec wisdom, that makes it a must read for those of us seeking to free ourselves from needless suffering. Ruiz reminds us that we often sabotage our own happiness when we don’t operate by the simple yet high vibrational and very powerful maxims he outlines in this book. I look forward to seeing you in the Zoom meeting in the last week of June 2022. Love and light to you, soul friends.|
|Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, our May 2022 book of the month, is about how we often play an unhealthy role in the relationships with those who are struggling with dependency. Whether our loved ones are dependent on a substance or struggle with another habit, like porn or sex addition, reading this book may help us identify characteristics of codependency in ourselves and begin healing.|
When we take responsibility for the changes we want to see in ourselves by focusing on ourselves, we will begin healing.
Reading Codependent No more helped me tremendously when I felt isolated and broken.
I had just gotten out of a relationship with someone who I now know was a narcissist. Toward the last year of the relationship, I knew he was being dishonest. All the signs were there–he was unfaithful. Yet, I couldn’t leave. He would pick a fight and break up with me–this was his strategy to go wild for a weekend. He would then turn around and lure me back in. If I dared to question his honesty he would gaslight me and be verbally abusive.
Bear in mind this was the early to mid-90s. At that time, not only did I not have the language with which to express what was happening to me, there wasn’t much conventional wisdom around the subject of narcissism. My therapists never identified the behavior my partner was exhibiting as “narcissistic”. In fact, a narcissist diagnosis was pretty rare. Nevertheless, counseling encouraged me to shift the focus back on to myself. No longer letting myself off the hook, I admitted that I was not a completely innocent victim. The truth was that I had played a major role in that unhealthy relationship dynamic. I realized I had many codependent characteristics. I held myself responsible for the change that I wanted to see in my life. Instead of moping around feeling stuck, telling myself I was unlucky in love, I embarked upon a healing journey.
Taking Small Steps
Little by little I began giving myself grace and being gentle with myself. This allowed me to start forgiving myself. I started the healing process. Truth be told there were just as many days that I was reverting back to being brutally hard on myself. Along the journey there were many times I wasn’t giving myself that grace I needed so desperately. In hindsight I realize I was angry at myself for not having kept promises to myself. My self-esteem had suffered every time I swore I would leave but stayed in that abusive relationship.
Eventually I began rewriting my narrative. I learned to lead with my strength that emanated from my heart. I restored my sense of self, as I felt I had lost myself in that relationship. By identifying what I was doing wrong, I would learn to create healthy boundaries for myself. I would also learn to stop repeating the cycle of attracting that same type of abusive person into my life.
How I Contributed to the Relationship Dynamic
Asking myself how I had contributed to that unhealthy dynamic was paramount to my healing journey. I had been obsessing over my partner. I had been ruminating. Often I obsessed over what my partner was doing and thinking. This unhealthy pattern mostly occurred when we were away from one another. I made regular attempts and threats that I would leave. Paradoxically I was constantly afraid of losing this person. I also regularly accused my partner of being unfaithful. And though all the signs of infidelity were there, I felt incapable of leaving.
The Other Side of Narcissistic Abuse: Words versus Action
There were good times too, of course, but as is the case in many unhealthy relationships, the highs were very high, but during the lows we sunk into the depths of despair. I couldn’t believe that the person I loved most in the world could be so wonderful and yet so abusive. I wondered how this dream of a relationship — which is it what it felt like during the “honeymoon or infatuation“ stage — had turned into an absolute nightmare. I was completely heartbroken. I also witnessed my partner suffering. He cycled through being abusive (gaslighting and overpowering me by yelling and accusing me of being crazy) and feeling guilty and ashamed for his behavior. Many people might think that someone who exhibits narcissistic traits may never feel guilty. I can tell you this is not true. There’s degrees of narcissism. When my partner witnessed how the pain had affected me, how my self-esteem took a plunge, how it had ripped away most of the joy that I used to have, (and I was full of joy when he first met me, something he loved about me) he cried and exhibited genuine remorse. Sadly, those displays of emotion, though real, were never backed with action or change.
You Are Not Alone
I tell you my story so that you know you are not alone, dear ones. Though I love this book and recommend it highly, I believe that labeling ourselves as codependent is not as important to the healing journey as identifying and admitting that we exhibit the behavior or characteristics of codependency. And just as I offer myself the grace to heal it is important to me that I extend that same grace to my former partner and work on forgiveness. As well, through this sometimes painful, sometimes exhilarating healing experience, I have learned the importance of community. We are interconnected. It is this understanding and appreciation of our interconnectedness that inspired me to start the Rainbow Tarot Book Club. I know that without connection to people who have been through similar experiences and have similar stories, a shared experience to bring us into community, the healing journey can be isolating and all the more difficult. The journey of self discovery and healing doesn’t have to be lonely and scary. I hope to see you in the virtual meeting via Zoom in the last week of May, 2022. Let’s continue this healing journey together. Be well. Namaste.