Category Archives: Inner Journeys

No Need to Run and Hide

What would it feel like to be free of all of the masks you wear?

What would it feel like to be real and raw and honest and bring your whole self to the table, every time, with everyone, because you are worth it, goddam it?

What would it feel like to listen to the nagging voices of shoulds, shouldn’t haves and give them a strong dose of love and compassion instead of internally running from the voices, or worse, believing them.

What would it feel like to invite all of yourself, at all times, to show up for your experience of life. To give yourself permission to sometimes be a mess, to sometimes be sad, to sometimes be massively angry, to sometimes be jealous and not even know why, and to sometimes really feel like throwing in the towel.

I have felt all of this, just in the last week. And just yesterday was crying and wishing I didn’t have to get up again in the morning, because – big emotional challenges are being thrown at me. Perhaps I asked for them.

Perhaps I invited them into my innermost house so that they could blast through like a gust of cleansing wind that sweeps away all the cobwebs of my wounded self.

What if we could bring Radical Self Compassion to every experience of our lives, from the small pains of missing a bus, or being late for a deadline, to the bigger pains of relationship struggles or breakups, and difficulties in being fully intimate and opening to love?

What if, to all of those things we could apply the healing balm of massive amounts of self compassion, knowing that if we are able to apply this salve, lavishly, then this is more than half of the healing. The other half is allowing the hurt, allowing the expression of our voice, allowing and inviting uncomfortable silences, choosing to not answer the message that feels off, and choosing always to stand in the middle of our own being, sovereign in our own ship.

Let me share with you a little of my own process with all of this of the over the past week, in the hope that it helps you to see how you can apply the salve of Radical Self Compassion to yourself, thus allowing the opening up of more space in your life and in your relationships – sewing the seeds of alchemy and magic.

In To Me See

I am in my mid forties, and have been wishing for a relationship for quite some time now. It’s hard for me even to be vulnerable enough to just state that – hmmm – why would there be any shame for wanting a loving relationship? – and then the voice of Wise me comes to my side and whispers: It’s OK my darling, whether you are single, double or triple, you are goddamned amazing powerful Goddess of Love and I adore you. You rock my world, baby girl. And of course, you want a relationship. You are a lover, you love to love and be loved.

Ah, breath out.

Wise me (higher self) chimes in: And, you are self aware my love, you know you want to love, you want relationship, you are just selective. You want to be taken to the higher planes. You are waiting for the right pilot…

And then – bang, it happens, I connect with a guy in a way that is more intense and more beautiful than anything I have felt for quite some years.

Breath in – breath out – gratitude!

Thank you, universe.

Everything is rosy. We are out in his boat – floating out to sea in a tropical island paradise. The sun is setting pink and blue and hazy monk orange on the horizon. There is a soundtrack.

‘No need to run, and hide, it’s a wonderful, wonderful life….

I feel like I am in a movie as he holds me tight and kisses me.

Radical Self Love kicks in and says: YES! Fucking YES, thank you God, finally!

Day pass and the bliss bubble continues, with more boating adventures, and sexy evenings. More sunsets, and more songs….

We can’t communicate that well because he is Russian and doesn’t really speak much English. We use Google translate.

He speaks into his phone the night after we get together.

Out comes a robotic woman’s voice in a southern American accent: Well, the language barrier didn’t stop us from having sex!

He is quietly laughing his head off in the corner.

Then one morning I must go for a VISA run. I drop him off on the way to the boat, and he looks at me and says: ‘I love you.’

Breath out. Inner child shows up: YES, finally. He loves you…! She dances.

Adult self though is a little worried.

Why?

Well, what happened with all the other loves, where are they now?

Says Ms Jaded and Over it: Romance is all a crazy dream and will only leave you smashed on the pavement with your head barely still connected to your body, like you have been run over by a truck.

Radical Self Compassion says: Yes, but, but, but… Give it time. This might be different.

Breath out.

I go to the next island with another man. He is Spanish, from Andalucia – or Andaluuuu-th-ia, as he says, from Sevilla or Thheevilla; capital of Flamenco.

{Interlude: Long long ago there was a powerful and influential Spanish king with a speech impediment. Everyone admired him so much that they began to speak like him, and what were before clear and crisp ‘d’s’ and ‘c’s’ became thhhhh. Instead of Madrid, Madrileños started to call their city Madrithhhhhhh. And in place of Barcelona, the Catalan capital became Barthhhhhelona. And to this day half of the country still speaks with a lisp.}

I am my usual bubbling self and I am too open and too sharing and I give him the impression that there is a chance with me. This is one of my patterns: the temptress / seductress testing out my talents to see if I have ‘still got it’.

Fuck!

What am I doing? I don’t want this guy.

Breath out.

Radical Self Compassion: Even as this pattern is activated, and you are watching it, and you can’t get yourself out from under it no matter how hard you try, apply the balm of Self Compassion. It’s OK, your system is stuck in the temptress / people pleaser loop again. You have played this role so many times you don’t know another. This will need some serious Self-Love to iterate it enough times so that in can be de-fused with out setting off any fires.

And then on the way back your Russian love messages you.

‘I will wait for you at the port. See you soon!’

And suddenly your throat aches, your belly tightens, and you brush him away. You don’t want the Spaniard and the Russian to meet. Enough already. You don’t want these issues / problems.

You text him. ‘I will get a ride with the Spanish guy. After all he has his bike here, and it’s on the way for him.’

The Russian calls. You feel bad. You don’t answer.

He messages back: ‘OK.’

You say you will be back at 7:30pm but then you go to dinner with the Spaniard without telling your lover of the new plan. You figure it’s no big deal.

And I need a friend, oh, I need a friend

To make me happy…

Not stand here on my own’

You have no idea you have just set off a time bomb.

You discover this later.

You go for dinner with the Spanish guy, and even while at dinner, you are asking yourself what are you doing. You don’t really want to be here with him now. Your Visa run mission is complete. Why string it out? Something feels icky in the back of your heart. Icky mixed with a metallic sense of coldness and tightness.

You go back to the meditation centre and you don’t see him, you don’t think anything and you go to bed.

The next morning the bomb goes off. He is bleary eyed, like he has been up all night.

He tells you ‘I em up all night. I slip maybe 2 how-er.’

Something has changed, you feel there is a wave about to hit you. But it is only just gathering momentum, it has picked you up and is starting to carry you out to sea.

Over the course of this day the wave takes you higher, and you are starting to feel very queasy.

By the evening he delivers the news.

Something has changed: ‘I don’t feel the same any more.

Smash. There you are, dumped and now in the washing machine of a tsunami that has just broken. You start to get tumbled around and your head aches. Your heart aches. You can’t breathe. You must somehow break through the water and come up for air before you are smashed on the rocks at the far away shore.

You look at his face, which is so sad. The same face that beamed at you just yesterday full of love and joy.

Radical Self Rescue: You activate Radical Self Rescue program, and usher in the angels of Divine Love and Divine Compassion. You understand that the button you hit when you sent the message from the boat activated this wave.

But you see also that the reaction is over the top. It’s not like you slept with the Spanish guy, after all.

Your heart aches like a knife has been thrust straight in when you see the radical change in his demeanor.

Over the next few days he becomes a different person.

There are no more morning greetings of ‘Beauty’ or ‘Goddess’. There are no more hugs when no one is watching. He can’t even look at you now and you suddenly feel invisible. It’s like you have disappeared from his field of vision.

Now you need to go and find that two litre bottle of Radical Self Compassion and use it as essence to make a bath. You need to boil some water, add in the essence, and have a long, long soak, until the new, cold, lonely feeling is warmed somewhat.

You have to do anything you can to not sink into the quicksand of despair.

But you can at the same time step back, and see: pattern activation is happening for you both.

In To Him See

You look at him and you see the pain and the hurt, but he cannot fully show you. He turns away.

Your heart aches.

Still you look at him and you try and understand the depth of his sorrow and betrayal.

You see that it’s his pride you have wounded.

You understand that love is a living being – a living, growing entity that was developing between you like bread slowly rising (the Russian is a bread maker, amongst other things). It’s a living being that both people must feed for it to grow.

You see that the bread has not only stopped rising, it’s sunken in on itself. It’s now just a lump of dough.

You apply the balm of: Oh fuck this is too sad but, what to do?

Wise Self whispers: I love you anyway my Sweetpea. I love him too. I see his hurt but perhaps not fully yet.

He is now avoiding me. Like a magnet whose poles have suddenly switched – attraction has turned to repellant. My pattern in intimacy is anxious attachment (afraid to love and be loved) and his is avoidant attachment (afraid to love and be loved).

You realise though that this is his choice (even if it’s an unconscious choice). His pain body has been activated by a what he sees as rejection of his love, and his wounded self has come to the fore.

But, what he does with this is then his (conscious or unconscious) choice. He can share this pain with you, so you can understand, and this could then help in healing the wound, share your feelings, and deepen the connection. But that would mean letting in love, being vulnerable and being open to whatever feelings arise.

Or he could do as he has done, and turn away from you, and withdraw his love, because – that first option is too scary. The stakes for getting hurt are too high.

You Take Refuge

You are at a meditation retreat (*as a helper / assistant, not a participant*). There is a divine being, born and walking the Earth more than 2500 years ago that can help you.

You decide to join the meditators in the 4am sit. The stars are bright in the night sky. The animals are all quiet at this pre-dawn hour.

You whisper under your breath (it’s all the strength you can muster) I Take Refuge in the Buddha. I take Refuge in the Dhamma. I take Refuge in the Sangha. I Take Refuge in the Buddha, I take Refuge in the Dhamma, I take Refuge in the Sangha. I take Refuge in the …….Ahhhhhhhhhhh fuck!

You ask yourself what would the Buddha say about all of this Dukkha – all of this suffering, that has been born in the past day. The Dukkha was born of the Sukkha – the delight and pleasure of new love and connection.

And you remember that line you read in one of the many Dhamma texts you have consumed greedily while grasping at the precipice of similar knife edge situations.

All romantic love leads to suffering. The nature of romantic love is Dukkha: Suffering.

You remember reading this.

Can it really be true?

Does this mean that I should give up. That from romance will never be born healthy love?

Is it because I am trying to get something (affection, touch, sex, adoration, orgasms) rather than just be in the experience and enjoy it while it is there, and let go of it when it is gone?

Buddhism says Desire = Craving = Suffering

Desire for love and romance (essentially – connection – seeing and being seen) is one of the strongest desires we have.

But because the desire is so strong, the fear is also incredibly strong – of losing that very thing we so desire (anxious / avoidant pattern of attachment).

I desire love and connection, and I get love and connection. This is Sukkha. Pleasure. Happiness.

Something happens. Fear enters into the field of relating. And I lose the love and connection. In rushes Dukkha, pain and suffering at losing what I had.

I see the reality of Anicca. Impermanence of all phenomena.

And I see that the person of the Russian guy, my lover, seems to have changed completely. The playful, sweet, happy, funny guy has gone, and a mean, game-playing, manipulative and avoidant person has replaced him. He is afraid of getting too close and getting hurt.

I see Anatta. Not-self. No permanent self, but instead and ever changing set of circumstances arising and passing away within one person.

I apply the healing balm of Buddha Dhamma.

Something arose between us which was fleeting. I did some things and he did some things, fear entered the bubble of love and that fleeting feeling burst; scattered like a dust behind the wheels of a passing car.

It was a beautiful moment.

No need to run, and hide.

Where is the real love?

Why so much fear? Generally, this fear is born in childhood – in our relationships with parents or caregivers. We either learnt that love was safe, and it was safe to open to intimacy and let love in or we learnt that love was dangerous, and allowing very close connection with another was liable to get us hurt in some way.

I apply the Radical Self Compassion Salve of: I have not done anything wrong. I behaved according to my conditioning. I could not have done anything different. I, along with him, and all of us, are doing our best at every moment.

I am sad because I thought that by this stage in life, I had transcended this conditioning, this push pull pattern in love relationships. But, no. I apply the salve again of Radical Self Acceptance of where I am in this path. I see everything in this dynamic very clearly. That is good. That is progress.

He has also behaved according to his conditioning, and has allowed his wounded self to come out and take over the steering wheel of his emotional life. He is not able or willing to see his wounds and feel / heal them in relationship instead of using them to destroy connection and intimacy.

Un-Ravelling of Wounded Self Relating Patterns

I take a deep breath.

I see my part in this drama.

I take off my temptress mask.

I step out of my seductress boots.

I surrender.

I see my anxious attachment pattern is still there.

I create some clear boundaries.

I will show up no matter how messy and how ugly it gets.

I will speak my truth.

I will choose what is best for me.

I will rise above my patterns.

The door to my own heart will remain open while my Radical Self Love will protect me from being a victim of the wounded self of my lover.

I will not be manipulated and controlled by his pain, but I will call it out.

I will stay open.

I will see where there is a possibility for new connection and understanding, and where there is not.

The bread will rise, and I will continue to love.

Just, maybe, I will experience the love that I am with someone else.

And if he chooses, he can take his wounded self and connect with another wounded self and play out the same drama again.

Maybe it will be different next time, maybe not.

We never know how many iterations we need to wash our wounded-self-relating-patterns clean.

We never know how long it will take to be brave enough to show up in intimate relationship in full vulnerability and say: this is me: take me or leave me; I am not afraid.

We never know when the day will come when we stop running and stop hiding, because finally, we realise we are running from our own shadow, and to learn to love fully and connect authentically we need to stop running and stay open hearted.

One day a bright pink sunrise beckons.

The boat is ready.

The bread rises.

We pack the bread (and maybe some butter and cheese?) and go on an adventure.

And we are free.

It’s a wonderful, wonderful life.

10 Days of Silence: Vipassana at Suan Mokkh, Thailand

I recently finished my fourth Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat at the beautiful Suan Mokkh International Dhamma Hermitage in Thailand. For anyone who is interested in doing this, I wanted to share some of my insights and experiences from this retreat. The first time I did a Vipassana Retreat was back in January 2005, just after… Continue Reading

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