Thursday, August 30, 2007

Survival is Everything

I've often wondered why it seemed to be that those who were consciously on a spiritual path (I believe that we all are, but some people are more explicit about it) often felt like the black sheep of their family.


They felt as though they never fitted in and that they were often castigated for their feelings. Normally the most sensitive in the family, or one of the most sensitive, they pick up the implicit, but predominant energetic messages and signatures in any household and often become the emotional containers for all of the emotions that other members of the family will not express or even realise that they have.

The archetypal difference between marriage and partnership


Listening to Caroline Myss's show on Hay House Radio shone a new light on it. One of her shows was about the difference between marriage and partnership. Marriage (and children) is primarily about survival. In fact, until fairly recently (last 150 years) this was very explicit. Marriage was to secure property, enhance economic prospects and security.


Partnership is about witnessing the growth of another individual, their flaws, their struggles and having them witnessing your own and growing together through all of this. This is very idealized.


What does this have to do with being black sheep in the family?


Well, lets use a personal example.


I've always had the belief that my family of origin have my best interests at heart. At times I've unconsciously energetically given my power away to them because I've believed that they knew best and wanted for me what I wanted for myself. I had confused the family model with the partnership model.


But now I realise that it is about survival, it shifts my whole perception. I see that everyone has their own agendas about survival (mostly unconscious to them too) and are operating out of that space and that in fact it has nothing to do with me. And that I, of course, have my own (often unconscious and conscious) survival needs operating too. Once I acknowledge and bring them to the surface (often via energy therapy) then they can be released and I can truly grow and develop as a person. This is next to impossible if you are emotionally or physically always at the survival level. You spend practically all of your time and energy trying to feel safe.

Limitations of the survival mode of operation


Unknowingly operating at the survival level puts real limitations on your personal and spiritual growth. Because when survival is your mode of operation, you become prone to people pleasing, seeking approval, taking on other people's energies and holding back on your own ambitions and desires where you see that they conflict with the tribal setting. At its worst, this internal conflict often manifests as illness.


Personal and spiritual growth involves breaking away from the tribal mindset where it doesn't foster your greater growth. This can often be very difficult, because we often feel as if our surivival is threatened if we are thrown out of the tribe. Allowing ourselves to grow and develop often feels very threatening to the tribe, who will often try to sabotage efforts to move away, physically and emotionally. Because the tribe's main concern is to keep the tribe together. To keep it surviving. And to keep it in its original organizing structure.


On Caroline Myss's online radio show "Sacred Contracts" (The Symbolic Stresses Underlying Lupus edition) she describes how a young woman was about to leave home to join the Peace Corps. On the day that she is due to leave, her mother develops a mystery terminal illness. So the daughter didn't go to the Peace Corps. It kept her at home. Any time the daughter wanted to pursue her own ambitions, the mother used illness (subconsciously?) as a means to keep her daughter within the tribe.


The frustration and rage of this built up in her immune system. Part of the frustration and rage was due to the guilt that she felt, but also the conflict she was experiencing. So the anger remains and she is unable to confront her mother about her pattern of manipulation. With nowhere for these feelings to go they manifest as an illness, as dis-ease. In this case, lupus.

My belief is that highly sensitive people are especially prone to developing chronic illnesses due to emotional dysfunction within a family. Where a person's qualities and skills (esp empathic ones) are not acknowledged and validated and they are forced to "go underground" as it were due to survival fears, the ground is set for future emotional and physical dysfunction.

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