I’ve started reading Panache Desai’s Discovering Your Soul Signature, which is a 33-day, thrice daily date you make with yourself. In the morning, noon and evening, you read his short essays / meditations to help you see things differently and become more open to the concept of uncovering your yucky, dark, pitchy self so you can let yourself shine.
After all my couch time with my four therapists, I thought I had this stuff down. I thought, “kindergarten-level” of the idea, but I loved that the book comes with its own ribbon to help set your place in it. I have also taken to writing in it along the margins and anywhere there’s an open space. Kindergartners doodle, so can I…
Day four, I believe, is dedicated to “Anger” and what we are supposed to do with it: feel it, notice it, acknowledge it and let it filter through us, hopefully by staving off an eruption. I would say that I’ve over the years gone from a 0% success rate with that endeavor to about 60% success lately. In those 40% moments when I do lose my cool, I lose it less intensely and for less time AND I catch myself sooner. So in the aggregate, I’d say my overall improvement is about 70%. This improvement has little to do with the book because I just started it. That’s why I snubbed the concept of the book being of any use to me.
The third essay on anger clearly caught my subsoncsious. I can’t remember what it said exactly, because I read it a week ago, but I do recall it suggesting that I think about what makes me angry and how I deal with it as I drift off to sleep. Seems counterintuitive, that thinking about crap that ticks you off is a sure-fire way to make you stay up all night, but this book’s approach was different: it didn’t impel the mental recovery of events, but rather, the sensation without judgement or rushing or shame for feeling any of it. This was a lot like the EMDR therapy I’d most recently experienced. Feel the feelings until they’re felt.
I woke that evening / morning (whatever, it’s agitating to me to say it’s “morning” when it’s dark out and we should be sleeping) with a thought of “why am i so mad?” and the word “breadcrumbs” startled me, then the concept of fairy tales and I began to write:
Of course I thought my handwriting at the time was fantastically legible. I was all, “This is gonna be sooooo easy to read in the morning … it’s gonna be brilliant and make sooooo much sense … I love you man …”
It was dark, I didn’t have my glasses on, my face was practically on the notebook and I was half asleep. I think I drooled too.
“Breadcrumbs — do you really want to return to the place you were? It’s subconscious. Stop using breadcrumbs. Come out @ end — stronger — different. Maybe your person was never the person you thought they were; did you project that quality on to them? Did you “make” them special in your head — ‘Oh grandma, what big eyes you have …’
Woodsman — be your own woodsman. If someone else comes in to save the day, what have you learned?”
Then I collapsed and fell back to sleep.
I felt compelled during that experience and later when I woke up to share it with a good friend of mine for certain, and then to write about it here, later on, after she had time to do her own thing with it and after I had time to let it settle into me.
Up until today, I believed that message revolved solely my experiences with the bullying my son and then family had endured at the nod of people we trusted. I locked in on that idea that I had projected my ideals, my intention to not only live a life of authenticity but to also seek it in others, mostly in application to those people who decieved us.
That projection, as all of our subconscious yearnings and projections do, did nothing but create a false identity or false relationship in my mind. Oh for the love of Pete! How many times have I done that — ‘oh grandma what big eyes you have?’ to myself?
This projection was based only on my incredibly naïve wish and whole intention to live as graciously, honestly as fairly as I could. I don’t play games with people. It’s SOOOOooOOOOOooooo exhausting. I’ve run out of gas for it all.
Back to intention: here’s a funny thing about them: no one intention looks the same as another, even though they might use the same words.
My intention is to live independently and with authenticity; to let my children grow and support their choices even though I might not agree with them and to cull their behaviors which don’t align with progressive, honest and forward living. In order to truly live and inspire an authentic life, we must absolutely put our desires, dreams and wishes aside for the other person — including our children — to fly or falter.
The children were never “ours”:
In 1872, when I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first son, my OB put that little doppler thing on my barely swollen belly (he had very advanced tools for the 19th century) and he looked at me, with this giant grin. His eyes met mine, above the rim of his glasses. He said to me, in that wonderful African way he had (which was barely understandable at times because his accent was so thick, his “t”s so precise and clean), “Doo yoo heah dat, Mommee? Dat’s your little man. Dat’s his hawtbeet. It is deeeferrent dan youse, yes? Quick, fastah. Already, he tellin’ you: ‘I ahm mhy ohn man. I ahm inside you, buht, I am separate.’ Rememebah dat, Mommee. He already his own guy.”
Boom. Right there. Lesson # 4,353,642,126 of life: we are all distinct even though we are connected. ‘Tis folly to expect our children to fulfill our dreams and wrong to ask them to enact our schemes (enter: codependence).
So back to intentions and then back to breadcrumbs and grandma and big eyes and the woodsman, I promise.
Our intentions can be the same as another’s: success, kindness, fairness, honesty … but they will look different on paper than they do in action. Neither one is better (one might be more in alignment with the universe and less self-serving) than the other, but they seldom mean the same thing to all people. Hence, different & separate heartbeats.
So the projection I had of my ideal existence: independence, fairness, humor and progress was not at all in alignment with how things rolled out in that bullying situation; in fact, as painfully as it was to learn, none of it was at all in alignment with the truth.
That was my doing. That was my responsibility. That’s where I faltered. I did not fly. I ignored my independence.
“Oh Grandma, what big eyes you have …” This is so twisty. Little Red Riding Hood was no fool: she knew the wolf was in Grandma’s bonnet and bed. Or did she? When I was little, I liked to believe that Red knew. In Looney Toons, Red was played by Bugs Bunny, and he always knew what was up.
As I look back on the original story, Red was naïve (what we used to call “innocent”). Forgetting her mother’s orders to go straight away to Grandmother’s house, she was tricked by the wolf to spend time picking flowers in the woods while he went back to devour the grandmother. Even when Red got to the house and she sensed her unease at the home, she went in anyway (ignoring her intuition) and thus began the famous exchange, “Grandma! What big ___ you have” until when the wolf said, “The better to eat you with my dear!” just before she pounced out of bed and devoured Red.
Red and Grandmother were almost toast until a huntsman noticed that the front door was left open, and went into the house and cut open the wolf to rescue the pair. The story goes on to speak of other wolves who tried to trick Red and also get into the house, but she was savvier and they were finished off thanks to their greed and self-interest.
So speaking of toast: breadcrumbs. Yeah, I know: Hansel and Grethel.
Shit. I just reread that story. The mom: what a mean, horrible person. It was her idea to leave the kids in the woods with just a slice of bread. Dad was against it, but she won out. Yikes. I’d forgotten so much. But the kids heard the “mother” scheming for their ultimate fate.
(The fun part of re-reading these stories is that the very next paragraph, the parents are described as “old people” while Hansel snuck out to fetch white pebbles glowing in the moonlight.)
The children endured two trips into the woods, each bent on abandonment. The first one was foiled by the pebbles and the kids were back by noontime the next day. The second effort was “successful” because that bitch the mother locked Hansel in the house thus requiring him to use breadcrumbs, not pebbles, to mark the trail — BUT the breadcrumbs were eaten by birds in the deeper forest. On the third day of the second trip, a white bird found the children and led them to the edible gingerbread house owned by the duplicitous red-eyed old witch…
(No wonder I feared the elderly…)
Then the witch, sexist turd, made Grethel fetch food only for Hansel so she could fatten him up… then she tries to make Grethel check the oven but Grethel tricks the witch into showing her how to do it … and we all know how the story ends… the kids pillage the house and take its jewels back to dad, who is now curiously a widower. They all lived together “as happily as possible.” A wolf was the executor of the hotly contested estate after dad died.
They went back home. They went back where the trouble started.
What the breadcrumbs mean to me in my message is that in order to truly move on, to forge ahead in life and shed old patterns, relationships and habits which do not serve us, we have to not drop the breadcrumbs. We have to evolve into our own woodsman; we have to rescue ourselves.
The “place” (habit, relationship) we say we want to leave or change? If we drop breadcrumbs, we aren’t really ready to go/change.
Breadcrumbs can be different things to different people. For me, they can be a false sense of responsibility for a problem, which foments my old buddy chaos, which ensures I stay stuck.
So then the challenge from my higher self in my sleep was to stop using breadcrumbs. It was me calling me out, challenging me to greater growth by actively ditching bad habits from the past. No rearview mirrors. Don’t go back to the place I left…
I know this: my breadcrumbs lead to false solutions outside myself.
To wit: I can’t look externally for the solution to my problems when I might be the problem.
Marianne Williamson said it this way:
“Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work.”
― Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness And Making Miracles
I like to make that a capital “W” for Work.
This was a long post about something, I’m sure.
Oh yes, here it is…. the point: Leaving that which no longer serves you means no more carbs. Stop it with the breadcrumbs. If you use breadcrumbs you do mean to return to the place (person/behavior) you were; you’re just flapping your wings and kicking up dust to get attention. It’s not wrong, it’s just not true. It’s not authentic. Here’s me: it also means that when you stop using breadcrumbs you can save your own day, and then: you will then become your own woodsman.
And that witches are nasty, foul creatures. That was point number two.