Not Good Enough

On the shadow of “not good enough”

Those of us who work in the mental health field or really anyone who has dove into the deep dark places of emotional pain have undoubtedly become familiar with the phrase not good enough. This is a shadow and a blessing for it drives people to greatness and destruction.

The deep core negative belief of “not good enough” and its associated emotional responses are all too familiar to me. This has only intensified despite my accomplishments and expressed admirations by other amazing people around me.

Still the old pattern remains. I am I doing it well enough? What is wrong with me? I am better than this. I cannot look bad. I need to be perfect. I can do more. What I do needs to be perfect. And of course the darkest and dangerous of all….the things I am associated with need to be perfect too.

What is perfect?

In psychology, this is the wound of the Sovereign the archetypal King or Queen that must place their inner and outer kingdom in order, balance, and harmony for all parts of self to thrive.

A person healing this shame-based wound of not good enough can answer this idealized “perfect” in their minds eye but with words it is a bit more difficult.

What often shows up is a need and drive to do something that will leave everybody in awe. This awe and appreciation will create a showering of compliments that “not good enough” will never fully appreciate for deep down they do not believe what is being said. It feels good but also creates discomfort because a perfect person is also humble. Driving them to walk a razors edge of god like mastery that drives some to suicide and the fortunate to initiation.

Thanks for reading. Like this lion remember what is true about you and what your gold is.

May you walk beyond your shadow in gratitude,

Jason

Come Home to Your Heart

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“Come home to your heart” This is the message that was given to me recently by a beloved ancestor who had passed on a while ago. With that I find myself in Love alone.

No one is really alone but that statement is related to something I am literally sitting with lately, Love. This is a deep Love for someone that turns to pain when I leave my heart space feeling. I go into my head and feel the need to have this person close to me and this creates pain and frustration not because it is a totally unobtainable feat but because being with them his not healthy for me or them at this time.

There is nothing wrong with them merely that our pain rubs up against each other making things volatile and explosive. I can sometimes go into anger at this. There was so much potential and connection between us. Since it didn’t work out I want to blame them for this longing and pain but that is just my mind falling back on a harmful and destructive protection mechanism.

I see this dynamic played out tragically all over the world since the beginning of time. How love can turn to darkness and pain and in extreme cases some very destructive suffering of others on a mass scale.

Is Love everything? Perhaps it is. I believe many of the horrible things in the world are done from a distortion of love. A longing for something that already exists as a feeling but it is pushed into control and ownership for safety. When this isn’t obtained in that mental realm it is often the cause of some ugly behavior.

Like the Buddhist say there is a need to let go and allow. That attachment is the root of all suffering. It is all mind stuff.I am seeing more and more what they mean as my journey unfolds.

We all have pain we carry and we all have developed ways to deal with that. These coping mechanisms do not always mesh well with others. Especially if our partner or loved one has a similar pain or they use a defense mechanism that triggers the other person’s past issues with a parent/significant figure in their life. So many of us are operating from a wounded child place because that is when we developed the tool. It is subconscious and rarely noticed by the individual but obvious to all around them.

Many of us are actively working to correct that in therapy, healing, dance, art, groups, and meditation just to name a few. For me it is a struggle I have put a great deal of work into and I now help others on this brave path. I have yet to fully heal myself if that is even possible but I really strive to use my tools and stay disciplined in being the person I want to be in the world.

What I am realizing is that Love is the ability to feel deeply vulnerable while not trying to control or own any external representation of it in order to alleviate that unbounded vulnerability. Fear of that vulnerability is to fear truly being in a place of Love.

To be vulnerable is to be open and connected to what is and it can feel very raw and painful. My tendency in the past was to want to run away from that “weird” feeling in various forms the strongest of which was to feel sad or angry about what is not in my life in the way I want it to be. I am realizing that the way it is in my life is perfect and if I stay with that vulnerability I can really connect and have love for that person and in turn myself and others I meet. I do not need to be with her in a traditional sense I can appreciate what I have with her and be ok that it is enough. This is how we tear down the walls that have been built to protect our hearts from being hurt.

I could be angry at all the things I didn’t get and how they have just picked up and moved on without me but truthfully I see how grateful I am at what we had and experienced. She is still in my life and I can be there with that interaction as it comes. I would truly be sad without her but maybe even this could be worked on as I progress.

I wonder if we are in Love with the person or just that feeling of Love that is ever present when it is connected to. How the connection to it is usually the result of some external thing but it is there when we go to visit that raw place. I can really feel this Love in my heart right now and I am working to make it my home. I am letting go of all the pain, fighting and blame that used to “protect” me from it when I would run to my head to remove the vulnerability.

From this place I may finally find my healing and the external representation of that in a partner. Well a guy can hope anyway and it is not a bad practice to cultivate.

Thanks for reading.

May you know the power of strong vulnerability and the Love that lives there,

Jason

Healing the Inner Child of Separation

I had a powerful experience recently that I I feel I must share. It was something that helped me gauge how far I have come with my inner work and how I can use this as service to others.

It is in my awareness that there is often a message playing out inside me. This message can often be sourced back to one experience where I took it on and carried it with me throughout my life. It is a message that comes up when I am scared or frustrated, when I am about to push through to greatness or make genuine connection with others. Many refer to this as shadow. It causes tremendous pain and separation in the world.

I can remember as a child I felt open and connected to my world then as time went on things happened and I began to feel unsafe. People yelling at me, telling me I wasn’t good enough, and the idea that I was less than another.

The separation began. The idea of “the other” started to come in. The mental concept that I am different from those around me followed by a strong judgment about that based on salient experiences.

This idea of separate was wonderful and exciting in a heart based way but also scary when it became extreme in belief. I tried to find ways to comfort this idea of being different. I ran into others who had this and it was often centered on how they looked, where they lived, what gender they were, what kind of clothes they wore…

For more back ground I will share that I recently staffed a Boys to Men Adventure Weekend.

Boys to Men Mentoring is an organization open to individuals of varying belief systems. They do not subscribe to any one belief other than healthy men need to mentor boys into mature masculinity or they will burn down the village to feel the heat.

The Weekend Adventure is a camping trip set up by this nonprofit mostly volunteer organization. These events happen every couple of months for local youth in Hawaii (nationally as well). I have found these Adventure Weekends to be powerful but at the same time a challenging experience.

For me, it often brings up my own difficult childhood and opens some of the deep inner wounds from that. These wounds are things that I used to let define me as a man.

I have since done a lot of work around this wounding and the many disempowered beliefs that come up around it like, I am not safe and I am less than another. This was put to the test over the weekend when I noticed one of the young men giving me a look, one that I had seen many times before.

I can’t be certain what the look was about but it bought up that childhood feeling of being ashamed for what I look like. It took me back to that message I took on as a youth that I was a lame and goofy white boy and how I had to toughen up and project more anger. The energy I felt coming at me was something like, white boy has everything he wants and his life is perfect. This of course isn’t true.

When I was a child this would shut me down. I would pull myself inside and dim my light way down trying to blend in. I would pretend I was miserable to keep people from targeting me, that I wasn’t this happy little white boy that had everything because I didn’t. I embraced darkness to feel safe.

I had a lot going on that people didn’t see. There was a lot of pain and confusion for me as a child. I resented that on the surface my life looked like a episode of Leave it to Beaver and that I was not worthy of any respect. I felt I wasn’t able to shine the light of who I was and would get attacked if I did.

So this time I felt that child wounding and story come up. I caught it when I started to want to protect myself and get angry or engage with a dirty look of my own with this young man.

This is not who I am and not why I was on the weekend. I was there to support these young men so it was pretty easy to simply notice what was going on inside me, breath it out and not engage in any interaction. I just stayed neutral to the gaze I felt from the boy as I continued what I was doing.

What was so powerful was that a little while later I was sitting alone when this same boy came and sat down across from me at the picnic bench. I smiled and happily chatted with him when he asked how I was doing. He then began to share all the things he was holding deep inside that were causing him pain.

I was in awe of his strength and openness. It was such an honor to be there for him as he asked for help with a lot of the same things I went through as a child.

He connected with a number of other mentors that weekend in the same way. He later showed even greater courage when he spoke up in front of everyone sitting in a large circle. He did what I have seen as being so difficult for many grown men to do. He stepped into his power and spoke his needs. He put down the shame and asked for help which he will receive.

This was able to happen because men did not react to his behavior but instead owned their own triggers and held the space of compassion for him to let go. To begin to heal that part that can fester and turn into a monster that may haunt a man for his whole life. Inviting a force of energy into oneself that has the potential to create great pain and suffering in the world.

I know that part. It took me a long time to remove a lot of it and control what may be left of it. To realize that it is fed on the idea of being separate or less than others. It can swing into thinking it is better or uses judgments to justify its actions. It lives in a person’s head and stifles their heart, their connection to all that is.

I still have work to do with this (being vulnerable and open) but I see I am making progress and helping others gain tools so they don’t have to walk in darkness.

May you always shine your light for all to see,
Jason

Fuel

With all these deep emotions I have been processing lately, I have found it interesting to check in with what is going on inside me at any given point throughout the day. I am really seeing that much of the energy I am using to power through things is based on anger or more recently pangs of inadequacy driving me to go beyond my comfort zone to improve my situation. Realizing how so much of my life I have used an energy of anger to really blast through things and push myself.
One such occurrence happened long ago when I was feeling this same level of heartache I am now, that feeling of longing and pain that requires large amounts of alcohol or strenuous exercise. I prefer the exercise as the recovery period is less traumatic to the rest of my week not to mention the realization that to overindulge in drinking is to become unconscious thereby allowing things to infiltrate the temple that is the body (these “guests” generally don’t like to leave).
I was dating someone who was like my karmic slap in the face. A woman who pulled all the tricks on me I used to use and said things to me that really hit me between the eyes. I was fully opening my heart to her but it just wasn’t working and things fell apart. So I found myself going for 4 mile runs every day, sometimes twice. Early in the morning, late at night, anytime the pain got to be too much to bear. This went on for a couple of weeks until the day came that I had ran about 2 miles and my legs gave out. They ached like crazy and every step I took was agony. I remember thinking, how was I going to get home, this sucks! But most of all I was frustrated and angry because now I wouldn’t be able to run anymore. I was afraid of drinking again and I needed this. Right at that moment I was aware of a flood of thoughts spinning in my head. All the failures and all the pain I had experienced in my life whirled around my mind like a tornado. But in that moment instead of admitting defeat and limping home I got pissed and started running anyway. It hurt like crazy but I didn’t care, I just ran harder and harder. I used all that frustration and judgment of my past situation and current position to power me on. My eyes were fixed and piercing, my arms pumped like crazy while my legs pounded the ground as hard as they could until I couldn’t feel them anymore. My heart was racing and my lungs burned but I ran even faster. I was full tilt, powered on pure rage. I was running towards the intersection when the light turned yellow I don’t know where it came from but I hit another gear and kicked even harder and beat the light. Luckily, because I had no plans in stopping if I didn’t. I must have looked like a crazy person to everyone I passed but I cared not. I was letting it all pour out, all the anger, all the frustration, all the hate I had for myself projected into pounding that pavement so I could make it home without the self-loathing and disappointment that was sure to overcome me if I had to walk. When it was all over I was a block from my house. I had ran full speed for almost two miles. I had accomplished something amazing but it was fueled by anger and self-punishment.
For a long time I marveled at this experience and found it to be empowering to know I could run that fast and that far especially when I could barely walk before. I realize now it was really showing me just how abusive I could be to myself. Usually this abuse was below the surface in the form of thoughts and impulses that would take many years to catch and even longer to correct. It is still a work in progress but the awareness is building and I have collected many more tools than I had in the past.
So these days I am spending more time checking in on what I am feeling while busy with life so as to recognizing what is fueling my actions. What energy I am using to accomplish something? What am I empowering myself with, which as a result is permeating my surrounding environment. Knowing my intention with every action is important but what fuel is being used to create that and is that the best or most efficient energy source? Is that the energy I want to give consent to embody within me energetically? So in those moments when I realize I am utilizing anger or mild forms of vengeance I stop and breathe, remember to let it go and allow myself to feel love for who I am, as I am. I focus on how to use my body movements efficiently, clearing the mental chatter in my head, and balance my focus.

So much of the dissonance seems to stem from various forms of judgment that needs to be released.

At this time I am relaxing more and just not taking anything very seriously. I am pretty sure that when I finally leave this body I will wake up and be like “Wow, I really got wrapped up in all that!”

May you always be loving and kind to yourself,
Jason

Avoidance and Self-Sabotage

So it seems I need to deviate from the general theme and title of this blog a little bit. I will be periodically going from experiential stories of my past to more recent processes and experiences. Hopefully you can bear with me as the evolution of this blog continues.

I awaken with that familiar feeling of heartache but in a way it is comforting. It is a feeling I seemed to have used in the past to drive me forward, a kind of feeling of rejection and pain from reaching for love but not fully getting there. Feelings of self-pity and loss come up requiring the need to plow through the day or whatever is ahead of me. Using these deep emotions as a catalyst for self-improvement in what form I have yet to determine.

There was an attachment theory experiment done in the 70’s where children were brought into a room to play and when fully distracted the mother would leave the room without their knowledge. There was much more to this laboratory procedure referred to as the strange situation (Mary Ainsworth) than I will not get into here but from the data collected four different types of patterns emerged which are used to show a pattern of behavior that often seems to continue into adulthood: secure, anxious-avoidant, anxious-resistant, and disorganized.

For me I have come to realize that my pattern could be closest to the pattern of avoidant. I wouldn’t go all the way into an anxious avoidant disorder label but for ease of communication I find the avoidant pattern a close representation of my experiences. Just like all “generalized labels” this isn’t very cut and dry as it plays out in very creative ways for me. Deep inside there is a longing to connect with others and to find love but another part of me wants to push it away or find any excuse to reject the love given. There seems to be a threshold I will reach, especially in romantic relationships, at which point some kind of defense mechanism will kick in and I will self-sabotage the relationship in order to protect my heart. It is the vulnerability I feel in those instances that is probably the most distressing.

Luckily, I am a little more familiar with this defense mechanism these days, but apparently I have not fully removed the pattern. It seems to be centered on the belief that love will not last, that it could be taken away or destroyed at any moment. So there is this strong impulse to sabotage it for at least then it will be on my terms and not blind side me at some unforeseen later date. I had unknowingly done this for many years before I finally caught glimpses of it while dating a woman who would continue to be with me despite how emotionally abusive I was to her.

There is a lot more to this. At that time I was very abusive to myself and so just being around me after a while I would see the person I was dating as an extension of myself and I would start to treat them the same way. But this situation was different. I was really pushing the limits and actually caught myself wondering why she wasn’t going away.

So being aware of this pattern I am able to witness the process a little more. With that being said, I will share that I recently chose to really open up and love someone more. A person I have kept at a distance for some time now. They had wanted to have a romantic relationship with me for a while but I didn’t want to go there because it didn’t feel right. I made all kinds of excuses but yet this person keeps popping into my life and we have a lot in common. So I figured it would be good to let go of my grocery list type mentality of what I want in a woman and participate with what is right in front of me.

No longer wanting to be alone, I decided that I would simply be present with this person and not judge or project into how the future would be with them. Ultimately, to allow myself to be more “vulnerable” to love and see what happens.

I realized after expressing this leap of courage to open my heart more that it was actually still “protected” since this person is now more interested in another man who is in a relationship with someone else. So to break it down, it is a situation where I now want to be with her but she loves some other guy who is in love with someone else. I knew of this other guy prior to my decision to proceed, so for me it is the realization that I had only made that leap of allowing someone to deeply connect and surrender to being with them when I knew they would be less likely to want a long term relationship.

On some level it must have made me feel safe that I did not have to commit to anything. Or perhaps I would now be able to see what happens and who she chooses if this other guy changes his mind. For then I would have put her through a test to see if she really loved me or just the idea of me. This testing of others is also another pattern I am working with balancing. As the testing can become a self-fulfilling prophesy of rejection.

I also wonder if my change of heart might be the result of desperation. Is the slight heartache because I am truly in love with this person or am I simply longing for the love and security I started to reach for. In this reaching, inadvertently scratching at the deep human wound of feeling unloved and abandoned. I know these things are not true in a spiritual sense but we are more than just spiritual beings.

This does not change the sadistic type pattern of finally opening up to a person who really cares about me but not until they had moved on to another. It is a pretty clever pattern to avoid something while believing on some level that “I tried and yet again I got rejected. It wasn’t my fault”. This is a victimization program which I seemed to embrace a lot in the past. Lots of heartache and pain at not finding love. Throwing myself at all the wrong women that on some level I knew would hurt me and sabotaging the relationships that could possible work out.

Well like so many things, I guess time will tell how this plays out. As always the inner work continues while I work to find balance in how that is expressed in the world. To stay present in order to catch and move beyond harmful defense mechanisms, false programming, and victim victimizer patterns.

May you always feel love and security,

Jason

Restless

I find that I am very restless tonight. A restlessness intensified by the fact that I started drinking again, but drinking “like a normal person”. This is usually just one drink but tonight I had two and I am feeling that familiar pull to want to go out and tear it up, go do something, have fun, mingle and meet people. All the things that cause me to feel anxious about doing while sober, but it isn’t just the alcohol doing this. I have had this restlessness much of my life. It seems to come and go in its intensity. It shows up when I run out of distractions like movies and when there are no pressing obligations and responsibilities. It is this restlessness that would cause me to run a couple of miles no matter how late at night it was when I lived in Phoenix. The restlessness that causes me to sit down and write what is spinning in my head as I stare off into the beautiful scenery around me, a beauty that is nothing specific but more the acknowledgment of what is always around me but not often really looked at deeply. It is an appreciation for life and all the potentials and possibilities around me. It brings a feeling of emptiness while filling me up. The emptiness is experienced from knowing I could be doing anything but not knowing what that is. A feeling that I should be doing something, that I need to be. What am I to do here?

I am walking around outside and hear my neighbor’s TV blasting something I can’t quite make out. I think of how many nights I choose to sit and watch movies when I have the free time and how it brings me happiness while another part of me feels like it is a total waste of time. This is irrelevant and simply a matter of balance. For me, tonight, it is about what happens when all the distractions are gone and there is nothing to do. My old self would have another drink and escape into a numb bliss and perhaps head to a bar for some adventure, but I have walked that path many times. My more recent self would sit and meditate when I felt this way but I feel I have done so much of that too. I am now trying to balance the unseen world and inner experiences with the 3d reality I live in. Finding balance in order to allow that part of me who wants to drink to do so, to listen to distorted music or indulge in material things and experiences but have the self-control to know when to stop. Is that not mastery? To do with control rather than to avoid at all costs?

I tried so hard to be this ideal person that I suppressed much of my exuberance and playful humor to attain some spiritual depth which never really got me the relief from anxiety and depression I had hoped for. It was just another piece of the puzzle, a very big one but something that must also be balanced. The reality is that I am here on this planet and can’t be afraid to participate with it. I am not giving up meditating or discerning what is energetically harmful but I am allowing some of my old self back in, that part of me I was unsure of showing the world because he swore and liked dark humor and didn’t always take things very seriously. I don’t want to be a monk anymore but I also don’t want to be a drunk either, so I write this out and strive for the balance that will fulfill all parts of myself.

I will plan for the future, being flexible knowing that nothing I plan is guaranteed to happen but things do happen when we put forth the effort. These things cannot be forced (at least not for very long) so I also realize that I must be patient and open enough to allow guidance to show me the way. It feels like I am spinning my wheels sometimes but if we are all creator beings how can we not strive and interact while reaching for that divine assistance that comes when the timing is right and rarely before.

As for tonight my short term restlessness feels abated having written this (creating something) but my limited view from this station of identity still haunts me if I don’t remember to just let it go and allow myself to be here now, while keeping what I choose in the moment from going too far into either extreme.

May you have balance in all aspects of Self,

Jason

Drive

I remember waking in the morning and being excited about the coming day, thrilled at all the potentials and possibilities that life had in store for me. Those days when the sun was out and the birds were chirping with the cool morning air touching my skin causing a feeling of electricity, a tingling sensation that filled my whole body. Along with the euphoric smell of drew drying in the early morning sun.

I would set out on my great adventure, facing a day that I knew would bring me excitement and joy. I felt alive and energized knowing I would find Love, laughter, and friendship with all I met. I had no worries or at least that is what I felt in that moment. I was fully present and living life to the fullest by simply being alive and participating with the world. I wasn’t obsessing over how my day would go, what happened the day before or worried that I was not planning my life out enough to be successful.

I am driving down the road in my first car a 86 Toyota 4×4 truck, a machine that represented freedom and escape from all the cares in the world but yet strangely feeling more a part of it at the same time. I have my self-contained space with freedom to roam. Playing music and feeling my heart dance with delight in being free. I am on my way to work or school or a destination I don’t really need to go but it is the drive I am participating with. My body and mind are at peace being occupied driving the car so that my consciousness can be free to feel and experience all the beauty and sensations around me. If some of these sensations don’t feel good I just drive away from that area.
One of my greatest joys in this world is to be able to drive, to have my own space that I control which allows me to explore and seek adventure in. To be free to sing out loud and dance, acting a fool and if anyone should see me I can leave them behind if I choose. I am free to yell if I need to without worrying that it will upset someone or cause alarm. Sometimes we need to let out a primal scream to release that pent up animal side of ourselves or at least I do.

I have been without this pleasure for a while now, sure I have cars to drive where I am living which I am very grateful for but they are not mine and not the kind that get my adrenaline going which is also a big craving I have. I have never owned an automatic before, I need a stick shift. It is just more fun.

I have let go of a lot of things to be able to go to college without working a full time job but my own car has proven to be one of the hardest. Every Starseed needs their space ship or chamber of solace that fits their inner desires of self. Perhaps for some it is different but one of my greatest joys has always been the freedom of the open road and the extension of self that an automobile provides.

May you always have a place of solace,

Jason