REFLECTIONS ON MIRRORS AND THE GIFT OF ONENESS

REFLECTIONS ON MIRRORS

A young man that I have never met before has just walked into my therapy room. He doesn’t do what most people do, which is to walk straight over to the chair I’ve indicated and sit down. Instead, he stands and takes in the room, noticing every detail, weighing everything up.

He glances out of the window, and comments that it’s a dark, heavy, overcast sky out there, which looks like it could soon rain. I look out of the same window at the same sky, and I see white clouds obscuring the sun, but I do not see dark or heavy, nor do I see imminent rain.

Then he looks at a plant on the windowsill, again weighing it up for several moments.

Finally, he looks at me and asks how many times I have to water it. He says it looks like a plant that would need a great deal of care and attention. It is a red geranium, healthy and vibrant, but this young man sees a plant that, if not given the attention it needs, could very easily die.

Finally, he looks straight at me, and asks if I enjoy looking after growing plants, and tells me that his mother used to grow many varieties of cyclamen. I make a mental note of this young man’s words, ‘used to,’ and let all he has said to me, all he has given me of himself, sink in for a moment.

After a moment or two, I say that I can hear his heaviness and lostness, and how badly he feels in need of care, and for someone to notice.
I choose those words because I know that he sees himself reflected in the sky, dark and heavy and carrying a weight of tears which could break any moment; and that he sees himself reflected also in the plant, in need of care and watering and attention.

And I wonder about the mother he mentions who ‘used to’ love plants. I hold in my mind the possibility that ‘used to’ might mean that she is no longer here. But I am also aware that, since this young man sees himself in the plant, then it could also be conveying that she ‘used to’ treat him with tender care and attention and now he feels there is a change.

Maybe something has happened between them; or maybe someone else has her care and attention now and he misses what used to be. Maybe it is something else that will yet emerge. But all these things, all these tiny pieces of this young man, I am holding as I watch him decide to sit down.

He looks again at the sky, and tells me that the rain clouds are really heavy. He says he’s pretty sure it will rain soon, and that when it does it will be such a downpour that everyone will be absolutely soaked… I acknowledge what he is seeing – a huge outpouring, a deluge – and say that perhaps he is fearful of what might happen if he goes near the overwhelming heaviness he is telling me about.

I say that I’m wondering if he is afraid that if he were to start to feel some of it, to open the floodgates that he might not be able to close them again. That he might just cry and cry, exactly as those clouds might release so much rain that everywhere will be flooded.
He looks up at me, startled and a little shaken, and tells me that yes, that is exactly his fear. That he has so many tears inside him, so much crying, that he is sure that if he began to let that out he would never be able to stop.

When I was first a therapist in training, many years ago now, I used to think that such interpretations were a bit flowery, a bit far-fetched. A bit contrived. I learned the techniques I was being taught, came to understand Freud’s conviction that everything, absolutely everything, in the external world was symbolic of our internal world.

I knew that one of the tasks of a good therapist was to help to make the unconscious conscious, and that once we do understand what is going on unconsciously we are empowered to take charge of it and learn from it, to allow it to change us.

I knew that the ego employs a significant number of defences to protect us from knowing just what our unconscious is doing, and that a skilful and careful therapist can help us very gently to give up those defences in the pursuit of our truth, and the discover of our real self.
Looking back, I am staggered at just how much Freud understood all those years ago. And also, I am amazed at the way in which, as I have begun to go through a process of spiritual awakening, I am coming to understand that what he was starting to notice was actually the merest tip of the iceberg in terms of what we are now coming to understand about the nature of our reality and who we really are.

But however simplistic, however rough around the edges, however clumsy and limited, I have come to appreciate just what profound truths he was uncovering, while understanding only the tiniest aspect of what he was introducing to the world. He got a great deal wrong, but he began a wave of awareness from which western society has never looked back.

In my search for the kind of therapist I wanted to be, I fairly quickly moved away from what I felt to be Freud’s rather clinical and dry analysis, in favour of theorists who placed far more emphasis on the importance of the relationship, and the reparative nature of therapy, but I have always known that he was a trailblazer.

It was Freud who got, without fully understanding the full significance of that realisation, that everything is a mirror.

So let’s go back to this young man, and to what he sees in the sky, and in that geranium on the windowsill. And also in me. In me, because I am already – and will come to be, for him, and just for a while – the most significant mirror of all. Just for a while. And in that simple fact lies the way in which each and every one of us assists each other, by playing out a role, voluntarily and with enormous generosity, in order to help each other discover the truth of who they really are.

Years ago, another great analyst, with rather more spiritual awareness, C.J Yung, observed: ‘When an internal situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.’

A hundred years or so later, many of us know this to be true in a more profound and global way. Both the findings of quantum physics, and a greater spiritual understanding of the way the Universe works, both supports the observations of these two great innovators and thinkers, and takes us way beyond anything they could have begun to imagine or comprehend.

So let’s really take it all in. Let’s go there. Let’s allow in the fullest realisation we can manage. Let’s allow that this is a holographic universe and that it reflects back to us, individually and independently, exactly what is going on in our internal world. We experience exactly what we are living on the inside, or what we have for a while been living on the inside. That isn’t about karma or fate or some kind of twisted desire on behalf of the Universe to teach us a lesson. That would make us victims, at the mercy of a pretty whimsical and dogmatic higher power. It would also make nonsense of the experience of the holographic universe and of ourselves as powerful creators and co-creators of our own reality. You can’t have it both ways. But as the creators of our destiny, vibrationally and energetically, let’s just take in what the Law of Reflection, or everyone and everything being a mirror, actually means.

For starters, look at the vast amount of accurate information you suddenly have available to you. If everything is reflecting back to you your own internal world – which current leading edge scientific experiments say that it is – then you need only cultivate honest awareness and openness in order to begin to truly see and know yourself. That is, the personality you have evolved in and for this lifetime. Wow, do you see just how profoundly wise and knowing you could become? The degree of empathy and compassion you could develop? The depth of understanding and lack of judgement you could allow to grow?

And then, if everyone and everything which is presenting itself to you as your projected reality, there can be a different way to meet obstacles and challenges and hurts. Blame is harder, but understanding become easier. While nothing excuses cruelty, abuse, abandonment, we can find a way to perceive the gifts of having a mirror held up to show up either a part of ourselves we are denying, or a part of ourselves which is lacking and which perhaps the other is demonstrating for us.
It is harder to sit in judgement when we realise that our external reality could simply not exist if it were not in some.way mirroring back to us something unresolved in our internal world.

Don’t you find that amazing? Mind-blowing? Someone has agreed, in love and in the service of expansion, to incarnate in order to be of service to you by offering you the gift of a mirror. And at the very same time, in love and in the service of expansion, you are similarly offering that other the gift of a mirror also. What greater gift could there possibly be, one soul to another?

But it’s way bigger than that! It’s not just the occasional significant person who is offering this gift, it is every single person with whom you ever come into contact. However seemingly fleeting and meaningless that contact might seem, it is enormously meaningful. It simply could not take place if you had not energetically made it happen. It can never be another way. Synchronicity is never an accidental circumstance of fate. Every universal law says that is impossible.

And it isn’t only other human beings who offer this gift of insight and growth. It is absolutely every single minute detail in the environment which surrounds you. The weather, the scenery, the seeming accidental annoyances or strokes of luck, everything. You are the creator of it all. And we are co-creators with you. We also co-create on a global scale. Our belief and the feeling of that belief, creates the world in which we live. And beyond that, the universe itself.

It isn’t that the Big Bang simply happened and we are all haphazardly and chaotically getting by, at the mercy of fate. That’s the old science, the old paradigm. It’s as outdated and outmoded as the idea that the world is flat or that the sun revolves around the Earth. The truth is that we ARE the Big Bang, light energy in constant motion, creative and expanding, loving and compassionate and free.

So let’s go back to that young man in my therapy room. I want to suggest something further, something that I find really amazing when I go to work every day, and something which we can all do, something each and every one of us can offer to each other. It’s what I shall be doing for this young man who has just come to see me. It is this:
We don’t just get to be a passive mirror, reflecting back to the other their internal state. By virtue of the fact that they are asking us to be that mirror, and that we are willingly engaged in offering that gift, two things become certain. And both are incredible!

The first is that we get to see ourselves in a mirror, too. This isn’t just one way. We get to play out and experience all that this other has to offer us, too. We get to see how we interact and respond, what they do to us, what they trigger and brings up in us, who we are right now. They offer us valuable insight also, through that amazing gift of connection with another spark of Source energy.
The second is even more amazing. Because this is all about Source expanding and; because Source is love and light in constant motion and experiencing and; because we ARE Source energy, we cannot help but bring to such encounters, at the deepest level, the compassion and understanding of who we truly are. We play out a role, supported by the ego, for the purpose of this lifetime, but ultimately our nature is Love. Our whole being is Love.

So the ultimate gift, every time, lies in our ability and willingness to offer, through an act of generous loving, a NEW possibility, a mirror showing the potential rather than the actual. That is, a mirror of who the other can become when they allow our interaction to affect and change them.

In therapy training, we talk about the therapist offering a ‘second chance.’ By that, we mean the offering of the opportunity for the client to experience through another – who will give it willingly – the restorative and healing experience of being understood, accepted and loved unconditionally. ‘Second chance’ because it wasn’t available, for whatever reason, when it was needed the first time round.

And so, here’s the thing. Here’s the most amazing thing of all about knowing you are a mirror. You can be more, offer more, give more, than all the affirmations in the world, to someone who has been seeking a mirror all their life because they don’t yet know how to see themselves, or who they are. Still less, who they can become.
Do you get how big that is? You may not be able to create in someone else’s reality, but you sure as anything can help co-create an experience someone has been waiting for right up until this very moment.

That’s how vital you are. That’s how important, how crucial, how powerful, how defining, your showing up at this place, at this time, in this moment, in this way, in this person’s life, actually is.
And if that person happens to be a total stranger, with whom you interact in the most fleeting way – a look, a gesture, a word, a touch – then you are being given, in that fleeting moment, the opportunity to convey the sense that they are worthy, that they are accepted, that they are unique, that they are equal and one and the same.

If that isn’t an awesome gift of a mirror, then I don’t know what is. And if that isn’t what makes this Universal heart swell and expand, then I’m struggling to think of anything quite so full of compassion and generosity than a gift such as this.

Don’t you just LOVE that?!

So what are you waiting for?!

Love and sparkles
Janny Juddly ? ✨

ONLY THE BRAVEST SOULS – the spiritual gift of another’s disability

As I walk into the bank, I note the long queue and how unusually busy it is today. It is going to be a longer than normal wait to be able to speak to someone at the counter. Even though it is so busy, and the queue is about 10 people long, there are only two active staff on the desk.

Then I realise, split seconds after, that all is not as it should be. Something out of the ordinary is going on. I can’t immediately place it, but I know that everyone is frightened. To varying degrees, and some are covering it more successfully than others. But everyone is frightened.

Some people are looking nervously around them, trying to decide whether to stay or leave. They are averting their eyes, afraid that there might be trouble.

Others are muttering to each other other under their breath, and I hear snippets. Things about “some people” and “somebody should do something.” Even something about what the world is coming to.

One woman is trying to disguise the fact that she is covering her handbag in case someone snatches it from her. An elderly man looks on, staring, unaware of how hostile the stare is.

The bank staff themselves are jittery, nervous, and I notice one clearly speaking on an intercom to someone behind the scenes, and almost immediately several extra staff come out into the main banking area.

I can feel the tension in the air, the fear, the paralysis. This hits me first as I come in through the automatic doors. It is palpable; it grips my whole body.

I wonder whether there is something like a threatened bank robbery in progress, whether I should get out while I can and go and phone for assistance. I am, after all, still next to the door. In theory, I could still escape.

But something in the air tells me something different, and I find myself walking in….

Just a few steps and then I see him. The person who is sparking such fear in everyone, and I can see why people are uneasy.

The young man in question is probably in his mid-twenties, and he is the one who is frightened. He is rocking from one foot to another, hitching up his trouser legs and fluttering them in an attempt to cool himself down. He is flicking rhythmically at his hair, wiping sweat out of his eyes. And he keeps breathing out, loudly. Big breaths. Clearly he knows about techniques to calm himself, and he is trying hard to do this.

He tries to speak, and his difficulty in making himself understood becomes apparent. He is able to pronounce only vowels. There are no consonants. He has good emphasis and intonation, and he employs mime and signs to complement his speech, but everyone is too frightened to be able to hear what he is trying to say.

I know what this is. It’s very familiar to me. I have a daughter with learning disabilities and autism, and I have spent a lifetime watching this same reaction happening. I also recognise that it is only because I am so familiar with this that I can do what I now do.

I start to approach the young man, who is in the queue, but clearly finding the wait and the crowding, and how unpredictably and unfamiliarly busy it is today, almost overwhelmingly. A middle aged man touches my arm and suggests I don’t go any nearer.

I tell him I know it will be fine. He laughs uneasily and jokes that I look like I’d have no hesitation in throwing a punch at him if need be. He has misinterpreted my intentions. He thinks that I share his perception of this young man.

I go up to the young man, who has now noticed me, and somehow is calming. I tell him that I can see he is feeling really stressed, and acknowledge how busy it is in the bank today. I tell him that I will happily keep his place for him if he would like to go away a little where there is some space. I tell him he can keep watching me and that I will help him by putting my fingers up to show him how many people there are still in front of him.

He reaches out towards me. The man who thought I might need to throw a punch moves in readiness to protect me, but stops when he sees that the young man – who tells me his name is Michael, in vowel sounds which I show I am willing to try to make out – is simply reaching out to touch my elbow and give me a huge smile.

Michael starts talking animatedly, saying how he gets stressed when it is busy or crowded. That he starts to feel he can’t breathe. I breathe out loudly and long several times, and he starts to do it with me. He is starting to feel safer. The agitated moving from foot to foot is easing.

He makes a sudden movement, holding his hand in a way that says we’re going to do a special handshake. We clasp hands and cover each other’s wrists with our thumbs. I realise this has huge meaning for him, and we laugh together at the bond we now have.

I suddenly become aware of a change in energy all around me, and as it catches my attention it catches Michael’s also. We both look up to see kindness and concern. A bank official goes to get him a cup of water, and another takes him to a seat where he can see what’s happening without feeling crowded. People are smiling at him. He gives me a huge thumbs up.

The queue forms again and we wait to be seen. Everyone is now watching, and aware. Every time another person has finished being served, they wave to let him know, and put up five fingers, then four, then three, then two.

At two, he suddenly decides to get up from where he is sitting and come and take his place back in the queue. He is no longer frightened, because the people around him are no longer frightened. Love and compassion and kindness have replaced fear.

When I have finished being served, I see that Michael is now making himself understood and having a laugh with the person who is helping him. They are working it out. I catch his eye as I leave, and we smile and put our thumbs up.

I get back to my car, and am surprised to find sudden tears falling. Oh it’s so complicated, isn’t it, this journey that we sign up for? This challenge we face every single day between fear and unconditional love?

My tears are for all of us: Michael, my daughter Becky, and myself, everyone in the bank, every single brave soul incarnated here on the journey back to remembering who we really are, and where we came from.

I am suddenly full of awe and compassion at the unconditional love that is out true nature, and how stunningly beautiful it is every single time we catch a glimpse of it in a fellow soul.

And don’t we owe so much to these strong, valiant souls who come to teach us to push beyond our fear and reach for unconditional love? What a courageous path they have chosen, for they experience such hurt and shame and misunderstanding from we who will fear before we realise that it is safe to love.

Souls like Michael. And Becky. We stand in awe, and the deepest appreciation.

In oneness, and with love.

Namaste.
@ Janny Juddly 2016

 

 

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIFT WE CAN GIVE ANOTHER

I knew I had to get away.

One too many nights of my then-husband coming home drunk. One too many episodes of bi-polar manic aggression. One too many days of trying to get out the Crisis Team as he threatened to kill himself. One too many conversations asking for help from his naïve family in whose eyes he could do no wrong, and who thought that I should just keep on loving him no matter what.

And so, about 15 years ago, I took a week out. I knew that if I didn’t, I was in very real danger of breaking.

I’d woken out of sleep sobbing—the kind of sobbing where part of you looks on, listening and watching in horror as the other part of you gradually realizes that those sobs are beyond you to stop. The kind of sobbing that tells you you’re so close to the edge that you really could fall off it. Or even jump, just for the relief it would bring.

I was too full of feeling, too full of pain. And it wasn’t even mine.

One too many of just too much. That moment when you know, with crystal clarity, that you can’t do this anymore. When self-love wins out over any sense of guilt or failure to love enough. The moment you realize you’re holding your breath, waiting to make a decision your whole being—the universe itself—is urging you to make.

And so, finally, I took a week out.

I needed peace and silence, nature and stillness, and so I chose a cozy hotel in the heart of the countryside that accepted pets, packed a small bag and my two springer spaniels, and set out on a journey to healing.

What happened there changed my path, and the course of my life.

I experienced something so extraordinary that it has stayed with me, and profoundly influenced my understanding of pain and healing, ever since.

My days settled into a rhythm of sorts. I’d get up early, take the dogs for a walk in the woods or by the lake, then go down to breakfast. That done, I’d go out again with the dogs and walk and walk, sit awhile, walk some more. I was out from dawn until after dusk, when I’d go back for my evening meal. The emotions running through me, the fears gripping me, the grief and confusion I felt, were burning me up, and try as I might, I could find only short-lived periods of respite before it would all start again.

Then, slowly, I became aware that there was one place where, just for a while, I started to taste the quality of stillness I’d been longing to find. It was always in the dining room, during breakfast and dinner. It was the strangest thing. It seemed to happen inside me.

What I felt was a sensation I’ve tried many times to adequately describe, and I still haven’t gotten it right. The nearest I can get is to call it a tender hug around my heart. A soothing calm that started in my abdomen and would gradually flow out from there into every part of me, and as it spread its warmth through me, I would know with absolute certainty that everything would be okay. All fear would disappear, to be replaced by a deep sense of safety and well-being; the unbearable confusion would dissipate, and I would that find I could think. It was like balm poured over sore wounds—a sense of being held so completely that I wondered how I could ever have doubted that I could survive this.

By the end of the week, I knew what I was going to do, how I was going to do it and that I was going to be able to cope with all it would bring. I felt wonderfully whole. The word I want to use is, “healed.”

On the final morning, as I was finishing breakfast before getting ready to leave, an elderly woman approached my table and sat down. I’d been aware of her presence in the dining room throughout the week. We’d exchanged brief glances of greeting and recognition most days, but we’d never spoken. Yet I had the strangest sense that she somehow knew me, and that I knew her. I felt her warmth, her care and concern. Her eyes held mine with a steadiness that made me feel safe, known.

Safe and known. That feeling. The tender hug around my heart. Suddenly, I got there, just as she covered my hand with hers.

“Are you feeling better now?” Her voice was quiet and unbelievably gentle. Oh, the knowing in it, as her hand squeezed mine.

“But how did you know?” I asked her.

“I just did,” she replied. “I felt all your pain, all your sadness. I’ve been sending you love and healing all week. I hope it’s made a difference.”

I shared with her all I’d experienced in her presence and just what a difference it had made. I wanted her to have the feedback, to know just what she’d done, how amazing she was. But she stopped me. She would have none of it.

“I’ve done little more than keep you company,” she insisted. “One human being keeping a fellow human being company for a while, till they remember who they are once more. You’d lost yourself, and now you have you back again. I did nothing more than hold the space for you in the meantime.” Then she added, “And the love.”

And yes, she’d done that, and more. This woman had restored me, intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or not, energetically to a state of well-being and steadiness, yes. But more than this, she had empowered me with her own still, loving, accepting presence, holding space for me in order for me to find my own essence once more.

The gift of presence is the most beautiful and remarkable gift that one soul can offer to another.

Sacred space, immovable trust in another’s ability to find themselves again if only we will patiently and lovingly keep them company. A friend of mine, a Quaker, talks about, “holding another in the light.” She’s done that many times for me, and I’ve always felt and known it, before she even told me.

So what is it, this amazing gift we give each other? How come we feel it so profoundly—not just across a room but even from many miles away?

I believe it to be the gift of our true essence, a holding of another within the highest vibration any of us can attain: love. I believe that this is the energy that not only flows through us at those times, but also that which we all are when we come home to ourselves. The energy we are when we go beyond, into the stillness of who we are where nothing divides us, because we know—with the most profound knowing—that we are all one and the same.

Ram Dass spoke a most beautiful truth when he said, “We are all just walking each other home.”

I believe the gift of presence is how we do that. And that has to be the most precious gift any of us can give: the tenderest reminder, in a moment of deep human pain, of who we all really are.

 

@ Janny Juddly 2016

The Therapist in my Pocket