DANNY: A FAIRY TALE FOR GROWNUPS

Time for another fairy tale… This one is about a little boy called Danny. It could so easily be about a little boy called Sam or Edward, or a little girl called Sarah or Katie. However, in our story, just now, it is a little boy called Danny.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin…

There was once a little boy called Danny. He was a very lucky and much loved little boy who, from the moment he was born, received nothing but praise. And we all know how very important it is to receive praise. Danny was praised for being such a good baby, who slept through the night very quickly. He was praised for never being too demanding, and his mummy would tell all her friends how, if he would have a temper tantrum – at least, that’s what she called it – when he woke in the night, having not long been fed, or was a little bit damp, she could just ignore him for a while and he would stop crying and let her go back to sleep.

Danny’s mummy badly wanted a good baby, because she had been quite worried about how she might cope if he needed her too much. Danny’s mummy had a great need for peace and quiet, and for things to be predictable and steady, so she had been quite worried in case having a baby might shake things up too much.

As Danny grew into a toddler, he could not help noticing that there were days when his mummy cried a lot, and others when she seemed very sad. Sometimes, his daddy, who wasn’t there a lot of the time, would come home and shout a lot, and make his mummy cry some more. There was a lot of sadness. Danny started to try to work out how he could protect his mummy and look after her. He needed her to be ok, because she was his safety, and so he began to realize, in a simple sort of way, that it was his job to make sure that she was happy.

So Danny taught himself how to be extremely patient, very considerate, and to never make a fuss. Even when he felt like making a fuss, because he felt cross or upset or something did not seem fair. It did not matter if he was not feeling fine, just as long as his mummy was not sad or crying. Danny became very good at this. He learned how to notice when his mummy needed a hug, or a tissue, or a biscuit, or to borrow his teddy. And he also learned to behave very carefully when his daddy was home, so that he would not make things any worse by causing an argument or by making his daddy shout. Danny knew by now, so clearly, that his job was to keep things safe, and to keep everybody happy. He didn’t know any more whether he himself was happy or sad, cross or frightened, worried or upset. He had stopped noticing that a long time ago. But he was extremely good at doing this most important – indeed, vital – job of keeping everyone else happy.

When Danny got to school, he also impressed the teachers with how patient and kind and protective he was. He always seemed to know what was the right thing to do at any given moment. He would notice when other children were sad, and would spend his break times keeping them company, walking around the playground with them, arm around their shoulders. When Danny’s mummy and daddy would go to parents’ evenings, they would come away glowing with pride at all they were being told about their little boy. They learned that he was a monitor for this, and a monitor for that. They learned that he had even organized a litter patrol in his break times, when he would go round picking up all the litter in the playground that other children had dropped. He got a special award for that. The teacher even said – and this made his mummy and daddy exceptionally proud – that he was so well behaved in class that often, if you didn’t actually look up and see him there, sitting right at the back quietly getting on with his work without a fuss, you could even forget that he was there at all.

Danny’s mummy and daddy thought this was just wonderful, and congratulated each other on what a successful job they had done of bringing him up.

There was a tiny rocky patch when Danny hit his teens. He went through a stage of liking certain things that his parents didn’t approve of, wanting to wear clothes his parents didn’t approve of, listening to music his parents didn’t approve of, and wanting to hang out with friends in a way that his parents didn’t approve of. He tried hard in his way to do these things, but one day his mum said something that frightened him to his core. She said, ‘ After all I’ve done for you, you treat me like this! I can’t stand the sight of you. You’ve broken my heart. Go away, I can’t bear to be around you.’ And finally, Danny realized the truth of things.

He realized that if you want people to love you, to approve of you and want to be around you, you must always do what they want you to do, and be what they want you to be. The fear of it being any other way, of losing his mother and father’s love and approval, was so great, and was so paralyzing, that in that moment the course of the rest of his life felt like it was set. He sat on the floor in his bedroom, in the dark, and pondered the most important truth of his young life.

Then, one day, Danny looked at himself in the mirror and could see, by the way his body had changed, that he had become a grown up. He did not feel any different inside, but it was clear from his body that he had, indeed, grown up. He realized that he was now expected to go out into the world, get a good job, find himself a girlfriend, buy a house, settle down, have a family, save for his old age, and live his life patiently and contentedly, and not want anything for himself or make a fuss.

He tried very hard to do this, because he wanted to make his parents really proud. Especially since he had caused them so much stress and in his teens. But then something terrible started to happen. Something really terrible. He had never experienced anything like it in his life before. He found that he started to feel really angry inside. Explosively angry. Utter rage. And worse still, he found that this explosive rage would leak out suddenly when he was not expecting it. With his girlfriend, with his work colleagues, with total strangers in the street, or people serving at counters, or in cafes. And it was not a straightforward, clean sort of anger. It was nasty, mocking, and sarcastic. He found that he sometimes just wanted to hurt. He knew it was cruel, that the words once out of his mouth could never be unsaid. But he was terrified to discover that he simply did not care! He was not safe anywhere. He was a really bad person. Such a bad person. How had it come to this?

Suddenly, he found himself running. Running from it all. From the nastiness, from the hurt, from the confusion. From the mess. Most of all, from the mess. And then, as he ran, he found the roadway turning into a path, and then the path into a grassy track, the ground suddenly soft under his feet instead of hard and jarring. The air smelt different. Cleaner, lighter, like suddenly he could breathe. He bent over, doubled up, catching his breath in huge, deep gasps. It felt like he had been running for miles and miles. He wanted to stop. Just to stop. For it all to stop!

From bending double, gasping for air, he sank down, knees bent, and knelt on the ground. He found himself looking round. He had no idea how he had arrived at this place, but he seemed to be in a forest. He could smell the richness of the slightly damp ground he was kneeling on, and realized he found it surprisingly soothing, refreshing, and comforting. Sunlight found its way here and there down to the forest floor from high up in the canopy, and in one spot, where the sun threw down a full beam onto an outcrop of rocks, he noticed an old woman. She did not appear to be aware of him at first. She was weaving something in her hands, and seemed totally absorbed. However, he realized that he also knew, somehow and somewhere deep down inside, that this woman knew he was there with every fiber of her being. She was just waiting.

He rather liked this feeling; it was new. No one had ever waited for him like this before. They had always been expecting, never waiting. He cleared his throat. It was the way he had learned to attract attention without making too much of a fuss. It was being polite. To his surprise, the old woman appeared not to notice. She just carried on weaving whatever she was weaving with those nimble fingers of hers.

Danny found himself with a dilemma. Should he clear his throat again? Should he just wait? Should he just tiptoe quietly away? He decided he would clear his throat again. A little louder this time. Not too loud, just a little. He felt a strange pull to this old woman, though he had no idea why. He just knew he was meant to be here, in this place, at this moment, and that she had known he was coming and had been waiting for him.

The old woman clearly registered the second throat clearing. She inclined her head slightly towards him, as if acknowledging the sound, but still made no attempt to speak. She was listening though. Most definitely really listening. She was aware of everything that was going on, outside of him, but also inside.

Then she startled him. She laid whatever she was weaving down on the ground. And then slowly, purposefully, she lifted her head and looked straight at him. She had the most amazing eyes. They were dark, deep pools of fluid wisdom and knowing. She knew, and even though she knew, it was okay. He could not get his head around that one. Even though she knew, it was still ok. Those dark, deep pools held his, and he found himself letting go. Oh of so much. The eyes saw and absorbed and waited.

Suddenly, it felt a bit uncomfortable, like the shared gaze had gone on for just a tiny bit too long, and he broke it to look at the ground and to stroke his hand across the grass and moss where he was still kneeling. The old woman spoke.

‘My child,’ she said. It was a voice both gentle and strong, quite compelling.

He did not know why she had called him that. As far as he was aware, they had never met before. ‘Who are you?’ he asked.

‘My child.’ Again, those strange words. They made no sense… and yet, they did. ‘What have you come back for?’

It was getting really weird now. What was this about coming back? He had not been away. Had he? ‘What do you mean?’ Danny asked. He was both intrigued and nervous. He wanted to understand. Why had he come back? Why? The old woman looked at him again. Her gaze was steady, unwavering, and kindly. She could see so much more than he could, and yet she was waiting for him to know it. What had he come back for? What?

Then, he knew. Suddenly, he knew. Oh, the realization was so very wonderful. He could hardly contain his laughter. And then, all in a rush, he could not contain it. It exploded out of him, just like so much anger and rage had exploded out of him for months and months. And once he had started, he found he could not stop. The laughter burst out of him. Loud, hysterical laughter, as if he had just heard the funniest joke of his entire life. At first, it was a man’s laughter, loud and deep, then it became a belly laugh, then a boy’s giggles and eventually it had become the most joyous peel of laughter he had ever heard. And astonishingly, it was coming out of him!

The old woman’s eyes were merry, twinkling, encouraging. She smiled the most wonderful smile, and grinned as he laughed and laughed. And my goodness, how he laughed. He could suddenly see it all, and could feel a lightness as it all lifted from his shoulders. The weight of a lifetime.

‘It never was my job, was it?’ He finally managed to speak, and his voice was steadier. ‘All that… stuff… it was never my job.’

‘No wonder you were angry, my child. You have taken so much on yourself that was never yours to have to take. And you have lost your joy.’ And then softly, almost in a whisper, ‘ And that, as you have now realized, is what you came back for.’ She smiled, and held his gaze again, raising her eyebrows as she saw his recognition, saw it all sinking in and fitting into place, and nodded gently.

‘And now,’ the old woman said, in a tone that said they were both ready, ‘there is fun to be had and adventures to go on! So you’d better go back so you don’t miss them!’ Then, such a magical chuckle, like a thousand tinkling bells, and the old woman threw her hands up in the air and laughed and laughed.

When she finally stopped, Danny was standing in front of her, holding out his arms. He had no idea whether or not this was ok, but he rather sensed that she would know that this was the most spontaneous thing he had ever done in his life. And that she would not shame him. The old woman’s face melted into the most radiant, beaming smile, and she stood up and held her arms wide open. And when he sank into those arms, into the most complete and satisfying embrace he had ever known, he felt a strange remembering, of a place he had known before, of being held like this before, of being known and loved so unconditionally, just like this, before. He remembered!

It was the old woman who broke the embrace and, with tears in her eyes, stroked his cheek, and planted a kiss there. ‘And now,’ she smiled, ‘it really is time.’ The air all around shimmered with a strange light and, before his eyes, Danny watched as the old woman whose embrace he had just felt so tangibly seemed to become a thousand sparkling fireflies, and merge into the brightness that now lit up the entire clearing.

‘Until next time!’ the tinkling voice laughed. ‘Be sure to have lots of adventures! I’ll be always sharing the fun!’

And that is exactly what Danny did.

@ Janny Juddly 2015
(from “Dancers Amongst The Stars”)

 

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 ? ✨

DO YOU TRUST LIFE?

If you were asked if you trust life, I wonder what your answer would be. The answer might be immediately obvious to you, because the feeling that rises in you in response to that question is very clear. Alternatively, it might take you a while to ponder and consider. It might be a new thought, something you have not ever really considered before. Take your time, and think about it.

Do you say yes, because you trust that life is always bringing you exactly what experience you need in any given moment? That you know all is well no matter what is happening right now, or no matter how it might appear? Or do you say no, and that you feel that everything is completely unknown and unpredictable, and you do not like the feeling of being out of control? Maybe you talk about Fate. You might say that Fate seems to deal some people a good hand and others a not so good one. That it is the luck of the draw? Do you perhaps say that most of the time you do trust life, but you do find it comforting to seek out psychic readings and other methods of seeing into the future because it’s nice to know what the future holds? Just to be sure? Or maybe something different entirely?

It is an important question, because the way we view life determines how we engage with our life, and the way we choose to live it. It leads us, for instance, to either feel that we can jump in wholeheartedly to the opportunities life presents us with, because everything will be okay. Or it leads us to feel we want to hold back and to see guarantees before we make a move. Or it leads us to live in ‘if only’, and look on through the window at life going on for others, wishing we could go inside and join them but never quite finding the courage to do that.

Our response to that question also determines how we deal with troubles or apparent setbacks. I suspect many of us live our lives in more fear than we would maybe easily acknowledge to ourselves. Even those of us who would say that we were on a spiritual journey of self-discovery, and who were coming to realize just how much we influence the particular reality in which we exist, have a wobble now and then.

We like the words, ‘things are always working out for me’ and ‘you are always exactly where you need to be,’ that we hear so often amongst ‘enlightened’ friends and spiritual writers and teachers. We like the words a lot, and we would love to believe that they are true wholeheartedly. Really, we would. And we say them religiously day after day, several times a day, as affirmations or mantras. We try incredibly hard! But our history and experience of life to date seems to so easily contradict that. And so, perfectly understandably, we get scared.

I want to say ‘perfectly understandably’ because this is not about getting you to beat yourself up for your fears. Rather, it is about suggesting that, even in that place of fearfulness, you are doing what you came here to do. You are completely on track. This is not the way it seems. How about we go and visit the big picture for a few moments, and remind ourselves why we are here. Why we came.

We came here, as sparks of Source energy, to experience life in a human, physical form. We came for expansion. Source is always expanding. Forget anything you have heard about ‘it should be easy.’ That is just going to make you beat yourself up and believe you are getting it wrong when you hit those times when it is not feeling particularly easy. And sometimes it just is that way.

So what is this thing we refer to as expansion? How does Source expand? Why does Source need to expand at all? Source expands because that is the nature of love. And Source is Love. Source expands through the love and compassion which experiencing the whole range and extent of human joy and pain, fear and excitement, tension and release brings. It can be no other way. And you are Source energy, and so you came to do that.

Knowing that changes things a lot, if we allow it to! When we get fearful while looking through the eyes of our ego – the bit of us that holds us together while we’re getting used to how this ride goes – we can start to believe that life is dangerous and unpredictable, and we retreat from the greater truths we could get in touch with if we kept our hearts open, instead of shutting them down.

Those greater truths include the fact that we all chose the key elements of what experiences we would welcome in this lifetime, as Source energy, in the service both of our own expansion and the expansion of All That Is. We did not choose how we would react or respond – that is the bit that is about expansion. That is the journey and the challenge and the adventure of this lifetime. And it is easier once we embrace it rather than fighting it. Because then we can say, and understand the enormity of it, ‘everything is always working out for me’ or ‘I am exactly where I need to be.’

We can say that because we have grasped firmly that we are an integral and essential part of everything else, that we are not doing this separately or on our own, but as part of a web of energy and expanding love that never ceases to become more. We can then take fully on board that, as Source energy, we are on a mission. We are on the leading edge. And our journey, and what we choose to do with it, is being shared by more loving light energy and supportive presence than we can ever imagine, and that there is more profound wisdom and extraordinary power available to us in any given moment than we can begin to comprehend from this earthly perspective.

We can then begin to understand that those statements we say so readily are actually the statements of a powerful creator who has chosen to have a complex and expansive and fully human experience. A real experience, a full experience, an unconditional one. In Love and with compassion and loads and loads of help and support. And once we get that, everything changes. We have moved from powerless unwilling victim to powerful and willing creator.

And our relationship with Source shifts perspective too. We no longer expend endless effort trying to work out what prayers or rituals or affirmations we can use to persuade Source to make it different. We stand tall and know that we are a trailblazer, that we came because we were strong enough to play this role, see this out, make good sense of it and use it, grow in understanding and compassion, and joy and love through it, and mindfully, as co-creators, give that back to Source as glorious expansion. Because we are Source and the expansion is who we are becoming.

Do you see how different that is? Do you feel the excitement of the enormity of it! Can you feel the expansion of it already? So how about we go forward knowing that this is who we are, why we are, all we are? How about we remember where we came from and where we go back to, and who we remain all the time in between? How about we go forward in our full power, knowing all we have, all that surrounds us, all that is loving us and supporting us, sharing the wisdom and strength of all that is breathing every breath with us and looking through our eyes with us every single step we take, and expanding with every emotion we feel and every thought and perception we have?

How about we just do that!

@ Janny Juddly 2015
(from “Dancers Amongst The Stars”)

 

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

 

 

WHY IT’S SO HARD TO WALK AWAY FROM AN ABUSER

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t going to be one of those pieces where an empath meets a narcissist.

It’s going to be little messier—not so neat.

It’s also going to go a little deeper, not only into the psyche of the abuser, but also into the psyche of the one who can’t walk away. It’s going to involve looking deep into our shadow side, and the workings of our psyche, which is always pushing us towards health.

Before we get to how our psyche does that, however, we need to understand trauma: Every single one of us who finds ourselves entangled in an abusive or damaging relationship is actually trying to heal trauma.

I know, it might sound backwards, but when we are in an abusive relationship, our psyche somehow thinks that we can heal ourselves.

The word trauma has dramatic connotations. We tend to think it refers to someone who’s experienced a serious train crash or the violent and unexpected death of a loved one. But in actual fact trauma is anything that makes up feel that things are unsafe or unpredictable. And the most significant trauma happens to us in childhood, when we don’t have the resources that grown-ups have to deal with it.

There are two major types of trauma a child can experience. The two major wounds, if you like, that set us on the path towards a search for healing.

These are Intrusion and Abandonment.

And they don’t have to be real, or literal. They need only be experienced or perceived to be real. They simply have to make a child feel unsafe. So, sometimes we’re talking about actual abuse—sexual, physical, emotional, psychological—and sometimes we’re talking about a sensitive child who didn’t understand that teasing wasn’t meant seriously. With abandonment, we might be talking about neglect or a parent leaving or dying, but we might also be talking about a parent having appeared to stop thinking about the child, maybe because of the birth of a new baby, a parent becoming depressed or going into the hospital.

Clearly, some of these are way more deeply traumatizing than others, but we’re talking trauma nevertheless.

So, how does our psyche try to help us heal our trauma? It uses the most effective way ever! It makes us repeat the experience! (Incidentally, if it resonates with you, for “psyche” you can read “soul.”)

For many reasons, we’re drawn like magnets towards people who will recreate for us the exact same circumstances that caused our original trauma. The most obvious reason is so that we can experience a different outcome this time, by discovering that we can think and behave differently, and so bring about a better outcome. In other words, we find a way to love instead of hate.

When we do that, we’ve done the healing our psyche made us set out to do.

However, that bit usually comes last. On the way to that place, we’re likely to have to face not only our own trauma, but also the demons that our experience of that trauma placed alongside it. And we get to face them, always, by being brought face to face with someone who will mirror them back to us, because they have them too.

And they have them too, because they’ve known them, just like us.

It’s a bit like having a twin. It feels so good at first! We’re seen and known in a way we never thought possible. And this person gets it so clearly, seems to understand exactly where we’ve been, because they’ve had parallel experiences. It’s bliss! Effortless freedom!

But then it starts to go horribly wrong. This person isn’t just mirroring the good bits anymore, they’re mirroring all the other stuff too—the stuff we’ve tried to be in denial about, the bits of us that horrify us.

But that also draws us in further. There’s a part of us that’s drawn to the drama of being free to act out the demons that appal us with someone who’ll let us do that, and who’ll act them out back.

And so they start to hurt us, abuse us—often in the exact same ways that we’ve probably hurt others. And so the drama that’s meant to lead to healing unfolds. Messily. Dirtily.

Suddenly, we’re into the Abuser/Abused Dynamic, sometimes known as The Drama Triangle: Victim/Rescuer/Abuser. Round and round we go, exchanging and interchanging roles. And instead of walking away, like everyone who loves us keeps telling us to, we forgive and excuse again and again. We can’t seem to let go.

We know and recognize these wounds and we feel compelled to protect and forgive. To rescue.

But here’s the thing. Here’s the crucial thing!

See, the whole thing is just a play staged for our benefit. This is our story. And we’re our own victim, rescuer and abuser. It’s all a mirror, an illusion, one mighty holographic mirror into the human psyche. And its primary purpose is to help us find our way back to the unconditional love we actually are. We’ve met our nemesis so that we can break free and soar to our zenith. Everything is exactly as it should be, and we’re doing exactly what we came here to do: tasting the depths and heights of being fully human. And we’re doing it so well!

And actually, so is our twin! They’re playing their part to perfection too, exactly as they’d agreed. Wow, what a play, and how well it’s been staged!

See, we only get caught up in that Drama Triangle when we forget who we really are, and what’s really going on here. We only believe that our abuser needs rescuing if we believe the story that something terrible is happening. That this other person really is helpless and in need of our salvation. And also, only if we’ve forgotten who we really are and why we’re here.

And if we cling to the part of us that is hurt and twisted by pain, rather than freeing it to heal.

Once we remember that we’re actually taking part, mutually and voluntarily, in a play that—if we will only let it—will lead to healing and compassion, we’re able to look at what’s happening with fresh eyes. We realize that this other soul is on a journey too, of their own making and choosing. And that we have agreed to be co-creators for a time, for a reason, but that for each of us to fully live our purpose, we now have to let go. At least for now. In this life time. We have to walk away.

We talk so often about encountering mirrors, we refer to synchronicities, but we often tend to think on a small scale. But it’s happening on a larger scale, too, all the time. And in that knowledge, if we allow it, lies our freedom and our permission to walk away. Being fully human is their gift to us, not just ours to them. And the drama that’s been played out will have encapsulated the themes we chose to explore in this lifetime. And if we want to resolve them, the drama must end. We don’t have to make it neat; it can stay messy. After all, we have eternity.

And, knowing that, we can—and must—walk away.

@ Janny Juddly 2016

WHY OUR THOUGHTS DON’T CREATE REALITY: THE LAW OF ATTRACTION CLARIFIED

A few days ago, I published an article here at elephant journal called Thoughts Don’t Become Reality—Understanding The Law of Attraction.

Suddenly my inboxes were so full they were heaving!

So many people welcomed the article and the clarity it offered on the difference between a thought, a feeling, a belief and an emotion, and how all of that related to Law of Attraction.

However, there were also requests for more information, seeking even greater clarity and asking the “How to” questions.

So this is a response to those. If you didn’t read the article, you don’t need to have done so in order to benefit from this one; this will stand alone.

I hope it’s helpful!

First, the Law of Attraction can’t really be disputed. We live in a vibrational reality where everything is energy, vibrating at a particular frequency. As energy, we’re not separate from everything else, since everything is the same energy; our vibrational frequency affects the vibrational frequency of everything around us, near and far.

It’s why healers can affect the recovery of someone on the other side of the world.

Most of us wouldn’t disagree. The bit we might disagree about—because we are incredibly muddled here in the West about the difference between thoughts, beliefs, feelings and emotions—is the “how” of it.

We seem to have come up with a statement, which has become a belief, that our thoughts create our realities.

However, while our thoughts are part of what creates reality, they are not the prime mover. They’re one of the company directors, if you like, rather than the CEO.

Knowing and understanding this helps a lot. It instantly gives us the power to influence our reality faster and to change it permanently.

Let’s take the two major feelings from which every single other feeling in the Universe has its source: love and fear. Everything we create, vibrationally, arises out of one of those.

Everything. No exception.

That immediately makes it a whole lot easier.

Love and fear are feelings, not thoughts. We don’t think love or fear; we feel love and fear. And our emotions respond with sensations we can’t mistake. Vibrationally, love and fear are the most powerful vibrations in the universe, and this is the stuff of creation and manifestation.

A thought can recognise what we’re feeling by noticing its emotional manifestation in our body, it can help us to understand it, to contain it, to influence it…all of which is hugely important!

At no point are we saying that our thoughts aren’t a vital component. It’s simply that, in terms of our unique vibrational signature, thoughts aren’t the biggest players; emotions are. That’s because it’s emotions that emit our vibrational frequency. Our thoughts—with practice—can notice what’s going on and make it conscious. And, in that, they are immensely useful! But it doesn’t start there, nor does it end there!

To notice that we’re feeling love or fear is a thought. To then try to make all the reasons why we’re feeling love or fear conscious, is a thought process. But the thought “I’m feeling fear” or “I’m feeling love” in itself is not vibrational; the emotional reaction going on in our body, in response to the feeling of fear or love, is what is vibrating out into the Universe and, through the law of resonance (like vibrations attract), creating our reality.

That’s why affirmations (thoughts which are stating intentions and beliefs) work for some of us and not for others. If thoughts created reality, we’d only have to keep stating affirmations and bingo!…everything we’re intending to happen would happen, right?

But that’s not how it goes.

And that’s why it feels so important to me that I try to help us all get a little clarity on this. So we can create the reality we want, by understanding this whole business of vibration.

So, here’s Marie. She grew up in a family where everyone else got what they wanted—she had fairly self-centred parents, who followed their own dreams but forgot they had a little girl who had some of her own. So, by the time Marie is a grown woman, she has some pretty powerful beliefs going on about not being entitled, and not having the power to change things. She wants to, but those beliefs keep getting in her way, because they keep emitting fear.

Bad news in terms of The Law of Attraction!

Marie’s read lots of self-help books. Oh so many. With a fair degree of desperation, truth be told. She hopes they’ll help, but deep down she doesn’t believe they can help. Or that anything can help!

Then she comes across something called Law of Attraction. It’s new and exciting and she reckons it might be the answer she’s been looking for! Everyone keeps telling her: ‘Thoughts Become Things! Change your thoughts and your reality will change!’

It sounds pretty magical, but Marie’s thinking, what can she lose!

Marie starts saying affirmations out loud to herself morning and evening. She makes a vision board. She watches motivational videos. She joins Law of Attraction groups on Facebook. She signs up to receive motivational emails every day in her inbox. She’s doing everything she can!

But her reality doesn’t change; in fact, if anything, things feel even worse!

And Marie’s bewildered. She can’t understand why!

So, how does all this help us? And Marie?

How does Marie turn all that around?

With two emotional processes: empathy and imagination. Thinking is the tool; empathy and imagination are the power sources we must plug that tool into.

When Marie changes her emotional response, which is what is vibrating out into the Universe, busily creating her reality, her reality can’t help but change.

It’s Universal Law.

So she uses:

Empathy

This tells her where those emotions come from—which is always how the past felt to her, often as a child—and she can hold the hurt part of her in love and understanding (from her current adult perspective) rather than fear (the perspective of all that hurt part of her has learned to believe, and be angry and resentful about, and which is still vibrating out powerfully right now)

Imagination

This helps her feel differently about her past experience, and so to conjure up a different emotional response. Notice, I said feel differently, not think differently. It’s a different emotional response she’s after, not simply different thoughts! Once Marie has used empathy to soften how the past now feels, she can tap into that adult part of her, and begin to imagine a different reality so she can create different emotional responses, which in turn must create a different current and future reality.

And once she’s got her thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions all linked in together, she’s tuned in to all the abundance and certainty the Universe has been wanting to give her all along!

It isn’t that our thoughts don’t have a part to play. They help us to think about what’s going on. But it’s our emotional signature, our vibrational footprint, which is actually creating our reality, moment by moment.

Once we get that, and learn to use it consciously, with emotional awareness, we’re truly unstoppable! When we start making intelligent use of our emotional GPS in this way, The Universe responds! It can be no other way!

Happy manifesting!

@ Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket

“DEAR CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE” : AN OPEN LETTER TO ANYONE WHO HAS FORGOTTEN HOW TO LOVE THEMSELVES

“Dear Therapist in my Pocket, can I please ask you something? I’m so desperate!”

The message pinged into my inbox as I sat with my morning cuppa, having just opened my computer ready to start writing.

“Sure, go ahead!” I typed back.

“I don’t know how to love myself! I hate me! I loathe me! Please, please, please, can you teach me how to love myself?”

I set my cup down and felt the full impact of those words. The pain. The desperation. The fear. The need. I sat with that for a good few minutes, letting the enormity of this young woman’s confusion sweep right through me, finding all the bits of me that have also known this place once. Long ago now, but I can still remember.

Then I put the kettle back on and made a pot of tea as I tried to come up with what might help, be a starting point. Something.

I sat back down at the computer to reply. I want to share that reply, in case it might help anyone else who also knows this place. Here’s what I wrote:

“Dear Child of the Universe,

Yes, that’s what you are. I know that’s going to feel a bit weird, a bit crazy. But it’s where we have to start. Hang on in there with me. Just hear me out. I promise I’ll get to your question. This is the best way I know to answer it.

I want to tell you why you’re here, and who you really are.

You are a child of the Universe, just as I am, too. You’re not alone here. The energy that is you is the same energy that is me. I am you and you are me, and so everything you have known, I have known too. Everything I know, you also know. Since the beginning we have been, and we always will be. In Love and Oneness. We are the Universe become human.

When you dig deep, it’s all there. You’ve just forgotten. Just as you were meant to forget. Just as you agreed to forget, just for a little while. But now you’re ready to remember. And you’ve shown up, just as I’ve shown up, just as we planned and agreed, before we incarnated here, in order for you to do just that.

What a time that was, how eager and excited we were, you and I, each busy planning how the adventure of this lifetime would go! In that place we all beat in time to the One Heart, held in the beautiful knowing of its tender embrace.

If you let go a little, fade out of the wanting into the stillness beyond, you can still find that place. It’s in the space between your thoughts. Always there!

And we planned this moment, you and I. Do you remember? The threads that were to be your life and my life would intertwine in this briefest of moments, this gentlest touching of souls, so that we would bless each other and be forever changed.

I am you, remember, just as you are me. Together with all that is, we are the creator of worlds, incarnated here in this time/space reality, in order to expand still further the depth and breadth of compassion and unconditional love of the Universe which is breathing us and which is living every moment in and with and through us.

Just think of that, just stay with that for an instant.

Here you are, a magnificent being of light and love and unimaginable power, a vital and unique part of the web of light and love that holds the very fabric of the Universe together, incarnated here to gift us with a journey that you—and only you—can make. This adventure is uniquely yours, Dear Child of the Universe, and you are walking your path so perfectly. You are doing everything you came here to do, in exactly the way you came here to do it. Nothing is going wrong, nor can it ever.

Let me tell you exactly how the Universe that you are, and that I am also, expands in compassion and unconditional love. It is through experiencing contrast.

How can we grow in love unless we have known what it is to feel the suffering that is hate, to struggle through shame, to feel the awful pain of jealousy? And, by growing through them, finding a place of understanding and forgiveness? How else does a loving Universe expand?

And so, only the bravest of us come for the adventure and the gift, Dear Child of the Universe. Only the strongest, the oldest souls, do what you are doing. And what I am doing also. Before we come, while we still know who we really are, and are planning what this adventure will entail, our motive is Love. We come for Love. And for the fun of it. For there is oh-so-much fun to be had too! So much laughter and companionship along the way. We just have to find our Tribe and it will be there.

So we pack our suitcase, jump into the birth canal, and here we are!

And, after a few weeks to acclimatise, we experience the onset of amnesia. We forget everything. We no longer know who we are, or why we came. We become fully human, but never cease to be Divine. And all the while, with every step we take, every breath we breathe, we are surrounded by more light and love, help and support, guidance and encouragement than we can begin to imagine from this place of forgetting.

By the way, we never make this journey alone. We’re cheered on at every turn, and we are constantly receiving signs of love and guidance if we have our eyes open and will only look. It’s in that place of stillness between our thoughts, and in the synchronicities that are always happening. It’s constant!

And when our journey is done, we go back home. To so much love and tender care, excited welcome and congratulations, so much appreciation and gratitude for the amazing gift we have given, the lessons we have shared, the expansion in compassion and unconditional love that has happened as the direct result of this lifetime we have lived.

And so, let’s go back to your question, Precious Child of The Universe. And how to love yourself. Well, I would suggest there are maybe two ‘”hows’” to that:

The first is, remember who you really are. Not who you seem to be, from this human perspective, but who you really are: a magnificent and all powerful incarnation here to become perfectly imperfect for a while. A Child of The Universe.

The second is, forgive yourself for forgetting. We beat ourselves up so much for forgetting, for our humanness, for the things we believe we’ve got wrong, the mistakes we think we’ve made. And all the while, what we’ve actually been doing is walking our path, faithfully and bravely, exactly as we’d agreed. We’ve been busy living the contrast we agreed we’d live. How amazing are we?

And so, Dear Child of the Universe, since you are the Universe living and loving and breathing, and since the Universe is unconditional love forever expanding, what’s not to love? In truth, you can’t not love, because you are love. And if you feel loveless, or unworthy of love, just try reminding yourself of who you really are, and go that extra mile and forgive yourself for forgetting.

After all, we all think you are utterly amazing! And we think you’re doing an incredible job! Perfect, in fact!

Truth be told, we’re all watching in awe!

@ Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket

GOD, A TREE STUMP, RUMI & ME

“I looked in temples and churches and mosques. But I found The Divine in my heart.” ~ Rumi

When you’re a child, you don’t know you’re encountering God.

Or rather, you know you’re encountering something; you just don’t necessarily call that something God. I think that children encounter the divine often and easily. They remember in a way that isn’t yet clouded, and see in a way that isn’t yet veiled or distorted, by a world that wishes to teach them a different way.

When I was little, the word I found in my head for this strange presence that seemed to be able to put its arms around me was “The Hug.”

This “Hug” could be found in a number of places but, most intensely, I felt it down by the river.

When things in the farmhouse were particularly bad, and the hatred and viciousness threatened to overwhelm and break me, I’d creep out across the lawn, past the calf sheds, through the milking parlour, climb over the fence and run across the field and down the hill to the place that I knew would restore me.

Sometimes I’d run so hard my whole body felt like it was shattering from the pounding of my feet and heart. This part was the most dangerous. I knew that, once I reached a certain point on the slope down, I was out of sight and no one would be able to call me back. And once I reached that point, I knew I was safe. But until then, until I was below the brow and out of sight, I knew I wasn’t yet safe.

Within minutes, I’d be there. First I’d hear the river, with its familiar melody as it rippled and gurgled over the slippery rocks covered in river weed. Something would leap in my chest, as I moved out of that world of coldness and shouting and into another world of gentleness and soothing.

And then, at last, I’d see the tree stump.

My pace would have slowed to a walk by then, and my breath would be steadier. “The Hug,” I knew, was waiting. Just like always.

As I crawled through the tiny rabbit hole-like entrance, into the cave itself, the smell of earth and river filled my senses. An old tree, probably struck by lightning, had fallen over, tearing up the ground with its roots to create a cave in the soil. The front of the cave opened straight out onto the river itself, and so the tiny entrance on the side was the only way in. Inside, the cave walls were covered with a mass of roots, like arteries and veins. This was where “The Hug” lived, and where I felt its arms enveloping me as I sat there, deep in its womb.

It would begin with a sensation, a mixture of goosebumps and sunlight, streaming into me, filling my whole body. And then, the squeeze, followed by the tenderest feeling of being held close. Gradually, I would lose all sense of myself until, once again, The Hug and I were one, and I no longer knew what was The Hug and what was me. All I knew was a bliss and joy I could find nowhere else, and a calm beyond anything I could begin to understand. I was immersed in a knowing and a being beyond words, for which I had no concept. To me, it was simply “The Hug.”

I would now call it love beyond comprehension. It wasn’t the theory of love, or an act of love. It waslove.

And in its embrace, I was love too.

And as I would sit snuggled in that tenderest of hugs, I would find my gaze drawn to the river, as it meandered in front of the cave. Sometimes joyous, sparkling and dappled with sunlight, other times heavy and dark and mysterious. But always I would find myself flowing in and with it, knowing that it carried in it the wisdom of the ages, that it knew me, just as it had always known me.

But as I grew up, learned, read, searched, was sent to Sunday school, went to church—in fact, many churches offering just as many dogmas—nowhere did I seem to be able to find anything that spoke to me of that hug I had known. And continued to know. No longer in that one place, but in many places and in many forms. I knew its essence, and somehow its essence was also my essence. Yet everywhere I looked, I could only find references to a power outside of myself, different from me, vaster and wiser than me—yes, that was accurate—yet with none of the intimacy that continued to be my experience.

And then, I found Rumi!

You know that wonderful moment when something resonates and you hear your truth mirrored back to you? And you know you’ve come home? Here it all was! All I’d known in that tree stump cave across that field by the river! Word upon word, line after line, poem after poem:

“There’s a field somewhere beyond all doubt and wrong doing. I’ll meet you there.”

“What you seek is seeking you.”

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.”

“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.”

“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.”

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”

“When you do things from your soul, you feel the river moving in you, a joy.”

“Purify your eyes, and see the pure world. Your life will fill with radiant forms. “

“Even when tied in a thousand knots, the string is still but one.”

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

“Try another way of looking. Try you looking and the whole universe seeing.”

It was all there! All I’d experienced, put into words that resonated in the deepest parts of me, finding the joy that had been waiting always to be found. That of knowing and being known, being held in the most complete hug we can ever know.

And so I’ve come home. To the oneness I’ve always known, simplicity, the love I believe we all are, the vastness and intimacy of this amazing universe, the Hug! This has been my journey. To my truth. In my own way.

And I share it with you not to say this should be your truth, but rather as an invitation for you to find and speak and share your truth too. Whatever that might be. For that can only enrich us all, and the oneness we share and are.

Maybe Rumi could have the final word:

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”

@ Janny Juddly 2016

The Therapist in my Pocket