July 5, 2020 at 3:21 pm #360729
I am having a bit of a stressful time right now and may need a day or two until I can write properly, but I just wanted to tell you that I had a huge breakthrough this morning, and I am so happy about this. I know I still have a long way to go, but I our communication is so fruitful for me and motivates me very much to believe I can make it.
JuanitaJuly 5, 2020 at 3:37 pm #360732
I appreciate your note, including you letting me know that you need a day or two before you can write properly about the huge breakthrough you had this morning. I am looking forward to read about it when you are ready.
anitaJuly 6, 2020 at 4:19 pm #360855
the good things began with me having a not so nice experience. It was all set off by me telling you about that old situation; it caused me some quite bad trauma symptoms, especially the next morning. I slept badly and then had a bad head, dreadful nausea and felt generally horrendous upon waking, with all the memories like a film going through my head and my body reacting.
I knew I didn’t want to write about it, that it was going against my own felt boundaries, but I didn’t realise until I was feeling so desperate that I could have just told you there is something really awful happened and this is the reason, leaving you to accept or not.
It seems I needed to feel so dreadful to finally realise that I just need to accept my boundaries myself. If something is a no for me, then I don’t need to figure out how to make it a no for other people, I just need to simply communicate my truth. That’s all. I became acutely aware that going over my own boundaries is part of this people-pleasing and hypervigilance pattern of behaviour I am becoming aware of, and because of feeling so abysmally ill, it seemed to just flick a switch within me and I vowed I am not going to do anything like that to myself again. That feels very good, a huge weight off my shoulders.
This new understanding also helps me to resolve a situation a while back with a therapist I was seeing. She kept trying to force me to book sessions although I clearly stated that I had to take some time out to deal with some problems and didn’t have the capacity for more. It was a battle to get her to accept my no and I was still doubting myself a bit.
But I have now realised that the only thing which has been missing for me to finally “get” how to set boundaries is that I have to completely and naturally believe in my RIGHT to have boundaries and set them. Period. (WOW!!!) This was a total revelation for me. I could really feel it deep within.
Even though I theoretically knew I have the right to set boundaries, but a part of me still didn’t believe I can be so bold, can have the right to say, “that is crossing my boundaries and is not acceptable”.
And now to return to my trauma repeat, as there is something else to tell you. I had a most amazing experience, even though it was awful to begin with because of feeling so ill and having breathing difficulties, but I am used to bringing myself back to a place of calm, so I stayed with it. I went outside and sat in my garden, all the while my senses were being overwhelmed by the visual memories and sounds and smells of the past like a film, and my body’s reactions.
But then slowly my senses also became aware of how beautiful my surroundings are. It was early and the sky was a beautiful, luminous speedwell blue, not yet faded by the sunlight, which was dappled through the trees, somehow reflecting on their leaves like sprinklings of silver rhinestones. It was beginning to warm up but the air was still slightly heavy with dew, a lovely freshness bearing the scent of foliage and the earth itself.
Suddenly I became aware of being almost in two worlds at the same time, the world in my head, a nightmare, and this amazingly beautiful Garden of Eden in which I was sitting. My dogs were with me and oddly enough, the neighbours’ horses also came right to the fence (normally they pass by in a moment) and all three stayed “with me” for about 20 minutes until my breathing finally normalised. One horse in particular looked at me the whole time. They’ve never done that before, but I felt them to be so supportive, just being there.
And as the nightmare world began to dissipate, I felt as if I were seeing my house and garden for the first time, really seeing, and I realised that I am already where I want to be. I don’t need to push myself so hard any more, I can just be. I can stop and smell the roses. I can feel safe. I was so unsure about what I am doing, worrying if I am crazy to be investing my time and energy, and money I can ill afford, into making a rented house nicer and making a garden. But in that moment I knew this is exactly the healing that my soul needs and nothing could be more right. Such a sense of peace came over me. I felt a wave of relief, and also the safety that being able to settle gives you. I felt that I can dare to make a business and dare to make a life here. It doesn’t have to be always drama and disaster; I can just have a quiet, happy little life.
All my trauma symptoms gradually receded and I was so happy! I felt like I was on top of the world. I also made up my mind to address my hypervigilance, because I found it really distressing to realise that I am more focussed upon others that myself, and being a people-pleaser means not being true to oneself, or even being oneself, for that matter.
And now … I can hardly believe it, a REALLY weird situation has arisen that I don’t know how to deal with. I know what I feel, which is sad and angry and rebellious. But I would like to share what it is about with you and hear your wisdom.
My friend, the one I was thinking to start a business with, called me and told me that my neighbours (her close relatives) had told her some stories about me. It turns out that the woman has got me down as a witch and Satanist because I picked some wild portulac, and because I use dowsing to test which homeopathy to give my pets. The worst sin being that I use a cross as a pendulum (because it’s the right weight for the job!) My friend said I just have to accept they are ignorant people who’ve never seen anything of the world and just don’t talk about anything “unusual” with them, etc. and keep acting “normal”.
I was very grateful that she told me, but frankly pretty shocked. First I was afraid that I will now be rejected and made an outcast locally (already happened to me for the same reasons), that I cannot settle here after all. But then I began to feel VERY angry and I thought I am so done with being a people-pleaser and being polite. And no way am I going to keep acting like I have to keep my truth hidden and act like we are friends. Coz I don’t consider people friends if they talk like that about me behind my back and smile in my face. I know there are cultural differences, but I am feeling pretty rebellious right now.
Am I responsible for other people’s ignorance? Do I have to distort myself and my truth so that they can feel comfortable? I feel like confronting the woman to be honest, because these are the ignorant people who in times past caused innocent people to die, due to their malicious gossip. Or shall I just stop going there, just keep my distance and leave them to it?
I will certainly not keep up a pretence and go visit with them, that is totally sure, even if they are my friends’ relatives. I am not sure which variation I should go with. I would really like to hear what ideas you have.
Just as I was thinking that I have finally overcome the dramas and misery in my life. I have had so many other awful things happen throughout my life and I so just need peace. But I haven’t been too successful at gaining much peace so far, so I am worried, do I get peace by just quietly withdrawing, or do I get peace by standing my ground, or even challenging them?
My God, just as I thought I was finally getting to a place of peace.
JuanitaJuly 6, 2020 at 6:42 pm #360870
I read just a bit of what you shared and I am looking forward to read your recent post thoroughly when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.
anitaJuly 7, 2020 at 4:07 am #360898
my friend has asked me not to say anything to her relatives because she doesn’t want them to know that she warned me. I credit her with having done so, which many people wouldn’t, so I feel I have to respect her wish. At least this way I am not heading into further disaster with others too.
I still feel that this is a turning point for me. Especially regarding no longer shrinking myself to be acceptable to others. I just cannot do that any more. Maybe it was good that I felt so angry and have decided to put a stop to this judgement of me being too tall, too educated, too unconventional, too … anything. Whoever doesn’t like that knows where the door is. I have tried to be what others demanded all my life and it hasn’t made me happy. So then I’ll just stick to the company of dogs and horses rather than twist myself any more.
I am certainly not going to seek my neighbours’ company again, but perhaps at some time a situation will arise where I can then say my piece without compromising my friend. I also wanted to wait a bit anyway so my anger subsides and I don’t end up in a slanging match. (Coz at the moment I’d be foaming at the mouth if I saw that woman!!)
One thing which has become clear to me is that I totally underestimated this aspect of moving to live in a very rural, “time has stood still” kind of place, which is very charming overall, but I didn’t realise that it means the inhabitants are also still stuck in the Middle Ages in their heads. So it has been a big lesson for me. My friend told me the whole village is like her relatives, full of fear, superstition, ignorance, having seldom left their village, scarcely educated. It was a strange moment, as if I could suddenly peer back to the time of Gutenberg and grasp what a huge thing the start of education for the masses really meant. I don’t think I’ve ever been so conscious before of what it means to have travelled and had an education, and I don’t consider myself very specially travelled or educated by any means.
So I want to be humble about this too. Those people cannot help being the way they are through their social situation. But I really don’t see why you have to bad mouth about people just because you feel afraid or don’t understand something. I cannot accept that and I am sick of being treated that way.
I so appreciate your views and ideas on all this, dear Anita, and altogether that you are there and I have the possibility of this exchange and learning process. It has been very instrumental in me being able to face this situation without going back into my shell, succumbing to depression again and giving up on humanity.
It’s not been easy being a big woman, but I finally want to embrace this. There must be some good aspects of being “too” everything. (I’m laughing and crying at the same time whilst writing that last sentence!)
JuanitaJuly 7, 2020 at 4:30 am #360902
Sorry, I just remembered one more thing: in retrospect I can see that the situation felt familiar because I noticed the woman had become distant and more silent towards me some time ago but I had no idea what to attribute this to. I realise now that I could have simply asked. However, unconsciously she reminded me of my mother: silent, brooding, acting friendly but her energy was of rejection/defense, and so I didn’t dare ask because as a child it meant getting into trouble (a beating or verbal attack).July 7, 2020 at 7:48 am #360919
“It was early and the sky was a beautiful, luminous speedwell blue, not yet faded by the sunlight, which was dappled through the trees, somehow reflecting on their leaves like sprinklings of silver rhinestones. It was beginning to warm up but the air was still slightly heavy with dew, a lovely freshness bearing the scent of foliage and the earth itself”- amazing writing, it has the sound of beautiful music.
“I realised that I am already where I want to be. I don’t need to push myself so hard anymore, I can just be… such a sense of peace came over me”- this sense of peace will need to be maintained, brought back when it slips away and take it in, time and time again.
I encourage you to state your truth with me at any time, to say No, to set your boundaries. I will respond well whenever you set a boundary with me, even thank you for doing so. No need to explain yourself when you say No, no need to justify your No. As a matter of fact, it will be a good practice for you to say No, so when you see an opportunity, take advantage of it and state your No.
You wrote that your friend told you that your neighbors think that you are “a witch and Satanist” because:
1. You picked some wild portulac. The plant Portulaca orleracea is edible and used fresh in salads and, stir-fried dishes, or cooked in soups and stews, so I read in Wikipedia. Why is it witchy to pick it?
2. You used dowsing to test which homeopathy to give your pets, using a dowsing tool that includes a cross as a pendulum.
* I went online and read that dowsing is: it’s “a way to get answers to questions you cannot answer rationally.. Old time dowsers would search to drill for water. You can’t know where to drill using only your rational mind. You’d have to guess. So they used dowsing, an intuitive method that gives you answers to questions you can’t answer logically. Dowsing is basically a search.. for answers. You can be asking any question: ‘Where’s the water?’.. “Where are my lost keys?’, ‘What’s the best car to buy?’ “Is this person a good marriage partner for me?’. Usually your question is worded so that your answer will be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’… Most dowsers use a tool of some kind to indicate the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the question. A pendulum or L-rods are popular tools… Your dowsing tool will help you see if the answer to your question is ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But the tool is not giving you the answer; it merely indicates it. It is necessary to get into a sort of altered brain state, the ‘dowsing state’, in order to access the answers to your questions”-
-If I understand correctly, you wanted to know which homeopathic medicine to give your pet, so you used a tool with a pendulum to point to the correct medicine to use. I wonder if you dowse on a regular basis when needing answers to a variety of questions, and if you do it in your garden (visible to the neighbors)?
You asked regarding your neighbors, “shall I just stop going there, just keep my distance and leave them to it?”- I would say keep your distance and leave them to it, at this point. I may have a better suggestion as to what to do after I understand your dowsing practice better.
“do I get peace by just quietly withdrawing, or do I get peace by standing my ground, or even challenging them?” – depending on the context: withdraw in certain contexts and stand your ground/ challenge people in other contexts. In nature, animals withdraw/ run away when that’s their best chance to prevent/ escape danger. Animals who fight danger do so when they have no way to prevent the danger, or run away from it, and/ or they innately believe they are physically strong enough to win the fight, to come out of it alive.
“It’s not easy being a big woman”- can you clarify for me what you mean by being a big woman?
anitaJuly 7, 2020 at 10:08 am #360927BrandyParticipant
I hope you don’t mind my sharing my thoughts about your situation on this thread that you’ve addressed to Anita. I agree that this can be a “turning point” for you, an opportunity for real growth.
You were experiencing great distress, feeling ill with difficulties breathing, your body reacting from the sounds and smells of your traumatic past, so you sat in your garden to calm yourself and your senses slowly shifted to the beauty of your surroundings, breathing became easier, you started to feel safe and happy, your trauma symptoms lifted. You realized that you’ll be okay in spite of your unbearable history. You were at peace.
Later that same day you received a phone call from a friend who informed you of some hurtful things your neighbor had said about you behind your back. Feelings of rejection and worries of becoming an outcast in the community overwhelmed you. You no longer felt safe and happy. The peace you had felt was now gone.
What a perfect opportunity to practice what you learned earlier that day: no matter how distressing your situation, you have the ability to return to that place of safety, happiness, peace. It’s always at your fingertips.
Difficult situations will continue to present themselves. The more opportunities we’re given to practice mindfulness the stronger we’ll become. It’s liberating to realize that life’s struggles can no longer derail us, empowering to find ourselves on the other side of a crisis — to encounter your backbiting neighbor and have no negative feelings toward her. You’ve been there; now you need to return there as often as possible, but it takes commitment and focus.
To answer your question, I would keep my distance from my neighbor but if by chance we do happen to cross paths, I would be sincerely warm and friendly, send her the love that she so clearly is lacking.
BJuly 7, 2020 at 10:11 am #360928
thank you for complementing my descriptive writing. I’m beginning to think I should try to practise descriptive writing more often, but it only arises within me when I feel inspired. That’s how I used to write poetry but the inspiration left me many years ago.
For me the sense of peace has to do both with living in a peaceful place but also with feeling I can set down roots. This situation with the neighbours made me feel wobbly again but I know it is best to stay here, both because it is very far away from my family but also simply for the sense of stability and continuity in my life as I have lived here for over 18 months now. I will keep working in my garden in the mornings, that is always a time when I can feel the peaceful effect nature has upon me.
I had to cry when I read that you encourage me to practise saying No. That is so kind and supportive of you, thank you. I begin to realise that this is a deep inner wound. The irony is that I am such an advocate of human rights, yet barely believe in my own right to have rights! Thank you for your generosity and for supporting me to heal.
Portulac: it tastes delicious, I just love eating it as it is very fresh and crunchy as a salad. It is also very healthy. It beats me why that should be witchy, but as I said, I’ve discovered that I am living in a very backward area and everything which is not normal is suspicious. And apparently eating “weeds” counts as highly suspicious. I guess because herbs are associated with witches and they don’t know it’s a succulent vegetable and not an herb.
The dowsing: it’s like this, I used to know people who dowsed regularly but although I once tried using their instruments I just found it very irritating (I’m too impatient) and not concrete and clear enough for me. Sometimes yes was suddenly no when I asked again, so I just left it. I wasn’t really interested either. Then, fast forward several years, I was living for a year on the road, travelling with my pets and husband in a caravan. My dog became very ill and we were in the middle of nowhere. I wondered what the hell to do. I had homeopathic medicines with me as our little first aid kit because I’ve been using them for about 30 years now (they have a much longer tradition in Europe) but I didn’t know what was actually wrong with the dog. Then it occurred to me that I could try dowsing. I thought I have nothing to lose. I didn’t have a pendulum to hand of course, so I dug around in my jewellery box and figured the cross I’d recently bought as a souvenir would do. It isn’t a crucifix, it’s white with four equal sides and decorated with clover leaves. So I tried it on some string, gave the dog the tested medicine and was amazed and relieved that she began to quickly recover. Therefore I’ve used this for my pets ever since. I never use it for anything else because I think with the pets I’ve got nothing to lose as I can’t talk to them but otherwise dowsing is not for me because I still don’t think it’s that reliable tbh. Maybe for others but not for me.
I only have to dowse if my pets are ill, so normally 3 or 4 times per year as they are usually very healthy (read: very fussed over!) and I certainly don’t stand in the garden to do it! LOL! The thing with the neighbour happened because the man came with some eggs for me and he said he was ill and getting a bad fever and had tummy ache. I had just been dowsing for my cat because as you know, she wasn’t well for a long time after her operation, and so I said I could test for him whether it was just a simple bug or a worse infection. I could kick myself now for having even said it. I have never dowsed for anyone before; I don’t know what came over me. I think it was this bloody damn blasted people-pleasing and feeling bloody damn blasted guilty that he came over to bring me eggs when he was feeling ill (even though I hadn’t asked for them and kept telling him I hardly ever eat eggs. Aaarrrghhhh!!!!! )
I do of course know that the local religion is Catholicism but I didn’t think it was such a big deal in the 21st century. But evidently it was when he saw the cross. I tried to explain it was just because I didn’t have anything else. Using it so seldom, it didn’t seem worth buying a proper pendulum, and the cross doesn’t mean anything to me in a religious context. It’s just the right bloody weight, that’s it. I only tested for one medicine which I know you need if it is a bad infection and it was positive. He was taken into hospital the next day with gallbladder inflammation and blood poisoning.
So that’s the real dowsing story … the man’s wife, when she told my friend, was making out I’d been using the cross like a religious object and saying incantations. All total imagined nonsense. I was all of one minute at the most and didn’t say anything.
The thing that makes me angry is the woman’s vindictiveness and painting me – literally – black, as in black magic yet I was only trying to help him. I think she may also be jealous as my friend now told me that when I am not there he jokes that he will try and get me in bed. He’s about 15 years older than me. I am not interested and have certainly not shown any interest but you never know what may be going on with their marriage. Although it should be obvious as I’m easily 30 cm taller than he is. He also offered me money if I were to be in need and I think his wife got wind of this. I naturally refused and I don’t often go there either, I just tried to maintain a friendly but not too close contact. Unsuccessfully.
As far as this whole situation is concerned, I see that my part is to learn to speak things out, even if it might be uncomfortable. So I think it would have not become so complicated if I’d said to the man months ago in an irritated tone that it annoys me that he’s always asking if I’m missing anything as a woman living alone, and all the insinuations and told him to bloody stop asking. I was trying to be polite and friendly and keep the peace. I am beginning to understand that being forthright and setting uncomfortable boundaries is a lot better in the long run.
In my search for peace, I think that the issue of peace has a lot to do with my early childhood. I have very chaotic and disturbing memories. When my mother wasn’t raging (when we were alone with her) then she was regularly screaming and crying and trying to commit suicide when my father was there. It was always very dramatic and I felt very sorry for my mother, of course.
I reflected the other day that in many of the relationships I have been in, there were very dramatic situations and I always felt I had to stay there and help until everything was okay again. I often got stuck with someone for years although I realised early on that I was not interested in them, but now there was this emergency that I had to stay for and make sure everything turned out well.
It is always the same with my parents, they mainly only contact me when I am to help them with something, usually health-wise as I know a lot about alternative medicine. Ironically I have learned a lot because they were such poor parents that I had to begin very early to figure out how to help myself.
I’m feeling a lot calmer in the meantime and will try to let the situation diffuse whilst actively avoiding contact from now on. It helps me so much just to know I can speak of this with you and it’s not going round and round in my head only. I am beginning to realise what my mistakes were and I’m just glad that my friend made me aware, as this is all helping me to stop being a people-pleaser and feeling guilty when people do nice things for me. I felt so terrible that he was standing there in pain and I felt I had to do something, yet now this is my own crucifixion! Being so angry with myself for my mistakes is at least a good way of curing my self-destructive programmes.
You ask what I mean with “big”. I am not overweight, but I am quite tall for a woman, and as I said, I seem to be just too “big” for some people to deal with in a metaphorical sense. I shared in another post that I was too intelligent as a child for my parents’ comfort, too intelligent for the comfort of some of my teachers too. I didn’t actually cause a big fuss or act out, they just noticed I was smart and it made them feel uncomfortable. Maybe being quietly smart makes people more uncomfortable than being loud with it! Like for these neighbours I am “too strange” because they can’t believe a single woman can live so isolated, too strange for eating weeds, being a vegetarian, using homeopathy. I learned too fast at school, I was too independent to suit my mother, too confident. I don’t know what else, that kind of thing. To me it feels that people always seem to notice where I am different than they are and try to get me to conform, which for me means a reduction in some way of being me.
I find it stupid too, because everyone is different. There are billions of people in many extremely different cultural and religious situations. To my mind, all these people are right because there is no one right way of being human, but I always seem to meet people who find something about me is “too …”
So they find me too talented and are threatened by it, too tall and … I actually used to get sworn at in the street many years ago when living in a country where the men are all small and my height offended their macho pride!, too lucky – if I was ever doing well then I always had a few people envious and calling me too lucky. How the hell can you be too lucky?? I was just working hard, not amazing good luck. Now I am thinking I should have just been a lot more forthright and told a lot of people where to stick it.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. What is this all about? No wonder I have tried to get away from people as much as possible in the meantime. I wouldn’t have even had more than polite “hello” contact with the neighbours but they basically obliged me to go there (because they need entertaining) and now this is what has come of it.
Is there something wrong with me that I am not aware of? I just want to be me and live in peace and leave others in peace. I cannot recognise something wrong with that.
JuanitaJuly 7, 2020 at 11:06 am #360931
You answered all my questions, thank you. Having all this information, seems to me that the best thing for you to do is to stay away from your neighbors, be polite when you bump into them and that’s all. Don’t interact with them outside basic niceties. If the husband approaches you again, do not open your door to him, minimize the interaction to the absolute minimum. (If he or his wife harass you in any way, that will be time for a different strategy).
As you learned, better not dowse with strangers present anymore, especially using a cross in a Catholic region. We talked about being true to oneself. I will add to it today the following: be selective as to what part of your true self you show to whom, be discerning (evaluating people and situations before talking/ acting) and self disciplined (as opposed to being predominantly impulsive). If you believe in the need to be discerning and reasonably disciplined for your own good, then these two things are parts of your true self.
“I just want to be me and live in peace and leave others in peace. I cannot recognize something wrong with that”- neither can I. Being discerning and reasonably self disciplined with neighbors and strangers will promote your desired experience of living in peace in society. It is with people you know and trust well, that you can aim at being spontaneous and carefree.
anitaJuly 7, 2020 at 2:15 pm #360963
thank you for your very down-to-earth advice and I especially thank you for being so patient with me and taking me step by step through this process. By doing so a lot of small puzzle pieces are suddenly coming together. I will try to summarise them tomorrow and post them. Ever more confusion is dissolving and a clear picture is beginning to emerge.
I have translated you a poem here which I really like (much better in the original but you will get the meaning I think) from Rainer Maria Rilke. I like a lot of his poems but very few are translated into English unfortunately. I hope you enjoy it too.
I wish you a lovely day.
I have a deep dread of the spoken word
They pronounce every word so clearly
So this is “dog” and this is “house”
And here is the beginning, and the end is over there.
I fear their real intentions, their games of irony
They know all that has ever been or ever will be
To them no mountain is sacred, no,
Their garden and property border right next to God.
I always feel the urge to give warning and defend myself: stay away.
I love hearing the songs that all things sing.
But then they touch them and render them stiff and silent.
They kill the life out of everything.July 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm #360971
You are welcome, and thank you for the poem.
Rainer Maria Rike: Das Stunden-Buch, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, Duino Elegies.. (I don’t speak German, I get this from Wikipedia).
* Wer, wenn ich schriee, horte mich den aus der Engel Ordnungen?= Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the hierarchies of angels?
Reminds me how long I lived unheard. I used to walk in the dark looking up at the starry sky, picking any one star and asking that star to help me.
* He wrote in one of his poem: “I am much too small in this world, yet not small enough to be to you just object and thing” (I am much too alone in this world..)
* “I have a deep dread of the spoken word.. And here is the beginning, and the end is over there”- he spoke he words, the pages of his creations would be empty without the spoken word.
anitaJuly 7, 2020 at 6:28 pm #360982
Four posts ago another member, Brandy, replied to you. You submitted your post three minutes after she did, so I think that you may have missed it.
anitaJuly 8, 2020 at 3:05 am #361002Canadian EagleParticipant
Love this poem by Rilke, thank you for sharing I added it to my diary as a poem to remember …. it reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s view on words ..
The word honey isn’t honey. You can study and talk about honey for as long as you like, but you won’t really know it until you taste it. After you have tasted it, the word becomes less important to you. You won’t be attached to it anymore. Similarly, you can talk or think about God continuously for the rest of your life, but does that mean you know or have even glimpsed the reality to which the word points? It really is no more than an obsessive attachment to a signpost, a mental idol. The reverse also applies: If, for whatever reason, you disliked the word honey, that might prevent you from ever tasting it.July 8, 2020 at 10:15 am #361030
You are welcome, glad you like it.