Hibernating and Withdrawing

hibernating and withdrawing.jpg

Hibernating and withdrawing from others and the world, are indeed flight defenses – or smart tactics (same thing), that attempt to control any outside influence from stirring up inner unresolved needs and feelings of shame and unworthiness, vulnerability and fear that relationships will inevitably stir up! While this tactic keeps us safe from having to feel our own inner suffering, it also create suffering in that it fails to meet our need for community, friendship, connection, intimacy and sharing and so stirs up all the ways in which we felt the pain of being left out, alone, abandoned and rejected as children. 

All defenses, put us in a double bind. While they succeed in providing some relief, secondary gain, or reward, they also fail to help us get aware, bring love to our inner suffering, gain deep understanding into the memory states that haunt us, and sabotage our needs from ever being seen, recognized, valued, or loved, firstly by ourselves, but also by others. 

When our stance to the world is, “stay away, I see you as dangerous,” then indeed people stay away.

On the other hand, when we insist on being around people that are consistently controlling, abusive in some way, or never care to meet your needs in anyway, then that too is a form of defense against being aware of inner needs and feelings, that likewise, needs to be deeply examined.

This is Your Country. What Can You Do?

The situation of human abuse and degradation on our southern border is intolerable. I think that all of us are in a state of shock and horror that this could actually be happening.

And it leaves us feeling helpless in all the ways we felt helpless as children when we were at the mercy of “the powers that be,” – our parents, school, church or any other systems to which we belonged. This situation in our country, will bring up the memory states of anger, hurt and shame as well as fear we all had as children. It is particularly hard to bear when the situation is one of complete injustice.

Our first work is to examine deeply what these daily news reports are bringing up in us and be present to our own experience with the Consciousness of Love, that is our truest state of being. Not only can we now, as adults witness the injustices of our childhoods with love, but we can also bring a new understanding and wisdom to the abuses we endured, and tell ourselves the truth of the dynamics that were at play.

The people on the borders are the pawns of a huge parental power play, caught in the middle of a fight that has nothing to do with them. Again, think of the ways in which, as children, you were caught in between your parents’ conflict, unhappiness and unresolved inner issues. How were you a pawn?

Having done this first Great Work of inner integration, we will find that a new level of compassion and wisdom open up us, that will enable to be truly concerned and loving towards all the families that are facing nothing short of the worst kind of evil self interest. It is as if the “powers that be” are giving permission to all the bullies in the world to have a free for all at the expense of the most vulnerable and compromised of humans.

If we do this deep inner work, we will find a new zest, enthusiasm and inner empowerment to find creative ways to deal with the current political situation that is hell bent of gaining more and more power through fear mongering.

And this leaves us with the question of “What can we do?” Not only the first and, most important inner work of integration, through compassion for ourselves, but also externally for others, who are no different to our own condition, and who are all part of the one Body of the Universe.

With our newfound compassion and wisdom for ourselves, can it ripple out to include others who are enduring what we ourselves have endured?

And how?

Sacred Service at Aslan Institute is fully committed to serving those immigrants that are attempting to make a new life in America and, to be a place of hospitality and welcome, help and assistance in any way we can. This is a small contribution, but, we hope, one that ripples and spreads. We have three remarkable Spanish speaking therapists, who extend themselves in every way possible, often taking on the role of being social worker, advocate and coach, in addition to being the therapist to people that have endured immense hardship, and have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the situations they have fled, and further Post Traumatic Stress from the abuse they have received at the hands of the American Border Control. Our therapists have themselves struggled with many of the same issues as their clients, first hand.

Our immigrant clients, like most of your immigrant forefathers, are struggling to eke out a living and just survive in a hostile land of foreigners. Despite the myth of this being a country that is welcoming of the stranger and the land of opportunity and freedom, it is simply not the experience of tens of thousands. At Ellis Island recently, we took numerous pictures of the immigrant-ism that has been alive and well since the beginning.

The difficulty of establishing yourself in a new country that is openly hostile to you, while escaping the threat of death in your own country, impregnates every aspect of life. No matter which way you turn, you find yourself stuck and helpless, despairing and desperate. The losses are so very great. You are a realistic victim and you continue to be victimized by the system and people with racist beliefs that justify their inner desire for power.

As an immigrant myself, who could speak English, understood the culture and had every advantage and privilege in resettling myself and my girls, I can testify to the immense difficulty the transition at the emotional, physical, practical, and spiritual levels of my being.

Our Spanish therapists work for very little recompense, as most of the people they serve have no money. We are wanting to subsidize their work in whatever way is possible. Whether this is by donations of food, or money to pay for therapy and assistance, or money for attorney fees that work at helping them become legal citizens, or English language classes or donations to pay for therapy for children or donating free legal services…. Or any other creative way you find arising within yourself. If you feel in any way drawn to assist, please know that your contribution will be deeply valued.

Imagine, if the government said, “Instead of a wall, we will be building hospitals and, schools for children, vocational schools, schools teaching English as a second language and offering services, like therapy clinics, to help people be successful and integrated citizens into this country that welcomes them with open arms. We will be offering classes to Americans to learn how to best be of assistance and understand differences so that we can learn to value and appreciate one another.” 

Can we be those kind of people? Can we at Sacred Service, start a sacred ripple out into our state?

To make a donation go to this link……

Immigrant children crammed into cells… and what next…?

Immigrant children crammed into cells… and what next…?

Or if you do not want to donate to this non-profit, go to Borderless Lullabies and buy the most beautiful album of lullabies for children.  100% of profits go directly to helping border children. It is as always the musicians and artists that lead the way. 


Or find some other way…. but do not do nothing.


“If you are unable to welcome the stranger, then it is because you are a stranger to your own inner condition of suffering. You yourself are an immigrant without a home, in exile from the presence of your own Being. You have erected a wall of defense between your adult self and the wounded, innocent child within, that suffers alone, without understanding or love. And so how could you care about the children at the border?”  ~L. Johnson

Helpless - Learning Limitation


Learn to notice the feeling’s you have when you know that you are helpless, or someone else is helpless.  Consider the conditions of life that you have absolutely no control over, did not have control over, and will not have control over. Consider how as a child you yourself were the helpless victim of a great many experiences. By definition, childhood is in many ways a helpless situation. For instance, you cannot decide you do not want to go to school which was, “for your own good,” So why do you think you could decide against perpetration? You had no control over the decisions of the adults in your life. In this condition children will attempt to find a way to find a solution in their own psyche. One way is to blame yourself – because if you are to blame for the abuse, shaming or experience, then surely, you have the power to change it in the future by correcting something about yourself. And so a belief system develops around “If I am “good,” I will be safe.” “If I am “bad,” then I will be hurt.” Therein lies the problem. Both “good” and “bad,” are arbitrarily decided by the socializing forces in a child’s life, that result in a split in the psyche and the illusion of control.

This was a necessary and normal stage of development. However, now as an adult it is imperative to recognize that there are situations in which you are helpless and to stop using tactics to try to take away the anxiety of the feeling helpless.

One example that is common is that another person’s childish dependence, incapacity to find inner solutions, demand for external help, evokes the anxiety we have ourselves and we rush in to offer solutions, give advice, fix and help to alleviate the anxiety we are feeling. In this reactive mode the higher order knowing that each person must find their own inner solutions flies out the window and we rush headlong into the trap of “helping.”  Then if the help works, you get the glory and if it doesn’t you get the blame.  This idealizing and devaluing is, of course, a projection of the inner dynamic of one who is being “helped.”  Our “help” does nothing except work against us.

I am sure you all know you are helpless to save all the starving children in Syria, to stop the war’s in the middle east.  Notice what your defense is against the fear, hurt and grief you feel knowing your external helplessness.

Consider for yourself what the fleeting secondary gains and benefits are to remaining in a state of helplessness, when you are no longer helpless?  Consider the fleeting secondary gains and benefits to giving advice to others, when you have no capacity to change them at all. How are you being set up to be the recipient of their gratitude or their rage. 

So what is the answer?  It is to stay present to the pain with love and acceptance – within yourself and in relationship to others. Acknowledge your helplessness and feel the inner pain of the other person and your own anxiety and bring the Witness and your heart to the situation.  Do not allow yourself to be pulled and lured into “helping,” instead of loving; distancing instead of staying present.  In this way you will be able to stay present to your own dying one day with loving presence, instead of splitting and distancing. Your whole life is the practice of developing the wisdom to know what you can control and what you cannot control.

Use the serenity prayer as your mantra for a month (at least), until it is deeply understood and completely integrated. If you do not understand it, formulate questions to help you get answers. The answers are all within – not without. What you can change is yourself, not others. You can only love others, not change them.

“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonable happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.”


~Reinhold Niebuhr