“Goldfield Ghost Town”
Used and edited with permission wikimedia.org[/
The Ghost Town
Last week fear of abandonment touched me again, after a long hiatus. I think it is perhaps the most universal of our human emotions. It is both a psychological and spiritual experience, so it must be healed on both levels. Reading, analyzing, and verbalizing my experience has helped heal me psychologically.
A review of the topic by Claudia Black, PhD, in the June 2010 issue of “Psychology Today,” gives a clear and succinct summary of key elements of the experience.
- Abandonment sends the message: “You are not important. You are not of value.”
- Abandonment happens when a child has to hide a part of who he or she is, in order to be accepted, or to avoid rejection.
- It’s not alright to make mistakes.
- It’s not alright to show feelings.
- Everyone else’s needs are more important than yours.
- Your success is discounted or ignored.
Reading, reflecting, and dialogue have helped me to soothe the emotional scar of this primal wound, thus releasing its hold on my life in the present.
Some translations of 2 Samuel 6 have King David “leaping and whirling before the Lord,” when the Ark was brought back to Jerusalem. It is said that he danced with abandonment, which is “unbounded enthusiasm,” according to the Free Dictionary. It gives the archaic meaning of enthusiasm as, “Ecstasy arising from supposed possession by a god.” In the midst of his leaping, I believe that David loved his true self as much as he loved God. The other experience of abandonment victimizes the ego, not the true, spiritual self. No one can take that away. Dancing naked with our deepest self before our god heals our wound. Loving ourselves is the way to heal abandonment.
Bernard Tyrell, S.J., wrote a book in 1970’s, called Christotherapy. Writing it was a spiritual practice to aid him in recovering from alcoholism. He talked about the practice of mind-fasting and spirit-feasting. I find it helpful. To deal with the remnants of pain from the original wound I say and write the mantra, “I release this pain. It has no more power over me.” If I say it enough, I live into the reality. Spirit-feasting frees me from ego, inviting me to dance with abandonment. My mantra becomes, “I love you, Rita. You are infinitely valuable.” Every time I am tempted to obsess over a real or imagined abandonment, I fast from that message and love myself. Finally, the practice of intentionally affirming others, takes us out of our own pain, and their joy becomes a mirror for our self-worth.
A Blessing and a Prayer
When spirits of past abandonments
Waft through us,
Imprinting the walls of our psyche-
We invoke the Spirit of the Creator to
Bless us with magnanimity and
Heal us with the fire of her love.