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STAY THE SAME - Oct 5, 09

sort of - Oct 5, 09

JOY - Sept 28, 09

LONELINESS - Sept 22, 09

rescue fantasy - Sept 9, 09

how to release anger?
Sept 8, 09

Sept 7, 09

is there a secret?
Sept 6, 09

educational credentials
Sept 5, 09

EXPERT? - Sept 4, 09




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Elsas Blog


part 1 - April 8
part 2 - from April 10
fragment - from April 10
part 4 - magical thinking vs stronger foundations

This is very rough stuff - thoughts, but sending to you, as you said you're interested.

Comments, responses very welcome.

Also, important - no sense of being at end point, but also much sense of movement.



April 8, 2010


There are so many confessions from all kinds of addicts - heroin, crack, sex, love, grass, alcohol. People hooked on too much of something.

My story is different - and what astounds me is that I have both known and not known of this just about forever.

I am a love-not junkie - somehow or other, so long ago that I have no memory of things ever having been different, I got hooked on not loving. It's not something I wanted more and more of - in fact, I have kept wanting things to change. Love, it's something I've wanted as much as any junkie craves being free from addiction. And yet of course something else keeps them hooked - until something is too much. And even then, most go back, at least for a time. Many keep going back - die from an overdose.

In my case, I could have died of love starvation - not being able to feel love because something had locked up the love feelings.

The rescue has been slow.

The most recent part started when I was left - not because of unlovingness, because of too much anger, years of anger. Anyway that was the reason that showed.

And I came to grief - and tangled in with the grief, love. LIke seaweed, far below the surface, invisible from the surface, tangled all together,


I'm left with so many questions. In the first place, I know why I didn't get help early. I'm a no-problem person. I didn't get hooked on creeps and substances.

Later, when I couldn't really make things work in my life, could hold jobs and relationships but felt so much was missing, I dealt with a lot- anger, fear, parents, self-expression - so much, it felt like. But not not-loving, the feeling of never loving, hardly having any feelings of liking and loving.

There was one area where I liked easily - in my teaching. Instead of feeling nothing or boredom, I naturally felt liking - and loved this feeling. But it didn't go far in the rest of my life. It did come to the fore when we started doing short term rentals - these people I liked.

Why? In both cases, no fear of being devoured and smothered, instead interest, connection, real talk.

But it's other stuff. Because surely I could have found more of that in life.


I don't know when things got buried in me. My sense is I was under a year old.

I don't know the trigger.

I know the reality I've experienced - in a way, it's like a person with a spinal cord injury. Everything is there - but there's a disconnection, a gap, perhaps incredibly tiny.

I don't know how far I want to go today. Maybe this is enough.

Anyway, I have been getting reconnected. Very strange, or rather not strange. Reconnection feels right.

But I do - how could the disconnection have gone on so long - and not gotten much attention. I noticed it - somewhat. But I don't remember a therapist focusing on it.

And then I ask: would it have helped? Would I have paid attention? And much more, would it have done any good?


The right touch - it took the right touch of grief - and the grief had ebbed and flowed, but stayed, still stays, ready to surface.

And changes happen.


I do have help - not words, body centered stuff - as if the not-love barrier is buried in the body.



Story. A true story I came across in the news, maybe a year or so ago. A clay statue, long kept - I think in a museum - in some fluke got wet, and under a corner of it, gold was revealed. At that, there were x-rays or ultrasounds - anyway, technology was used and it turned out that below the clay statue, was a much more beautiful gold statue.

The people who discovered this - archeologists, I believe - guess that several thousand years ago, this was the most valuable religious object of some group. When marauders came, the priests covered the statue rapidly with clay. Why was it never uncovered? The assumption: all the priests were murdered, so there was no one left to retrieve it. And the marauders saw a piece of worthless junk, which they left to be buried slowly by sand and debris, not to be discovered for thousands of years, until archeologists went digging. Then they found exactly what the marauders had left behind as worthless.

It is a fluke that led to what was below. The archeologists removed the sand and debris. They left the clumsy clay.

I don't mean that gold has more value than clay.

I do mean that the thing so valued by the long-ago group was the golden figure - a golden calf, if I remember right.

And for myself, maybe the sand and debris - that was the clutter of things that did get removed. Underneath some clay figure - creativity, writing, idea pieces, more productivity than ever.

I hardly came to love.

I did with animals - and there slowly, in eruptions - as if a part of the golden figure came out. And that would stay. But the biggest part stayed buried -lovingness, true deep loving feelings for my partner - for anyone.

The clay calf did much. She cared about the world. She thought and wrote. It's just that there was, is, more.

I feel sadness for how I have lived with others - and with myself. Sadness for the loss of so much time, so much love, so much possibility, years of unlovingness.


And I ask: this was screaming out. Why was it not picked out?

I think of findings re alcoholic families - that most of the children are traditionally seen as having no problems, as emerging unhurt by their families.

The responsible one takes care of things.

The placater takes care of feelings.

The adjuster one goes with the flow.

The clown takes care of trouble.

Only the rebel is seen as hurt.

Now I'm wondering - how many of these people live with unlovingness?


I know my mother did. These last few years, over and over she's said - until memory loss has eroded this - that she believes she just can't love.

I understand. She takes care of. But loving feelings got buried. Are they dead? Or just so deep down they never have had a chance to get a breath of air.


I think of a book the just blew my mind, as they saying goes - Facing Shame. Shame - I hadn't thought of that emotion - and then so much erupted in me, the enormity of the shame I'd lived with.


Unlovingness -that cannot erupt in the same way. It's a dead zone. The blankness. So it can't erupt. It's love that can erupt.

And sadness - that can wash away tiny bits of the covering of the love.


April 10, 2010


A long time ago someone wrote about taking the road less traveled - and that made all the difference.

Last fall, I took off on a journey, a physical journey, down roads never traveled, to places never traveled I knew, within minutes of turning down the first road I'd never driven down, that this was the right thing for me to be doing. Day after day, always new places, never seen before. It felt so right.

At the same time I was already on a bumpier journey, an inner one. It's always felt right to be on it. It's felt, in fact, decades overdue. But I hadn't known my way into this journey until I got thrown into it. I had in fact looked to make this journey many times. Had tried to find the door into it - and had gone partway on the roads I found. But I had always come to dead ends. Walls. No further access -as if that was all there was. But it had never felt quite right.

Each bit of a trip had led to all kinds of things, especially creative things and love of animals and thinking things.

But I knew something was missing, something else was possible, should be possible. Stuff to do with love, with loving - and even with warmth toward others, with linking, with liking in an ongoing way.

But how to do it?

I felt, perhaps, like those hundreds of suitors who tried to get to Sleeping Beauty in the hundred years she slept. In the childhood fairy tale I read - a horror story from their side - they had gotten stuck in the wall of thorns outside the castle where she slept and had died.

My story. I didn't die - but I knew something was missing - and yet virtually never talked of this. Maybe with my sister I talked of difficulty bonding.

But while I deeply explored lots of other things -to do with anger and shame, for example - this is something I rather left alone - though inside me I kept longing for an inner opening.


And then a rupture, unexpected, into grief - and at the same time, some tools to go further. Maybe a bit like an archeologist finding artifacts of things long buried.

Very different from the same things found and taken with no understanding.

But also not like an archeologist discovering things. I don't want things stuck in some museum - but becoming part of my life, part of me.

So the last thing I want is them taken away - going from being buried to them being distanced in another way.

Yet I want to share - not in a museum, but in a living way.

I want to share the journey, the changes, and maybe most of all, the tools.

EFT, meridian tapping - like an archeologist who takes away bucket after bucket of sand.

Taoist exercises - for helping construct a strong inner self through body centered exercises.

The Lefkoe method - for removing some heavy beams.

Effortless Success - for daily routines on gratitude and appreciation and 5 actions.


I don't know how much I'll be writing or how it will flow. I'm not bringing you along on my journey - I'm 8 months into my journey. I'm sending out a message that this is a better place, maybe if you're on a similar journey or would like to be with one, maybe these are some of the tools you'd like to take along - just like a hiker is more likely to go all the way on a long trek with the right equipment.

I'm not saying this is the best equipment. I am saying it's been doing more, as I experience it, and as others are telling me (especially my sister) than anything else, including various talk therapies, including analysis.


In stories, often adventures happen. The hero or heroine doesn't know what will happen next. Alice falls into Wonderland, meets one magical creature after another. Sinbad the Sailor learns magic words and treasure is revealed. Ogres and other horrible monsters threaten death. Love beckons - and sometimes false love is a horrific trap.

In this story, over the past 8 months, I've been on a roller coaster ride - some of it to do with outside stuff. But much to do with what's happening within. So the outside would could stay unchanged - and I might feel fine about it, I might fall into a week of deep grief, I might be in a gray zone. The big thing - as with the journey I took last fall - I do now know where I will be going next.

Last fall, I knew: next is, say, Cape Breton Island. But what exactly will I find there? Where will I stop? What will I see? Whom will I meet? And how will I feel about all that? No idea.

On this journey, I knew: I will use whatever tools I have to get further, to deal with whatever is emerging. I also knew - unlike when on the journey last fall - that there were some things I really wanted to reach, and that reaching them could bring much. Last fall, while I felt like driving along, say, the Bay of Fundy, it hardly mattered what I saw. And I used no special tools - just a car that drove.

This time, I know that, while the journey matters, the destination counts enormously. Maybe it's a bit like an Easter egg hunt. I've been finding - or rather, mainly discarding - lots. But there is a big prize, a part of myself, I'm supposed to be able to join with, take with me in the deepest way possible.

Some of the tools - EFT - have given mainly tools to get rid of some of the briars blocking the way, some of the sand that's covered the prize. The Taoist exercises have dome more of the same - clearing.

Grief - that's washing away more. And then letting go of grief (not repressing, and also as I've found out over and over, not letting go of all the grief, as I've kept coming to more) - grief, again, as I was saying - somehow has been crucial.

But what's brought me to turning points? My biggest sense: it's cumulative. One change is just one change. But keeping going leads to things looking so different.

One thing comes to mind. Over the past few weeks, with the help of one person, I've cleared a room that has been essentially storage for several years. There is still more to do - but now the room is a room. One hour didn't do it. But 18 hours did it (9 of hers, over 3 mornings, and 9 of mine, working with her).

I have the sense that, in my life, as in that room, there is more to do. But it has become so much more do-able - instead of heaps of debris, things are sorted. Most of what needed to be thrown out, has been thrown out. And what is left, I can look at, bit by bit - and things will become ever more within reach. Like an awake Sleeping Beauty.

But I don't know, of course. I have such a tendency to believe things will all turn out well. I want things to turn out well. And I do believe somehow there can be outcomes that are full of love, and more than love, contentment, fulfillment, achievement. But definitely, love.

But I can't see further than today, not for sure. However, all along, that sense that there can be self-connection and love has pulled me further - like, I imagine, most people going into uncharted areas where there isn't a certain outcome, but a desire that the outcome be good.


from email to you - because I remembered the sense of being taken for a ride, but "I" am the one taking "me":

Much water under many bridges, but my sense is much inner flow is happening in me now, a different kind of flow - not just the flow of time.

what strikes me most is how things change within, so much flow, and the sense now of water flowing more rapidly - definitely not the sense of being stuck - but the sense of not knowing where I am going, as if in a canoe with lots of bends in the river - and yet isn't the river in good part myself? all a bit confusing



April 10, 2010

In my 20's and 30's, every now and then, I fell into intense daydreams for a day or 2. In them, so much longing, 2 people who should have been together not getting together, such stupid barriers between them which of course neither addressed directly, so much pain and grief ... and finally, they get together, at which point the story stopped. And somehow that final getting together was the least deeply felt part of the story. The rest, so much power, so much pull. Such intense living in those daydreams, while life was so much flatter - just about nothing feeling really right, though there were many good parts to life.

I didn't write that story down - maybe too embarrassing, such a typical "love" story - meaning a story of longing and pain and things blocking 2 people from being together. Jane Eyre. Gone with the Wind. Villette. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I was so gripped by those stories. They were my inner stories.

But the everyday me could not get to those feelings of pain, except through the stories - and feeling along with the stories did not change my own inner landscape.

In other words, I wasn't falling in love, no matter how much I wanted to - not even to feel love and pain.


The inner landscape is changing now.


April 12, 2010

Magical thinking - believing something is so, or will be so, despite the weight of evidence to the contrary. I will walk again - when the spinal cord has been severed. I will recover fully - after the verdict, this cancer will kill you within 6 weeks.

I came across the term, magical thinking, when I heard Joan Didion read from her book, The Year of Magical Thinking, on the year after her husband's sudden death from a heart attack. She was utterly convinced he would walk back in at any moment through the door. The nurses at the hospital, when they came to comfort her in the waiting room, were convinced she was utterly cold - they could not see that she needed them to leave the room fast, so her husband could walk back in to her.

Another term for magical thinking is wishful thinking - except magical thinking is way stronger. It's deeply believing in something, utter conviction of something.

Another common term for magical thinking is denial, so you could say Joan Didion denied her husband's death - but that's such a cold harsh term, and misses a lot. Maybe denial is part of magical thinking, but there's more. There's a strong sense of hope, and more than hope, belief, conviction - like conviction something will happen, the cancer will be gone, the treatment will work utterly.

And that is something powerful. Studies have shown that people healed "miraculously"of what was supposed to be terminal cancer at some point came to the utter conviction that they would be healed, and then that they were healed. Was it the mind that did it? Or did the mind just pick up on a change that had happened, would have happened without the conviction? It's my belief that the inner conviction has something - maybe everything - to do with it.


So magical thinking - and me.

Has it been that with me? Has it been magical thinking that kept me hoping with Philpppe?

I've used the term, denial, frequently. I've recognized that, inside me, I've denied that Philippe is gone for good as a partner. I didn't deny that he had left, had met someone else, that there was good reason for the split-up - reasons like years of anger and stress and negativity. I didn't deny my huge portion of the responsibility for the break-up.

I was unexpectedly, over and over, faced with feelings of sadness, grief - and also love, stirring of love. And with the sense that there was a good chance we would get back together, in a very different, intensely loving way.

My (perhaps) magical thinking. If the things in me are removed that blocked the love, the love will flow again between us - not just the grief in me, not just the budding love in me - but love will flow between us, strong and mutual.

That was my conviction.

That was not my reason for doing all I could to change the things in me - I did not like the hardness in my face, I did not like the hardness in me, the anger, the coldness, the meanness. I didn't want to live like that anymore. I didn't want to be like that. Such a high cost to me - in addition to the high cost to Philippe and things between us.

And suddenly, instead of just not wanting to live like that - because I hadn't wanted it before either - suddenly it was at the forefront, all important.

But back to, magical thinking.

On an intellectual level, I kept the positive image much more neutral - strong mutual love. But on an emotional level, I knew things were different - longing to have what, in a deep way, I had not had, had not been able to have, with all those blockages in me around the flow of love.

The bulk of the work: myself. Meridian tapping, Sound exercises.

Also, I did keep reaching out to Philippe.

The consequence, over and over, in me: the emergence of more grief, unless I denied.

The denial could not last forever. So over and over, more grief.

But along the way, maybe because of all I was doing, inner changes.

I still ask: what is magical thinking? Joan Didion's husband did not walk back in. So it seem that, for her, the magical thinking was just protection - inner protection she needed until she could somehow deal with what had happened.

Maybe something similar happened after my father's death - when I felt his presence near me for the next year or two. He seemed to be beside me. Often he would sit beside me, especially if I sat on a bench overlooking the hills.

Or was that magical thinking? Did some of him stay near me? I know he would have wanted that. Maybe it happened.

And now, how much is magical thinking?

And how much is just dealing with as much as I can, and some inner part of me protecting me as well as it can?

I do not know.

I do know that what I am reaching for, from deep inside me, is strong mutual love. That is not magical thinking. For the first time in my life, I can imagine getting married. Not only can I imagine it, in fact, but I desire it. Something has changed inside me.

Part of me is amazed - mainly that I was so different before. Now what is real in me seems like it should have been real forever.

So anyway, magical thinking - and then living from deep inside. Not easy, figuring out what is what.


More questions on, when is it magical thinking? Joan Didion expected her husband, alive, to walk in through the door. But he was dead. Magical thinking.

I did not expect my father to come back, alive. But, without trying for this, i felt my father beside me. Maybe a delusion or illusion. Maybe he was, in some way, there. It had nothing to do with thinking or wishing or wanting.

Actually I did wish and want that we had gotten even closer before his death. The last 6 months, we had spent more time together than in the past 6 years. I'd had the first holiday with my parents since leaving home. But I certainly did wish for and want more.

Most, though, the sense of his being there came from my sense of him - that he wanted the closeness as I wanted it. The time together.

So when is it magical thinking? My self-work didn't have to do with magical thinking - I deeply knew that, if I did not change, another relationship would have lots of the same limitations, in terms of my feelings. So lots could be different - but something fundamental would be unchanged - something fundamental, and something also not-me, something that did not feel like it should be there, had to be there.

But when it came to the hope for reconnection with Philippe - as a loving couple - was that magical thinking?

Strong elements of hoping, I am sure.

But was it magical thinking - meaning, something was dead and I believed it alive.

There was never - as I experienced it, anyway - a total rejection from Philippe, and also never a sense that he had found a true soulmate, a true full match, in the woman he went to. As he himself often said, something was missing, something he had had with me - but something else was there, something that had been missing with me.

My changes, the ones I wanted in me - maybe they would bring me closer to having those qualities - but they were fundamentally hungered for by me, to feel the starved and starving parts of myself.

So, inside me the jury is out - no decision, yet anyway - on if I've been dealing with magical thinking, if I've been caught in the spell of magical thinking.

I know I've been incapable of giving up hope, and more, have not wanted to give up hope. I've also done some looking - online dating sites, offline singles group. And I've done some meeting.

I will find out what happens with me, where my emotions flow.

I have a kind of sense that it is my heart that will decide for me, that just as I couldn't reach it, force it to love when things were so blocked, now I won't be able to stop it from feeling, loving in some strong direction.

Not some desperate in-love clutching - but a healthy mutual loving. Anyway that is what it feels to me - as if I'm an the edge of something, on the edge of something to be happening soon.

I have felt that kind of out-of-control-but-it-feels-right thing a couple of times before - both times to do with love, things happening around the heart and attraction.

So why, you may ask, do I say I've been doing so much inner work this past half year (and more, by now)? The other times, I went as far as I could - but in many ways, not far at all, just further. I've been on the biggest clearing project and reconstruction project of my life. Why? Obviously I had the sense of so much more to do.

It will always, of course, be an ongoing project.

But according to my inner self - or it could be my magical thinking - so much has happened and much more will happen in the close future. That could just be from the crazy hopeful side of myself. Arguing about it wouldn't make sense. The only thing that makes sense to me is going on.



If the hope re Philippe could easily be classified as magical thinking, what about my profound conviction that the other desired changes are possible? Isn't that magical thinking, that I can get down to the buried treasure, that there is a buried treasure, that that part of me is alive, that I can live in a way I have no memory of ever having lived?

There's no evidence I can do it, nothing in the past has managed to get the job done, the job of really letting the lovingness flow fully - no matter how much I've wanted this. So isn't this even worse, totally nutty thinking?

Maybe. I don't care, actually. I'm glad I have the conviction I can do this - though I've also had to work against despair, the sense that it's hopeless, nothing will do it, and nothing will work out with anyone anyway.

I've used my new tools, kept using them, reached for more.

And I will say, what have I got to lose? I have everything to lose - or anyway, i will continue losing - if I don't make it, if most of the loving feelings stay buried

So who cares, if it's magical thinking, or something based on truth, a deep inner truth.

It's like those given a terminal diagnosis, who yet keep on searching for a solution, a way out. What have they got to lose?

The only thing - sometimes there are horrible reactions to experimental drugs, sometimes quality time is lost.

That isn't a cost I've had to face. No experimental drugs. No drugs of any kind. And hardly any expense - a few online courses costing a few hundred dollars each, max. Lots has been totally free.

But maybe I've wasted my time.

No waste - it's what I've wanted to do. The waste, I'd say, is the time lived far less fully.

Or, everything is a gamble, and this is a gamble everything in me has wanted to take, is still committed to taking as far as I can get.


I started with: magical thinking vs stronger foundations. And I haven't ever come to stronger foundations. I think it's because I've been dealing with stuff where I did not have sronger foundations - lots of nice clear facts and stats.

I have had conviction, desire, belief. I have had tools that promised to deliver amazing results - and these tools came from people with credibility. Plus, in small ways from the start, I could feel results. So I suppose that more than magical thinking.

One magical thinking part: the conviction - not constant, but strong enough - that this would work, I could reach for this thing I was reaching for.

The most magical part of the thinking -the deeply rooted belief, torn out several times but emerging over and over, like an incredibly hardy plant that will not be rooted out - that my changing would bring Philippe back. Painful that that is not happening.

The other part of the magical thinking - that I could reach the inner changes I so much desired - in other words stuff relying only on me, that I have found easier to achieve. Amazing - to have been stuck all life, and that it is possible to change that.

Yet still, sadness as well as gratitude.



This is not the beginning of this story, the story to opening the heart to full loving, strong mutual love and desire.

Fifteen years ago, the end of a six-month love brought something I might have expected - grief, very deep grief. It also brought about an opening to poems of love, longing, love - to spoken word and songs, to feelings in words. Sometimes, not quite able to feel the feelings of love, I would still hear the words. So strange - to get something partly, to have the words only partly connected - a bit like someone hearing sounds of life after an earthquake that has buried so many. Yes, there is like here. In this case, the poems had a strong life of their own - but what they were connected to could only partly surface.

In part, I did not get help reaching down to where the words were coming from. Philippe was angry - so what, these words? so what, they were not the reality.

And I did not bring the poems elsewhere with my desire: how do I connect these words to the feelings below? how do I make this fully real? In a way, the words are real, describe reality - but it's a reality lived behind a veil, buried under sand and debris.

So the poems were not used as signs of life - they were just taken as what they also were - things alive in their own right.


Perhaps six years ago, there was another rupture from deep below. Fluffers, a dog I loved, was hit by a car and killed.So much intense grief. Within days, the first chapters of The Fluffers Book wrote themselves.

A month before that, my father died suddenly. The project I was working on - on Home - suddenly changed, was enormously enriched by all that came up, all that would not have come except for the grief of the loss.


Further back, much further, I got a fortune cookie: In love you could shine like a brilliant star. Everything in me longed for that, for shining in love like a brilliant star. I knew I wasn't doing it. I longed utterly.

So much longing, all my life, for love.

Not much of a sense of a map - or that there was stuff in me that was broken, hurt, buried.

This could make me despair. It also gives me reason to hope.

I realize I have had inner changes, profound ones before - like an archeologist who has found riches, and is convinced there is more - it just feels like they should be there. The old finds - evidence. Plus, maybe most - just the feeling they're their, almost in reach.

Each time changes happened, I have come out with more, more of myself. So why not, this time, now that I have more tools than ever, and again with a deep grief, should I not be able to get what is such an ordinary prize, full mutual loving.







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April 8, 2010

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