When soul is neglected, it doesn't just go away; it appears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence, and loss of meaning.
~ Thomas Moore
Before the full moon turned on the lights in my subconscious mind, I had trouble pinpointing what I wanted to focus my attention on in 2017 and what substantive information I could offer you in this first newsletter of the new year.
There is so much to say, so much to be baffled about, so much to grief about, to vent and rage about, to be fierce, obstinate, and hopeful about. All in all, there is still so much to integrate and make Meaning with a capital M about. Life has not felt so discombobulating -- and my reactions not so all over the place -- in a long time, perhaps ever. I'm guessing that many of you have felt the same way.
When I watched the moon these last nights incrementally grow into her monthly fullness -- in alignment with my own monthly cycle that usually peaks into an intuitive bleed-through and ability to sense what may be hidden right underneath the veil -- these words came to me: Full Moon Soul Stretching.
They revealed to me that this is the point of focus I need to take to integrate my restless messiness and the challenges my soul has been wrestling with of late. In 2017, I need to trust my awareness and intuition more to counter the attacks on my best defense and inner resources -- my intuitive knack and conscious dedication in tending to my integrity, my imbalances, and my feelings to guide me back to wholeness. These efforts have been regarded as elitist, out of touch, and liberal, which is consistent with gaslighting strategies that undermine the truth and induce self-doubt and fogginess (more on this in a sec).
This deeper and more nuanced focus adds a new layer of political meaning and moxie to my dynamic wholeness motto and healing stance -- to Be at least 1 degree more PRESENT in WHOLENESS than in wounding -- that is satisfying and settling my soul.
How exactly is this stance and focus going to help me deal with and contain the intense provocations of the past and very likely of this upcoming year and how could they benefit you?
You may by now have read one of the many articles on "gaslighting" that are making rounds on social media. Gaslighting is tactical tampering with "the truth" -- truth loosely defined by me as our embodied sense of clarity that is most accessible when we stretch beyond our self-centered ego mind and feel solid, connected, whole, and grounded in something sacred and bigger than ourselves.
Gaslighting is a favorite tactic to topple us from our center of integrity, sanctity, and truth -- used by those with abusive, harmful, selfish, and manipulative intentions in romantic partnerships and in dictatorial roles in corporations, organizations and politics. It's also the result of institutionalized and large-scale -isms and inequities where dominant as well as minority groups may be upholding the status quo for different reasons, making it hard to hold any one person or group accountable for the situation.
Gaslighters have extremely poor empathy skills and low EQ. They enjoy playing with other people's feelings, which they see as an aversive weakness or dangerous liability (often repeating their own relational wounding and empty engaging, desperate to get an emotional rise out of their victims just to feel alive, secure -- aka in control -- and connected). They manipulate others through fear and threats, game-playing, and irrational behavior fueled by their unresolved wounding (consciously or unconsciously), using whatever in their power to tamper with the truth -- especially if this truth corners them and requires them to face their own inner truth, feelings, and vulnerability, which they are incapable of embracing and honoring as powerful and precious.
When subjected to this kind of harm and truth-hating manipulation, the heart, soul and body -- no matter how unclear and confused the mind -- will still keep score, showing up as physical symptoms, erratic triggered feelings, uncontrollable acting out, relationship problems, and persistent truth-telling in dreams and other untamable creative and artistic outlets, in both the gaslighter and the ones subjected to and struggling to pierce through the gaslighter's smokescreen. Twitter anyone?
Yes, a recent CNN article on gas lighting referred to our president-elect as gaslighter in chief. The purpose for examining this possibility and these claims is not to get off on name-calling, to blame, to encourage political divisiveness or righteousness, or to absolve and distance ourselves from what's happening around us, but to empower ourselves with deeper understanding by tapping into the wisdom of our own wholeness and soul.
Insight if this is indeed the sad state of our political reality, and how that could critically endanger our collective soul and well-being, are needed to educate, buffer, and guide us and our brothers and sisters to the light.
Important discernments to make: Gaslighting is often attributed to narcissists but it's not something all narcissists employ. It's those with a sociopathic bend that get off on gaslighting. I keep turning back to this great article that offers fine-tuned distinctions between narcissistic and sociopathic personality profiles. Sociopaths take matters a step further and use a certain level of sophistication, social clout, and deviousness to carry out their calculated ploys over the long haul.
Knowledge is power. Consciousness is power. These articles helped me to realize that I have been thrown off by the great irony of having lived through a military coup by a gaslighting dictator who's manipulation in truth-bending never gained much traction with the public. The majority of society, except for his small band of low ranking military followers, resented him and remained grounded in their sense of wholeness, integrity and harmony -- there were never any violent uprisings of one section of the population against the other due to his provocations. (He was after decades of laying low and no violence or threats elected into office because of other promises but not by pitting groups against each other).
I realize that the gaslighting has affected me more now because our president-elect has been elected by a big enough sector of the population that's responding to his gaslighting, racist, misogynistic and denigrating antics like firecrackers to a spark.
I think that this has been the hardest for me and many like me to deal with as a nation; it reminds me of Nazi Germany and makes me wonder how it was possible that such a big group of decent people lost touch with their sense of humanity and integrity. It's the power of this gaslit "group-think" that is most discombobulating and unlike anything I've ever experienced before.
I've been so unsettled because my soul refuses to normalize the extreme, repulsive, and shocking ideology that we've been subjected to. My restless soul wants me to recognize and talk about the semantic and psychological acrobatics used to unmoor us: the euphemisms, mocking, and dismissive distractions and jabs to conceal and sweep the stomach-turning offenses to the human spirit -- stated in public by someone with incredible global visibility, importance, and political stature -- under the rug.
Our president-elect regularly role-models sociopathy to the nation and world by lying, by diffusing and evading responsibility, and by projecting his own shadow parts onto those who are casting light on his character flaws: i.e. people who are calling out and taking a stance against his racist or misogynistic acts or immature and vicious bullying are accused of being incompetent, overrated, elitist, unfair, sad, judgmental, divisive, sexist, racist, non-inclusive, and intolerant.
This dogged denial and self-righteous investment in ignorance and wrongdoing is one of the hardest and most exhausting aspects of gaslighting to deal with due to the total and often unconscious refusal and rigid personality deficit to open up, feel, own, and share authentic feelings, due to the zero interest in self improvement, and due to the utter cluelessness what it would even mean to take responsibility for one's own actions and energy. The only way to connect is by relinquishing to the gas lighting -- which is obviously not an option that will ever be okay.
The horror: we are not taking about my or your ex. Once again, we are talking about our future president.
Where to go from here? My inner spiritual warrior and protective dragon guide conveyed to me that we are best equipped to withstand the effects of past, present, and future assaults on our integrity, civility, and the greater good through fierce vigilance and compassion and by embodying and expressing our whole truth, convictions, and perspectives in as many forms and in as many "social and public spaces" as possible to counter the negativity and new degenerating norms that are infiltrating in the mainstream.
Our deliberate efforts may end up elevating us higher than where we were before, slowing down our modern fast-paced lifestyle to sit long enough with vulnerability, loss, darkness, and hardship that will allow us to feel what the wisdom of felt-pain and intolerable feelings are trying to communicate to us, and reconnect us to our soul, core self, and truest convictions.
And just as importantly, help us understand what makes us and others easy targets for false promises. Quick-fix "promises" to resolve complex and overwhelming problems within ourselves and society are key appeals of scapegoating and divisive splitting and are particularly enticing when we've been stuck in and overwhelmed by difficult, unintegrated feelings and their byproducts for years, decades, and generations sometimes. It takes deep insight, patience, and reflection to trust that we are better off reconnecting to messy and hard feelings, even if we may feel worse and at our worst at first, kind of like how puking works.
Perhaps the clear threat and risk in remaining complacent with the status quo -- by refusing to puke up toxins so to speak -- was needed for us to become aware that this disconnected apathy will only make us sicker and cause us to feel worse. It's time for us to take a stand for what truly matters, to realize what we may lose if we don't, and to respond to what's being asked from each of us in taking care of ourselves and our collective soul.
My 2017 focus and development of Full Moon Soul Stretching: Learn to Be (a) Well programs and articles (perhaps even a book) will aim to reactivate and reawaken our dormant, innate healing wisdom with strategies that will reintegrate and realign overlooked wisdom tucked in the far corners of our minds, bodies, hearts and souls, and reconnect us to our authentic experiences and our spontaneous, natural feelings accessible by tapping in all parts of our being.
It's my hope that this will encourage and anchor our visceral sense of wholeness, presence, and self-awareness and guide our daily living, our intentions, our actions, and our freedom to experience and express our full range of feelings, physical shapes, shades, and colors.
I believe that by living in our expanded fullness, we will inevitably infect and show others the joy and benefits in letting go of harmful scapegoating, splitting, and divisiveness. It is a limiting coping style that ultimately harms the scapegoater and gaslighter too, maybe even the most. It therefore behooves all of us to learn to recognize and decipher the encrypted SMS messages and subtle emoticons sent to us by our innately holistic and unsettled souls. It won't do us any good to ignore this wisdom, hoping to avoid conflict and the threatened tails of denial, resistance, and defensiveness that are bound to slam into any truth offering.
We will need to fiercely and persistently hold up a big enough mirror in a big enough space so that we don't get thrown around and harmed in the process, but instead exhaust this resistance so that the truth that it's only fighting with and harming itself eventually sinks in.
It's no easy task but if we tap into the limitless support and inexhaustible well of love, spacious equanimity, paradox, and peace within and all around us, harmful darkness truly doesn't have any other option but to evolve.
I'm as ready as I'll ever be and welcome your enthusiasm and support in stretching our souls and expanding our circle of fierce compassion, eternal love, consciousness, and wisdom revering in the new year. Bring it on 2017.
My reframe of the "Elite" accusations reveals the real reasons, our power, that's posing a threat to unconsciousness and anti-consciousness:
Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT, holistic psychologist, depth hypnosis practitioner, and shamanic healer from the Sacred Healing Well, is devoted to helping wisdom keepers, seekers, healers, and teachers dive deep into their self-healing potential and carve out their sacred dream paths in service of their dynamic whole self and the greater good.
Her memoir-in-progress, Amazon Wisdom Keeper, is an eye-opening account of her spontaneous shamanic awakening and initiation during her graduate training in the mental health field. What gives her story an added twist is her ability to anchor into her rich cultural background and mystical upbringing near the edge of the Amazon rainforest when standing her ground, challenging indoctrinating double-binds in her field, and placing all bets on her spiritual integrity, intuitive wisdom, and clarity—each one severely tested after escaping the chaotic aftermath of a military coup in her native Suriname and losing almost everything that she knew and loved at the age of 13.
Join a growing wave of deep-divers and wisdom keepers who are yearning and learning to BE at least 1 degree MORE PRESENT in WHOLENESS than in wounding by signing up for her monthly newsletter distributed every full moon.