Chapter Thirteen - Silent and Invisible
Personal sharing of my allowing myself to grow spiritually while writing this book.
About a year ago, I started sinking into a black hole under certain circumstances. At those times I would become silent and feel completely helpless to speak. I felt like I was seen only as a body and had no being at all. My mind and my emotions would seem empty for a few days. I couldn’t see what was happening and felt powerless to do anything about it. I was deadened as a being. Of course, I began immediately to question how I was ending up in that place, dreading it happening again. So, how did I silence myself and become invisible as a being? How did I get silenced and made invisible as a being? When? Where? With whom? I studied a couple current scenes for how they matched scenes of my childhood.
One pattern became obvious. A woman would be talking at me, usually nonstop, and/or I would be in a situation where I felt like I was unheard and unseen as an individual, and I would go completely silent and invisible. I grew up with a mother who was oblivious of me as an individual, as a soul. She spoke at me and was non-receptive to anything I would say. I had been ignored, threatened if I spoke, made wrong for what I would say, laughed at, slapped, paddled, called stupid, and never invited to express myself in any way. Every message overtly or covertly told me to shut up and not want or need anything for myself. I did a good job of becoming a silent non-being.
For years when I worked as a counselor, if someone came to my office with a pattern of talking non-stop, I would stop them and ask them to say one sentence at a time and then allow me to respond to each sentence before they went on. I found that this pattern involved their believing that they will not be heard, so they talk more and more, faster and faster, and perhaps louder and louder believing that that will make them be heard. What happens is the opposite. They assure that no one will be able to receive them in a way that they can respond to let them know they were received. Where I had a contract to do therapy with a person, this pattern was not a problem for me.
When I ran into this pattern in a social scene, where I did not have a right to do therapy, I did not respond in a healing way. With this woman who believed she would not be received, I reverted back to a childhood of not being received. Her way of reacting to save herself was to talk more and my way of reacting to save myself was to talk less. Both poles were self-defeating. We both reacted in a way that the natural giving and receiving within conversation was blocked. Both of us were contracted into one side of a pattern so that there could be no flow. The ability to love was disrupted and denied. I ended up feeling like all the goodness in me was unseen, all beauty prohibited. And I’m sure she had some similar level of experience with me. It was an ugly, troubling scene.
The other scene that would lead me to be silent and feel invisible as a being was in attending group gatherings where all the people there knew each other, had set patterns for interrelating, and I was an outsider. No one addressed me personally or asked any questions which would, to me, indicate that they wanted to know me. Being soul oriented, I felt like I was very different from them and would not be understood or accepted. I felt like there was no way for me to fit in, as I have felt like there was no way for me to fit into culture. I would go silent and feel invisible. I’m sure that people grew more and more uncomfortable with me, and I began to feel like this was one of those big gray elephants in the midst of the group that no one was talking about. It loomed as violent to my soul and I grew more and more angry with these others until I reached a point where I did not want to see any of them because I only anticipated experiencing myself as silent and invisible again. I experienced this scene as having no receivers for my being, for my voice, for my soul. It became ever more devastating.
Eventually the silent scream in me began to emerge and break through my self-imposed silence. I started to grumble inwardly and outwardly. I felt what was hurtful and began to express anger at what was going on. It is difficult to consciously go through the waking process. Here is what I did. First I looked at the scenes and the people where I went silent and invisible. I wrote out 20 problems that I wanted to solve. At this point I blamed others in all of them. I was angry at what I saw others doing to me. Then I had to force myself to look at what I was doing in each of these situations. I finally, reluctantly, defined each problem taking responsibility for making the needed change. With willingness, I reclaimed my power and got myself out of my own contraction pattern so I could move, meaning my soul was set free from blame and could once again flow with the energy of love. Here I was free to figure out some way to heal myself.
In terms of defining the problem, I began working with one problem calling it my constant tension with a family that I believed excluded me. I experienced them as making me bad and wrong, unworthy of being included, and not lovable. I believed they were unconscious of what they were doing to me. The next step was to look at how I was excluding myself, how I was making myself bad and wrong, unworthy of being included, and not lovable. I looked at what I had been unconscious about that I was doing to myself. I then was ready to look at the origin of my own pattern of excluding. I realized that I was excluding my own soul, that which is beautiful and good about me. I attempted to see actual scenes from my past that I could revisit in my mind to reconnect with the child in me. This did not work for me this time though I had done that process many times in the past. What loomed for me was the black hole and the feeling of helplessness that went with that. So I decided to use this image to save my soul by reconnecting with energy left behind in my past.
This is how I addressed the issue in a healing way and reconnected what had become separated and deadened within me so that I could once again flow with love Put another way, this is how I balanced the Feminine Principle and Masculine Principle within, my ability to receive and give love. Only with this flow does the soul get nourished and come alive. Only then can we return to being a loving person, which is the only way we can be happy and healthy.
This is the visualization I did. I pictured myself as a child about two years old deep in a black hole. She had wide duct tape over her mouth, her hands tied with a big rope behind her back, and her ankles also tied with a heavy rope. Her eyes were open and she could hear me. I told her that I had come for her and asked if she would trust to come into my love. She nodded, “Yes.” I reached out and lifted her to my chest. I explained that since she had been in the dark for so long that the light would be hard on her eyes. I asked her to close her eyes and lean her head into my shoulder. I untied her wrists and put aloe on her rope burns. She immediately reached her arms around me to cling to me. I untied her legs, put aloe on those rope burns also, and she reached her legs around me to cling tightly to me. I immediately felt connected and very peaceful. Concerned that pulling the duct tape off her mouth would harm her, I imagined that after being there for so many years that it had dried and disintegrated so I saw that I could easily remove it without doing any harm to her. With her mouth set free, she had only one immediate question for me. “Who tied me up and will it happen again?” I told her that an angel had helped her protect herself until I could bring my love to her and I would never allow it to happen again. I figured there was no way to explain to a two year old about how she had defended. Neither did I want to place blame on Mama here to continue the pattern of blame. She accepted this answer from me and felt safe. The important thing was her connection with me in which she could be seen, heard, protected, and loved.
When we believe for any reason that we cannot safely speak our words, we put them on hold by contracting and not expanding. This is, at first, a way of protecting ourselves. It serves to pass these words into silence. Tension builds around this contraction, around these unspoken words, causing pain which we also pass over into oblivion by contracting and not expanding. Eventually this pain becomes a silent scream within until we are ready to hear that scream and attend our own process of contraction. We project the pain to others while unaware that the pain is there, when afraid to feel the pain as it begins to emerge, and while afraid to release the scream and hear the words. This may eventually reach the point of a killing rage. Blaming others for our pain furthers the pain in our lives and brings no relief. Note that in this healing scene I did not actually scream. If I were to have done so, I would have found a safe place and a safe way to do that. Screaming at others just sets up more problems. Screaming where others might hear, who do not know what is going on, could frighten them.
In being complicit in our own silencing and invisibility, we are an enemy to holiness which requires a balance of expansion and contraction, a balance of the Feminine Principle with the Masculine Principle. We need to acknowledge and activate the receiver and giver within. The process of projecting pain serves to steal the Christ from ourselves and others. We are rendered unable to love and fail to protect our soul. So, in the process of trying to save ourselves by being silent and invisible in our body life, we fail to protect our own soul. To heal, to mature spiritually, to save our soul, we must return to scenes where we self-protected by denying our voice and our being. We now protect ourselves by seeing and listening to what needs to be spoken. And when connected with love, we can speak without being harmful to our Self and others.
As days go by after this visualization, the image and sense of the child close to my chest stays with me. I monitor thoughts in mind. If they are things that troubled her and led to silence and invisibility before the visualization, I put a stop to them and give her updated information that she is safely held within my love. I stop seeing old pictures that created and supported the old feelings and behaviors. All blame scenes are out!
I am aware that I have been influenced all my life by patriarchal language and structures. I would attribute subtle disempowerment as a woman to such things. In terms of active disempowerment, my experience has been with women. For example, I had completed Transactional Analysis training and was certified as a counselor through that organization. I had completed my Bachelor in Nursing at a local university. Six weeks after my first husband had been taken out of state by his mother for care in her home, I received a call from the same university. They were starting a new Master’s in Mental Health Nursing program and needed one more student to begin. This was two weeks before the program was to start. I was not yet employed and was a single mom taking care of my two young children. The university offered me a full scholarship with stipend to enter their program. I jumped at the chance.
I had problems from the beginning. The teachers there were nurse educators who had only book knowledge of counseling. In classes they would ask a question and I was eager to respond stating, “In my experience _______.” There would be an audible and visible inhalation of fright and I would be asked to give an answer based on the book we were reading for the class. This went on for some time. Then I reached the time for doing my last practice in the field.
The administrator of a local hospital had been my neighbor when I was a teenager and I babysat for his child. My mother came to visit one day and said, “Let’s go visit Bob.” I was excited to do so. We called the hospital and he was delighted to see us. In conversation, he asked what I was doing and I told him that I was looking for field work for my graduate program in nursing. He told me that they needed someone to work with grief in their home care program. It was through his invitation that I was given the opportunity to create a position for them and hired to do so.
I returned to the university jubilant and made my announcement that I had been accepted for field work and the amount I was to be paid. The woman in charge of such things immediately raged at me telling me that I would destroy the accreditation they were seeking if I received pay. As it turned out, in searching through their papers, they could not find any such thing. Meanwhile, the head of the master’s program called me into her office and was most disturbed about what would happen if the other 11 students found out that I was being paid. They had begun with thirteen students and needed to graduate twelve. One had already dropped out of the program. The teachers in the program were so threatened of me by then that she offered me a bargain. She said she knew that I wanted to graduate and they needed me as their twelfth student to graduate so they could get accredited. So, if I would keep my mouth shut for six months they would graduate me and they would get their credit. I agreed to silence.
I choose to break that silence now after more than thirty years. And this is what I have to say about it. It was women who told me to keep my mouth shut. They didn’t do it subtly. They actually spoke those words to me. They were women who had authority in my life. They had no soul awareness. They were driven by fear. They sought to get me to adapt and stay smaller than they were.
One of my purposes in writing this book was to put an end to the pain of keeping the scream in me silent. What was essential to keep me alive as a child, and able to function in culture, is not what is essential now. The reverse is essential to my souI. I will no longer give silent consent to that which silences the Divine Feminine within me and keeps the holy from expressing through me and out to humanity. I choose to make God visible through me. Having made the inner connection that protects my inner child giving her a full sense of love, I no longer need to keep silent. I can now speak in a loving way what needs to be spoken, when it needs to be spoken, where it needs to be spoken, and to whom it needs to be spoken.
Feeling an impact is Feminine Principle and naming things is Masculine Principle. With these in balance I can express without distortion or blame, do no harm, and invite no harm to myself. I am sensitive in my feeling nature. With my feelings awake, I will name things as they are in a way that can be spoken by no voice but mine. I free my voice to speak for the voiceless and invisible Mother side of God. This Word of God is given me to speak. It is my intent to accept, allow, receive, etc., all Feminine processes that honor Mother. Let me not be afraid of Truth.
So, at this point, I choose to take a stand for one very dedicated young girl. It was the practice at the church where I grew up to give awards to children yearly for perfect attendance. We had a main circular pin and yearly received a bar that hung from that. I so wanted that award that when my family occasionally went to a distant city to visit relatives, we would get up very early in the morning to drive there in time for me to get a certificate saying that I had attended their Sunday school as a guest. Two of us had achieved the full twelve years of perfect attendance. On the day that we were to be recognized in church, the minister only called the boy forward to be honored, made no mention of me, and went on with the service. I sat there silent and stunned in my invisibility. I said nothing at the time. No one spoke up for me either. That was how silent and invisible I was by the time I graduated from high school.
I have an announcement to make to the whole world. Hear ye! Hear ye! (Bells ringing!) I announce that Nancy Baker has been so dedicated as a Sunday school student that she has attended every Sunday for the full twelve years. She is receiving highest honor today. Nancy is the only girl to achieve this honor. I call her forward for all to see. I invite her to speak as she receives this award. “Hello to all of you. I know that this is deeper and more significant than attending Sunday school every week. Knowing that I might have problems speaking when I was asked to read in church the passage from the Bible about not hiding our light under a bushel, I read the passage over and over in practice. The image and thought sank deep into my consciousness. And today I announce that I absolutely will not hide my light under a bushel. I know that I am a beautiful soul. I will speak in a way that I am heard. I will stand in a way that I am seen. I choose to speak to your soul. I choose to see you as a soul. May you, too, know and acknowledge the beauty of the vibrant light in your soul. May our beautiful lights multiply on Earth.”
I speak for the Mother I love, and take a stand for her to be seen, so that what she is no longer remains silent and invisible. The Mother of my soul receives and gives food where I am starving in my soul, food I need to be whole and fully human. I trust my senses to know what is food for my soul from Mother. I trust that I am not alone in needing this food from Mother either. I wonder how much of the growing obesity problem in the world has at its source starving souls, not starving bodies. Is this a collective silent scream? Do we need to remove blame from all externals and take responsibility for what we feed ourselves? I do believe that we are dying for Mother.