It turns out that punishing yourself for your own failings really doesn’t satisfy anyone.
Others, including the legal system, are clear that it is only the punishments they mete out that count. You can punish yourself from now until doomsday, and those who feel entiltled to punish you won’t really care.
That won’t stop them from telling you that you have to be self-policing, that you need to punish yourself for your own infractions so you keep yourself in line. I have spoken before about the mechanics of self policing, but self-abuse is a key component of that process.
For me, my self-abuse has become connected to the denial of ego & desire that many venerate in Eastern religions. I take the losses and adapt to them, no matter how much that adaptation takes resources that would be better used in acheving some kind of goal.
Now, I learn from that surrender, it is true. Joseph Campbell said that the most powerful ritual he ever went through was where people brought five tokens of the five things that they most valued, and going through a path, faced gatekeepers who demanded the surrender of a token for passage. He saw people faced with hard choices, using trickery and other means to avoid surrender.
When you let go of what you have been told to value, well, it forces you to become more exposed, more focused on what is important. It is potent.
I know that I have worked to prepare myself for losses before they occur, even knowing that they will occur because I am not doing the work required to avoid them, usually, for me, the work to stay on the grid in an economic & legal way. It is easy to see my losses, even the avoidable ones, in context, thinking both of people around the world today, and having some sense of previous life and times where life was simpler. I mean, in most civilized cultures, people just didn’t often live past fifty.
While this process of self-abuse/self-denial may be enlightening, though, it’s not really empowering in this physical world. In this culture that denial isn’t even understood very much; our shared identity is our shared desire, and if you don’t want the same stuff that we all want, want the American Dream, then are you really one of us? Aren’t you some kind of troublemaker?
Lezlie wants me to remember that I am at a change point, and I suspect many others would also like me to see my life that way, including the The Beautiful Blonde (TBB). And that change requires empowerment, and that requires getting back on the grid, and that requires letting others punish me in their standard styles, which requires me to stop punishing myself.
But, but, but, she said, that self-punishment, that doubt and denial, well, it feels like where all my power has come from over the decades. It is my history & my virtuosity, or at least it feels that way.
Of course, it is also my burden, my bane and my pain. It is what Lezlie, TBB, Miz Ruby and others want to see me change.
Confidence is attractive, or so they say. That’s why the guru-types that achieve success offer answers and not questions, answers that offer the possibility of abundance without denial, of rebirth without death.
And that means that self-punishment really isn’t valued, no matter how good you are at it.
I suppose that’s a lesson I already knew.