When Core Fears Rumble
Do we crumble or cure?
I was born into a wonderful family, I have been loved and cared for every step of the way, I have never truly needed to fear the harshness of poverty. Even in my struggles I have known that a home with parents, or my brother, or my cousin, would always be offered to me and my daughter should we need it. Not that any live in huge mansions or have gold dripping from their fingertips, just that they would do what they could to ensure our safety and well being, as I would theirs.
The only exception to the “no fear” has been an ongoing inner child fear of being abandoned by my dad. As a child I had recurring nightmares of both of my parents getting into the car in the middle of the night and driving away. I would wake to the sound of the engine starting, run downstairs in my nightie and out onto the drive, into the street and call to them “STOP, STOP! Please come back, where are you going?”. As I helplessly watched the car drive down the hill and out of view I knew they were leaving forever, I knew that it was my dad’s decision and my mum was going with him because her love for him trumped her love for me and my brother. In the dream my brother would appear on the driveway, woke by the commotion, and I would be sobbing, inconsolable and barely coherent as I told him “They’ve left us! They’re not coming back” He would just shrug, turn his back and say “Come on”… and lead me back indoors. I would wake crying.
In my teenage years, sitting at the dinner table, my Mum excitedly told me how she had met one of my old primary school friends. My mum was a health visitor and the friend, at 14yrs old, had become pregnant… My mum was now giving her guidance and supporting her in looking after herself and her new baby. Before I even had chance to ask any questions my Dad exploded with “WHAT! This girl is Amanda’s age and already has a baby!!” Turning to me he said with passion and conviction “Don’t you ever come home in that state out of wedlock, you’re not bringing that shame here, you’ll be out on the streets if you do!” Sheeesh! I could hardly breath, I looked at my Mum as she gave a small apologetic smile and moved the conversation on, while I quietly, inwardly, self-soothed my way out of the paralysis of shock.
There seems to be a particular dynamic in some father/daughter relationships which leads to the difficulty many fathers are faced with when their sweet innocent girl child who has doted on daddy, starts to show signs of sexual maturity and demonstrates an interest in others, and others show an interest in her. Or as in my case, in which I adopted the stance of “tom boy” in order to try to help my dad relate to me; but was unable to hide the magnetism of my feminine sexuality once boys started to draw in close. Not all fathers handle this tender initiation well, very few have been shown how to. My own dad’s reaction was clearly rooted in fear and a desire to protect, sadly, it did quite the opposite.
In my twenties, as part of the Spiritual Healing training I was taking part in, I received past-life regression. I had very clear images and memories of a life in which, as a girl-child, I was of no use to my dad (interestingly I was in the same family unit, including same grandmother, aunt and cousin); I was sent to a priestess temple to be raised by family members who were elders in the sisterhood. It wasn’t a bad life at all… until the temple was razed to the grounds by the same legion my father was a Commander of. It wasn’t a cohort under his direct command that carried out the assault, but his choices in his “career” had very much contributed to the movement which was now busying itself with the destruction of all feminine-wisdom traditions.
From my teenage years all the way through to now, I have chosen a path that has confused, sometimes embarrassed and definitely worried my family. Both my choices in relationships AND in career has been a cause for concern. Moving through some painful, abusive, and self-esteem-thwarting relationships my parents have watched on, sometimes in literal horror; while I have soaked up the opportunities for growth, and seen each person as a master teacher in their particular field. I have always trusted in the unseen bigger picture and it’s steady unfolding. I was an aromatherapist 30yrs ago in the days when it was still seen as witch-craft and spoken of with derision; I was a massage therapist and holistic therapist and discovered if I was to offer those words as answers to the question “what do you do?” I was often met with a blank look and a cold shoulder, or some lewd comment inferring sexual services. Add angel therapy and crystals to the mix and it starts to become quite the chortle, something for others to poke fun at. My dad avoided embarrassment, not by standing in my corner and saying “Amanda is very skilled in the healing arts”; but by introducing me as his “daughter who is a physiotherapist”. To this day many of our mutual friends and associates believe I’m a physio!
While all of this sounds very personal, and definitely felt personal in my younger years; I can now look on with fascination as I see the archetypal story playing itself out over and over again. From the intangible whispers of past-lives, to the astoundingly “in your face” shouts at the dining room table, this story persists. The story told through such myths as Inanna’s descent into the underworld and the consequence of then being abandoned by her Father and the Sky Gods, to the deep-rooted unconscious story we all carry of our individuated soul being ejected out of the heavens by the Father/God. Perpetrated by organised religion we are all capable of believing we are fallen angels and sinners, desperately trying to please our Father in order to be welcomed back home.
I am now heading into my 48th year and have lived through many experiences. I am a kundalini yoga teacher and shamanic practitioner (sentences such as “it’s a dangerous cult you know” and “do people pay you for this!?” are amongst the many my dad has made when I’ve attempted to share with him a little of what I do). I have been offering Tantra and Sacred Sexuality for 5 to 6 years, and am quite open and public about that but mainly in arenas where I know my dad won’t look. I don’t feel shame around this work, I know what I bring to it, I see it as immensely honouring and sacred, healing and empowering. And yet the fear of abandonment has meant that in my dad’s presence, everything is now named “yoga”.
Before I can really go there, I need to step through this one final gateway, burning the last vestiges of the abandonment story. Do I dare? Can I lay my truth bare at the feet of my earthly dad and accept whatever consequences might play out? Do I trust in myself, my power to endure, the capacity of my inner masculine to take care of my basic needs for home and shelter implicitly enough that I can risk no longer trusting in my dad to fill in the gaps should he take this level of support away? Can I reach full emotional-sexual maturity at this late stage by claiming it as my right regardless of all that might bring upon me? Have I garnered enough understanding that my dad in his humanness is simply a representative of a mythology, and through this story we have each been characters in, he is the perfect teacher and guide, challenging me to have the courage to stand for my soul’s purpose - do I believe that enough to now act on it?