Inclusion envy

To be part of something larger than ourselves is an innate human drive. In our current dualistic paradigm, separation means being vulnerable, and vulnerability brings up survival issues.

When our efforts to be included are thwarted, or we simply give up on being included, one outgrowth of that can be cancer. The cancer can actually be cellular, as described in the prior blog Synchronicity and the importance of community, or it can take the form of “damaged” social systems and ways of relating that keep replicating, bringing about imbalance and decline.

I want to be radically transparent here, to offer my experience in a way that others can relate to, to create connections across what might seem to be vast differences.

I’ve been a loner on a quest for community. The longing for community didn’t arise from a lack of self-love or dissatisfaction with my own company, but rather because my internal wiring knows that all things are in relationship and nothing thrives in isolation.

However, from the time I was a child I learned to be self-reliant and not to need anyone emotionally—part of the training for being a “rugged individual.” I come from a family of good people—an average dysfunctional family—with limited skillsets for being emotionally present and able to express love without co-dependent hooks.

Being an empath didn’t help matters any. I was often confused when what I was being told wasn’t what I was picking up at a feeling level. For example, being told, “I love you,” from a parent who didn’t have time for me, or knowing that the love depended on meeting certain expectations. As an adult my course consistently veered from what my family or society deemed the best ways to fit in and have a good life. I know they wanted the best for me, although somewhere along the way the idea of having a good life turned into keeping one’s suffering to a minimum. It was sort of the “life is hard and then you die” perspective under a façade of “everything is fine.” I wanted to be included in social groups, but I just wasn’t finding the option that felt right and I knew that the consequences of living a lie were more painful than not fitting in.

I envied those who seemed to have  found inclusion, although I also saw the price tag that often went with it. In my teens I vowed that I would never use any substance to avoid being uncomfortable, either in a social setting or alone. I pretty much managed to hold true to that, with the exception of food, which I justified as a necessity. It’s not a necessity, however, when you eat six donuts and then black out driving a car because of a blood sugar crash. Hence, I too was hooked into numbing, to some extent.

Getting back to the idea of inclusion envy, there are various ways such envy plays out. Here are a few examples:

  1. Back-biting, small-talk, bullying and gangs when we derive our way of finding inclusion from pack-mentality power.
  2. Unbridled consumerism in an attempt to have what the “in-group” has.
  3. Negative thoughts or judgements about those we feel excluded by or less than.
  4. Angry disconnection and deep pain that leads to lashing out at general populations, i.e., mass shooters.
  5. Self-destructive behaviors or numbing when we don’t feel we can measure up, sometimes combined with resentment that one should have to measure up to empty standards.

I got tired of non-optimal options for social inclusion, preferring the richness of an inner spiritual journey. Yet, the bottom line was that I was still seeking inclusion. In this case it was a merging with the Divine, which I now see I never left. The beauty is that I am placed right back here, in the world of unique form, to help re-weave the web of inclusion at a higher octave.

Here are a few relevant quotes from Carl Jung:

“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”

“What usually has the strongest psychic effect on the child is the life the parent has not lived.”

“A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way, and is, in addition, fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbor.”

Photo by William White on Unsplash

The power of innocent perception

Last night I happened upon the movie, Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie, which is essentially the remake of Sleeping Beauty (with a brilliant twist).  It touched me deeply, as it plays into both my deep dive with the concept of cancer and what is happening in the world, where the prevailing message is, “Kill it before it kills you,” whatever the feared “it” is.

If you haven’t seen the movie, this is a spoiler alert because I am going to talk about the twist. There is such value in unpacking the potency of these archetypal themes, which we discount as fairy tales.

In the film, Maleficent is the evil sorceress who shows up at the King’s castle for the christening celebration and casts the spell on the newborn Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), so she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel at the age of 16 and fall into an eternal sleep. The only thing that will be able to wake her is love’s true kiss. The King makes it clear that Maleficent is unwelcome; everyone fears her unmatched power. The King takes all possible measures to protect the child, including having fairies take her into hiding to raise her.

Maleficent has full knowledge of this so she creates a wall of thorns between Aurora’s father’s kingdom and where Aurora is being raised. All attempts by the King’s knights to penetrate the wall prove useless.

As Aurora grows, Maleficent is always nearby keeping tabs on her. There are times when they interact. In each case, Aurora, who is the epitome of a Pollyanna, sees only good in Maleficent and perceives the world Maleficent rules over as magical.

The purity of Aurora’s heart and the persistence of her sovereign innocence begin to melt Maleficent’s heart. When Maleficent realizes Aurora is getting close to the age when the curse will take effect, she attempts to reverse it, but cannot. It must play out. A prince shows up and is smitten by Aurora; he’ll return later, on cue for the kiss.

As Aurora’s 16th birthday nears, the fairies return her to the King’s castle, and the fated scene begins to unfold. Maleficent risks her life to enter the castle, but despite her best efforts to prevent the spell from taking hold, Aurora pricks her finger and falls into an unshakeable sleep. The Prince is summoned to wake her with a kiss, but his kiss fails. A distraught Maleficent, looking on from behind a curtain, tells her servant that she made the spell the way she did because true love doesn’t exist. When the heartbroken Prince leaves, Maleficent draws near to Aurora and tells her she will never be able to forgive herself and confesses that she had been caught up in hatred and revenge. Grief-stricken, she kisses Aurora once on the forehead; the girl wakes, awoken by “love’s true kiss.”

Aurora asks Maleficent if they can go home, meaning back to Maleficent’s realm, but the King’s men storm the chamber. The soldiers assume Maleficent is still trying to harm the princess even though Aurora is screaming for them not to hurt her, and they unleash all of their forces on the sorceress. But now that Maleficent has redirected her power in service to love, she is stronger than ever. She is ultimately victorious, overcoming all the hatred that the enraged King and his knights have leveled at her.

Maleficent’s childhood wound, which turned her to hatred and revenge, has been healed by Aurora, who saw her as only good. Maleficent knows that she is both good and evil. In the end, it is she who reunites and restores the two kingdoms.

This is worth unpacking. There is an understandable distrust of Maleficent because of her track record, and the combination of fear and hatred on the part of the King and his minions did not allow them to see her differently. How true is this in the world where our trust has been broken and we cement a story and image about someone that doesn’t allow them to change? I have always believed that people rise or fall to our expectations of them.

Bringing about true transformation requires innocent perception. But whereas a baby may cry in the presence of anyone expressing intense, difficult emotions, as conscious adults our opportunity is to travel many paths and to discover which ones create suffering and which do not. We can then take that knowledge, apply compassion, and funnel it back through innocent perception. As Christ said, “you must become like a child again.” I would call this enlightened, innocent perception.

There is so much more we could chew on here, but for now I will end with a thought about good, evil, and power. They exist on a spectrum and those who have “mastered” either good or evil are at the ends of that spectrum. However, no “pure” state is ever achieved in which either darkness or light is totally absent; there’s always an element left that can be rekindled.

The more one focuses their intention on mastering anything, the more effective and powerful they are in that pursuit. By virtue of that, a master will have more power than someone who allows themself to drift and be influenced by others. I recently learned of the book Outwitting the Devil, written in 1938 by Napoleon Hill, which speaks to this. Hill’s family considered the book too controversial and prevented its publication until 2011. You can listen to the full book for free or get an 8-minute summary of the key points here. In the dialogue, the Devil says, “I can best define the word ‘drift’ by saying that people who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters.”

So in essence, power exists in those who act with agency to bring about an intention. The intention doesn’t matter as much as the focus and consistent action toward that end. The universe allows for all expressions without judgement, knowing that all roads ultimately lead to the same learning.

Aurora, in her consistent innocence and commitment to calling forth love, was ultimately more powerful in dismantling hate and evil than all of the King’s men. We don’t have to fully embody hatred to get to the apex of love, as Maleficent did. However, the extent to which we can consciously touch upon the more difficult emotions, combined with innocent perception and compassion, will make our mastery of love more potent. The times demand our courageous commitment to this.

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Passport to Life

In an odd way, cancer—even the hint of it—has become my passport to living fully. That is, I have permission to move through known and unknown territory without restrictions or the need to take conditioned routes. Expectations about “doing the right thing” in terms of promoting myself and moving personal or professional agendas forward have dropped away.  

I am reminded of what Anita Moorjani had to say about cancer in her book, Dying to Be Me. In her in-between life and death journey she was able to see how she had created the cancer by living her life to meet other people’s expectations.  I highly recommend the book.

I’m all for valuing myself and being willing to offer my services. I just haven’t known how to define my offerings according to what I was told is marketable. The stumbling block I keep kicking over and, then putting carefully back, is my conditioned story about what constitutes a payment-worthy profession. Fundamentally it’s a question of essential value. However, there are certainly enough people doing unorthodox things and getting paid very well for it to break any perceived mold. A unique business I saw the other day was a 57-year-old dominatrix who charged men $150 to clean her house. Wow, what bold creativity!

But besides my own conditioning, there is also a shared view of what is legitimate paid work.

As a society we haven’t learned how to support people who are contributing to the collective good on an energetic level. Social workers, teachers and others in helping capacities are classical examples of undervalued contributors. Beyond that, what if we assigned a monetary value to those who are general up-lifters, reminding us of our higher capacities? I think about people like Nick Vujicic, the man born without arms or legs who, hasn’t let that stop him from leading a full and joyous life. Instead, we reward those who find the cleverest way (albeit sometimes also a useful way) to distract ourselves from what makes us unhappy.

Given that the statistics are moving toward 1 in 2 people getting cancer, the field is ripe for reassessing what we make a priority. I want to shake up the Etch-a-Sketch where we established the playbook of life and start a fresh screen with a self-guided journey. The lines might be squiggly at first, but who cares? Straight, consistent lines are boring.

Anyone else willing to play?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Synchronicity and the importance of community

After writing my post about cancer as an ally, I happened upon Rich Roll’s podcast of his conversation with Dr. Zach Bush. I have a strong resonance and appreciation for Dr. Bush, so I listened to the whole talk. (It’s long, but I’m always eager to dive in deeper.) His comments about cancer are what I’ll summarize here, and offer some thoughts of my own.

When I got my degree in environmental policy and planning over twenty years ago, my thesis was based on the premise that ALL of the issues we face today stem from forgetting what it means to be in relationship on every level. That includes relationship to one’s higher self, to God or Source, to the intelligence of one’s body, to the Earth, with each other one-on-one and in the larger community.

All of what I’ll share now from the podcast with Dr. Bush echoes that as well. While the problems feel overwhelming, the solutions are so within our reach. And, while opening ourselves to love and each other may feel more challenging than navigating the increasing intensity of the rapids, such opening is the life preserver we have to grab hold of.

Here’s my summary of what Dr. Bush shared about cancer:

In our clinic we never talk about cancer with the people who come to us for that. Cancer is not the problem. Cancer is ultimately the downstream symptom of disconnection from themselves. The psychic trauma that’s been held in their bodies from not being themselves has created a massive disconnect at the physiology level and there is profound loneliness down at the cellular level to create a cancer cell.

A cancer cell has been sliced off from all communication and, once it has been sliced off from the greater organism, there is one thing it hasn’t lost, which is a drive for life. So, it’s very fascinating that at the cell level one cell, independent of everything, still has a drive for life and it’s going to try to make something bigger than itself and so it becomes poorly differentiated, meaning that it doesn’t make skin, or whatever else it would normally make, instead it makes a tumor and it starts to proliferate, because it can’t repair itself.

The hallmark of a cancer cell is a lonely cell that can’t repair itself and so its only choice in its highest state of damage is to proliferate.

Rich Roll then commented, “The malignancy is triggered by the disconnection from the community and the network.”

As a spiritual seeker and eternal optimist, I have an inner experience that is very rich and truly peaceful. Yet, if I’m being completely vulnerable and transparent, I can say I cultivate that inner space because I also feel unseen and alone in a world I feel quite different from.

I invite all who are interested to join me in exposing “the truth and nothing but the truth” so that we can leap to the next level of our potential as an integrated part of a whole, loving universe.

Let’s continue the conversation!

Photo by Mario Purisic on Unsplash

Cancer as an ally

Cancer knocked at my door and I let it in and said, “Welcome. What are you here to teach me?” 

It said, “How to heal the collective of fear and how to return to balance within the web of life.” 

Some of you might already be questioning my sanity, but bear with me as I explain. First, I am an empath and so I feel a lot of what is in the collective more strongly than others. I believe I am also able to help process some of what others are unable to and to lighten the field. 

What’s happening in my body seems to be a metaphor for what is happening in the world. I’m told I have a lot of “angry, inflamed tissue in my cervix.” No surprise, given what women of the world are carrying, as their bodies are legislated to serve the paradigm of patriarchy.

There is also an amplified field of hate, fear and wanting to destroy anything that threatens our world view or perceived security. There is a numbed disconnection from the source of our sustenance, the Earth, resulting in an unconscious destructive relationship. All of this could be seen as a cancer—a cancer with the potential to wake us up. As I perceive it, cancer’s message to me is this: “If your focus is on destroying me you have only killed the messenger. The choice is yours.”  

When I went for my initial test results I was told the findings were alarming and that I was being referred to a gynonc (gynecologist oncologist) immediately so that measures could be taken to stop it. I asked, “Would that mean cutting everything out and having chemo?” The answer was yes.  

I didn’t schedule the appointment because I knew that I wouldn’t opt for the cut-and-poison approach. It seemed a waste of the specialist’s time to make the appointment only to decline what he had to offer. You might be thinking, “but then you would know for sure if it was cancer.” True enough. It would have given me an official badge to wear, but my actions from here forward will be the same, regardless of what label I am filing them under. Rather than viewing cancer as the enemy, I know it is my ally and the task is to focus on what is working and what can support my body internally to strengthen it so that what is acting out for attention can also be made whole and reintegrated at a higher level. It is also an opportunity to become more aware of how to restore the systems of the Earth because what we do to the Earth shows up in our bodies. Again, a parallel with what is happening in the world.  

There is still a possibility that I will exit this form in the process. If that is the case, I would simply say my work is done. I believe I have an agreement with source and somehow this is part of it. I am not afraid of what people call death. I actually don’t believe in death—letting go of form, yes, but spirit is eternal. Oddly, I feel an excited curiosity about what stage the next scene of my story will play out on and I feel very expanded with it. What I do know is that exiting wouldn’t mean I failed. It would mean I just cleared a whole lot of fear about life and death out of the collective field on my way out and I would be satisfied with that. 

Let me close this with a wild idea. We are so conditioned to think in a certain way that to suggest something different is viewed as insane. But what if what we call cancer is simply the dissolving of our old bodies and associated programming, just like what happens to the caterpillar body before the imaginal cells kick in to build a whole new body? And what if by cutting out the “diseased parts” and poisoning what remains we are stopping the process of final emergence into the butterfly? I am holding the vision of my imaginal cells building my new “light body” and I am going to nourish it with every loving thought and high vibrational offering I can get my hands on.   

Please join me in my celebration of this moment and this unexpected opportunity.  

Dawn Griffin is a new contributor to The Enlightenment Zone. The image of the angel was created by Comfreak (Jonny Lindner) and provided via