I invite you to read this, it is a little long but very much worth it. I hope you gain some true gems from it and incorporate them into your life. I will share with you the full story of Vasalisa (whom is mentioned in this story), she is an inspiration to me. GV
Dear Souls: Boundaries. Just a point of view about boundaries from listening to many souls over the years... if we are hammers, we have to sometimes be careful not to see everything as a nail...
What does that mean? Discernment is often higher than 'first impulse.' Not everything is a nail, and not all nails need hamme...ring by us. Maybe by someone else, and many not by anyone. Maybe not now, maybe later, maybe not ever.
Discernment provides a critical balance for the psyche... and the ego's impulse to react quickly without measurement often brings turmoil to the psyche's balance.
(Differentiation is another word for skills for psychic balance... some of the most acute measures answering the questions of exactly who, what, how, when, why, to what quality, in what depth, how much, for what duration, how progress can be understood, re-negotiation clauses etc. ).
Remember Vasalisa, and her separating the poppy seeds from the pile of dirt outside the Baba Yaga's house? The Baba Yaga, the Mother of all, set this task before Vasalisa to help her see/ measure/ assess 'beforehand' rather than afterward'... more minutely and acutely.
Vasalisa had spent years being confused that forgiving abuse and evil over and over was a measure of Vasalisa's goodness... She was good, that is, naively good one might say, rather than consciously determined and strongly differentiating.
(Vasalisa was a forsaken child tormented by stepfamily... and this outcome, wanting to be good always no matter what, can come from a child who's been harmed... for heightened empathic response as a side-effect of abuse, often has lost its stops and gauges for a time... and can thereby often be off-base... such as going toward a injured crying animal instead of away from... that is, not measuring all levels of possible outcomes accurately beforehand ... and being shocked, maimed or dying from resultant attack...
This going toward what is injured but actually harmful to oneself can be found too in choice of hapless, hopeless, harmful or narcissistic enamoratos [lovers] as well).
The way forward: short vesrion. Remember Vasalisa is given a flaming skull on a stick as a gift from the Baba Yaga when once Vasalisa has passed all of Baba's tests for discernment, consciousness, strength to bear seeing what one sees and moving onward...
And remember as Vasalisa goes through the woods, the skull aflame gets heavier and heavier ...until Vasalisa can barely bear 'the weight of the light.'
This too occurs to us. The more conscious we become, the more we see, hear, sense, know... sometimes the harder it is to bear until we develop even more discernment about what we are called to and what we are not called to... as you've heard me say many times in my work... letting live what must live, letting die what must die. And knowing being snagged by every projectile as we walk by is different than seeing and fully committing.
In the tale, Vasalisa thinks to throw away the skull afire. But the skull says to her, Dont throw me away. Do not.
And so she struggles along to bear the weight of becoming far more conscious and discerning than she ever has been in her life.
So too us. It is not easy. But because it is difficult to hold the flaming light, to let our very bones carry it ... does not mean we ought throw consciousness away just to comfort the ego.
The bounty of ego is in some ways, its blindness, its tiny little consciousness, it's ability to 'not see,' not hear, not to discern, not to differentiate.
But the anguish that comes to us when we carry and make life decisions by blinded ego alone, is to constantly be stepping in to hammer-- in other persons, events-- matters that often are not ours to 'fix,' not ours to hammer, not ours to tap back into place, not ours to construct.
There's a saying in our Swabian tribal family: "The hammer and the nail are only friends when they agree to build something beautiful together."
The operative words are 'agree' and 'together.' Not just one or the other. Not just jumping in wherever one sees a seeming loose nail. Without discernment.
In discernment, there is often such a large surge of "This is mine to do something specific with," "This is just the right moment to risk my life," and for this length of time and by this specific means," or "This is mine to bless and pass by" when it is really so... that one need seldom doubt one will be guided to do what is theirs to do...
Is there pain in upholding the light of discernment and acting as one sees much more deeply by light of soul and also light of consensual reality? Yes. And though one can ask counsel... other eyes to look with you... in final assay, no one can measure what another adult is called to or not called to engage with.
Yet being able to bear such consciousness-- most of us stagger about at first but learn to walk more and more strongly and with stability as we paradoxically practice remaining conscious. These progresses are the marks of a more and more seasoned soul; one who bears light in both meanings...
bearing as in casting the light of reality, the light of soul on all things, taking measure...
and bearing, as in withstanding what the light reveals to us in all truth-- whether we like it, don't like it, understand it, only understand a bit, are repulsed by it or embrace it.
And over all.. this is the silent chalice I believe we all carry at the center of our bodies... bearing all these illuminations together-- whether engaging with a matter or person somewhat or a moderate amount or fully toward whatever stands before us... or whether stepping back, stepping back a bit, pulling back moderately or pressing beyond in full force for now, or forever ...
The name of the light is discernment. The name of the chalice is not bitterness. The name of the chalice is compassion.
Bitterness with discernment rakes the wound with sharp metal tines. Discernment and compassion, insofar as we can manage, soothes and puts the soul back into its well deserved peace.
and with love,
from Warming the Stone Child book; Chapter: On Deciding Distance From Those Who Do Harm ©2010, by Dr.CP Estés