Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Atonement with the Absent Father

Reflections of an Irish Mythic Storyteller

The Atonement

Until a man learns what went wrong in his father's relationship and finds healing for it, he never arrives at mature manhood. From Wisdom for the Journey by Don Jones.

Advertisers and glossy magazines promote many of the stories we are told today. In one advert you are advised that you don?t have to be a tree hugger to be a man. All that you are required to do is drink a certain brand of whiskey. This is what I call a poisonous story.

I was given a poisonous story fairly early on. It was held within a teaching story of shame. I am still wearing its message in my body even today though in so many ways I do not want it and it no longer serves me.

I was initiated into the hall of shame when I was instructed in no uncertain terms that big boys don?t cry and now I don?t. In my life the grief response to loss has to a great extent been armoured. It has become bio-energically sealed within muscles that have been patterned to hold the grief and not allow it expression. I am stuck.

In this way there is held within the body a pattern of non-letting go. There is a rigidity that holds the pain of the past in the present. The ability to let go is the ability to feel the shame in the present. Most men carry this kind of shame all through their lives. For many it makes a shambles of their lives. Then they do so many things that hurt others and thmselves out of this poisonous story.

This is the poisonous story of the immature masculine. It is not the real story of the spiritual warrior who also knows how to dance. It is not the story of the man who knows that if you haven?t wept deeply then you haven?t really begun to become a true warrior of peace. You have not entered the mature masculine dedicated to the alleviation of suffering. You have not entered the real role of protector of the innocent.

In entering the mature masculine you become a warrior for the alleviation of suffering within yourself, within your family, within your community and within your racial and national consciousness. You become a real story and a true storyteller. Unless you are willing to do this then the result of not being able to process the grief is more grief and more shame.

Without revealing our shame we engage with violence. Some turn this violence inward through some form of addiction and others turn it out unto some kind of scapegoat that has a different label. We shame others with violence in order to feel a disturbed kind of power. This is not real power. It is power over rather than the power to give away the totality of who you are. We do this individually and we do it collectively as a nation state.

Power over is always insecure. It can be overthrown. To maintain it often requires the escalation of violence that tends to cycle into deeper and deeper destruction. Thus we go over to the dark side and align ourselves with the death star that is our shadow side. The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. The sense of separateness from our love nature is visited upon the soft bodies of our children and other peoples children who we broadly label as other.

Then, we as men, move out into the world with our armour on. We have one clear initiation and that is the code of shame. We have been shamed about what it is to feel vulnerable. Most of us make a commitment out of our experience. This is that we make sure that this doesn?t happen again. Then we often wonder why our relationship with women or our partners is a mess. When we need to be vulnerable in relationship we get stuck.

Out of this men?s code of shame we act in the world. We fight for success, we fight disease, and we fight for our rights, usually over the rights of the less fortunate. We have one approach fits all and this is fighting. We work ourselves into exhaustion but refuse to feel. We give our authority to those who poison our life?s story and we find it hard to connect to the feminine. In the end she often leaves us and we fall into some kind of addiction. Then we turn our anger inward or direct it outward.

This is the story of the allegiance to the death star and the dark immature masculine dynamic that emasculates us. It is not our relationship to Eros. The story of the hero is the one who consciously chooses to answer the call to unity and to the revelation of their love nature. The story of the mature masculine is the story of the knight who would remove that armour and become one who allows the soft animal of their body to love what it loves. This takes courage. It takes commitment. It takes intention and attention and also detachment.

It also takes the commitment to say, ?This violence stops with me.? It takes the commitment to no more shaming. No more of a sham life and no more shambles of a life lived without love. In this way there comes the atonement with the father and the experience of forgiving the wrong. This, also means living the experience of at one ment with those shadow aspects of your self. The dark side comes into the light. You become the one who refuses to abandon the child for any other goal other than love.

Unless this happens there continue to be generation upon generation of lost boys who are walking around in the bodies of grown men doing untold harm to themselves and others. These are the Lost Sons who cannot find the Father Sky. They go off into some kind of addiction that is often approved of by society. They work themselves into exhaustion. They drink themselves into oblivion or loose their identity as an individual in some group that tells them who they should be.

So it takes the son to become the man but where are the teachings to do this. Within all indigenous teachings there were rites of passage. Often these were fairly brutal but now they are brutal in different ways. The old initiation ceremonies gave you a sense of belonging but now there is only a sense of groping in the dark covered in the armour of shame.

This is the role of the storyteller but not just any kind of storyteller. It is the role of the storyteller to hold the shadow ? the shadow of his or her life story. They bring the dark secret into the light and all families have a secret. They invite the telling of this wonder tale of who you are. They invite the shadow from the darkness to the light. This is real entertainment. It is to enter the twixt and the between and bring back to the community the treasure of the sweet moon language that every other eye is longing to hear. This is your unique language as it speaks through a heart absent of shame and sham.

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