Oriah Mountain Dreamer on being lied about

The writer is only too familiar with the feeling Oriah describes: ‘constricted, shaken, a little frantic….helpless’ – and with the inward and outward impacts of being privately and publicly lied about, with significant harm done. At one level she subscribes to the line – attributed to various people – ‘what other people think of you is none of your business’. At another, as Oriah points out, ‘we live in a shared world, so what others do can impact us’. At a very deep level, we need to belong and we need the acceptance of others. We are not immune to harm done. That is especially true, where there is judgement, exclusion and shaming not only by the person presenting the distorted reality, but also from others who choose to accept a distorted reality without any direct experience or real enquiry – behaviours which are culturally supported and prevalent.

Like Oriah, the writer sees this as being fundamentally a question of how we deal with powerlessness. Oriah describes the process of creating a sense of spaciousness around the other person’s actions and her response, through self-reflection/witnessing, sitting with the feelings, humour and sharing her process. The writer would add connecting with her body, and her breath, to bring herself into here-and-now reality; finding ways to express her feelings through sound, movement, art; finding connection, closeness and a sense of acceptance/belonging with another/others…. All forms of self-care and presence – the antidote to someone else’s projections through brutal story.

Here is the text, for those who have difficulty following Facebook links:-

‘How to be with the reality of someone lying about you? To others. Frequently. For years. Even after you have approached them and explained that what they think you did is simply not true.

I admit it – this is a tough one for me. Sort of graduate work in “getting” that what others do most often has nothing to do with me. And yet, we live in a shared world, so what others do can impact us.

This can happen in families, in groups, in communities and – if you have a public profile at all – it can happen publicly. What a challenge – to let it go, not to step into a fight that would shape our short lives in undesirable ways, to send a prayer for the other. . . . Okay, that last bit might be post-graduate work. :-)

For me, it is less about reputation (although I am not immune to cringing at the idea that others believe something untrue about me) but the way it makes me feel inside- constricted, shaken, a little frantic. . . helpless.

Ah, there it is – the helplessness – the inability to do anything to stop something that affects me.The illusion of and desire for control arises – the inner child-like wail of, “Not fair!”

lol – yep, not fair. That at least makes me smile. I sit with the feelings, I imagine creating space around the other’s action and my reaction. . . . letting it all be held in something larger. And the constriction loosens, and I become still.

And then I write a little here as a way of sorting what just happened and sharing it in the hopes that it might help us all with our shared human struggles. (And if you think you’ve heard a lie about me please do not post it in the comments or send it to me. Lies do not need repeating and if it’s one I have not heard yet well, I don’t need to hear it! ♥) ~Oriah’

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in abuse, anger, blaming, boundaries, bullying, compulsive behaviour, conflict, cultural questions, emotions, empowerment, loss, objectification, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Palace Gate Counselling Service, power and powerlessness, presence, resilience, sadness & pain, scapegoating, shadow, shaming, trauma, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeking Sanctuary in Our Own Sacred Spaces – Parker J. Palmer


Click on the link to visit http://www.onbeing.org for this wonderful piece by Parker J Palmer on the importance of creating sanctuary in our lives, to support our doing what we can to survive in – and challenge – the violence of our culture.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in acceptance, consciousness, core conditions, creativity, cultural questions, emotions, empowerment, encounter, fear, growth, healing, interconnection & belonging, internal locus of evaluation, loneliness, meaning, meditation, mindfulness, natural world, organismic experiencing, Parker J Palmer, power and powerlessness, presence, resilience, sadness & pain, spirituality, surrender, sustainability, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upworthy – Challenging body-shaming


Shaming seems to have become a bloodsport in our culture. It arises from damage and perpetuates damage. There is never any justification for it, and it seems to us deeply important to challenge it – as many of us as possible, as often as possible. No-one deserves to be shamed or attacked for how their body looks. As the film says ‘The size of my body is none of your business’.

We think she rocks. Much power to her running, and the rest.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in abuse, anger, blaming, bullying, cultural questions, empowerment, objectification, power and powerlessness, resilience, self esteem | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeff Brown on repressing feeling

“Too many of us move through our lives with our true selves buried below layers of repressed emotion. With so much energy channeled toward sustaining the repression, there is little left over for the deeper questions. The consequences of our evasion are profound. Our stockpiles toxify into a cache of weapons that turn inward against the self: quick fix, long suffering. As Rumi said, “Most people guard against the fire, and so end up in it.” This is the power of then. If we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us.”

Jeff Brown – Soulshaping: A Journey of Self Creation

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

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Rachel Naomi Remen on Mystery

“As a physician, I was trained to deal with uncertainty as aggressively as I dealt with disease itself. The unknown was the enemy. Within this world view, having a question feels like an emergency; it means that something is out of control and needs to be made known as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. But death has taken me to the edge of certainty, to the place of questions.

After years of trading mystery for mastery, it was hard and even frightening to stop offering myself reasonable explanations for some of the things that I observed and that others told me, and simply take them as they are. “I don’t know” had long been a statement of shame, of personal and professional failing. In all of my training I do not recall hearing it said aloud even once.

But as I listened to more and more people with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories, not knowing simply became a matter of integrity. Things happened. And the explanations I offered myself became increasingly hollow, like a child whistling in the dark. The truth was that very often I didn’t know and couldn’t explain, and finally, weighed down by the many, many instances of the mysterious which are such an integral part of illness and healing, I surrendered. It was a moment of awakening.

For the first time, I became curious about the things I had been unwilling to see before, more sensitive to inconsistencies I had glibly explained or successfully ignored, more willing to ask people questions and draw them out about stories I would have otherwise dismissed. What I have found in the end was that the life I had defended as a doctor as precious was also Holy.

I no longer feel that life is ordinary. Everyday life is filled with mystery. The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse. Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us.

Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain. In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us at such times. I used to try to offer people certainty in times that were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. After twenty years of working with people with cancer, I find it possible to neither doubt nor accept the unprovable but simply to remain open and wait.

I accept that I may never know where truth lies in such matters. The most important questions don’t seem to have ready answers. But the questions themselves have a healing power when they are shared. An answer is an invitation to stop thinking about something, to stop wondering. Life has no such stopping places, life is a process whose every event is connected to the moment that just went by. An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.”

Rachel Naomi Remen – Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal

Here is the book link:-


Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994


Posted in acceptance, awakening, consciousness, creativity, cultural questions, grief, healing, immanence, loss, meaning, organismic experiencing, perception, presence, Rachel Naomi Remen, reality, sacred illness, sadness & pain, shame, spirituality, surrender, trust, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joy – David Whyte

David has dedicated this post today on his Facebook page to his daughter, who is beginning college.

May all those venturing into the world, and those who love them, experience joy and aliveness.

Here is the text, for those who have difficulty seeing Facebook links:-


is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and self forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formally seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music in the street, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us.

Joy may be made by practiced, hard-won achievement as much as by an unlooked for, passing act of grace arriving out of nowhere; joy is a measure of our relationship not only to life but to death and our living with death, joy is the act of giving ourselves away before we need to or are asked to, joy is practiced generosity. If joy is a deep form of love, it is also the raw engagement with the passing seasonality of existence, the fleeting presence of those we love understood as gift, going in and out of our lives, faces, voices, memory, aromas of the first spring day or a wood fire in winter, the last breath of a dying parent as they create a rare, raw, beautiful frontier between loving presence and a new and now blossoming absence.

To feel a full and untrammeled joy is to have become fully generous; to allow our selves to be joyful is to have walked through the doorway of fear, the dropping away of the anxious worried self felt like a thankful death itself, a disappearance, a giving away, overheard in the laughter of friendship, the vulnerability of happiness and the magnified vulnerability of its imminent loss, felt suddenly as a strength, a solace and a source, the claiming of our place in the living conversation, the sheer privilege of being in the presence of the ocean, the sky or a daughter’s face framed by the mountains – I was here and you were here and together we made a world.

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press 2015

And here is the book link:-


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Counselling Exeter since 1994

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Charles Eisenstein on the New Story & Separation

‘Even though science as we know it is central to the centuries-long or millennia-long program to master nature, even though its approach to gathering knowledge is the very model of “othering” nature and making the world into an object, scientifically oriented people are often fervent environmentalists and supporters of civil rights, equality for gay people, and other compassionate positions. This exemplifies a general principle: our entry into the new story is uneven. In one area of life or thought we may have transcended all vestiges of separation, while being completely blind to it in another. It never ceases to amaze me. Someone might have deep insight into the institutions, both internal and external, of racism, sexism, classism, and colonialism, but have no clue that western medicine, and to some extent science itself, are among those institutions. I go to a traditional nutrition conference where people thoroughly understand the corruption of our food system, how it destroys land, health, and community, but they are unaware that the school system does much the same. Citing studies that link diet and test scores, they say, “If only children had better nutrition, we would improve school performance,” assuming that paying attention in class and doing well on tests are signs of a healthy child. But when we become aware of how the school system is a conditioning agent to instil in children obedience to authority, passivity, and tolerance to tedium for the sake of external rewards, we begin to question school performance as a metric of well-being. Maybe a healthy child is one who resists schooling and standardisation, not one who excels at it. Then I go to an educational conference where people do understand that, yet (judging by the food consumed and the health of the participants) have little connection to their bodies or awareness that the food system is just as corrupt as the educational system. And almost anywhere I go, no matter how radical the audience when discussing agriculture or education or sexuality or politics, when push comes to shove concerning their health, they go to a conventional MD.’

Charles Eisenstein: The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible

For the writer, Charles just gets it – with depth, rigour, clear-sightedness, vision and courage. Here’s the link to this important book:-


Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994


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