It’s Nice to Have You Back

Saturday 16 June, 2001

The pain in my back was very acute this morning and I did no exercises. I was up early, however, and spent the early morning with Robert and Sunil. I had completely forgotten about the homework so I used the time to write something down – about my back. When Dev woke up, we had breakfast together and set off for the men’s group. The subject of my back came up early and I listened intently to what the other members said.

  • The two other men who’d had similar opportunities to work closely with Karaj had both fallen by the wayside just when they were doing very well. They had both regressed when faced with their own success.
  • I am at a crossroads. I can choose to go back to my old ways or I can choose to go on.
  • I have become withdrawn. It is noticeable that I no longer communicate with Dev and Sunil as I used to.
  • I am trying to fix things in an instant. There’s no need – relax.
  • I personalise my work when there is no need – as Robert put it, ‘Take it seriously but don’t allow yourself to be drained by it’.
  • I am searching for answers when I need to relax and trust that the answers will come – remember the mathematician.
  • My self-searching excludes others.
  • I am questioning the positive feedback from last week’s appraisal.
  • My filtering of phone calls has lapsed recently.
  • The injury aspect of my life is my dad’s script – I need to separate from him.
  • I have ducked the support provided by the group.
  • My pain provides me with a perverse safety and a chance to blame the world – this points to a lack of accountability.
  • With the accounts, I don’t have to bear the burden of the problems – my job is simply to inform Karaj of his financial situation.
  • I don’t communicate. So talk – verbalising my issues will help to ease my worrying.

The learning points from the rest of the morning session were as follows:

  • Active listening. Avoid quick responses and explanation – these block the internalisation of what is being said. Shut up and listen.
  • Don’t give away your power.
  • Avoid facetious or snide comments – they will always come back to haunt you.
  • Explaining is an indicator of Adapted Child state.
  • Habitual safe places are dangerous.
  • The group – it works.
  • When I am doing well do not disengage and withdraw.
  • Don’t seek solutions.
  • Use procedures – set them up
  • Success reveals the next level of work to be done

After lunch we moved onto the homework – everyone paired up and shared their stories with a partner, and looked at the learning points and elements of script within each other’s story. My story was a short one and related to my present state but eventually gave me great insight into my past.

My back

My back’s gone again. It’s the third time this has happened in three years and it gets me down. Each time I have suffered, my thoughts have wandered, from time to time, towards the worst case scenario – if things do not improve I could always kill myself – I could always give up. This is usually enough to lighten my mood because there is always a better option, but somehow I have to reach the suicide conclusion before I can begin to wake up. This latest episode is particularly depressing because I was doing so well. I was making very good progress and then, during an innocent walk, I was stopped in my tracks. The pain drains me, the incapacity distresses me and the helplessness frustrates me. At times I am desperate to sort it out, to rid myself once and for all of this disability.

However, there are also positives which I sometimes glimpse. Through the physical agony and the mental torture I sometimes see that all of this is happening for a good reason. Over the last 17 months I have often thought that my back problem has been instrumental in my surrender to the process. As with so many stories of spiritual growth, an individual needs to hit rock bottom before any change can occur. Before I came to work with Karaj I lay in pain and pleaded with the world, with the Universe, to help me. I didn’t care what I needed to do. I was prepared to do anything and everything to relieve the pain I was suffering.

Now, once again, I am all ears. I am willing to listen to every suggestion, every possible reason why I am in pain. It is difficult but I should be grateful for another opportunity to surrender, to learn and to progress.

This time round the issue goes beyond surrender. It has now become one of faith. To an extent I have faith and it has brought me this far, but now it is being tested to the limit. Not only am I tired, frustrated and desperate, I am also angry. I am angry that I am suffering such pain once again, and I am angry at all the conditions and elements of script from my life which have led to this latest, painful episode. It is now, more than ever, that I need faith.

Faith in the process
Faith in myself
Faith that I am where I need to be
Faith that all that happens needs to happen
Faith that I am okay

George remarked upon my anger and how much of a limitation such an emotion can be. This tallies well with the severe limitations my back pain imposes on me. Relax and release the anger. Somehow. We talked about my thoughts of suicide. George could not equate such thoughts with who I am. This made me think. I thought back to when I was a baby. At the age of one I suffered severe breathing difficulties and nearly died. An emergency tracheotomy saved my life. Had I been in so much emotional pain that I had decided to give up even at that age?

I was also struck by the force of another realisation: at that early age I was totally unable to communicate my pain and despair; a habit which has continued unaddressed until today. This was fascinating and I found the whole exercise thoroughly worthwhile and hugely beneficial. There is so much to be gained from writing things down, and that benefit is taken to a new dimension when the writing is shared with another person. Thank you George.

Twice during the day Leon was asked to facilitate the group as we summarised our learnings. In the morning it went very well but this afternoon’s stint faltered at the beginning because none of us were quite ready. We had just spent half an hour in pairs discussing our respective stories and I felt that 30 minutes had not been enough. I could easily have spent another hour. However, I failed to verbalise this issue and everybody else failed to verbalise theirs. The consequence of this was that the energy was low and Leon began to assume it was all down to him. Yet another example of the need to verbalise.

After a relatively early finish (1 am) I returned home with the other three. As we retired, Dev said to me ‘It’s nice to have you back’. I hadn’t even realised I had been away. I had withdrawn and been happy with my withdrawal, oblivious to the harm I was doing to myself and to my relationship with the group members. It felt like I was returning, and Dev was right, it is good.


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