Today, I’d like to talk about dependence and independence, what each of them is on the emotional level, and how one can become more independent.
Many times, when we talk about independence, it’s in reference to an interest in being able to do what we want to do. For instance, “financial independence” refers to being able to live without working. But for some, this still can mean dependence on financial independence, always living with the tension that one’s current stability might fall through, and fearing it, or otherwise letting that fear drive incessant action to control one’s financial stability, without having peace.
Indeed, the freedom to be where one desires isn’t necessarily freedom at all, since one can still feel dependent upon that desired circumstance remaining. And when one’s desire isn’t there, it can feel as though things aren’t right until it is. What people are talking about here is independence as freedom from circumstance. Yet, it’s still very much dependent upon the circumstance one wishes to escape to, and remain in.
So what is dependence? I posit the following definition:
A state of being that involves “looking to get to” a circumstance, such that one craves it, feels one needs it, feels things are wrong without it, or may fear its absence. It can involve impatience, fixation, imbalance, suffering, emotional pain, fear, panic, and anxiety. It can lead to escapism, negativity, and frustration.
And what about independence?
A state of being that involves openness to all circumstances, whatever the current circumstance happens to be. Involves flow, and a sense of detachment from circumstance and everything outside of one’s control, including direct control. Generally a positive, free, authentic, open state, devoid of shame and very fluid, not holding on to the things that come and go in reality.
Thus you can see the differences between the two. Yet, all too often, we can slip into feelings of dependence, however ideal independence might sound. Continue reading →
There is a part of you, who, when it sees a part of yourself it sees as a “demon”, it wants to utterly destroy that part of you. Right now I’m calling this guy “Moral Righteousness”, as he wants to decisively “purify” any “evil” he sees with his fiery powers. But unfortunately for him, I’m wise to his game. Yes, something in me might cause problems for me in life, might bring me down or keep me from some goal of mine. Fine. But if you try to come at things from a perspective of moral purity, then you never get to the root cause of what made a part of you “demonic” in the first place, and thus, never heal it. Now if a part of yourself is actively hurting another part, that’s different. Then you just need to stop the self-abuse. But to actively seek to destroy something inside of you? That’s extreme abuse.
And not only that, but it’s denying that the “demon” is a part of you in the first place! Maybe you’re uncomfortable relating to that twisted up part of yourself, or with even having the patience to work with it. But ultimately you’re not working with a “demon” or something outside of yourself. It’s a part of you, and for some reason, a reason that’s important to get to the root of, it’s behaving as it is.
Not only that, but the mindset of “Moral Righteousness” has been part of the reason for many of the genocides in the past century. The impulse to label a certain group of people as a problem, then seek to destroy them in the name of “purity” is something we’ve all seen before. It’s similar on an internal level, with that group of people being called things like “demons” or “evil”, and ruthlessly pursued so it can be purged out of you. And yet, as much as we try to deny it, they are us! We have something in common with everyone, especially our “demons”.
So then, if we each learn about healing, if we understand what causes “demonic” behavior in the first place, and can work with those parts of ourselves, maybe we’ll see less genocide in the world as well. Sounds good to me!
And btw – what do I mean by “demon”? Well, one internal character I talked about a while back, The Deceiver, I could definitely call a demon. Perhaps anything in you that causes havoc or harm you could call a “demon”.
Just wrote this today for L.C. Ricardo’s fairy tale writing contest posted on her blog here. To write it, I just let the image spur an adventure to take place inside myself. This was spontaneous, but I feel like at least one character I’ve run across before (the self-accepting giant) was a part of this tale. It seems that this princess, if I have represented her accurately, can be extraordinarily powerful when distressed, as you will see. I feel like this method of inner work is the least accurate, but nevertheless I enjoyed the process, and I hope you enjoy the results. : )
— Story Prompt Picture — copyright Lissie Elle Laricchia
The Princess of Stories and the Giant
Once upon a time, a girl found herself standing in a confusing, foggy land. At first she searched for a way out, but eventually she got bored and frustrated, and sat down to take a nap, saying under her breath, “if only I could find a real story, if only I could find a REAL story…”
On waking, she found a ladder standing next to her, its top disappearing into the fog above. Looking to the left and right to make sure no one was looking at her being so mischievous, she began to ascend.
Halfway up the ladder got all oily, and it was hard to keep going. She began to think, “oh, but what if it’s no good up there either? Maybe it’s just a boring old place too.” But, given that she hadn’t been able to find anything below for so long, she decided to power through, and even though it took a great deal of strength, she passed the oily area and kept ascending into the clouds.
No sooner had she begun to think about how long the ladder was than her head popped through the clouds, and she could see the bright blue sky above her. She was curious, but still sad.
“Oh, is this all there is?” she said. “I know all about the blue sky. I’d rather be lost in fog than be here where I know what to expect.”
But since she had nothing better to do, she started to wander around the clouds. It wasn’t too long before her sad, wandering eyes, met with the sight of a giant stirring something in a large pot. It smelled bland.
“Excuse me,” said the girl. “What are you doing?”
“Hm?” said the giant. He had a deep voice and rather fuzzy eyebrows. “The question is, what are you doing?”
“Me? I’m trying to find a story. You see, when I find one, I’ll catch it in my net and take it home.”
“Oh? Let me see that net.”
The girl took out a small notebook from her pocket and handed it to the giant, who couldn’t flip it open with his giant fingers.
“Well I’ll leave you to it,” he said after trying several times to open the notebook and failing.
“Why, what are you doing?”
“Just making some soup.” said the giant.
Just then, the girl noticed that the giant’s pot was sitting on what looked like a large, red frog, who was getting redder by the second, and looked angry.
“Don’t overheat it now,” said the giant. He tapped the frog with a stick and all the hot air blew out of him, and he returned to a gray color.
“Who’s he?” said the girl.
“Nobody in particular,” said the giant, “But he helps me with my food. Whenever he gets angry and forgets to breathe he heats up. Quite convenient – except that sometimes I need to remind him to breathe.”
“Oh, I see,” said the girl, and she wandered around the giant’s outdoor kitchen quite confidently, eventually walking right up to the angry face of the frog, and poking its nose.
“So what makes YOU so angry?” she said. At this the frog puffed up with anger.
“Best not do that,” warned the giant.
“And says who? What gives you the right to get so angry? You silly frog.”
The frog rolled his eyes, breathed out, and returned to normal. A smile lit up the girl’s face.
“This is funny!” said the girl, jumping towards the frog.
“Easy does it,” said the giant. He put his hand between the two of them and nudged her back.
“Hey! Stop that will you?”
“Bugger heats my soup, don’t need you disturbin’ him none.”
“Well… fine.” said the girl, mirroring the frown in the frog’s face.
She began to pace around the giant’s home-with-no-walls, kicking wisps of cloud as she went. She went and sat on the bed and brooded.
Just then, the sky began to darken. Dark clouds moved in far above them (a fact the girl found surprising), and thunder could be heard in the distance. The girl got concerned and complained to the giant, but he sat calmly eating his soup as he answered her.
“Things happen from time to time, but I am here, and capable enough, perhaps. We will see.”
This did not comfort the little girl at all, and she kept wandering around clutching and the table’s legs, which were as wide as trees.
Soon after, a man riding a black horse drew near. The girl hid behind the giant in fright, for the horse and its rider were just as big as the giant, and the rider wore a helmet of twisted metal, which frightened her even more.
“It’s time.” said the man on the black horse.
“Time for what?” said the giant calmly.
“Do not take me for a fool. It is time.”
“Do explain yourself,” said the giant, “For I am the fool here, if there is to be one.”
“Leave your smart words for someone who will show you mercy,” said the man. He grabbed the giant’s shirt threateningly.
Just then the girl gained some courage, since she was with the giant, and shouted out, “Just leave us alone you lousy git!”
Her blood ran cold, however, when the horseman turned to look at her, face hidden beneath the metal helmet. He reached out a gauntlet-covered hand towards her, but the giant blocked it.
“She is of no concern to you,” said the giant, “Now leave us be.”
“Ah so you have a friend now, and do not wish to be left alone anymore…” the man then took off his helmet, and the girl could see his wild eyes and hair that thrashed about in the wind. “What hypocrisy! What double-talk! You fool! Don’t you see now that-”
But whatever else the man was going to say was lost when the giant took the opportunity to slam his fist into the man’s exposed head. The man went flying, but was able to stand after a short time.
“I promise you I will return, and take your head with me. An attack on me will not go unnoticed, you insolent fool. Your strength will not protect you forever.”
Just then the frog blew out a jet of flames, scaring the man away.
“I didn’t know he could do that,” said the girl.
“He is useful for many things,” said the giant, and sat back down to dinner. The girl still felt nervous.
“What are you going to do about that man?”
“Things will work themselves out, one way or another.”
The girl was not so sure, and went to sleep uneasy.
When she awoke, the giant was already up, putting logs away in his kitchen. Where he got the wood from she could never guess, but didn’t ask the giant about that, because she what she saw was that the entire cloud area around the giant’s cabin-without-walls had fallen away. She crawled to the edge and could see the green earth far beneath them. With a squeak she ran away from it.
“What’s going on?” she said to the giant.
“I don’t know,” said the giant, calm as ever. The frog had to keep breathing rapidly though, because he kept getting angry fast.
“But… how will I get down?”
“Well, how did you get up?”
“The ladder… but, but, I can’t go down now! You’re in trouble here, and, well, what good could I do down there.” She began to get very nervous.
“I don’t know, but what do you think you can do up here, either? Get a story?”
“Oh I don’t care about a silly old story now,” said the girl, “I want to know who did this.”
Just then she noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a dignified looking man approaching. As he did, a small bridge of clouds formed. He was normal human-sized, and looked quite small to the girl.
The man, who had a well-greased, tiny mustache, pulled open a large piece of parchment.
“By degree of the king of the castle in the clouds, you are hereby requested (that means ordered, said the man) to return the girl to the human kingdom below, and appear in court in one hour’s time for trial.”
“What is my offense?” said the giant calmly.
“You will find out when you get there,” said the man, who looked severely annoyed.
“What’s the matter with you?” said the girl, “He hasn’t done anything! And what do you mean return me to the human kingdom? I go wherever I want to go, thank you very much!”
The man answered her with a sneer. “What would you know of it? You’ve only been here the past day – from what we know – and no, it doesn’t involve bothersome little girls like you.”
“I will go,” said the giant. “Just make sure you do not involve her in any of this.”
“Fine, as if I have any authority to do that.” said the man. “Good day.”
“I don’t like him,” said the girl. The giant just shrugged his shoulders, and began to pack his things into a bag, including the frog.
“I’m going with you!” said the girl.
“I don’t think that’s wise, but follow along if you wish.”
They started off along the clouds, the girl grumbling to herself all the while. She didn’t like the situation at all, nor how the giant just went along with it. He could have easily just thrown that messenger off the clouds.
Before long, they reached the castle in the clouds, which was a tall white castle that nevertheless had a swirling black cloud around it. The girl didn’t like the look of it at all. As they walked through the city, the residents all looked at the pair with suspicion, and even resentment. But why would they care? Was the giant really all that bad?
She and the giant reached the entrance to the castle, and were asked to wait while the heavy marble doors were opened by twelve tiny men. Stepping inside, they caught sight of the larger people living inside. One of them, standing next to the throne, began jumping up and down, pointing at the pair who had just entered.
“That’s them! That’s them! Damn them!” It was the man from before, and, the girl noted, he looked excited.
The king remained unmoved, looking at them as dispassionately as if they were rocks, a look of intense dissatisfaction on his face. He was dressed all in metal, with a red and black velvet cape that stood in contrast to his white throne. He finally stopped leaning on his fist in order to pick his nose.
“You there,” he said, flicking his booger then pointing to the men standing behind the giant and the girl, “close the doors.” He turned his attention to the giant.
“As you may have gathered, you have been summoned here today to answer for your heinous crimes. I call them heinous because that’s what they are.”
“Would you mind telling me what they are?” said the giant.
“You tell him.” said the king to the messenger from before.
“Oh – yes, of course,” he said as he unrolled another large scroll. The king had returned to picking his nose.
“Ahem, yes, your crimes. They are as follows: being far too peaceful. Ah, I mean, refusing to lend us your strength in battle.”
“And my punishment?” said the giant.
“Now wait a minute!” said the girl, “THAT’S no crime! He’s just staying out of your business, what’s wrong with that?”
“What’s wrong with that, little girl,” said the king, leaning forward, “Is that with him the enemy could outnumber us three to one and we’d still have a good chance of winning.”
“I don’t care! Fight your own damn battles!”
“And my punishment?”
The king got a maniacal look in his eye. “At noon today your head is to be struck off and posted in the town square to serve as motivation for the people. At last you will have served your duty to your country.”
The giant was silent, the girl dumbstruck.
“What..? You, you can’t be serious.”
The prince now sauntered forward.
“Oh yes, we are quite serious little girl, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
She stared wide-eyed, in shock.
Just then the frog burst from the bag. He started shooting flames all around the room. The response was quick. The prince picked up his black mace and sent the frog flying. Then the king drew his sword and began to approach. Then the giant pushed the king back.
“No, I am the only one to die.” The girl noticed he was talking to the frog. The frog looked sad, and slunk off into the corner.
“Yes, good froggy, obey your wise master,” said the prince with smirk.
“Oh I wish I could just…” said the girl.
“What, punch my lights out?” said the prince, grabbing her arm. How cute, what, did your mommy teach you how to fight?”
“The girl is to be left out of this, too.”
“Fine,” snapped the king. “But that is also an offense. I think… I’ll put out your eye along with your head just for failing to return her.”
Suddenly, the girl realized something. Her heart started racing. The prince raised his eyebrow at her.
“Hmm? Is something wrong with you?” said the prince, snarling.
“Whattimeisit?” she sputtered out.
“Ten thirty,” said the king. “Little more than an hour to live, giant.”
The girl had seen the giant’s strength, and knew that if he would he would take out those who were trying to kill him. But having watched him submit, she knew that he stood no chance against these cruel men. She knew what she had to do. Straightaway, she marched towards the door. The frog hopped after her.
“Oi, where are you going, little girl?” said the prince.
“For a walk.” said the girl. The frog was glowing red hot next to her. Not daring to look back at the giant, she fled from the castle, running as fast as she could, past the curious crowds, and outside. The frog kept jumping ahead of her and sitting down.
“Stop it, you stupid frog!” she shouted. Again and again he did it and soon she was doubled over, tired from running.
The frog sat right in front of her again, and then she realized it was trying to get her to ride it. As soon as she climbed on, the frog turned in the direction of the castle, and a jet of flames shot out. She barely hung on as the frog rocketed backwards, and back towards the giant’s home.
No sooner had she got there than she launched herself down the ladder, and, on reaching the earth (the frog just jumped down), ran to the nearby town. The villagers all looked delighted to see her.
“Hey, welcome back! Where have you been? Tell us about it!”
“My friend!” she shouted, tears streaming, “My friend is in danger!”
As fast as she could, she rushed into the castle, where her father, the king, was holding court.
“My friend!” she screamed.
“Calm down, my child,” said the king, rushing to her side, “What’s wrong?”
She calmed down as tears continued to roll down her cheeks.
“I’ve seen something horrible,” she said. “In a city in the clouds the king there is going to kill a kind old giant who protected me and gave me shelter. He’s done nothing wrong, either.”
The king, silent, looked to his warriors, who were leaning against the wall, listening.
“Tell us where to go.” said one.
The princess took a moment, looking between the king and the warriors, then, turned and rushed out the door, only to find it blocked by the frog.
“What’s that?” said the king.
The princess jumped on and, looking over her shoulder, shouted, “Follow me! And clear a path!” Then the frog blew a jet of fire, and the next instant was in the town square.
“Fetch your horses,” said the king. “I think that speed is required here.”
Soon, the princess and all the king’s warriors, who numbered a thousand strong, were ascending the ladder. The frog met them at the top, bursting through the hole in the clouds with a single hop. The girl looked desperately up at the sun and saw it was almost at its peak. She, not thinking to wait, hopped on the frog and blasted towards the castle far ahead of the fighters.
The frog and the princess arrived at the castle gate. It was before noon. Instead of waiting for the twelve tiny men to open the door, she let the frog burst it open. She staggered in.
“Where is he??” she screamed. The king, who was eating lunch, sneered at her.
“I couldn’t be bothered to have my lunch interrupted with an execution, so I went ahead and had it done early. See there? His head is on a pole, as promised.”
The princess stared in horror at the sight. The sad eye of the giant looked back at her.
She couldn’t bear it any longer. The princess balled up her dress and screamed. The king looked up, horrified.
It wasn’t an ordinary scream. The pitch was higher, more intense than that. The air itself began to shake.
Then, the windows burst. A red glow could be seen out the window. The girl walked outside, screaming, tears falling from her eyes, as fire fell from the sky. It hit the white castle with such force that it cracked in two, then, waves upon waves of fire hitting it, crumbled to the ground.
The cruel king and all his court were buried with it, but the giant’s head stood on a pole above the debris. The townspeople and the warriors who had just arrived all stood dumbfounded.
Just then, the girl spotted a small gold ring on the ground. She calmed down for a moment, picked it up, put it on, and began to hear a voice. She turned around and saw the giant’s head talking. The ash in the air and everything else, however, was frozen in time.
“What’s going on here?” said the giant. “You did all this?”
“I don’t know…” said the girl. “I didn’t mean to. I’m scared. Are you… still alive?”
“As alive as I’ll ever be. If you can bear it, take my head to my body.”
The girl, weak as she was, couldn’t lift the pole out of the ground. So she took the ring off and called some of the warriors to her. Leaving the giant, she went over to the large mound of debris where the giant’s body was, and dug it out as if in a daze. The warriors helped her, but said nothing. Soon they sat the body up and removed the pole from the giant’s head as the princess requested. They placed the head on the body and nothing happened, so she put on the ring again.
“Isn’t this what I needed to do?” she asked.
“It’s kind of difficult to reattach so quickly, you know?” said the giant. “But I think now I can do it.” And just like that the head was reattached to the body.
“But everything else is stopped…”
“It’s ok now,” the giant assured her.
So she took it off. No sooner had she done so than the giant’s body lifted up in the air, limp, then touched slowly down to earth again. He started breathing slowly. The frog, who had been standing nearby, jumped towards his master with a hopeful look in his eyes.
“Well, I guess I’ll have to make due with one eye from now on. Don’t suppose I could find it.
The girl was so excited, with a huge smile on her face, that she barely noticed when an eyeball shot out of the rubble and into the giant’s eye socket.
“What – of all the – that…” he looked around, surveying all who were looking at him. “Who are you?” he said to the warriors.
“I profess I have never seen anything like this in all my days,” said the lead warrior. “We were called here by the princess to stop your execution.”
“Yes, I thought you might.” he looked over at the girl, who was still staring at him, now with a look of disbelief. “Thank you.” he said with a smile.
“I’m so sorry!” she cried out, hugging his foot. “I’m sorry I wasn’t fast enough!”
“That’s no matter,” he said gently. The princess smiled.
The giant, along with his frog, returned to his cabin-without-walls, even though the princess tried to convince him to move to her city – for the giant was content to live at his home. However, from that day forward, the giant was welcomed in the princess’ town, and he was often consulted by the king. The princess, too, visited the giant whenever she could, climbing the ladder, probably to this day, to visit the giant where he resided. And the two of them kept the secret of the princess’s voice, and the power of the golden ring, hidden from the rest of the world.
It seems that the part of yourself who judges others does so because they themselves have been judged, and gather resentment towards those who would do such a thing. Where this all starts is the next mystery to be solved.
In terms of interacting with a judgmental person or part of yourself, it seems that they only let down their barriers when you are willing to admit your mistakes and really be humble in front of them. Rather than get pissed at the judgments they throw at you. If you do, a larger and larger fight will brew, and explode, instead. Heck, maybe SOME of the things they say ARE true. To avoid becoming judgmental you must develop, I feel like, the ability to TAKE IT. To take the judgment or criticism, however harsh or mean-spirited. Even if it is designed with the specific intent to crush your spirit.
It seems I lied – I didn’t stop my self-deceiver. He came back, and wanted to stop me from moving forward. Started throwing a fit about the fact that he didn’t want his plans to fail, and that those who failed to enact his plans for him should suffer as a result. Perhaps this is the reason behind a fear of failure…
The main thing that stopped him was surprisingly the fact that he didn’t want to be used as a tool, and yet he was using others as a tool (like the hands, brain, body, etc.) to achieve whatever end he decided on. That was his MO. But when I pointed out to him that others, because he was so effective, probably saw him as a tool, he stood down. It was true, after all, he was prone to being used as a tool because he didn’t care if there were any bonds of friendship – he just wanted to get the job done. And in the end this made me a more fit master for myself than him, not because I was more effective, but because I was, in this instance, treating those not in an authority position in my consciousness as I would want to be treated. A.k.a. “Be kind to yourself”. Maybe this is why the Golden Rule has been considered so important? I don’t know.
Furthermore, when this smart but unwise fellow inside me WAS treated kindly, it seems that, because he only pretended to be nice, that kindness never got to him. Everything was still a game to him, and if he dropped his cover, why of course no one would treat him kindly. But you see he wanted to be treated with respect for who he really was, his true talents and wishes, no matter how demonic he seemed. It was more touching a realization than I thought it could be.
Stepping out of the inner world for a moment, I think what this means for life is that not only is it important to consider how you would want to be treated, but that in order to know if someone feels kindness towards you, in order to open the possibility of true friendship, you need to be honest about yourself and your motives and insecurities. And while you’re at it, accept that sometimes your plans fail. Don’t yell at the world for it, or your body, or mind, or whatever – don’t be harsh with it for not giving you what you want. It was as it is, body, mind, or world. And as far as your self goes, at least it cooperated to some extent. And if it didn’t, maybe you had unrealistic expectations in the first place. Like, what if you wanted your body to fly without the aid of any mechanical means. No matter how bad you wanted it, it’s just not equipped to handle that request. So be fair with yourself – you may not know yourself well enough to know beforehand how everything will work out. Just handle the responses you get from your body as you would a friend. “Ok, you can’t fly. Boring, but fine. I’ll think up something else – any ideas?” Something like that. Just think about your stomach – if you refused to eat you soon wouldn’t be in a position to refuse anything anymore, you’d be dead. And you certainly know when the stomach is speaking to you. So everything works together, and you, the authority, are, in my opinion, most effective when you’re a friend to all within. You might find yourself being friendly towards all outside yourself as well. : )
Long story short for those who don’t want to read: Driving yourself towards dreams with desperation instead of love will create a controlling hypocrite in you. (Or something like that)
Last night I discovered that there was a part of me that got mad at myself for getting angry. Total hypocrite. After delving further, I found out that this part of me was trying to experiment on me, and make sure I would become a person without anger. This was all because it fit into his grandiose life plans – he wanted to become a legendary individual, far greater than anybody else, renowned far and wide for his deeds.
On asking why this was so important, it was mostly because he hated and feared the idea of living a “common” life, and started to get upset at the thought. But then, I challenged him, telling him that was B.S. because he was already great, and he did not have to stand out in the ways he described. He at first thought I was just saying it to make him feel better.
But after a bit more back and forth, I found out that the key difficulty with all of his grand dreams was that he was seeking that dream with desperation instead of with love. At this, he finally agreed with me, and we made peace.