Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hotel California

Last thing I remember, I was
running for the door.
I had to find the passage back
to the place I was before.
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
but you can never leave!"
(Hotel California, The Eagles)

They say once an addict, always an addict. For the record, I am not an addict. Never was and never will be. Yet, I can resonate with that feeling of being stuck to some dark feelings. In the olden days when the AOL and MSN adult only communities were still going strong, I enjoyed exchanging sexual fantasies with other folks. Nothing ever happened other than talking with other folks who wanted to take a mental trip to the "wild side". I considered myself a "liberated European" without moral hang-ups, so I 
actually didn't have a problem with my behavior at all. But when my spiritual awakening process started, I knew that I had to change course.

Many years have passed since, and I have put this all behind me. Not because I am suddenly so proper, but for the simple reason that I learned the hard way that these sex fantasies caused havoc with my spiritual path. But having turned my back to it doesn't mean that I am completely free from it either. Give me a stressful day at work, a sleepless night and the pull of the full moon and all of the old cravings come back. Today, however, I just ignore them. Gone are the days when I got drunk and used pornography to let off some steam on these dark nights of the soul. So my will-power and determination has simply gone up to make a conscious end to all of this, 
but the feeling of restlessness and of emptiness may never completely vanish. I just accept it. When I wake up once in a Blue Moon at 2 am with these dark feelings, I just write; I listen to music, or interact with the folks in Australia, Europe and the few American night owls within the Spiritual Networks community. And after a day or two, the dark feeling is simply gone. So today I just accept the dark energy that flows through me, and live through some old karma without accumulating new baggage. That's all really. 

The shadow process of saying good-bye to all these compulsive habits lasted a few years. It has to be a process because you have to learn what the demon wants to tell you. For me it was the realization that I was born a lion even though I was raised a lamb. I also realized that I have to honor the desire to be celebrated even though my super-ego tells me to be humble. The shadow images were so different from what I felt I was all about. My demon held up the mirror for me and together we crafted the guy we both like. Along this rocky road I learned to get in touch with my suppressed feelings and I had to learn how to express myself and how to stand up for myself at work. That process of becoming a more empowered human being is still going on. It is a process and it is often painful to override life-long habits - but every day I show up at work and do my best to change. This is how you beat an addiction or a compulsive habit in the end, by overriding the underlying psychological problem. I have a hunch that when I look back in a few years, many of the inner conflicts I am dealing with will be a distant memory.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way", is the beginning sentence of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. The same with the shadow process! Some people drink too much, some people love too much, and some starve themselves to death. It doesn't matter what the imbalance on the surface might be, beneath it, there is always a lingering psychological home-work that one hasn't yet done. But the empowering message of each shadow dance is that the demon with the grotesque facial expression has a beautiful message for you once you are willing to look closely. If you struggle with some compulsive habits, use the opportunity to become that wholesome self that you were born to be.

This process of empowerment is mostly behind me and I can honestly tell you that I love what I see in the mirror these days. It turned out that all these thoughts came to me 
when someone shared the Gypsy King's version of Hotel California in the Spiritual Network community. Who would have thought that this sad song can sound so upbeat:

(Gypsy King's version of Hotel California on youTube)

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