The Architecture of Lack

In Self Care by Richard Klein

August 23, 2017

How we develop the idea that we’re not enough

A few days ago I held a newborn infant and gazed into eyes of wonder and innocence, still connected, it seemed, to the mystery of his origin.

The openness of the child’s gaze left me reflecting on just what happens to that wonder and sense of connection as we progress through life.

New research shows that up to about the age of eight, children don’t possess the ability to fully differentiate between themselves and their mother or father. If Mom withdrawals under the stress of a rough day, the young child does not see that “Mom is just having a hard time”. He or she concludes that there must be something wrong with me to have caused the situation. The connection to Mom or Dad has been compromised – and it is the young child’s fault.

In this age of single parenting and isolated nuclear families, small but repetitive slights to a young child’s sense of connection, get internalized as a deficiency – a feeling of lack – that lies beneath the surface of conscious awareness.

This is in no way to blame parents, but to acknowledge just how far we have moved from our tribal past when Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles plus countless cousins were on-hand if parents were unavailable. In these cases the child’s sense of safety and connection to caring adults was maintained.

Today the “not enoughness” takes many shapes and forms, and is mirrored back to us by the society we live in. There is “not enough” time,”not enough” money, “not enough” love and attention, and for some, “not enough“ safety and security.

This underlying feeling of lack can lead in extreme cases to Trump-like displays of grandiosity, wealth and power, all in an attempt to fill an empty place inside. The hidden template of lack gets played out as busyness – the more I do the better I’ll feel about myself – it gets expressed as self judgement – I’m never good enough. and an underlying sense of dis-ease or dissonance that our culture offers us myriad forms of distraction not to feel.

It is a paradox that as we turn toward the “not enoughness” in ourselves, and instead of judging it, or wall papering it over, bring our conscious care and attention to the very places in ourselves where this lack lives – the places something begins to change.

It’s as if we give ourselves in those moments, the very presence that was missing in our past. We become the ‘good enough parent’ of our own experience. We rewrite the script and change the source code with our own presence – allowing us to move forward with more gratitude for what life has to offer.

As the Sufi mystic Jelaluddin Rumi said so simply 800 years ago, It’s all about loving and not loving.

The truth is that it’s hard to truly love ourselves or another, when we are operating from a place of lack.

For those of you who wish to explore these themes in a deeper way, I invite you to take a look at The Hero’s Journey, a six day retreat I will be leading during the last week in September.

And due to such a positive response in the spring, Yogita Bouchard and Sharon Abbondanza will be once again be offering the five day woman’s retreat, A Woman’s Way of Being, Sept 16th – 21st. This is both a profound reset for the central nervous system and a deep dive into the wisdom available within.

The Power of Community in an Age of Lonliness

In Mindful Living by Richard Klein

March 13, 2016

We were never meant to do it all on our own

Last month I was privileged to have had a few wonderful conversations with people who had been through our Healing with Addictions Program. I wanted to see how they were, and to find out what aspects of the retreat had been central to their experience.

SKylght modifiedI was surprised when the word “circle” kept coming up. The circle they were talking about was the physical circle that is created every time people sit down together in a group in the round Malocca building where we do this work. The circle is that, and something more.  It is also a group of people coming together with a common intention, holding space and bearing witness to each other’s  healing.

The power of the healing circle

Often in these circles there will be heartfelt sharing with tears, yes, sometimes, laughter, where something difficult of the past that is perhaps never before been shared, or turned to, is now held in common.

In such moments there is a peace that gets made with the past. What happens in these moments is that someone is seen in their authenticity, perhaps for the first time, by a community of people to which they belong. When this happens something important about their experience gets validated. This is circle.

The world we have created is a paradox in so many ways. This blog is a form of sharing into an online community, as is facebook for many people. And yet it is a facsimile, a virtual community, where we get the taste of something but not that much of the nourishment.

We are social creatures, yet increasingly, people live in isolation and loneliness.

Of course, there are many reasons for this. We live separate from each other in our nuclear families. Our economy is structured so that  people are working harder and harder just to get by. There is little time to socialize and people come home tired and turn to the television or the internet for solace and distraction. Our culture celebrates the myth of the heroic individual, the self starter, the entrepreneur smart enough and tough enough to rise to the top of the heap. Each Apple product, The ‘i pod, the “i” phone,and the “i”pad’  places the ‘I” front and centre for a reason. Because we relate to the world as individuals.

circle of handsTribal cultures know that no one can do it alone. That was part of what was so devastating about the residential school system that was forced for so many years upon Canada’s native peoples. It ripped apart the social bonds that held the traditional culture intact.

At the addictions Retreat one of the hardest things for people is to learn that it is okay to ask for help. in fact at certain times it is absolutely essential. Yet people are caught in the notion that they need to figure it out on their own and this plays out like a defective piece of software.

Human beings are wired for connection, we are uniquely social. Our language, our emotional sensitivities and our artistic expressions  only make sense within a community context.

That’s why the word circle kept coming up in my follow up conversations.  For it was pointing at a deeper longing to belong to something bigger than ourselves.