We All Have Life Urges and Death Urges
A life urge is a gesture towards joining with Spirit, Love, Intimacy, Connection, Creativity, Honesty and Passion. A death urge is a gesture away from full and vibrant living. A death urge is a withdrawal into the wound pool where we do not feel loved. It is a separation away from Spirit and a descent into illness, depression, and a struggle with the will to live.
On a micro level, it could be said that we often alternate between life and death urges each day that we are alive. Even a negative thought or a judgment could be thought of as a tiny bit of separation away from Spirit - a tiny death urge.
Part of human life is about coping with emotional pain and understanding everything we do to avoid and deny it. Many of us carry not only inner hurt and self-criticism of our own, but also the unhealed pain and rejection from our families. Some of us, especially those of us with great empathy seem to carry the weight, rejection, and pain of generations.
Many of us have a part of our True Self that did not feel loved in our original families. When we perpetuate this lack of love, an unconscious part of ourselves may want to die. This is not to say that we will take our own lives, or will die, but we may become ill, depressed, addicted, or will suffer in a way that makes daily living difficult.
It is not so simple to say that we create our own illness. The roots of illness can run very deep. Often people who become ill are carrying pain for generations of their families. Perhaps we even can bring a propensity for illness into our life at the onset. Illness can often be a soul journey of great dignity and magnitude. I have come to see that illness can be a powerfully transformative process. I respect people who are called to go into the darker, more unconscious inner places to heal.
The death urge is not predictable and the unconscious has its ways of healing that go beyond our conscious decision making process. In my work with the elderly, I have been astounded that people at the end of life do not steadily and predictably decline. There does come a rightful time to die, but I have seen some very frail older people go right to the edge of death, and then come back more vibrant than ever. They often start painting again. They seem less burdened. My impression is that right up until death, we are shedding layers of our accumulated human heaviness.
The Part of Ourselves That Wants to Die Longs to be Loved
At this current point in our human history, many of us feel that we cannot show our entire selves, especially if what we need to express does not fit into the confining social scope of acceptability. We live in a narrow world of what is acceptable and "lovable". Having a teenage daughter, it is easy to see that if teens express difference, they will likely be bullied, feel unloved, left out, or ostracized in some way. Teens often feel the pressure to be exceedingly careful to fit in. It takes such courage to be different in our world.
Even as adults we can secretly flagellate ourselves if our body shape, or physical appearance, or our personal lifestyle is outside of the social norms. The broad spectrum of sexual desires, gender and sexual preferences also often remain out of view. If we are very sexual, or do not feel sexual at all, we tend to hide it. Even if we have a different kind of intelligence than what is celebrated in our culture; if we are exceedingly poetic, artistic, or are a different kind of visionary thinker, we can tend to feel lost and defeated when all we see everyone trying to conform.
Everyone seems to measure themselves on "normal", even though most of us have some quirks or difference that we hide. I remember walking down the street years ago and a deep realization came to my mind. As I looked at our multi-faceted humanity in all of it's shapes and colous, I exclaimed under my breath, "None of us are normal! We are all just pretending to be!" I felt elated and encouraged for the vision.
The parts of ourselves that cannot feel at home in our society tend to not want to live here on this earth. But the very reason that we came into our bodies in this human life is to bring our particular and distinctly needed diversity, uniqueness, and difference to earth.
What so many people do not realize is that our purpose in life is simply to be vibrantly ourselves, despite all inner and outer challenges to the contrary. Our task is to bring our authentic self-expression to life in some true and meaningful way.
If our True Self does not seem to fit - we are meant to summon our strength all the more - to bring our gifts and unique point of view to the community that we live in. We are meant to embrace our differences, and bring the love of our self-acceptance into the world.
Being authentic, especially when we feel different from the norm takes great courage because often it goes against what our families or the popular culture expects from us. Sometimes what we need to bring to life is something that our culture and conventional religions deny, repress, or have not accepted yet. Yet a powerful truth to remember at times of self-doubt is that we are each called to become and express ourselves honestly, so the world can become whole.
Our Inner Critic and the Fear of Being Hurt
Our purpose to express our truth scares our inner critic, and it is the
exact opposite of what it wants. Usually we we inwardly criticize ourselves to protect ourselves from getting hurt, embarrassed, doubted or shamed. Consider that as young children - when
we dared to show a true part of ourselves and it was not accepted - we
felt like we would die from abandonment. Who wants to face that
annihilating feeling again?
As adults, before we even realize it, we can feel saliently taken over by our inner critic. In my experience my inner critic arises full force when I am hurting inside and rejecting some truth about myself. When we are afraid that we are going to be hurt or rejected again, the inner critic rises to the fore to make sure that we do not step forward into our authenticity. Our critic will criticize us to keep us safe. Yet is goes about it in a child-like way. It will hurt and attack us and keep us small and safe before anyone else can even utter a word.
As we grow and mature, the severe perfectionism of the inner critic starts to paralyze our lives and we become stuck, depressed, and afraid to move forward. Even when we are no longer in danger of being rejected, judged, or criticized, we can continue to reject ourselves, unconsciously, continuously and automatically. We might not even realize it as it happens underground and we may suddenly wonder why we are feeling so terrible inside. In my experience my inner critic comes upon me quietly. I can find myself losing my motivation and my inspiration quickly. Now, I can most often catch myself before I head into a downward spiral and ask, "What truth am I afraid to share and express?"
The parts of us that are sick and want to die are hurt and angry that we do not feel loved unconditionally for who we really are. In the task of loving ourselves and expressing our true purposes in the world, we most often have to ask for some Higher Help. This is because human beings are fallible. The people in our lives are often struggling with their own inner self-attack and criticism. Trying to get love and approval from other people is not always possible or available.
We all have the job of learning how to love ourselves unconditionally. Loving ourselves alone can be daunting. For myself, I have had to find my loving nourishment on the inside through some kind of spiritual connection. Spiritual connection is necessary to re-bond to ourselves on the inside with love. For no matter how much we demand love from the outside, we will not be able to receive it unless we are loving ourselves first.
Having recently witnessed my partner traveling through a long illness - into powerful self-love and healing - I came to understand that we are loved at a spiritual level in an intense and all-abiding way. Often a death urge, a close call, or a life crisis will open us up top a level of openness to support that we have habitually avoided in the past. Because the Higher Support is always available, we can all learn to open up to this Spiritual Love that we feel unaccustomed to in our daily lives, and yet deeply familiar with in our souls.
Spiritual Love can be connected with whatever vehicle God is for you. It might be Creativity, Love, Nature, Making Love, Dancing, Poetry, Sports, Animals, Service....anything that connects you to the Larger part of yourself is your God, and your Spiritual Connection to Love. When we ask for "extra help" to love ourselves, we can reach such profound states of well being that we wonder why we ever rejected ourselves in the first place. We can come to find that our unique of Self is infinitely beautiful.
"We were created to love the Infinite - and this is why, when we love, that which we love appears so perfect to us."
- Per Lacordaire