I first met Julie Tallard Johnson through her class, Unleashing the Manuscript. For two months, I journeyed with Julie and eleven other students in the creation of the manuscript proposal that eventually became my first published book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy. It is only because of Julie’s guidance that this book ever came to print. I have since attended several of Julie’s workshops and have worked with her one-on-one in consultation on other book projects. Additionally, I had read and journeyed through Julie’s most recent book, The Wheel of Initiation. I have found in Julie a terrific mentor and teacher and am humbled to now call her colleague and friend. She is a woman well-grounded in her truth and one who stands firmly in integrity and it is for these reasons that I enthusiastically recommend her to other writers and to individuals looking for the unique kind of counseling that only Julie can offer!
The Antidote to Abandonment
Our life is strewn with rejections and abandonments. Rejections show up as early as birth for some (no bonding from parents), and for most rejections are woven into the tapestry of life along side missed opportunities, late starts, regrets, disappointments and losses. It seems that rejection and abandonment happens to us, when in most cases, we tend to abandon our selves.
Too many times we lay the egg only to then abandon the nest. Our clutter surrounds us as the reminders of abandoned promises. Dreams and commitments in the shape of files, outfits, unread books, notes, unfinished art projects, tools, magazines, recipe books, diet guides, exercise equipment, saved emails, supplies, unopened boxes, and the like are scattered about our outer landscape as abandoned roosts. Abandoned nests also come within the context of our relationships and social commitments.
I witness many abandoned nests in both the creative and spiritual life. For too many of us the enthusiasm comes only in the early commitment, the moment of making a promise, the making of the nest and the laying of the egg. Then we get drawn away to another creative idea or spiritual practice and leave that nest.
Lasting satisfaction comes from our breaking negative patterns that keep us in the loop of our pain story. If rejection or abandonment is a central theme to your pain story, you will tend to abandon your self at critical times. In the writer’s life this happens when we jump around from idea to idea but never quite complete that one idea. The egg remains dormant. In the spiritual life we get seduced by the latest spiritual fad rather than develop our own spiritual practice. We then lack insights that endure over time.
The antidote to rejection or abandonment is to keep going, open up even further, take the idea or project as far as you can. Finish what you started. Follow through on your commitments instead of jumping around starting new projects, joining a new group or over-committing yourself to some one else’s project. Keep to your spiritual practice. Instead of starting something new, begin again with the original commitment. Bring enthusiasm to what you already said yes to. Then, even in situations where others reject you, you won’t abandon your self or the egg you laid.
So, the antidote to abandonment: Don’t abandon your self.
Our rejections don’t have to cause us to give up on ourselves. Choose the eggs you will bring to life. Make room for this commitment by emptying out the old abandoned nests. Be ready to say no to other obligations. Take the next step close in to making this commitment happen, and then the next. The next step close in is the one nearest to you, often the one that takes the most courage. We tend to send our commitments too far ahead of ourselves by wanting to do the third or fourth thing. What’s the next step close in you can take to fulfill your promise?
Spiritual & Writing Prompts on and Off the Page —
- This is a wonderful time to remove the clutter and abandoned nests from your environments. Don’t continue to deceive yourself and say, “I will get to it.” You probably won’t. Let it go, make room for the YES in your life by getting rid of what you have actually said No to.
- Write about a time you were abandoned. Then rewrite it as an experience of acceptance and rejoicing.
- Write a rejection letter to some belief you’ve held but not longer accept.
- There are always deal breakers in a spiritual pilgrimage or a creative commitment – what arises as a deal breaker for you? (See Wheel of Initiation for more on deal breakers).
- Make a large circle on a page in your journal. Draw a line down the middle. On the left name all your commitments, projects, promises, possibilities, agreements, nests. Give this some time, look around your home (and closets) and into your relationships and calendar. Include it all. Then on the right side name the eggs you will bring to term. What that remains on the left side is clutter?
- Share your creative or spiritual commitment with others whom you trust. Accountability helps keep us enthused.
- Write on abandoned nests using the following words: early migration, arrival, devotion, leafy twigs, kernel, liberate, sea foam.
Join me and others on a spiritual or creative pilgrimage that will help you fulfill your promises. www.julietallardjohnson.com/calendar
Tuesday March 28th is the end of Writing Tuesdays at the Driftless Depot in Spring Green Wisconsin. Come celebrate the completion of this cycle & the first written draft of my novel. (8:00 am till Noon). Write with us, and then celebrate. Breakfast & mimosas are on me.
Julie Tallard Johnson MSW, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist who maintains a private counseling and consultation service, Healing Services On the River, established in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, in 1995. Here she offers the year-long Initiation Course based on her book, Wheel of Initiation, her popular spiritual journaling classes, Bindu Breathwork, writing consultations and one-on-one transpersonal counseling. Julie can be reached through her website: http://www.julietallardjohnson.com.