Slowly but surely we are sliding into Autumn with its longer nights and shorter days. As the light draws in so do our feelings and thoughts. I can clearly notice in myself a natural tendency towards moving inward, wanting to make sense of where I have arrived and learn from past experiences. This year especially I realise that I cannot carry everything forth with me, that I need to let go of what I do not need (putting the garden to sleep is a great teacher) so that I can sow the seeds which will bear new growth in the Spring...a good wish for vitality.
Lately, looking at relationship and behavioural patterns in my life I have realised something quite striking, and yet very simple that I had not been able to see before. When your experience of love has been that of conditionality upon a certain behaviour or achievement, it is very likely that the love you are able to give is equally tied to a system of values external to the subject of your love, rather than to his/her inherent lovability. As such the manifestations of this conditional love can easily be retracted if he/she does not comply with the lover's expectations and internal set of values (usually inherited from childhood along with a sense of not being worthy of love). This applies to romantic love, motherly/fatherly love, friendship, any kind of love. When you have had to 'fight' to feel loved, the very moment Love flows free of burden or condition, the disbelief is such that you even doubt the truthfulness of it. This, I have come to understand, is the true tragedy of not having known unconditional Love: the fact that no matter how hard you try, you will never feel good enough, worthy enough or lovable enough to be - and feel - truly loved...there is always a 'what if' lurking in the background of your head.
Once I understood this of myself I began looking at relationships and patterns within them which reflect just how difficult it is to come out of this kind system of limiting beliefs. The ramifications are multiple, from experiencing Love as a trap, because you have to live up to a certain standard to deserve Love (read constant performance anxiety); to feeling in an instant the inner contraction which prevents you from outwardly manifesting love once you feel the subject of your love is letting you down (whatever this means). Old patterns are always difficult to bypass. I still find I have to work at feeling worthy of Love and being able to love unconditionally, but through mindful observation of my own thoughts and most of all of my internal sensations, I have become aware of when I am about to go back to my default. It is only through constant watchfulness that you can begin to release old behavioural patterns, each time catching yourself a little earlier, until a new way is found; for this is the only way to break the patterns of conditional love.
I have found that using Sagebrush essential oil has helped me to cut through the narrative I used to hide behind (a good crystal for this part of the process would be sheen obsidian), while thanks to oils like Sandalwood, Frankincense and up to a point Myrrh and Spikenard (all of them grounding and able to free the mind of obsessive worry) I could sit with the uncomfortable sensation of being about to discover potentially painful and unpleasant things about myself and recognise that I did not have to be defined by those. Once you can see clearly you can choose what to let go and what is worth to sow as an intention for a new behaviour to surface in the Spring and carry forward after the long sleep.
Wishing you all a peaceful Equinox and as many walks in nature as possible in the next few weeks to take in the changing light and the colours of Autumn. Be mindful and compassionate with yourselves.