Codependency therapist/Spiritual teacher/author of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls informally discusses his own process in relationship to his web site in newsletters to his e-mailing list.  Topics of the newsletter on this page include:  emotionally honest role models, the dysfunction of traditional therapy, powerlessness, Spiritual Truth, I teach best what I need most to learn.

Welcome to a page of  Joy to You & Me

The Web Site of Robert Burney and Joy to You & Me Enterprises.

Robert Burney is a codependence therapist, Spiritual teacher, and the author of the Joyously inspirational book

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.

This is the Update - Joy to You & Me Page where you can read the 'newsletter' that has evolved as Robert was informing people on his electronic-mailing list of the changes he was making to the web site.  This page originally was meant only for the individuals who had signed up for that list.  If you have reached this page without coming through the web site, you might want to first explore the web site by going to the Joy to You & Me Home Page so that you can understand the context within which these 'newsletters' were sent.  This page contains the first newsletter that was sent out on July 1, 1998.

(Beware: if you are an editor or grammar teacher please be forewarned that I have been writing these newsletters very casually with little or no thought given to punctuation and grammar (my excuse is that it is hard to write in html - but in truth I am enjoying the chance just to be casual) - this page will be a wonderful opportunity for you to practice letting go and acceptance.) :-)

Update    -    Joy to You & Me    -   7-1-98
To all the folks on my e-mailing list, 

I made some changes to my Web Site as of July 1st. 
*I changed my online column to one entitled “Union Within”  which was quoted in part on another page - and I have had several inquiries about it - so I added the whole column.  A quote: 

"The feeling of wanting to die, of not wanting to be here, is the most overwhelming, most familiar feeling in my emotional inner landscape.  Until I started doing my inner child healing I believed that who I really was at the deepest, truest part of my being, was that person who wanted to die. "

*I added a new page “Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy” which is a quite personal article about the first time I did some deep grief work.  Here is a quote from it. 

“With great heaving sobs, tears pouring down my cheeks, and snot running out my nose, I had my first experience with deep grief work.  I did not know anything about the process at the time   I just knew that somehow that wounded little boy was still alive inside of me.”

I had to chuckle a little as I wrote above that this article was personal since all of my work is personal.  I really believe in sharing my experience, strength, and hope.  I had to quit writing for a paper I used to write monthly columns for because the publisher/editor kept trying to change my copy - she would want to change ‘I’ to ‘they’ and things like that - because she said that I was supposed to sound strong and powerful and not be vulnerable.  I told her that part of the dysfunction in our codependent society was trying to “keep up appearances” and be emotionally dishonest - but she obviously didn’t get it. 

Another incident also comes to mind.  I had just started in a therapist position at an outpatient chemical dependence program in Van Nuys California a little over 10 years ago.  One evening in a Family Group I was talking about how grateful I was to be in recovery and I teared up - I didn’t cry, just teared up.  The next week the Clinical Director came marching into our office and needed to talk to me about something he was quite disturbed about.  He proceeded to lecture me about getting emotional in front of the clients - this psychiatrist who was on anti-depressants because he was suicidal over a relationship breakup - warned me to never let it happen again.  I was not far enough along in my recovery at that point to confront him but I do remember thinking to myself - “Then who is supposed to be the role models?” 

The thing that was the most damaging to us was the role modeling of the emotionally crippled adults we grew up around - the role modeling is what taught us the dysfunctional definitions of who we are as emotional beings.  It is vitally important, in my opinion, that we have some beings who are willing to role model what emotionally healthy behavior is - which includes being emotionally vulnerable at times. 

Traditional therapy/counseling in this society is set up as a one up/one down situation - that is the therapist is set up as the expert who treats the poor unfortunate patient.  I happen to agree with something Ram Dass once said about this - “If you meet a therapist who thinks you are the patient - run!” 

There were two interrelated things that I had to get clear about when I started working as a therapist:  One is that I am powerless over other people - over the pace of their progress, over whether they hear what I am saying to them, over where their path leads.  I watched a good friend die of Alcoholism (which is in a column on the Alcoholism page) and saw how clearly he helped other alcoholics stay sober because he couldn’t - he did more to keep more people sober than many of the sober people I know.  I can’t know what someone elses' path is - therefore I can’t tell them what is right and wrong - what I do is help them see themselves clearer (especially as to understanding how their childhood experiences have dictated their lives), see their choices and the possible consequences clearer, and know that we are Spiritual Beings going to boarding school not taking a test - the lesson we are learning is how to Love - and we can't  fail because we are Unconditionally Loved by/part of the Great Spirit/God/Goddess no matter what - so it is OK to forgive ourselves for being human and treat ourselves in more Loving ways. . 

Which brings me to the second thing, which I believe is a Spiritual Truth - I teach best what I need most to learn.  I teach people how to Love themselves because I am trying to learn how to Love myself.  I learned to always listen to what I was saying because, though I have no control whether anyone else hears me, I do have the power to choose to hear myself - and there is always something in what I am saying that applies to me and my process in that moment.   I had someone in a workshop say to me one time "Boy, you really know this stuff!  You have really studied this, you are kind of like an Olympic athlete or something in this area."  My immediate reaction - as it so often is - was to react out of my disease: "That's because I was so sick."  But then I caught myself and changed it to wounded. All of the old souls who are doing this healing - in my belief - were born at a heart chakra level of consciousness and then had to shut down our hearts.  That is why is hurts so much - we were expecting something kinder and gentler than what we were born into - I have always felt like I was in the wrong place - like someone screwed up in the Transporter room and beamed me to the wrong planet. 

I am in process just as my clients are - just as we all are.  There is no hierarchy as far as I am concerned - just one wounded person/Magnificent Spiritual Being sharing what has worked for me with another wounded person/Magnificent Spiritual Being. I am doing what I need to do for myself, to heal myself - it doesn't have to do with anyone else - that it helps other people is just a bonus (and an opportunity to settle Karma). 

So anyway, I didn’t mean to get off on a tangent there but I have been thinking about making these monthly (or 6 weekly or whatever) updates into a kind of newsletter - so I guess that is what is happening. 

*I have also made some changes to the ordering page to add a link to another web site that carries some of my articles that aren’t on my site.  While I was at it I put in links to the web pages that contain full copies of the articles and columns on the list of my writings. 

*And last but not least - I added some personal biographical information to the “About the Author” page. 

In closing, I am going to quote myself here, from the Authors Foreword to The Dance of Wounded Souls. 

“So now I share this message with you, the reader of this book, in the hopes that it will help you to remember the Truth of who you are, and why you are here.  This information is not meant to be absolute or the final word   it is meant as an alternative perspective for you to consider.  A Cosmic Perspective that just might help to make life an easier, more enjoyable experience for you.”

I quote this to make a point.  I meant what I said there.  If you have found that you have differences of opinion (theological ones for instance) from some of the things I say in my book or any of my writing - that’s not a problem for me.  I have no desire to impose my perspective on others - I am just offering a larger perspective of life in hopes that it may help others to break out of the little definition boxes society imposes upon us.  I don’t have any absolute answers - if I thought I did, that would probably be the disease talking to me.   Part of the process of recovery, of healing, is learning discernment - take what works for you and leave the rest.  We are all wounded, we are all trying to find our way back home to Love.  To be part of a community of seekers we don’t have to agree on all the details - ultimately the details aren’t important - Learning how to access Love and Joy and Light and Truth is how we will find out way home - we are all ONE. 

Wishing you all Joy, Peace, & Love, 

Robert Burney 

Go to Newsletter for August 15, 1998

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This material is copyright by Robert Burney 1998.  Quotations from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is Copyright 1995. The quotations from columns & articles are Copyright 1996, 97, 98 by Mr. Burney.