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: Being a messenger of Truth and Love, Web site experience, search engines, frustration, empowerment and victimization, relaxing, surrender, acceptance, Let Go and Let God, Feeling the feelings.


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 second newsletter/update that was sent out on August 15, 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.) :-)

Joy to You & Me Enterprises 

Update - Joy to You & Me   8-15-98
To all the folks on my e-mailing list, 

I made some changes to my Web Site as of August 14th.   I ended up adding a lot more than I thought I was going to this time.  An article, that I was writing for the Recovery newspaper in Texas, turned into a 3 part series that I realized I wanted to add the Process Work section of the Web Site. 

The three part series deals with the innovative and powerful techniques which I have discovered in my personal recovery and my private practice for setting internal boundaries.  In my opinion and experience having internal boundaries is the key to Spiritual integration and emotional balance. 

*The first article is entitled:  Learning to Love our self - Healing our broken hearts 

 A quote from Learning to Love our self: 
 

“Learning to have internal boundaries is a dynamic process that involves three distinctly different, but intimately interconnected, spheres of work.  The purpose of the work is to change our ego-programming   to change our relationship with ourselves by changing our emotional/behavioral defense system into something that works to open us up to receive Love, instead of sabotaging ourselves because of our deep belief that we don’t deserve love. 
These three spheres are: 
1.  Detachment 
2.  Inner Child Healing 
3.  Grieving”
 

*The second article is: Loving the Wounded Child Within - reclaiming self 

A quote from Loving the Wounded Child Within: 

“When we were 3 or 4 we couldn’t look around us and say, “Well, Dad’s a drunk and Mom is real depressed and scared that is why it feels so awful here.  I think I’ll go get my own apartment.” Our parents were our higher powers.  We were not capable of understanding that they might have problems that had nothing to do with us.  So it felt like it was our fault.”
 

*The third article is: Feeling the Feelings - grief/emotional energy release - self-love

 A quote from Feeling the Feelings: 

“ . . . I had a feeling, and a visual image, that I had just opened Pandora’s Box   the monsters were loose now and I would never be able shut that box again. 

Doing the grief work is absolutely terrifying.  The word I came up with to describe how I felt was terrif---ingfying.  It felt like if I ever really owned the pain, I would end up crying in a rubber room for the rest of my life.  That if I ever really owned the rage, I would just go up and down the street shooting people.  That is not what happened.  The Spirit guided me through the process and gave me the resources I needed to release great quantities of that pent up, pressurized emotional energy.” 

My original plan (you know what they say about if you want to make God chuckle just make some plans) was to use the first article as my online column this time.  I realized though that the three articles might be very useful to some one out there who is looking for some tools right now - so I decided it was more important to include all three in the Process section. 

Since these articles took a lot of time and energy to write, I decided on something simple and easy for the online column.  It is a column that I wrote a year or so ago to soothe the publisher who was so upset with me about being too personal and vulnerable in the columns I was writing for her newspaper. (I talked about this in the last Joy to You & Me e-mailing - see below ) 

*The new online column is about the 4 basic roles in dysfunctional families and is called (appropriately enough): Roles in Dysfunctional Families 

A quote from  Roles in Dysfunctional Families: 

“It is important to note that we adapt the roles that are best suited to our personalities.  We are, of course, born with a certain personality.  What happens with the roles we adapt in our family dynamic is that we get a twisted, distorted view of who we are as a result of our personality melding with the roles. This is dysfunctional because it causes us to not be able to see ourselves clearly.  The false self that we develop to survive is never totally false there is always some Truth in it.  For example, people who go into the helping professions do truly care and are not doing what they do simply out of Codependence.” 

The other major content change I made was to merge two pages that had been previous online columns. The “Mothers Day” and “Fathers” columns are now on the same page, which is called (quite cleverly I thought) : “Mothers and Fathers.”  I also added a third column which has not been on the Web Site previously.  This was a column I wrote several years ago called “Fathers Day” - and is about the effect my father’s rage had on me while I was growing up. 

 *So the newly refurbished web page is called: Mothers and Fathers - the tragedy of wounded parents 

A quote from the new column Fathers Day: 

“I wrote a sentence that I intended to say “Why was nothing I did ever good enough for you?”  When I looked at the paper what it said was “Why was nothing I did ever good enough for me?”  That was a real turning point for me.  It caused me to realize that, though my father traumatized me as a child, I was the one who was perpetuating what he taught me and perpetrating on myself.  That was when I really started to understand that healing is an inside job.  Because, though my father is probably never going to say “I love you” to me, I can say it to myself.”

This Web Site thing has been quite an interesting experience for me.  I was basically computer illiterate (and still largely am) when I first posted this Web Site at the end of February - having used my computer primarily for word processing up until that time.  Working on the design and construction of the site has been an evolving opportunity for growth.  It has changed design-wise quite a bit from the first crude pages I posted.  It is still pretty crude in comparison to many sites on the web - but my site is, and will continue to be, about content rather than design. I want it to look nice of course - but it is the information that I am sharing that is what is important. 

I have felt from the time I published my book, that every book that went out was like a pebble in the pond - and that eventually the ripples would come together.  Now that I have the Web Site also, there are many pebbles hitting that pond of Human Consciousness on a daily basis.  I feel humble and proud (not mutually exclusive at all), honored and very grateful, to be able to be a messenger of (what I believe is) Truth and Love.  Most of what I have to say isn’t new to you all, it is just tied together in a perspective that helps make it a little clearer (or so I hope.) 

Since we are all connected, the healing that any one of us is doing is affecting all of us.  I like to believe that I am something like Imo, the monkey in the hundredth monkey story, in helping to create a new, larger aspect of Consciousness that others can then access.  With the World Wide Web, this is not only True metaphysically but also literally.  It brings me great Joy. 

If you are not familiar with the hundredth monkey story you can read it on my web page about The New Age

I had no idea I was going to go into that - oh well - sometimes I think that a lot of the purpose of making plans is to give myself practice in letting go, surrender, and acceptance. 

To continue about the Web Site experience, I slowly and sometimes painfully, have been learning about working with web pages and html (the programing language that web pages are written in.)  And learning about the web itself.  There are some very frustrating aspects of this process.  One is that the web page as I design it and see it in the browser I use (Netscape) is not going to look the same in your browser.  How the page looks (in terms of spacing, size of print, certain graphics or colors, etc.) is different according to what browser you are using (Netscape and Explorer being the two primary ones), what version of the browser (i.e. 2.0, 3.0. 4.4, etc.), what size screen you are viewing it on, what resolution you are viewing it in, etc.  Even when we are using the same version of the same browser the pages may very well look different (I don’t understand it.).  So, if the page looks a little weird on your screen, please understand that I don’t mean it to look weird - it is just the way the system works at this point in time. 

The other very frustrating aspect is dealing with Search Engines.  It doesn’t do any good to have a Web Site if people can’t find it.  Each Search Engine has a little different (or very different) criteria for ranking web pages.  Some are very quick and efficient (i.e. Infoseek, Looksmart/Alta Vista, Lycos), some are impossible (Webcrawler supposedly takes 3 months to index a site - which some of the others do instantly or within 24 hours - and I still haven’t been able to get my pages on them after 6 months), some very inconsistent (Excite, which powers AOL Netfind, is always changing - one day they list 22 pages of my site, then they have 3, then  none, then 6, etc. - they also grab a couple lines from somewhere on the page for the description - which sometimes is perfect and others makes no sense at all), and some charge for ranking (GoTo).  Then there is Yahoo - very aggravating to say the least. Yahoo is not a search engine, it is a directory.  Supposedly they index sites in 2 to 4 weeks - but why they list some sites and not others is a mystery that I don’t think they even understand (and they don’t answer e-mail  inquiries.)  I haven’t yet been able to get listed in Yahoo despite many attempts from different angles.  And it just got more maddening because they just switched primary search engines. Any search on Yahoo used to automatically go to Alta Vista (a very quick and efficient search engine) but they have now switched to Inktomi.  Inktomi is a quick and efficient search engine in some of it’s manifestations (HotBot, Snap) but the version that Yahoo is using (InkYahoo) does not have any way to submit pages.  Yahoo still talks in their help sections about Alta Vista (a few months behind the times) and there is no avenue for submitting to InkYahoo - which for some reason has very out of date information.  While the version of Inktomi that is used in other search engines has relatively up to date information on my Web Site - the version used in Yahoo is 5 months old and very out of date.  (I am talking about the descriptions that come up with the pages when doing a search - if you follow the link you will get the current page because it is the only one available .) The information is out of date which affects the ranking the page is given - if a page doesn’t come up in the top 10 or at least top 20 on a search there is not much chance that people will look further. 

So, now I am sure that I have just given you more information about this than most of you ever wanted to know - sorry about that. 

About frustration, since I mentioned it several times.  10 years ago when I was in a 30 day treatment program for codependence (clinically called: depression) one of the counselors gave a definition of frustration that made me angry then, and still riles me when I am getting frustrated and I remember his words. 

Frustration (he said) is what you feel when you are in a power struggle and you are losing

Which means, for me, that there is something I need to let go of - some part of my plan, my picture of how I think things should be that I need to surrender - so I can see and accept reality as it is and then make the best of it. 

A small example:  I go to the post office, or the bank, and the line is longer than I want it to be (now that is kind of an oxymoron - I mean really, when has a line ever been “shorter” than I wanted it to be.) I am standing in line and I realize that I am “revving up” (getting wound up tight inside, feeling turmoil, conflict inside) because these people are in front of me (and the nerve of them - some of them have a bunch of packages (never mind how many I have)) holding me up.  That is when it is time to stop, take a deep breath and talk to myself.  “Now really, this is only going to take 5 or 10 minutes and we’ve got a half hour to get to the next place.  So chill our, lighten up, relax and look around - maybe there is someone or something here you are supposed to see.” 

And then I can relax and go with the flow of life.  My programming is to want to rush, hurry, force things along - so it is very important that I catch it when I am starting to create anxiety for myself - because those feelings are my responsibility, they are not the fault of the people in line or the post office for not having enough people at the windows (It is always so easy to blame bureaucrats - and it is also insane of me to expect reality to be different than it is.) 

Every day in my life there are plans, expectations that I need to let go of.  I realized at some point in my recovery that the days I was calling bad days were actually the days that things weren’t going the way I wanted/expected them to go - and those were the days that I was actually learning the most - so I had to stop calling them “bad” days. (I started calling them adventures instead. What we name things has power - the more we call something hard or bad, the harder it is - attitude adjustment.) That brings to mind one of my columns - here is a quote from it: (This column is on the Empowerment and Victimization page of the Web Site) 

“There is an old joke about the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic. The psychotic truly believes that 2 + 2 = 5. The neurotic knows that it is 4 but can't stand it. That was the way I lived most of my life I could see how life was but I couldn't stand it. I was always feeling like a victim because people and life were not acting in the way I believed they "should" act. 

I expected life to be different than it is. I thought if I was good and did it "right" then I would reach 'happily ever after.' I believed that if I was nice to people they would be nice to me. Because I grew up in a society where people were taught that other people could control their feelings, and vise versa, I had spent most of my life trying to control the feelings of others and blaming them for my feelings.” 

(Column "Expectations" By Robert Burney)

Learning how to let go of my “shoulds,” surrender my picture/idea/plan of how my life is supposed to work or other people are supposed to act, and be willing to accept reality as it is, are the Principles of the Twelve Step Program at work.  They are ancient Principles that are an invaluable part of both empowerment and finding some peace within. 

If we are in a power struggle that we are losing (with trying to control someone, or with how our life is unfolding - trying to force things, or with the God/Goddess Force - something I tend to want to do a lot) then the best strategy is to surrender that fight and find a way that is going to work for us to meet our needs.  I spent most of my life with my insides churning, feeling frustrated and angry, because life wasn’t what I wanted it to be. (I can remember the first time in recovery that I was aware of feeling serenity - it was like, ick, what is this? I feel empty inside. - because there was no turmoil or conflict going on.) 

It is so much easier to accept life as it is and make the best of it - there is a catch however.  When we accept reality, and let go of trying to force our will on life and other people, there are feelings to deal with.  One of the reasons we keep trying to control someone else (to get an alcoholic to stop drinking for instance) is because with all that frustration and anger, mental obsession and rumination, we don’t have time to stop and feel how much is hurts, or how scared we are, or feel the grief of letting that other person go.  The reason we try to control other people is to protect ourselves from our feelings - and it is important to admit that.  Of course we want what is “right” for them, what is good for them - but we don’t know what their “right” path is.  Some people are supposed to die of Alcoholism - that is their path. 

So, I got off on a tangent there which of course was perfect because I ended up back at the three web pages that I just posted.  It is much easier to “let go and let God” when we are responding out of the adult in us who is on a Spiritual Path.  The wounded child in us is desperately wanting to prove the he/she is worthwhile and lovable.  That alcoholic (or whatever) we are trying to save is really about the little child trying to prove him/her self worthy and earn the love and validation that she/he didn’t get in childhood. Learning to have internal boundaries makes this whole life business a whole lot easier. 

So that is it for this installment of As Joy to You & Me Turns or what ever this is that I am doing.  The thought struck me today that this might turn into an E-Zine one of these days - except then I would probably have to do some planning and be careful in my writing (I guess you've noticed I am not paying much attention to grammar and punctuation) instead of just rambling wherever I go.  I kind of like it like this right now though. 

So with wishes of Joy and Love to us all, 
Robert 

Go to Newsletters for 8-23-98 and 10-25-98 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.