The spiritual quest is not some added benefit to our life, something you embark on if you have the time and inclination.
We are spiritual beings on an earthly journey. Our spirituality makes up our beingness. – John Bradshaw
My relationship with my Father was non existent. He didn’t harm me or abuse in any fashion you might normally associate with those terms. It was purely neglect. He just ignored me. Never spoke to me. Never touched me. Never said he loved me. As far as I know he didn’t. He wasn’t capable. His own upbringing was the problem. His own Father was never around for him. He had been a military man and always off somewhere fighting in the Boer War – or whatever. Never around. In other words, my Father had a wounded childhood. And me merely behaved or acted out in the same fashion as his own Father. That was his model. As they say, “The sins of the father are visited upon the son.” Too true.
Understanding what happened to my father helps me forgive him somewhat. But it’s hard. My own wounds still exist. I’ve healed them somewhat, but for a boy your Father is a God. You need his love, his guidance and support. That’s hard to recover.
When I left home (couldn’t leave fast enough) I didn’t know even one thing for my simple survival. I couldn’t drive a car. (He refused to teach me.) I didn’t know how to open a bank account, how to look for work … absolutely nothing. No survival skills. I then spent 20 years teaching myself stuff that most any kid would know before they left home. But that was only part of it.
Was I bitter? Am I bitter? Your God Damned rights I am.
However, would I be surprised to discover that I had done exactly the same thing to him in some past life? Not at all. Karma.
So I’m absolutely certain everything was set up for Spiritual reasons – necessary for my unfoldment – which is the ONLY thing that really matters – and the only thing you can take with you when you leave this place.
But it ain’t easy.
Who said it would be?
In the interim I encountered some worthy things. One of those things was the works of John Bradshaw. At some point I was guided to use his healing methods. I was blatantly told that I could progress no further on my journey unless I took up his works. I needed to heal some stuff and surface and get rid of some things that were holding me back. The book I was to use was Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child. I joined a class of about 8 people and worked through the Chapters and Exercises on a monthly basis. The results were astounding. I had no idea of the immense repressed and suppressed pain that I held within myself. I literally saw a large black ball of repressed emotions in my solar plexus – hard as an Indian rubber ball. And when this started surface, dissolve and break up the pain was excruciating. Incredibly agonizing. Sometimes I could only lay on my bed in a fetal position and cry … and cry … for hours. I had no idea all this was locked in there. But it was. Bradshaw’s methods released it. So I became free enough to move along. Some people think this stuff is airy fairy New Age nonsense. I can tell you that it isn’t – it works – and works very well.
Am I completely healed then? No, of course not. You do this stuff in degrees.
I have no children in this lifetime. I never felt I should. I always felt that it would a disservice to them if I did because of the way I am. That I couldn’t be the Father that I should be. Maybe that was a mistake? I don’t know.
To A Child
The greatest poem ever known
Is one all poets have outgrown:
The poetry, innate, untold,
Of being only four years old.
Still young enough to be a part
Of Nature’s great impulsive heart,
Born comrade of bird, beast, and tree
And unselfconscious as the bee—
And yet with lovely reason skilled
Each day new paradise to build;
Elate explorer of each sense,
Without dismay, without pretense!
In your unstained transparent eyes
There is no conscience, no surprise:
Life’s queer conundrums you accept,
Your strange divinity still kept.
Being, that now absorbs you, all
Harmonious, unit, integral,
Will shred into perplexing bits,—
Oh, contradictions of the wits!
And Life, that sets all things in rhyme,
may make you poet, too, in time—
But there were days, O tender elf,
When you were Poetry itself!
– Christopher Morley
John Elliot Bradshaw (June 29, 1933 – May 8, 2016) was an American educator, counselor, motivational speaker, and author who hosted a number of PBS television programs on topics such as addiction, recovery, codependency, and spirituality. Bradshaw was active in the self-help movement, and was credited with popularizing such ideas as the “wounded inner child” and the dysfunctional family. In promotional materials, interviews, and reviews of his work, he was often referred to as a theologian. (From Wikipedia)
John Bradshaw was a very special man and his works have helped many, many thousands of people. He definitely manifested himself to great service for his fellow humans.
- Bradshaw On: The Family – 1986
- Bradshaw on the Family: A Revolutionary Way of Self Discovery. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications. 1988. ISBN 978-0932194541.
- Bradshaw On: Healing the Shame that Binds You. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications. 1988. ISBN 978-0757303234.
- Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 1990. ISBN 978-0-553-35389-1.
- Creating Love. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 1992. ISBN 978-0-553-37305-9.
- Family Secrets. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 1995. ISBN 978-0-553-37498-8.
- Bradshaw On: The Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications. 1996. ISBN 978-1-55874-427-1.
- Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 2009. ISBN 978-0-553-09592-0.
- Post-Romantic Stress Disorder: What to Do When the Honeymoon Is Over. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications. 2014.
- Spotlight: weekly program (host), 1969–1972
- The Bradshaw Difference: syndicated talk show produced by MGM, 1996
- Speaking the Truth in Love: Independent Production 2009
PBS television network
- The Eight Stages of Man: eight-part series, 1982
- Bradshaw On the Family: ten-part series, 1985
- Where Are You Father?: one-hour program, 1986
- Healing the Shame that Binds You: one-hour program, 1987
- Adult Children Of Dysfunctional Families: two-hour program, 1988
- Surviving Divorce: ninety-minute program, 1989
- Bradshaw On Homecoming: ten-part series, 1990
- Creating Love: ten-part series, 1992–1993
- Eating Disorders: three-part series, 1994–1995
- Bradshaw On: Family Secrets: six-part series, 1995