Recently, My partner Kent and I have been reading the book Co-dependance No More written by Melody Beattie. As a Pisces with several planets in the 7& 8th houses learning to love with compassionate emotional detachment has been a key theme for me. This August we will be celebrating our 7th year wedding anniversary. It hasn't always been easy but I am grateful for the wonderful lessons I have learned with him along the way.
Flower essences have been helpful teachers for me. I hope that by sharing this character study I wrote for the FES Certification process about Bleeding Heart I can offer some insight to others exploring the dynamic of attachment and freedom in relationships.
Character Study: Bleeding Heart Essence and Ani Difranco’s song lyrics
Artistic personalities are often able to become a voice or mirror for the collective unconscious or world soul. Ani Difranco is a Grammy award-winning folk-punk singer, guitarist, songwriter, independent record label entrepreneur, activist and feminist icon who has toured for over fifteen years and recorded over 18 studio albums. In 2006, she received the “the Woman of Courage Award” at the National Organization for Women (NOW) conference and Young Feminist Summit. Much of her work is about community activism and social and political analysis, but this global focus in her work also stems from a very intimate sharing of her struggles in relationships regarding love, family and home. (1)
“To me it's all an expression of a perspective, and things are very rarely exclusively either political or personal. They're always both in my mind or my heart or that place that inspires me to write.” (2)
This character study reviews how the lyrical work of Ani Difranco explores the struggle to love others deeply, fully and compassionately with an open heart in a way that allows for emotional freedom. This archetypal struggle between attachment, intimacy, and freedom is the essence of the teaching of the flower essence “Bleeding Heart”. It is also a key generational struggle for people currently aged 26-39 born while the planet Pluto was in the sign of Libra (approx 1971-1984). This generation is sometimes known as Generation X. (3)
The evolutionary lesson for Generation X is to learn individuality within the context of equal relationships and partnership. People in this generation have the capacity to learn how to truly and objectively listen to each other and thus give and receive in relationships what the other actually needs. (4) This knowing of authentic communication and diplomacy in relationships can be the result of an exploration of extremes regarding relatedness and intimacy and can be aided by taking Bleeding Heart flower essence.
Positive Qualities: Ability to love others unconditionally, with an open heart; emotional freedom
Patterns of Imbalance: Entangled in relationships based on fear, possessiveness or neediness; emotional co-dependence (5)
The Flower Essence Society Repertory describes the Bleeding Heart type as a person who “has made the error of living too extensively outside the boundaries of [one’s] own Self. This intense desire for connection is often felt by the partner as emotional dependence causing the partner to feel a need for distance. Such a co-dependent relationship is devoid of real freedom and a balanced exchange of heart energies.”(5)
This need to find completion through relationship can stem from the desire to be needed or taken care of by another resulting in emotional dependence or dominance.
Ani Difranco explores through many of her song lyrics the tensions, power struggles, distortions, and confrontations that can develop in relationships when displaced emotional security or the desire to be needed is sought through relatedness.
In each other's shadows we grew less and less tall
and eventually our theories couldn't explain it all
and I'm recording our history now on the bedroom wall
and when we leave the landlord will come
and paint over it all
and I am walking
out in the rain
and I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again
and I am getting nowhere with you
and I can't let it go
and I can't get though
So now use both hands
please use both hands
oh, no don't close your eyes
I am writing graffiti on your body
I am drawing the story of how hard we tried
hard we tried
how hard we tried
Another theme prevalent in Ani Difranco’s music is the exploration of projection in relationships. This tendency to project one’s own needs onto another while not really being able to see the other person for who they are is another common distortion that can happen in relationships. Displaced emotional needs projected onto another can lead to unconscious expectations and result in conditional loving.
And I just want you to live up to
the image of you I create
I see you and I'm so unsatisfied
I see you and I dilate
Ani Difranco’s lyrical poetry also explores the urge to become a chameleon to what the other person needs in order to maintain relatedness. This giving up of a self-identity in relationships can lead to the loss of self-actualization and depression. This tendency to become dependant on the other for a sense of identity and meaning is also a common relationship pattern.
I'll be your biggest fan, I will be your fool
I'll be your exception to every rule
and I ain't the type to bitch
I ain't the type to cry
I'll sit at your red light
and wait for your ship to go by
And this vague little smile is my all-purpose expression
the meaning of which I will leave to your discretion
yeah my distraction is my defense against this lack of inspiration
against this slowly deflation
yeah the further the horizon you know the more it warps my gaze
the foreground's out of focus but you know I kinda hope it's
just a phase, just a phase
The tendency to put another on a pedestal as a result of one’s own projected needs for actualization can create discomfort in partnership. The soul’s innate urge is to learn to love through mutual exchange of heart energies, independence and equality based on both partners ability to actualize their individual soul paths. When one person projects one’s own un-actualized qualities on another, then this may result in the partners’ need to distance him or herself.
You were so in love
that it was all you could talk about
and I think I felt a little left out
you were on cloud nine all the time
while I was leveling
I was wringing my hands and you were reveling
but then why shouldn't you?
it was such a beautiful thing to do
Would that I could get me some
of your yum yum delirium
I could level off the ground that we stand on
but with you down on bended knee
always looking up at me
that feeling of standing up together is gone
This kind of projection in relationships can create entanglement and thus lead a person to lose track of one’s own soul path.
You confused your journey
with my journey
You tried to nail me
Like Minerva to your bow
But my job here
Is not to deliver you
But to hold a mirror
Till you see how
Oh say can you see me
Oh say can you see me
Oh say can you see me over here?
Learning to develop healthy partnerships based on mutual independence can be quite challenging and require a lot of soul searching. Trying on ways of being in relationship is the only way to learn to love. The gift that can be found through the exploration of “a Bleeding Heart” is the healing of one’s own wounded parts.
But I don't wanna wear you
Wear you like a band-aid
Wave you like a ticket
Out of my good grief
I just wanna know you
Know you like I know my garden
What you smell like when you're bloomin’
What lives underneath
Deep down underneath
Way down underneath
We do a whole lotta laughin
At the shyness that surrounds us
I do a whole lotta lookin
I don't need to look
No, I can just feel you
Besides every time I see you
It just forces me to look at myself
Bleeding Heart can help a person to learn to stabilize in self-knowing and thus be able to truly give and receive unconditional love within the context of partnership. The FES repertory explains, "Through Bleeding Heart flower essence, the soul learns to fill itself from within with strong spiritual forces, so that the capacity to love another is based on the ability to honor and nourish the Self". The FES affirmation card for Bleeding Heart reminds that by releasing emotional attachment love can be given freely.
I release emotional attachments to others.
I fill my heart with the peace of inner strength.
I ray forth my Love to others as a free gift. (6)
True emotional security can only be found by rooting in the self and the actualization of one’s own inherent individuality, identity and soul path. The age-old truism “a person cannot truly love another until they have learned to know and love himself/herself” becomes apparent through Bleeding Heart. Once individualized sense of self is established, the mutual exchange and interdependence of partnership can be based in true sharing rather then unconscious emotional projection. When this happens relatedness can become a source of strength.
I search your profile
for a translation
I study the conversation
like a map
'cause I know there is strength
in the differences between us
and I know there is comfort
where we overlap
- Electronic reference. Retrieved August 1, 2010 from Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani_DiFranco#cite_note-21
- Electronic reference from Righteous Babe Website. Retrieved August 1, 2010 http://www.righteousbabe.com/ani/knuckledown/interview.asp
- Stephey,M.J. (2008). Gen-x: The Ignored Generation? Time Magazine. Retrieved Electronically August 1, 2010 http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1731528,00.html
- Greene, Deva. Electronic reference from “The School of Evolutionary Astrology”. Retrieved August 1, 2010. http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/school/articles/pluto-in-libra
- The Flower Essence Society Repertory: http://www.flowersociety.org/Repertory-on-line.htm
- Flower Essence Society Affirmation Deck: http://www.fesflowers.com/fes-store/index.php?cPath=13&main_page=index