So, no more figures of light for me - it's the hard work of self-acceptance. The parts of me that I've "denied, repressed or rejected." I'm still chewing over the lengthy quote in my previous post - it's interesting because it's a perfect summary of the entire book. I can relate to all of it. It's what my journal has been lurching towards: trying to hide but being slapped by life - porn addiction - and the subsequent need to show kindness to ourselves in order to "hold the pain of our losses, fears and vulnerability." The most amazing paragraph is worth repeating in full: "For most of my life I was quite unaware of the layers of wounds that I carried. There were parts of myself that felt incredibly tender and sad. Parts of my heart were frozen in fear, isolation, and numbness. Yet the more I opened to the spiritual path, the wider the chasm grew between the clarity and light I sought and the hurting places inside. The critic was my reminder, an indication that all was not well, a manifestation of how I had turned against myself. My search for the light was a defense against the sadness and pain within." Note the description of the critic as my reminder, an indication that all was not well, a manifestation of how I had turned against myself. In other words, I'm seeing the critic as I do porn addiction. Putting it a positive light, I can see both are red flags - my unconscious to urging me to face up to my fears and pain. Of course, both are themselves painful and self-defeating. Anything that causes fear, judgement and low self-confidence/self-esteem isn't ever going to help heal anything. But I feel that I need to embrace PMO and my inner critic in order to move on, just as I need to forgive the scared child within. First order of priority is to get over my fears of being seen as weak, or a loser, for my hurt. I need to get over the desire to be strong for other people, to not let anyone see that I'm dying inside. It's been a difficult few days at home, with the children highly stressed about going back to school and my wife stressed about her new job and everyone acting up and bickering. I'm also waiting to hear back from last week's job interview, and there's some work things that are falling apart. However, I've realized that I'm now immeasurably better at dealing with stress. I still feel stress, of course - probably more so, now I'm more attune with my own emotions - but it doesn't trigger me. I no longer want to hide from the world. But the game isn't won yet: it's self-pity that will get me. I need to face up to my deep-seated pain without launching into a pity party. I know that I'm up to the task. I think I'll get there with forgiveness and patience and mindfulness, but that's looking ahead. I should concentrate on what I've got now, and enjoy that, and be grateful.