“The heart breaks in so many different ways that when it heals, it will have faultlines.” John Geddes
As babies, our very survival depends on the fulfilment of a primal dream I call the ‘bliss dream’. It’s one of raw, sensual connection and soul-to-soul love where everything else is secondary.
When the dream is unrequited or simply imperfect, loss and disappointment can cut faultlines of anxiety, lack of self-worth or gaping emotional hunger in a developing heart. Even those who suffer little incur some losses as they grow – having to share parents with siblings, feeling pain, experiencing inevitable separations. Everyone has faultlines. It’s part of being human. Some faultlines are deeper, more far-reaching or jagged than others.
Over time our faultlines are made raw, broken and etched deeper by stormy emotional weather; in other seasons their edges are smoothed or even hardened by our various experiences. Our early experiences influence how we see the world. Our brains unconsciously start to map out the potential paths we will choose, the kinds of people we will be attracted to and the emotional lesson and reparations we will feel drawn to seek.
From birth to death we define and traverse our Lovelands – our inner landscape of intimacy, passions and losses. It’s through love that we pursue our most primal needs: the need to belong, the need for security, the need for a home, for sensual desires and the search for purpose and pleasure. All our reasons to exist live there.
Love is the pure elemental energy of life. Love is a sacred presence of mind, the highest quality of attention we need from ourselves and others. The fundamental goals of life are to realise that deepest energy and to embody it through the three great loves: compassion for our own soul, relationships and finding purpose.
This book started out as a memoir and a reflection on some of the most agonising and all-too-common causes of faultlines – loss, abuse and abandonment. I wanted to describe their effects on our unconscious mind, how this plays out in our relationships and how we can find healing. It became a richer manifesto on the many faces of love and how to find passion in life, love other beings fully and nurture deep compassion and caring for yourself.
Essentially, my story is a testament to the starring role of love in our lives, from birth to the legacy we leave after death. Love, particularly self-love, plays a larger part than we may understand or care to acknowledge in defining our personality, our identity, our relationships and the paths we choose. We each decide which interpretation of our experiences becomes our defining reality.
Knowing your Lovelands, your intimate inner landscape, will help you avoid negative patterns by recognising them and becoming empowered to make different choices when determining the paths to take on your journey.
Whether you’re a parent to others, a lover to another or working on the care of your own soul, Lovelands will help you make sense of love, from birth to death.
Through reflection you’ll learn to see the past differently, more usefully , even the difficult parts. You’ll acknowledge where you might have done your best at the time, even when things went badly. You will find forgiveness, humour and freedom from the past and acknowledge what you’ve learned. You will see where you’ve suffered and triumphed, choose what to make of your experiences and decide where to go from here.
Your struggles reveal your worth, your character, your unique constellation of strengths. Moving from struggle to insight gives you a new foundation to create the life and relationships you desire, and allows you to like yourself more. Knowing your faultlines is the first step towards freeing yourself from the pain of loves gone wrong, childhood scars and other hurts that might otherwise pull you down; so that instead, you can choose the path of self-compassion, greater emotional freedom and following your bliss.
You are the sovereign of your kingdom, your Lovelands. You have the power to make your meaning, tell a new story, re-author your world and map your future.
I’m a therapist and teacher, and I was once also a patient. I hope that by offering a no-holds-barred account of my faultlines and tracing the extraordinary implications they had for my life and relationships, along with the stories and triumphs of some of my patients and friends, you will feel less alone with your faultlines, whatever they may be.
I offer myself as a teacher, a case study and a friend to you on this journey.
This is an edited extract from ‘Lovelands’ by Dr Debra Campbell, published by Hardie Grant. To read more or purchase the book, click here.