Working With Your Subconscious Rather Than Waking Up To Devastation

I remember waking up one day with my life in shambles. There was a bad guy in the situation but I realized at some point I had set the whole thing up, myself. I was most definitely not conscious of what I was doing when I did it but that doesn’t excuse anything. Jeez, this was disturbing.

I called a friend to report my findings and she told me, no. She said it was all the man’s fault and that was when I realized there could be a cover-up.

I could most definitely cover this whole thing up and make the man the bad guy (and he was a bad guy) but I was just too drawn to my own shadow to do that. Excusing him to examine my own motivations just seemed a more interesting and compelling path so I took and what a horror it was.

This was about fifteen years ago. What I turned up was quite gross. I discovered I was a base human being.

I have never had any illusions that I was anything but a dog and a lizard brain since. I was appalled at the extent of the damage I’d created because it was breathtaking.

I worked to integrate everything I’d discovered which basically meant, I had to lie still and let it sink in. Needless to say, after trashing my life completely by being oblivious to my own drives, I became committed to learning more about what was inside of me and this changed my life.

I now know that my subconscious has the wheel to some degree all the time. I have a friendly relationship with it though. I know I am co-creating. I know that for me, “semi-conscious” is as good as it gets.

I don’t think I’m capable of setting myself up to be destroyed as I did fifteen years ago but I’d not take this for granted. I work to be in communication with my unconscious because I can often feel myself acting on instinct. It sounds something like this:

“You know what you’re doing?
“You’re not going to get us killed are you?”
“No, I am smarter than you, get of my way.”

I actually believe that last. I don’t know if it is true for others but it’s true for me.

I used to think I knew everything I was doing all the time and I was so wrong. Tuning into my subconscious and ultimately turning over the reins in large part has enriched my life tremendously.  These days, my gut leads my intellect but my intellect stays engaged and this is has been winning recipe.

I wonder how others interact with their subconscious, their shadow, their instinct. Anyone?

41 thoughts on “Working With Your Subconscious Rather Than Waking Up To Devastation”

  1. Almost always I have to kick myself for talking myself out of that first feeling. I’m learning to hold onto it and don’t lose it to my dualistic brain which if in charge ends up taking me down the wrong path. It’s the higher thinking that connects with the original gut feeling in an instant. But if the brain works it too long then we’ve lost our truth. Kinda like making biscuts:) the less you handle them the better they are.

  2. Avatar

    I hear you, Elsa!

    My subconscious has always talked to me. It’s just now, recently, that I’ve been trying to learn to make it a 2 way conversation.

    I’ve realized that it says different things through intuition. There’s a particular type of ‘gut feeling’ that I’ve had to learn to listen to and distinguish.

    Once you know how to identify ‘true intuition’ that comes from a deep place, you can’t go wrong.

    That and, listening to what it is exactly that makes you feel and act like a b****.

    Great post!

  3. Elsa wrote:
    I don’t think I’m capable of setting myself up to be destroyed as I did 15 years ago….

    I hope to get to this place someday. It must be really liberating. It has not been as long for me, I think I have not fully recovered yet but its nice to know that maybe someday I will.
    If I did not know better I would say you wrote this post for me 🙂


  4. This really spoke to me Elsa!
    and Dixie’s reading too today!!!

    “Excusing him to examine my own motivations just seemed a more interesting and compelling path so I took and what a horror it was.”

    That iceberg you spoke of in one of our readings – after 30 years of marriage – I am as much a part of that iceberg as he is – now I just want to chisel myself away and learn of myself and my motivations for staying or eventually leaving.

    This is exactly where I feel I am at in my current tsunami of life!!

  5. Elsa, what you describe is what I aspire to. I’ve learned the hard way that when I want to be the smartest person in the room (including smarter than my instincts), things rarely go well for me.

    I know there’s a part of me that I’m not actively tapped into that knows exactly what I’m up to, and knows exactly what I need to be up to. I want to listen. It does try to talk to me. I’ve gone back to certain points in my life, read the things I’ve written then, and have been amazed how somehow, I knew what was up, even though I was living day to day completely oblivious. It is, as you describe, breathtaking.

  6. I think Venus/Mars in Scorpio going through my 9th is forcing me to try to figure out why my attempts at being with men fail and not just ask other people. This is homework.

  7. Elsa, this post is so on point. I’m paying the heavy price for being involved with the wrong man, and I am totally to blame. He told me who he was and I chose not the listen. After 2 1/2 years, I finally got the cojones to kick him out of my life and he has made mine hell since then. Ironically, this was right before Saturn in Libra started… tough love for me.

    An associate of mine told me I was making things worse by dragging out the breakup and no truer words were spoken. This was by far the worst breakup I have ever had and I lost a lot in the process. I only have myself to blame and base most of my actions on instinct now.

    A lesson learned …

  8. Wow. Great post!

    I really think that I have taught myself not to listen to my subconscious because I have been told over and over by others that my perceptions, wants or needs are WAY OFF!

    I have been making a concentrated effort at honoring myself and this is a huge part of it…listening to what my intuition is telling me.

    I really hope I can to Elsa’s point of not being able to destroy myself again and I hope I find peace soon.

  9. My insticts have always protected me when I was a child- I mean, my unconscious decisions were always the best ones. I could feel “things” would happen a certain way, and they did. And when I got into the hands of a stepmother that disliked my emotional intensity – I shut everything down (I have Saturn in Cancer). I tried to become an adult, and “think rationnally” because that was the way she would love me better (hum – never happened). And after her, I met this guy and although all my instincts were giving me red light signals not to jump in this- I did – against myself. I denied myself on my own accord. Why? probably because I feared so much to be rejected and not loved, that being with someone that I didn’t love was less difficult for me than to face real love and the fear of rejection that goes with it. It felt peaceful at the time, but it became hell in the end. This was my Saturn in 7th House lesson I believe… The lesson I also learned was to trust myself, and my instincts because they are the Truth. Though my brain helps me now and again earn a little money 🙂

  10. Wow Elsa, really great article. I’ve gotten pretty close to myself in such a way recently, and when I shared my findings with a really close sibling they wanted me to denine everyone, I was to nice and compastionate… but no, inner drives can be quite revealing, but faceing them and how it will change your view of yourself and views of others who live both unconsiously and conscoiusly of their drives is a real eye opener… I’ve got a lot of neptune, but the pluto reminds me it’s time to put away the angel dolls and see the world.

  11. That was wonderful, Elsa. Thank you. Shadow and I are wrestling, again. He actually showed up at the foot of my bed recently, like an announcement, “I’m here.” It’s easier this way, face to face, knowing the dynamic. Something has to die, again. Something that once had purpose now holds me back; I’m being untrue to an important aspect of myself and this inner discord has taken a toll. But it helps to know, to see this, rather than to project it out or blame something or someone.

    “I’ve got a lot of neptune, but the pluto reminds me it’s time to put away the angel dolls and see the world.”

    I know that one.

  12. Elsa,

    You just hit the nail on the head! I really enjoyed this one, and it’s so cool that you had this realization 15 years ago…the people I was around 15 years ago would never have even thought on this level of how we each create our world.

    It’s also cool to read that even after you had those realizations, you committed to integrating the changes and learning more! I’ve known people in my past who’ve been given similar realizations, yet they choose to run…and eventually end up creating the same story over again and again and again…until they choose to preserve those positive learnings from that situation, and make room for a new story…a better one!

    And I have to laugh at your dialogue with yourself:

    “You know what you’re doing?
    “You’re not going to get us killed are you?”
    “No, I am smarter than you, get of my way.”

    This is so right on. I’ve heard that one of the twelve responsibilities of the subconscious mind is to keep us alive!

    Here is a good analogy using a human and a computer that I learned yesterday:

    Hardware(ME) + Operating System(OUR BRAIN) + Software(BELIEFS/HABITS) = Predictable Result

    If we want to change the result, we have to change the SOFTWARE, which is 96-98% of thoughts, feeling and behaviors that equal our result!

    Thanks, Elsa!

  13. I have good gut. I listen to it most of the time, and it keeps me upright and on course. I’ve worked hard on that over the past 10 years or so.

  14. That is a good analogy DharmicDrummer.

    I call my “software” the writing on the walls of my mind.

    I am using a whiteboard for a wall now so I can erase and re-write easily, lol.

  15. Great post!!

    I had a dream a few months ago that really shocked me! I woke up in my dream and I was locked inside a house alone. All the doors were closed and I wanted someone to come and get me out, but I (somehow)knew that no one would come.

    I searched all the house. The first room was peacefull,familiar,dim light and lots of toys.Even if it felt comfortable I didnt stay there.
    I then entered the next room and it was dark with disgusding things(bathroom with spiders,dirty water..etc). I started panicking and wanted to run away but I didnt leave. I felt that even if I run away, it wouldnt make it dissapear. I stayed there until it felt more comfortable to look at it.
    -I dont usually remember my dreams, but when I do they seem very real! With Answers
    I used to completely ignore the existence of the shadow before(I didnt know). Thanks to astrology I can now see a little bit better ,. and still working on it..

  16. I used to listen to my instincts, but I’ve learned not to trust them because anytime I’ve gone with what I believe is my subconscious, I end up broke, depressed, and wondering what the heck I’m even doing (been in this never-ending circle for the past four years). So I started paying more attention to my intellect rather than my subconscious but feel emotionally and spiritually drained. I don’t have the energy it would take to follow my instincts and get myself out of my current job situation. Going with intellect on this one (need to pay the bills) but it seems like either way I’m doomed to suffer. I know that’s a very fatalistic view, but I don’t know how to see it any other way right now; it feels like the lord/universe/whatever is actively working against any and all of my efforts. What gives?

    I’m not sure how my shadow works into this. I feel like it has less to do with how I’ve created the situation and more with what I’m supposed to be learning from it (but I don’t know what that lesson would be — maybe to not put myself financially into a something that I’ll have to pay with at the expense of my emotional/spiritual/physical health). Or maybe it’s just hard for me to come to grips with the fact that I very well could have put myself in this position. The thing is… I know what my desires are and I want to honor them, I just don’t know how to do that, yet, I guess.

  17. What a dream mmarrianna! I have had a few of those. My shadow used to haunt my dreams. Its less of a feature these days. I did my own dark decent…years of illness…and though really difficult…it did give me a doorway into facing my ‘stuff”. Still doing it today….every time I deny some part of myself…I start feeling ill. My own shadow boxing. (scorpio rising, neptune 12th house)

  18. in my depth psych (jungian) education there was a great deal of emphasis on engaging in dialogue with the unconscious. it generally is smarter- it can process more information far more quickly and pick up on subtle connections far faster than the conscious brain does.
    also, i think the unconscious isn’t fooled by our rationalizations and tends to see who we are waaaaay better than we do. i’ve had some dreams that were doozies in the light of “stop being such a blinking idiot girl, we can see what you’re doing here…”

    for me it’s been an ongoing process just to do it, though… it requires a… different? … way of thinking to let go a bit, and recognize when, and how, to do so… not to mention hear what it’s trying to tell me.

  19. very topical. i’m trying to work on this too and seeing and understanding what I have done. regrets galore but you cant go back.
    thanks Elsa!

  20. @ gingernicole, sounds like a painful situation, but I sense the tiniest glimmer of hope in your words….maybe you want to accept your situation, but you know emotionally you are not ready to do so yet…? One thing I’m learning is that I have to accept my life as it is before I can change anything about it. If you are committed to it, the time will come to make the changes you want, and you’ll be prepared. Just try to stay open minded, “don’t believe everything that you think” my therapist says to me. = )

  21. Various aspects in my chart (Chiron in 3rd house in Gemini, North Node in 3rd house) have pointed to problems finding my voice, or being silenced.

    I grew up with a very critical father and I sort of “inherited” a bit of self-criticism. I have spent the last few years trying to find my voice and trusting it (as opposed to depending on other people’s opinions). I think of this voice as instinct. When I trust this voice, usually things go well and become clear. I’ll be interested in seeing how these aspects play out in the future.

  22. @Jess – Thank you for your insight. Thinking about the fact that I got myself into this situation was at first a little painful (I guess I see myself in a really good light.. Neptune?) but now it feels a bit freeing. Maybe that little paradigm shift (putting myself in control) is the key to getting me through or (hopefully) out of this. I just realized that I’ve spent all of this time and energy trying to relinquish control to the lord/universe/whatever to guide me, when really they’ve given me the ability (the subconscious, hah, to go along with this particular blog…) to guide myself, to take charge. I’ve been fighting my Taurus and Aries all along, but maybe they’re there to help me forge ahead (Taurus NN, too), but not blindly, with the awareness of my subconscious. wow.
    Stuff like this gives me hope: “If you are committed to it, the time will come to make the changes you want, and you’ll be prepared.” Maybe that’s all that I’m waiting for… the right timing.

  23. @Jess – Wow, that seems like a lot of healing/learning in your third house. My NN is also in the third house but since mine is in Taurus, it’s all about voicing my boundaries, and there have been a lot of people that considered me a doormat before I realized that my healing path included speaking up for myself. I hope that you are able to continue to override the self-criticism so that you can trust your instincts. And that you are able speak up! (And thank you again for your insightfulness!)

  24. Wise words; and that ability to ‘know thyself’ and look without flinching, is a place at which some never arrive. Possibly because they refuse to face the dark side of their nature?

    I’ve always trusted my instincts but sometimes not had the courage to follow them (eg in not finding some way to work with horses, when I was young). My subconscious is particularly strong where other people are concerned – my handicap helps here as it’s given me very sensitive antennae, so much so that I can now ‘feel’ people over the web. I’ve actually left three or four forums or weblists due to instinctual dislike of someone – it so drains my energy to interact with destructive people.

    The trick though, is to distinguish that truthful voice of the subconscious from false confidence in ‘what we want to hear’. Not always easy…

    “…what I turned up was quite gross. I discovered I was a base human being” …
    You’re being very hard on yourself Elsa, but I guess you have to be if you are going to tell it like it is to the rest of us in consults!

  25. That book The Gift of Fear deals a lot with the subconscious. Most of the people who acted to save themselves did so from the gut, even though their brains were rationalizing a dangerous situation the entire time. Kind of like the gut took over and said “look, if you want to get out of this alive, STFU and follow me”

  26. I’ve been swimming around the bottom of the iceberg happily minding my own business but I can see how the warmth of the sun can draw us in for a rest at the top!!

  27. I am with you gingernicole – sometimes I really need to rely on my intellect. I have no idea the astrology of mine behind this but my “heart”/subconscious has led me to some pretty crazy places. And so now I have to think more.

  28. I think my comment got lost, but oh … it’s just all very confusing. This is a very confusing topic for me. (Hint hint elsa, would love to see more on it :))

  29. I 100% know what you are talking about. I’ve done something similar along time ago…I also looked around at the devastation and barely knew my own role in it. Even many years later, I need to be better friends with my sub-conscious, yes. But also, would like to learn how to keep being true to my “self” even when it isn’t traditional or expected or in line with society’s views on what is right.

  30. I’m very aware of my subconscious, paradoxically. I may not always understand what it’s trying to show me, but I’m always aware of it and willing to submerge to find out what it is I’m being shown, where it comes from, and where it connects.

    Welcome to Pluto on the IC. *grins*

    What I see, though, is that a lot of people aren’t. They just … aren’t! *laughs* Mind-boggling. We bewilder each other.
    Being mostly in touch with my own drives and demons I can look at someone and dissect them rapidly, bringing up all of their strengths and faults and connecting them to motivations they didn’t realize they had. Then they look at me like, “2+2=4? Man, how did you know?!” And I’m thinking, “You’ve lived in your body your whole life and through the story you just told me and never added it up?”

    Dude… 😀

  31. You are starlight… you are made of stars and all the beautiful elements, too, along with all the things gravitational forces bring into earth’s existence… “Have you ever stumbled upon satan’s smile or a catholic priest’s confession?, and life is like walking on an endless mile, each step another lesson.” – Mark Fry, from “Dreaming with Alice.”

  32. The “lizard” brain is more “connected” than the newer parts of the brain. It has direct neurological pipelines to and from the whole body.

    I think any whole relationship to the unconscious has to include listening to the body and strengthening the mind-body connection. This connection has so much potential for healing and maintaining balance. I think the unconscious is not just shadow and things we repress. It’s far, far richer than that.

  33. Wow, I can really relate to this Elsa. I have just this year engaged in dialogue- in therapy- with my shadow. It’s really quite sobering to realize that there is another aspect of yourself that is really calling the shots without your knowledge. And what a mucky, monstrous thing it can be! But with acknowledgment, and attention, and dialogue, it can be worked with. It loses its power over you when you co-create WITH it. But it MUST be acknowledged, always. And you must throw it a crumb now and then. Otherwise, it steers the ship while you’re tied up in the hold.

    I’d like to make a distinction here between the shadow and the sub/unconscious. The former is all the dreck that we don’t want to face in ourselves, the lizard-brain base side of us, as Elsa so succinctly put… while the latter, I see as the Self, as Jung and others have put it; the Higher Being, the witness, that resides at the center and is eternal, and contains the ego, the shadow, and all the other aspects of personality. That is the truly Wise One within that will never steer you wrong.

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