I have been quiet as of late because so much was going on within me that I found it difficult to put words to the tumult within. These past several weeks have been filled with reflection, journaling, dreams, meditation, prayers, revelation and despair. And then suddenly as if the fog lifted, there is clarity.
I have been picking at a particular scab for months. Digging deeply into the shadowy realms of my unconscious searching … searching for an answer to an age-old question – Why *do* I shrink from the light?
When I started, I did not even know what the question was much less having an answer. All I knew was that something felt off, out of balance. As I reached new levels of physical health, my incrementally increasing serenity revealed a fundamental imbalance within.
The weekly readings of Thich Nhat Hanh helped tremendously. By returning to the text day after day, the revealed discomfort became more and more palpable. Until it could be denied no further and I was forced to face a well of pain, fear and rage.
I was not surprised to find these emotions, what surprised me was that I was not able to discern their source. Normally I can attach the emotions readily to either something occurring in my day to day life and/or a resurfacing memory of an incident from my past being triggered by something in the present day.
But this time, I was at a complete loss. So I prayed, meditated, recited mantras and allowed myself to wander in the darkness longer than I am accustomed. And wander is a good description for the meandering path I followed—the serpentine path of the snake.
And sitting in a recent Touch Drawing class, I felt the serpent rising slowly, gradually – she was taking her own sweet time. An image from that class became a calming practice as I drew it again and again in my sketchpad. Spirals on spirals revealing the shape of a woman wandering on a path strewn with eyes.
At some point, it dawned on me that I was in a completely opposite mode from last fall. I had far too little to occupy my time – and this was very upsetting to me. I fought the decline of busyness, throwing up fears and rationalizations one on top of another – till even I knew it was a lie. Even my intuitive healer noted a strand of terror laying in wait just below the surface of my skin.
What I feared was a revelation surfacing from deep within. Dream after dream revealed a deep, dark discomfort, a disquieting revelation just at the edge, peering maliciously into my intimate quarters. In dream after dream, I pushed away this malingerer, closing the doors against him time after time. Finally I said out loud, “What are my dreams trying to tell me?”
And then it happened.
I awakened to find all the lights on and all the doors open wide. I jumped up startled, it was dark out and here was my house lit up and open. I ran to the front door turning off lights quickly as I shut then bolted the door. Outside I could see dark shadowy figures walking along on the sidewalk.
Across the street was a firehouse, a part of my mind stirred but I ignored it. But seeing the firehouse reassured me a little. But I was still in the state of sheer panic. I ran toward the back the house turning off lights as I went.
Reaching the back door, again my mind stirred. I was in the kitchen trying to force the back door closed. But it was stuck, the door was hanging just a little off its hinges. So as I lifted and pushed to finally close the door, it finally dawns on me – this is not my house! This is the house of my childhood!
But the panic refused to subside, even though I now … finally ... realized it was all a dream. I raced back toward the front to find two small lights still on, and even these I shut off. Till finally …I felt safe and secure … back in the dark.
And it hit me – visible and accessible => panic and sheer terror.
Then I woke up.
Submitted by katrina on Sun, 04/12/2009 - 2:28pm.
This is part five, the last part in fact, of an exploration into how I navigated a recent difficult period. The first in this series is, Distorted Nostalgia.
Dream: Walking a path underground that I usually walk above ground. I get lost at some point. So I come up but nothing is familiar. So I retreat underground trying different options. I think I run into this man who I am sure is not to be trusted.
I begin thinking about the beginning of this disease (CFIDS) and the kind of stress I was under at that time. And although I am not under anything close to that level of stress, it feels/felt like it.
My dreams point to my walking in the dark of the unconscious where I normally am aware and conscious. And thus when I finally come up – I am lost. And being in unfamiliar ground, I retreat into the unconscious.
So where am I, really. I hastily write out a list of all that is on my plate. As I survey the list, I notice two things. First, no wonder I feel so stressed. And secondly, it is all doable. I note the conflict between these two views.
“Who is that? Doable based on what? How do you get the idea that I can do all of this?”
“I just know … we, I mean , I can pull this off … if …”
If what? Nothing else explodes? Nothing else happens unexpectedly? No surprises? No disasters? What?
… if we, I mean I just do it …”
Just do what?
It ... y’know .. get to work …
That m’dear is a lie! It is not going to happen. I cannot just get to work! I am working as hard as I can already. I cannot just work even harder!
Why not? It is what we, I always do!
Yeah, but at what cost?
Then, then … I will have to let something go … so smarty pants, what do I let go?
Oh, this is painful! I do not want to let anything go.
So we are at an impasse then?
No. We are in the midst of a dilemma. We have a lot (some would say too much) on our plate. But we truthfully cannot bear to drop any of it. So we have a dilemma. What this calls for is creativity, not hard work. We/I already work hard, and so more hard work may not be the answer.
Because of the cost yes, but also we will learn nothing from it. And learning is my/our prime motivator.
And at that moment, my entire internal chorus finally reached an agreement. I had found my way back to my passion. Learning something new was something all parts of myself were keen about. So I hastily wrote down some ideas on approaching this issue. None seemed to fill the bill. So I took a break for lunch. As I munched on romaine and grilled chicken, something caught my eye on my list of projects. And then another item caught my eye, then another. I picked up my pen and some scratch paper … at the end I had a new view. I had laid out the original list into groups. Some had relationships between them which I noted by connecting lines and some had a natural hierarchy. By the time I finished, I suddenly understood the big picture in a way I hadn’t before. And I discovered something surprising!
Apparently, it was all doable. But what was required was not more hard work. What I needed, most of all, was space. I needed more air. I was too close to the work.
An air person needed more air. Aha! I was underground where I should have been above ground. I began laughing out loud. I was in my shadow element, I was ensconced in earth. Not the healthy earth of a balanced earth person, but the shadowy earth of an air person.
I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Who would of thunk it? Air!
Two weeks later …
I am still under a lot of stress, but it all seems lighter somehow. Like before, I am getting a lot done and some days are harder than others. But I am not burning my self out nor escaping into ice cream – my drug of choice. I am sleeping better and taking plenty of breaks.
It still cracks me up, that all I needed was some perspective. I needed to spread my wings, lift off and gaze at it all from thirty thousand feet.
Blessings from a Bateleur Eagle,
Submitted by katrina on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 10:27am.
This is part four of an exploration into how I navigated a recent difficult period. The first in this series is, Distorted Nostalgia.
"Runaway child, running wild …
Better go back home … where you belong …"
From my journal …
My niece, wearing a pink outfit, is throwing up and running away ... from me. She has a bruise on her forehead. We were traveling together, and at some point she returns from the bathroom without her jacket – also pink. When I inquire, she said that she had thrown up. “On your jacket?” “Yes.”
Later she is upset at losing all that was in the jacket pockets – especially a photo of a young boy. The photo had been worn and creased, but it was all she had left and now it was gone.
At a restaurant, the staff helps her to escape. At first I say fine and leave. But at home I looked over all I had acquired for her. They were all inappropriate for a fun loving child. They were weights and tools wrapped up to look like gifts. I realized that I wanted her back so I went back and demanded her return.
I sit with the first message from this dream. My child self is not happy with what I have been feeding her (throwing up) and giving her (weights and tools). She was mad about what she had to give up and finally ran away. And I was fine with it until I looked at what I had been offering her. Then I realized what I had done and what she really meant to me.
The second message in this dream was where she chooses to run away -- a place filled with food. Aha! My runaway child is placating herself with food.
There is definitely a pattern here. My fire self, [the one who interrupts my quiet moments with the flame of anxiety and tension] is overbearing and pushy. My water self is rebellious and running wild. Ai yi yi, something has to give.
They are each overreacting, one to fear, the other to hunger. My fire self takes over at the first sign of chaos, loss of control and stress. I am afraid of losing ground to the chaos, the ten thousand things of life that haunts introverts like myself.
And whenever I succumb to the fear, a second reaction spills out due to my hunger for life itself. My water side rebels and starts me to binging to compensate – as if there will never be a chance again … to enjoy life.
Ah! The message of the dream I ignored comes dancing back before my eyes. I do not want to lose any more time, I feel like I have given up so much already, I do not want to miss out on the passion of living in the moment, not again, not anymore. I have been so sick for so long, enough with all this working hard all the damn time. And it does feel like a family curse, now that I think of it.
I sit with these realizations as tears well up and fall to my journal obscuring the words. When I can talk, I say out loud, “Please don’t leave me again … we will get through this together … I promise.”
Next … a dialogue … finally
Submitted by katrina on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 9:00am.
This is part three of an exploration into how I navigated a recent difficult period. The first in this series is, Distorted Nostalgia.
I awaken with the following listed on my internal chalkboard …
- Nothing is actually wrong.
- Web design is my business. And as a business owner, I have to step up to the plate and meet deadlines. It is my job. I am a professional, and this is what professionals do.
[… break to catch a design idea for one of my clients …]
- I am a priestess, shaman and warrior mystic – this is my vocation. This is my calling, my great opus. It is who I am.
- I am not missing out on life. This is my life. And there is nothing wrong with it.
- This is exciting times. I am in demand. I have customers beating a path to my door. This is the life I had hoped for all these years.
Yes, I am scared, worried, and filled with anxiety – but this is what success looks like.
[…break to catch an idea for a personal goal…]
And on toward my day …
…next morning … from my journal …
Whoa! Yesterday was really hard on me. The quick fix I had hoped for did not materialize and I feel as if my entire day was a wasted effort.
And all my dreams last night were about (1) Disasters and picking up afterwards, and (2) Getting lost on a road in the middle of nowhere and dealing with it.
In the first dream, I had to pull out the carcasses of the dead and work with what was left. In the second dream, I had to find a way to care for these orphans without causing myself even more problems.
This week is impossible! Too much stuff on my list! And now I need to add in what someone forgot to tell me about as well, Aieee! This is all very stressful!
[ .. oh and here is an idea for some future classes ..]
Omigod, can [you] stop already? … sigh …I have enough ideas … really.
next ... run away child...
Submitted by katrina on Sun, 07/20/2008 - 3:04pm.