Two weeks ago something terrible happened in my life. Two things in fact. On the same day. That’s all you really need to know. What I want to write about is why those things happened and what I have since done about it.
For my entire life I have stashed my emotions into containers unfit to hold them for long periods of time and placed them in chambers on makeshift shelves with the lids askew. I did this, in part, because I thought they were bigger than me and would consume me if I gave them space. And, in part, because my unyielding life did not afford me the time and emotional energy to deal with them as they arrived. But in doing so I allowed them to ferment untended taking on shapes and meaning and power that they never should have had. Blue tinctures; wild, fiery tonics resembling Jack Daniels but with a bigger bite; black sludge in gallon containers set upon narrow oak planks too meager for their girth; clear liquid in vessels with hand etched notes reading “Flammable. Do Not Drink.” Some that smoldered. Poison.
A day came two weeks ago that I was forced to deal with them. It wasn’t a day that I expected or a day that I chose. It certainly was not a day that was convenient. And the catalyst took a form that I never expected in a million years. I didn’t see it coming. But that day did arrive. And when this happened my soul tried to clamor out the transom window to avoid the inevitable pain and feeling that would ensue. Like Peter Pan’s shadow I had to chase it and tack it back on where it belonged so, together, we could begin ‘Guerrilla Healing’.
There is really no other way to describe the fierce courage I have summoned in the last two weeks to rebuild. It has become my absolute priority.
Acupuncture at Balance 152 focusing on lungs (grief), gall bladder (decision making and stress) and staying present. Calls to my sister to come sit with me while I weep. Trail runs just as the light is coming up for the day. Shortened work hours with breaks as needed for tears and daily Epsom salt baths to draw out the toxins. I make time for both every day.
Massage and other healing touch therapy which is so sorely needed in a life where I have little to no physical contact. Essential oils chosen by and for me to address my specific needs – wintergreen, peppermint and bergamot were the three on my last visit to Organica Jane.
Calls to my mom at 2am with primal crying that comes from some place that I cannot describe and originates with my father’s death. Decades of grief held hostage in those mason jars. Calming herbs made from tree peony bark, gardenia, licorice and ginger. A posse of girlfriends who take shifts helping me and loving me unconditionally. A psychiatrist. Yes, this too. She understands the totality of the blows life has dealt me and affords me permission (without judgment) to take medication because sometimes that is necessary to give the body much needed rest.
A trip to the North Country to sit on a porch with an old friend. Letting her stroke my hair when I wake into a nightmare instead out of one before the birds are up for the day. Yoga several times every week now which is helpful in every way including understanding the extent of the damage. Binding poses are the only poses that feel familiar and 'comfortable'. I learn from this, too.
Flipping through the pages of “Choosing Happiness” by Stephanie Dowrick with my eyes shut each morning until a page ‘feels’ right. Every single day the reading speaks to me: how to better listen to others, what children need, harmony in difference, the dangers of empathy, and the importance of keeping my personal space clear of those who are unsafe.
A nutritionist to help me eat when it is the last thing I want to do. Lots of water. No coffee; I can’t drink it any more with how intensely these feelings are moving through me now.
Writing – blogs, short non-fiction, spoken word, journaling. Whatever I can manage that day to express myself. Intercession by healers on my behalf to help with disentanglement. Prayer ~ yes, even prayer ~ old school at my bedside with my knees on the hardwoods. I never saw that coming either.
Lavender on my pillow at night. Sleeping in the middle of my giant, beautiful bed. Centered. Entirely alone but surrounded by pillows and blankets and candles.
And pressing the palm of my tiny right hand hard on my sternum and with a side-to-side movement willing my heart chakra open despite how much the healing hurts. This is something that my partner used to do for me so there is a special pain that comes with this particular responsibility. But, it is mine to take.
I am doing all of it. I am finally being all of who I am including these feelings that I rejected for this long. As it turns out, they weren’t bigger than me. They were the missing pieces.
In the last few days I find people staring at me as if I look different. People I know. But also complete strangers. I DO look different. My skin is luminescent in the strangest way. There is a visible knowing about me and an energy that draws people a step closer. And I am welcoming them in rather than hiding in chambers taking inventory.
Just yesterday I caught a glimpse of myself in the window on the 'Plane Train' at the Atlanta airport and, before I realized it was my reflection, I thought how lucky that woman with the mop of wild hair must be to occupy her space with such presence. Powerful. Beautiful. An understated sexy. Hard earned luck indeed.
I am doing the work every day.
I am present every day.
I am healing every single day.
And in lovingly, painfully falling apart I am finally able to make myself whole again ~ shadows and all.