I was dreaming vividly last night. I love Mercury retrograde periods for this reason, dreams seem to be more frequent and easy to remember and reflecting on their meaning is a lovely Mercury retrograde pursuit.
In the dream I was in a place where a lot was going on and towards the right end of the field I was aware of a huge wave that was rising up. Some surfers were breasting the wave, some were falling back behind the swell before it broke; others were being carried by the sheer force of its power, sliding or falling from a great height down, dumped by the powerful force of the water. At the time I had feelings of both awe and fear. I wondered about the bravery or even foolhardiness of people who would submit themselves to this wave for the sheer exhilaration of the experience.
This morning, as I reflect on that image there are a lot of associations for me. The wave for me presents perhaps the force of change and feelings that can rise up and carry me down maybe even crash me around. The dream also has associations to my ex partner.
Yesterday evening I was browsing on the wonderful blog After Narcissistic Abuse and thinking about my ex who would be gone for hours surfing. The waiting for his return would be very long and painful for me at times. I think buried down there was a fear of loss but also the realisation that he had told me surfing was the major priority in his life, I was to come second best : always. I don’t know if this was his way of trying to exert power in a relationship where he at times felt overwhelmed with feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness. I only know that in this situation as an empath on some level I felt I was carrying not only my feelings, but his own feelings of abandonment at being left which he could re-enact by leaving me for very long periods.
His mother left home when my ex was four. The abandonment wound around this, his father’s alcoholism left him with deep feelings of powerlessness and anger. The ocean represented for him a mother of a kind in whose embrace he could metaphorically experience all kinds of powerful feelings in his soul. Often when he was going through conflicts and experiencing anger towards his sons, he would go there and come home injured in some way. I respected this need of his, while at times feeling very lonely on the many mornings he would be gone and I faced breakfast alone. Often I waited hours not knowing when he would be home. One way I dealt with the feelings this leaving evoked was to write poetry.
There were so many echoes for me in that experience of being left, since I was the last priority in the busy lives of two parents who were committed to work as a first priority and spent no time at all playing or attending to any of my needs. I become needless and wantless but carried a hunger for time to be spent, but at the same time I did not, at the time of this relationship, know how to nurture my own life and time. In late adolescence, too, I had suffered a major collision which landed me in hospital for three months. This too, was a time of waiting for broken bones to heal and not knowing if I would make the school graduation. (I didn’t, the dress I had selected remained hanging in the bedroom cupboard and was never worn.)
Time is one of the ways in which we experience love. I so appreciate those people in my life who there to spend open ended time with. That time to me is a precious gift beyond measure. I didn’t get a lot of it and illness stole two people who I felt closest too, and with my Dad there was no time to say goodbye. So time spent just being has become very important to me these times. Next time I have a relationship I will be able to set better boundaries around time, since I now know myself better.
When I now think about the wave it perhaps represents too the flood of feelings around me that were not conscious and got submerged in addiction but then rose up in recovery, particularly with the leaving and loss of relationship which was a new tearing apart evoking old memories. I was reading yesterday about our traumatic injury causes a separation from others. A trauma of any kind represents a tear in the fabric of connection and a dive into aloneness. Part of coming out of trauma and healing following mourning the loss, is in reconnecting with the world.
In trauma we experience something that sets us apart, that not a lot of people who have not experienced it can relate to. There are complex feelings about that because due to the nature of how we heal from trauma if we don’t get support and understanding we are much more liable to remain stuck and part of PTSD involves struggling with anger around this situation. To heal someone needs to be there to hold our hand and encourage us through. Peter Levine has researched on trauma and at a young age he had his own traumatic injury. He shares that what he went through due to that accident did not develop into full blown PTSD due to the fact a lovely lady was present at the accident and she held his hand and helped him through the trauma.
I remember in 1999 when my own trauma was beginning to rise up and unfreeze following six years of consistent sobriety. I was in a major depression which represents often the precursor to the breaking through of feeling, the rising up of the wave. My therapist reached across to me and held my hand while a flood of tears fell. It was a precious moment, a moment of connection and healing. No one much in my life had ever related to me in this way before. He extended hand and its warmth unthawed those frozen feelings for me. To heal we need an empathetic relationship.
Eventually that therapy broke apart. I was too scared to trust fully that the wave would not destroy me. I have run from the wave many times and its taken years to realise I will and can endure the full force of it. Maybe also the wave on some level represents love, when we truly open our hearts we aren’t always in control of the outcome. We may or may not be received. We may be dumped and spun about badly. Or we may be carried along on the wonderful joy of it. Knowing we have the power to survive it, perhaps takes time.
In a wider reference point to the issues of the dream I was taking my leave of a situation in which I was not receiving what I needed. People were trying to call me back but I knew I had to make my escape in order to choose for my life. I was not involved in the wave, since I was taking action I needed to take. For so many years I could not make the choice. I did not have a home inside me to go to. In the dream I was now on solid ground, not being dumped by the wave.
The wave didn’t figure in that part of the dream. I awoke uncoiling with my PTSD symptoms unravelling out. And as I reflect on the dream now, in the dream I was no longer caught up in the wave but was watching it and understanding it. This to me seems a positive sign.
The wave to me while writing appears too, as a metaphor for the power of the unconscious. It can summon up the debris of what lies hidden deep inside and in so doing bring to us realisations of things we need to understand. This is particularly apt for someone with Mercury retrograde undergoing a transit of Mercury retrograde. We get a chance to revisit issues and reframe things in a new perspective.
This transit seems less fraught due to the painful realisations of the past six months having been pretty well integrated by me. I’ve been taking it slow and spending time with people at the dog park and with myself at home, pottering and doing the things I love. Nurturing myself with time. Its leaving me more settled especially so the more I journal and blog.
The wave may or may not be out to get me. It pays to respect it. In the end the surf was the trusted place for my ex partner who had his own deep issues with trust and mistrust. It was hard to trust someone who could not trust me, due to the pain of his past. And it was hard for me to trust someone who could not be trusted to be there. It was hard to look for love from someone whose love was always conditional on me being a certain way. And yet love needs some conditions for growth, I know. Empathy is an essential one and to me empathy is synonymous with presence and time.
This morning in the quiet gentle beginning of a beautiful rainy spring day I will hold in my mind the image of that wave. Knowing I have experienced over these years the awesome power of its force working out in my own life. I have respect for the wave and for life now. I feel a peace in this. Thank you wave for showing me aspects of myself that are healing. Thank you Mercury retrograde for giving me quiet time to explore the themes around all these things.