It seems to me that so often in my life I have left my body behind. I have let my head get carried away with ideas and reactions to things and I have taken certain decisions or just been run, run, run by an inner agenda with who knows what deep conditioning imprints to do, do, do, that at times I have just barrelled on with something and in the depths my heart or body has been crying out to me “please don’t”! And I wept so deeply today with the realisation of how much this has hurt my body.
My body was also hurt by something I read this week in a spiritual book which said the body is just basically dust and that the soul is the real centre of us. I don’t know if I really agree with this, I believe our soul lives in our body and expresses so much through our bodies. I also feel that a lot of modern western culture is geared towards disconnecting us from our bodies and teaching us to split off our heads from our hearts. In a powerful book based on a Jungian Myth of Ivan and the Baba Yaga I read many years ago there was a symbolic image of this, of how we get pinned through the neck and cut off feeling and thinking at some point in our conditioning.
Healing may require a drawn out dark night of the soul as surreptitiously the body and soul and heart within us deep inside tries to gain the attention of the mind. I feel that if we switch off or disconnect for too long the cost is illness or chronic pain of some kind, an indication the true message has gone mute and been deeply buried and hidden.
My body reacts all over the place these days. I am trying to rebuild a stronger connection with it and I am noticing that I get some kind of backlash when I am not listening or my attention is pulled away by oughts or shoulds, things my soul doesn’t really need but that I have been conditioned to think or believe I need when I really don’t.
Today I had one of those miraculous times where I felt my body so deeply. I was aware of how much my body has gone through in my life. I must say I was crying deeply and my body was talking to me telling me how much it needs my love and attention these days.
I had a struggle with going to therapy yesterday. I was happily ensconced at home writing and the last thing I really felt like doing was having to drive over to see my therapist. I don’t know if part of me was trying to avoid pain as lately so much has been coming up about the past and what I have lost or what I did not get to complete or fully live due to the deep responsibility I felt to be close to my family. Now I am getting older I am seeing more clearly lost potentials, times when I decided for others rather than for myself. And yesterday after reading out my poem Goodbye to the Meadows I was grieving again so deeply for all that was lost. I then had a discussion with Katina how I felt myself to be a coward for not being able to make it over in the UK on two further attempts. She just looked at me with such love and told me how wrong she thought I was. She was explaining to me how my past wounds at critical developmental points in my life left me so ill equipped and reminding me of the level of traumas I endured from age 17 to 26. We went over the critical injuries and wounds of my later addiction too. There is just a hell of a lot of sadness and pain there and it has taken me quite some years to unpack in therapy.
I wept a lot with what Katina said. I felt such a deep release. I felt that loving, wise, unconditional acceptance of someone who REALLY SAW ME and wasn’t forcing me forward with unrealistic expectations or agendas that take zilch account of who I really am, what I have been through and how I have suffered and I saw in a moment of stark clarity how hard I am on myself.
It was then hard to leave session. Funny the way life is and the part psychic defences play in trying to keep us safe or even keep us from healing or facing things, really. I noticed when I got home I crammed my self full of snacks, I had this voracious hunger. I see it as an expression of what comes up after I face all the pain, of the hungry life energy for a happy expressive life that I didn’t get to live and is now kicking around inside me longing to be set free. I did an energetic dance to the INXS song Devil Inside. I shared my post about repression and criticism with Katina as well yesterday and that song is really putting a finger up to my repressive Catholic education.
Today my body felt so tired, I slept deeply and it was a slow move to get out of bed this morning. I usually push myself on but today I just can’t seem to. Its important for me to write about what went down yesterday. I need to get it out there in black and white.
I know I am on the midlife journey of laying the old corpses and ghosts of my life to rest. I love that metaphor which is one that Murray Stein uses in his book on midlife. There is a protracted grieving that can take place at this time. I know I hit into all of this the year I turned 40 which was back in 2002. Jung believed in the second half of life we work to make meaning of what went on in the first and I do think for those of us who have known a lot of trauma this is when the shit really starts to hit the fan, if we have had to repress huge parts of our life and self and energy at this time they return with a vengeance needing to be heard, but by that time our bodies may have taken such a toll due to trauma, we may end up with chronic pain or chronic illness which in a way may be the way our body tries to vocalise deep imprints and distress.
My body showed me today that I need to put it as the priority in my life at present. I realised in the midst of writing a poem yesterday how powerfully I have been conditioned to look outside of myself for answers and healing but the truth is that if I can get still enough and quite enough and look within and pray and wait for answers they do emerge from deep within my body which is the temple of my soul. My heart, my arms, my legs, my feet can all talk to me, they may be crying out to be heard. Please listen was the deepest message I got from my body today, I also had a sense as I did yesterday that all I really need comes from within, not that I wont choose to engage outside in the world, but only that there is a kind of sweet completeness that only comes when I engage from deep within. There I may hear the call to go outward for no man is an island but if I am not deeply connected to myself I am most certainly not fully available for any other connection or relationship in my life. I know its probably been said a lot but love must surely start with the self and with this precious body we have been given to house our precious soul