Intensely vulnerable ; afternoon reflections

I am feeling so intensely vulnerable this afternoon.. I did a lot in the morning and before long I see I have been a bit too busy or taken on a bit too much.. Thoughts of my sister come and go, at times I trust and know she is where she is meant to be, at other times I just feel the most intense sadness for her. I am also aware of the huge amount she achieved all alone after getting out of hospital last October. She sorted all of Mum’s things, organised a garage sale, gave stuff to family to know they were included, took me to the coast to clear out my stuff, organised Mum’s ashes and gravestone, moved into Mum’s unit, supported me at an auction for another unit of Mum’s I had to sell, sold her previous unit, undertook ongoing personal exercise training, learned to cook again, invited friends for dinner and went back to mix with her dragon boating and Bosom Buddy friends as well as reaching out to connect with people from her past, however I don’t know if many of these connections went to a deeper level. Still it was just a massive amount but it calls to mind the saying from AA that with addicts its either full on or full stop, there seems to be no middle point until we decide to meet our souls and stop running and covering over deeper needs, sorrows, pains and longings. That said I don’t know exactly what is going on with my sister’s process and I work hard each day to modulate my own energy. I just know I could not function at that rate without the deep dive of therapy which enables me to integrate and make friends with my inner life.

I also had a lot to share in therapy today.. Thinking about how my own flow of love got blocked and how hard it was when my own feelings began to emerge around 6 years sober and what the forces of resistance around me were I did cry a lot again today.. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Jonathan leaving after he took a month long trip back to the UK in mid June 2004. I was 42 at the time and 42 is the part of the profound midlife passage where we get ‘hit’ with a number of outer planet transits to themselves and Neptune squaring natal Neptune occurs at 42.

Neptune rules dissolution and when he decided to leave I did fall apart. I was doubled over in therapy today crying over how it felt when he left. It was as if the lifeline to the upper world was cut and I was sent down into the ancestral unconscious and Underworld. At that time the house we had bought at the coast was not yet sold and when it got sold I had to manage all of that, he basically came back for a month packed up everything and left after telling me when I collected him (after driving 5 hours to Sydney) he did not love me any mor and raging at me for being demented when I cried about it uncontrollably. This is nothing new with men I have known, but a good friend who knew us both said to me a year later.. “Jonathan is one of the most shut down people emotionally I have ever met!” Wow!! Yes as Kat said today he didn’t want me doing my grief work, saw it as a disappointment to him that I could not be bright, happy and sunny all of the time. I know grief work is an essential and unavoidable task of long term addiction recovery work… We have to re-embrace our inner child to find our way back to our soul and our lost sense of joie de vivre which is part of living true to ourselves.

That said, I get him wanting me to be happy and not sad. The real me emerging now is a naturally happy, ebulliant person who loves other people, is bright and outgoing and likes being connected but over time I lost my way to that part of me through hidden grief as well as the heavy weight of our family conditioning laden with duty… To this day I still miss the lovely group of 6 women I worked with at the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens before we left there in October 2001 to return home.

Today I got the sense that Jonathan knew he had to leave me. I cried two weeks ago over the money he gave me in the little blue tin box for a horse ride on the beach a few moments before he disappeared through the departures gate and we saw each other for the last time on 4th August 2004.. That was a sign of something meaningful, horses are sacred to the Goddess and the dark night.

Alone without him I dropped deep into the unconscious and have books of dreams I had then that were very prophetic and the tale of the Handless maiden featured strongly in one.. In that fairytale the Handless maiden is made so when the devil comes to claim the prize her father offered him on the day he asked for what was standing behind the mill and the father being too busy milling thought it was just an apple tree. The devil is unable to take the maiden when he returns for her the next day because she is crying too much but in the end he cuts off her hands and she has to go out into the wilderness with bandaged hands and find a way to survive. Eventually she is taken in by King who fashions silver hands for her but in time she realises that in order to heal and grow she must grow her own hands back.. for this she must go into the woodland and wilderness alone. All alone here she gives birth to a child and builds a new life of self sufficiency, finding and nourishing her creative gifts while reconnecting with the parts of self that got lost in seeking belonging.

It is in many ways a profound myth about what can happen for many of us women at midlife as we have to find a way back to our own hand crafted life.. The tears cried by the Handless Maiden in the wilderness are also what enable her hands to grow back… so part of healing is feeling the full force of grief for our lost, abandoned, or betrayed real self as well as recognising potentials from long ago that got ‘cut off’. Only our pain has the capacity to show us what is real for us. In the tale the negative voice of the Devil reappears towards the end when she seeks to reunite with the King and could be a profound metaphor for the life killing voices of depression and anxiety which utter lies about our true worth and value.

Today I am aware I HAVE this pain but I AM NOT THIS PAIN.. That is just a massive shift for me.. I even am very very sad over my sister and crying for her at times but I am also aware that on another level things are ‘okay’ (even as they are anything but!! : A deep paradox, I know!!) and even more aware I am not the one in control of her or anyone outside of myself. I also woke up laughing over the most ironical and sad of things and that was a shift. I saw the terrible cost of being ‘too nice’, ‘self sacrificing’ denying our legitimate pain and anger over betrayal, neglect, abuse and abandonment… We need to have these feelings over and over until they help us to excavate the true and deeper self. Our anger and tears birth us in some way and even Jesus recognised this deeper individuation truth when he said “unless you are reborn through fire and water you will not find the Kingdom of Heaven”. To me the Kingdom comes when we live in a state of true alignment with our inner essence, spirit and truth and often that comes through the trial by fire and flood.

Writing helps to ground me… I got home to unpack my groceries and then cleaned out the car.. I know life goes on in this ‘new’ reality where my sister has gone below ground again. I see her as still in search of her self… that is just my take on it and this is her encounter with God… I truly believe God and the angels and our past ancestors attend every single movement, dip and spiral on our healing path way. Today I felt so very deeply the profound isolation of my past… I long for a real man to show up one day or to find a path out of these dark woods of the ancestral loneliness and pain… and yet I also know I have achieved a lot, even if it is really only in the end an inner understanding…. that may not be valued as much in the heroic world of conquest and achievement, but that world is not really my own at this point.. Maybe I am still very much emerging, still slowly chiselling my real self out of the marble of my unconscious past… such a journey is challenging to articulate clearly… and yet it goes on in silence, over time, through many depressions, dips, descents and uplifts …always attended by the witness of the ethers as well as the souls and spirits of our ancestors.

Post script.. after posting this I did an image search and came across this persepective on the fairytale with art work… please follow the link to view.

Since the link is not working I am including this from the Artists blog Building Wing Studio..

There were a few interpretations that rang true for me from this story. One is the question-where in my life do I cut off my hands in order to hide my nature from others? Maybe for love and acceptance? After journalling about this story and my thoughts, and my emotions, where I am at in my life I came to the conclusion that this maiden was probably at the lowest low of her life-even more than when she hid in the woods she had her child. But when she left her house with no hands she had no plan and no one. She didn’t stop, she made the choice to move forward. Over time (a fairly long time) she finds herself again, she has reclaimed physically and spiritually the lost pieces of her self. 

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