Did I go through all this suffering to awaken?

When the Storm Is Over

Going through a serious illness and operation makes you so much more aware of life.  You question the life you have been living until now, the intuitive feelings you may have had but ignored.  You regret the times you ran around just being busy for the sake of it and because you found it too hard to just sit still in peace.  You also see the times an inner voice told you to reach out but fear or some other negative message stopped you.

And then the love that is shown to you makes you question all that you thought others thought about you.  In my own case I see where my own thinking has strayed towards the negative so often, how I have limited myself by past pain.

The thing about pain and hurt is that it makes you withdraw.  It makes you contract into yourself.  You contract into yourself in order to protect yourself and you don’t even realise this at the time, its just a very natural response.  And by all means we need to be able to be with ourselves in pain especially after an operation where in our skin has been cut through or after other painful experiences when our body, heart or mind is wounded in some way and yet the way we think about these things also plays a huge part in generating more pain.

It is interesting to me how this whole process of surgery has mirrored for me the pain of things being put into me and done to me that I did not want put into me or done to me when I was much younger and how that pain has replayed and repeated in an unconscious way.  I have seen how in response to that unconscious pain that had no place to process I had sought relief in alcohol and drugs.

Certainly there is a need to sit still with ourselves in pain, to feel the pain, to understand the pain, to learn lessons from the pain but hopefully the result of all of this pain borne with is that we learn how precious a gift life is and we don’t continue to retreat and withdraw into a place from which we can give no longer.

Still in the paradoxical way my mind is working at present a part of me is also saying as I write that life today is moving too fast on an outward trajectory and there is a need I feel to withdraw into the space where I can be in touch with my inner world and be still, to find a place of peace that does not become torturous by overthinking.

This inward turning is not about contracting but about expanding inwardly so that we can touch life. It is not about disconnection at all because we all have an entire universe inside of us and through this place we deeply connect to others on an energetic plane too.

So much of life lately seems to be about compulsive busyness and outward turning and there can be a kind of contraction in this in that in a state of busyness we are focused only on doing something or getting somewhere more than on being awake and alive and touching the present moment with all of its blessings, and most especially touching nature which has a soothing refreshing balm that could heal our jangled nervous systems.

I was never more conscious of the contrast between the contracted human world and the expansive natural world than after four days in hospital.  My body was going through all kinds of pushes and pulls due to the needles being stuck into me, vital signs being taken, pain from the surgery, comings and goings of staff and visitors as well as the swelling of all kind of feelings deep within me of trauma and old feelings being catalysed by the surgery and contacts with people I had not heard from for some time.

On Sunday night the pain from the twisting and turning was so bad I felt like I would explode. I had to walk the corridors of the hospital in order to contain it, and then at the break of dawn when the outside doors opened I went into the garden amongst the roses there and walked on the grass with bare feet.  The entire surrounding was full of vibration, energy and hum.  It felt like a benediction.  I could feel nature was expansive.  I had left the contracting and contractive world of the man made hospital and felt like I was literally in heaven.  There was a soft breeze that blew against my skin and much of my pain left me.

I then had to return to the ward in preparation to leave.  As I did something once said to me at an Al Anon meeting came to mind.  He said that at an AA meeting that week he heard GOD referred to as the Great Out Doors.  God in nature that is what I had felt.  I had felt the healing power of nature.

Two days later I am back at home.  There has been times of contraction, more spins, pain then the expansion of love shown to me and the deep relaxation that has been able to happen as others have responded to my need for care.  It occurs to me that responding and compassion are expansive expressions.

There have been the attempts at reaching out and expressing, the sweet experience of friends arriving to share food and then being called away by work dramas.  I have been able to sit still and be for a time, just to rest and feel the breath.  I have contemplated so much of my past pain.  I have realised that even though it is past at times it still flares up.  I guess this is what Eckhart Tolle calls The Pain Body.

Sometimes my pain body is very active.  I have a find radar for pain in any case.  Last night a friend brought around a documentary about a musician who had a very hard life, was extremely talented and only found true recognition much later in life.  He never identified himself as a Super Star, though others were trying to fix him with this label.  He sweetly and calmly laughed it off.  The documentary touched me in the deepest way, his humility touched me in the deepest way.  It made me question all the times I have felt the need to share about my pain and in sharing about it have released it, but on other occasions kept it alive and made something huge of it.  How much have I held onto the pain too much by remembering.  But I do know this remembering is necessary and just being able to feel others pain as well as my own is a gift, shows me that I am connected and not numb anymore.

And it occurs to me that sometimes it is more expansive to be with the pain without words and feel the pain than to identify with the pain, it is a fine line distinction, difficult to articulate.   And probably as humans our entire relationship with pain is problematic.

As I am writing this blog some words of the Buddhist monk Thich Knat Hahn have come to me:

Take care not to water the seeds of suffering within you

Water the seeds of peace

Perhaps there is a way to be with pain that does not hurt us but heals us, that does not convert pain into suffering.  And/or maybe there is a way to hold our pain tenderly within and birth from it the seeds of wisdom, love and compassion.

Some words that astrologer Liz Greene has written about the Saturn Pluto experience (which colours my emotional moon) come to me now.

Saturn Pluto is about wisdom born through the purification of suffering

and the ordeal by fire (Pluto)

At the conclusion of pain held tenderly and in full consciousness comes wisdom and forgiveness and peace.    The burning ground is what we walk through to get there.  In time the flames have done their work with us and find ourselves transformed in some way.

My prayer :

God help me be willing to surrender to these transformations

to shed the past so I can live free

awake and alive to the present moment

using all that I have experienced to help others

keep my ears and inward listening open

to the heart beat of love

 

 

Looking for solid land through fog and mist

Many days lately a mist comes down.  It is not clear to me where I am going and maybe it only needs to be clear to me that I am being, that I am breathing, that I am inhabiting this body.  Perhaps for someone like me who has spent a lot of her life hoping to escape from painful conditions in some way this is a big sign of growth that I don’t have to hold my breath and go out into trauma but can feel instead the flesh and tissue inside me as it reverberates with these trapped imprints and feelings I am trying to release.

Over these years of working to understand the impact of numerous traumas in my life I have learned that trauma puts a tear in the fabric of your being.  The present moment and even your bodily wholeness and integrity is impinged upon by an event which cuts into you, that shreds you and breaks up the continuum of what you knew, what you felt you could trust in, rest in, depend upon.  It brings displacement, disorientation, dislocation all of those “dis” words  (is it any accident or a sign of deep synchronicity that my name starts with the initial “D”?)  And most of all a deep sense of distrust.

Need it be like this?The healing comes in knowing that the world and other people will not always traumatise you but maybe its a lesson in a deep truth that things don’t always stay the same, that pain and accidents, illness, death, loss, change all happen.  But this doesn’t really take into account the full throttle impact on your body and central nervous system that takes place in trauma, that fires it up in such a way that when it is trying to let go, there comes always a jolt that disrupts the rest, flinging you this way and that.

Every morning that I awaken this is what I encounter, for the waking itself is also fraught with the deep cellular memory of coming to consciousness after the impact of at least two major traumas that nearly caused death and that whipped and flung my body about and so I twist and turn never sure that I can put my foot down on the ground and trust that it will hold me in the morning, that I will, on this day, be able to move into the day and not be held back by trauma.  Some days I really have to fight to move out into life.

I have tried so many different kinds of body therapies over the past years and this year the closest I have come to any deeper understanding has been through my Body Harmony treatments, but lately I have had major breaks in the continuity of these treatments, its been hard to trust and surrender and over Christmas and New Year I am having to hold it together (or try to) through the most painful time of year for me without much support.  I’ve noticed particularly over the past few days I have been feeling really lost and full of grief and loneliness.

All around seem to be examples of people who are connected to love ones.  This year at Christmas I lived the truth of how fragmented our family is, of the lack of true connection.  This isn’t the truth with all family members.  I have noticed over the past year my sister and mother making attempts to understand me at a deeper level.  This has occurred only as I have had the strength to confront what seemed abusive or lacking in empathy.

Mum has her own deeply buried pain but like many of her 1920’s generation they had to “just get on with it”.  “Just put it all behind you”, she said to me today when I was telling her of some recent disappointments with friends.  I don’t argue with that kind of advice today.  Its what she has tried to do.  It is not like I want to wallow in it 24/7 but I do feel that in healing recognition only comes when we allow people to be where they are and validate that.

Lately I am experiencing deep feelings of pain and sadness over the lack of really deep, affirming connections in my life, but I must also keep positive and say that I now have two or three, its just most of the time I feel like I am surviving on crumbs or scraps of caring and its not nearly enough to sustain me.

To be honest I get more affirmation and support through my blog and from others who live this journey online that out there in daily life which at times I find very isolating.

I have received a lot of messages that aren’t helpful, telling me to try and move out from it, or run away from it, go here, do that, buy this or that, have a holiday etc etc.  But the truth for me is that my pain only transforms when I face it head on and admit the reality of it to myself, no matter how painful.  It means staying with myself and my body and my breath when things get so painful I am tempted to split off.  It means holding myself like a little baby that needs good care on the tough days and saying loving things to myself.  It means not comparing my traumatised self with that of others who have not endured that level of trauma and finding myself wanting.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t take steps to take care of me and give myself good things too, its just these days I am finding trying to run or escape from me just doesn’t work or heal me.

Some days its hard to orient myself and I need to rest. Living alone there is a lot to do to sustain my life and at times I wish I could be taken care of, that I did not have to do it all alone, or that someone would just call to ask “How are you?”.  This morning this prayer was answered, my sister called as she was thinking of me and we had a lovely chat where I really could say what I was feeling, that was such a gift to me, for a time it made the fog disappear.

When I was at the park with Jasper earlier this afternoon I had this thought.  Often after people suicide the people around them say “I wish I knew what he or she was going through” or “they should have reached out”.  This doesn’t take into account whether those around the person had enough empathy to even care or reach deeper or whether they just filled up all the available air time with their self centred life and ignored that person who spent a life time burying their painful feelings.  This isn’t to imply blame but only to say, at times when I tried to talk of my pain others would not listen, or only thought about the impact on them.

That is why it is so important to really listen and to care.  Until we can give this to ourselves however, though, I guess we can’t give it to anyone else and sometimes the suicidal person’s pain is so deep they cannot reach out or speak of it.  For me it is always a healing breakthrough when I can say this is how it is for me no matter how dark the thoughts and feelings and  be heard.  For often trauma takes our voice and without it the fog comes down, disorients us and sweeps us away.

It is true to that on each day I also have to look through the mist and fog for the sunshine things in life, places, activities, food, music and other things that dispel the gloom.  On the dark days it can be hard for these to even reach us but on the greyer days they might just make all of the difference.  In the end its a fine line between honouring how we feel and not being trapped there, feeling so lost and alone.  And maybe just maybe there are some of us who live closer to this lost, alone place.  Having endured what we have we have lived things others never will and we have been changed by that experience.  We cannot erase those memories or the pain, we can only find a way to bear them with dignity and grace, working hard not to dispel a sense of hope and gratitude for this present moment, attendant with the realisation that our present does not need to be a repeat of the past, that in acknowledging our trauma and speaking of it we can find freedom, peace and understanding.

 

 

Ocean : Unfathomable Deep

AB

There is an ocean of pain

It’s bottom is deep

Unfathomable deep

A pool of ages of loss

Of suffering, of mourning, of death

Of separation, of loss, of abandonment

Of loneliness, of betrayal

Which cuts the heart open like a knife

Here in this ocean I lie

Pierced by suffering

Which intensifies

While you are gone

To the ocean

To the unfathomable deep

You have gone

To be held

In the great mother’s embrace

To feel the rolling swell

Which comforts and soothes the pain

Of the nightmare you have lived

To heal, in some small way, the wound

Of the absence of the mother

Who left you so alone

While here I wait In this house by the ocean

Heart torn apart with an emptiness

And loneliness

Of which I cannot speak

There is an ocean to cross

As I keenly feel

The ache of my heart’s longing

And the pain of separation

Can I find the way back home

Back to connection

Across the ocean that divides us

Across the unfathomable deep

The answers do not lie

In explanations

Of sorrows and pains

Too deep for words

Which can only be felt

As I centre and deepen

Into my heart

Feeling the deepest truths

That lie buried there

That are beyond words

Feeling them

Is the only way I will be freed

And though I long

For your understanding

Only the ongoing frustration of that longing

Will led to the ultimate pain

That in being fully integrated

Will finally set me free

There is an ocean of loss

A silent unspoken reseviour of suffering and pain

That is not only yours and mine

But belongs to all humanity

Hidden just below the surface

Of which we cannot speak

Its tides  lap all around us

Its storms emerge from time to time

Threatening the banks of consciousness

Flooding or drowning the ego

It is there in the anger, rage and pain

Which sweeps love away

Hiding the deeper truths, the deeper longings

Of unspoken grief

We must mine it for ourselves

Unfathomable deep

So here I rest

In the ocean of my heart

While you are gone riding the waves

I am

Listening to the wind

Hearing the heartbeat of the stillness

Of the opening and awakening heart

Expanding and shining light and warmth

Into the contraction

Of ages of separation

Loneliness, grief and loss

Opening to the truth

Unfathomable deep

Ocean of suffering

Bathe me in your sweetness

Take me home

Heal this broken heart

Torn apart by too much separation

Restore me

To my deepest self

To the unfathomable deep

Let me rest here awhile

In love’s healing embrace

In this silence

Let me know all is accepted

And in being accepted

Is transformed

In the deep heart of your ocean

Comfort my suffering

Ease my worried mind

And grant me peace

Unfathomable deep

Emerging through the Dark Night

Image

I sat with you

I held your hand

I kept the all night vigil

While you unleashed an ocean of tears

A flood that almost drowned you

Sucked deep by the tidal pull

Of that underground swell

You held firmly to this place

While all the fears and demons threatened

To unfurl you from this mortal coil

Pulling from every direction

At times they were not even conscious

But the pain was deep

It was the body that wept

Expelling slowly the silted up debris

Of ages

The pain of many generations

Over many years

You were held deep in the silent embrace

Of this house by the sea

Cast adrift

This house was the boat within which you undertook

The perilous night sea journey

Into the unfathomable depths

Of the collective unconscious

Somewhere from deep inside your belly

I hear a child is crying

Longing for its pain and loneliness to be heard

Over how many lifetimes

Was she torn away from her mother

By the fickle restless winds

Of change and fate

Which blew with gale force all round her

Sweeping everything away

From somewhere close

Not too far

The silent witness watched

As death took everything into its mouth

Chewed it round

And digested it

It wasn’t personal

It was just life

Entering its dark phase

The winter before spring

Where the ground of essential being

Seemed to fall fallow

While inwardly new seeds

Were incubating

Through this process

The witness could only hold still
In that shattering place

While everything broke apart

Loosened, dislodged and dissolved

By a greater force

Some higher power

Had its way and begged you

to awaken to a knowing

That could not have come in any other way

But through the dissolution of breakdown

The deeper realisation

So long in dawning

That you were not to blame

For failures that stretched

Such a long way back

And bore painful seeds

That had to germinate slowly

Within the subtle body

Within this hall of mirrors

All turned back to back

You finally saw the truth

And recognised with awe

Where hunger and longing led

To the pain of addiction and promiscuity

Cries of the soul

That arouse out of the unmothered self

Passed down over generations

Whispering from deep within

The rejected body

Now you must hold

And love your rejected being

Back into life

Deeply you feel it

This, the calling to awaken and to understand

The longing to be seen

To be held

To be mirrored

To be cherished

To be nurtured

To hold and to be held

What a terrible storm we endured

Over those 7 years

A storm that had to be weathered

That could not abate

That blew up king tides

There was no other way

But to endure it

But while you were in the midst of it all

The mist and fog swirled around you

It was hard to see ahead

And nothing was clear

Could not be clear

Until the storm and tides did their work

Of changing the psychic landscape

How else could it have been

And yet you longed and longed

With that burning hunger

That could only be understood

And healed through the suffering through

Of those storms and tides

Yet for years you beat yourself up

For whatIn the end

Was not even your fault

So you fell to your knees

And in prayer

Summoned up the witness

Suffering the final defeat

Which led to the ultimate surrender

In this admission of powerlessness

In the crypt

In the arms of this final defeat

Is an unending victory

And though you only sense this

Having reached the end

Through realising ultimately

The fruitlessness of any further action

You surrender completely

And begin to finally grieve

For all that was lost

For what can never be changed or replaced

Such a bitter pill to swallow

It took nearly all your strength

To digest it

Grief was the pain

You coughed up

Over and over

Until recognition came

And now the past is finally being released

In this place by the ocean

Where day by day you suffered such doubt

Something deeper knows

Tormenting voices float away on the breeze

Saying you are nothing

Have nothing,

Mean nothing

This is the voice of the outside world

That sees without depth

That does not value

The essential soul and spiritual deep

Some truths can’t be shared or spoken

Can never be fully understood

By those who fear the depths

Or see them as madness

And in that fearing would cast you out

But that’s okay

Is how it must be

For at the ending

Comes the acceptance

And the reconciliation of everything

And this ending is simultaneously

A new beginning

A new beginning that can only come

After all is stripped away

For so long you were strung

Over an abyss of change so deep

It split you open

Right down the centre

Night after night over many years

You stretched and held yourself still

In the post traumatic burning

While balancing and trying to align

Each energy centre

That ran along the spine

You were twisted

And had to balance

The twin currents

The dual poles of the cadeucus

To birth your wholeness

Out of fractures

Over those years

You dissolved in the ocean

And became the ocean

It was an ocean that you crossed

And the suffering of that crossing

Had to be borne

There could be no holding back

And the fear of extinction had to be confronted.

Don’t hold back out of fear, Deborah

Have the courage to dive fearlessly into that void

Into the undoing

To face the searing emptiness

That scorches flesh from bone

Throw it all into the fire

Submit to burn to dross

All that is not real

Was never real

Allow yourself to be singed

By the fire

That purifies and resolves

Through its burning

All the pain of the past

Then what is essential and timeless

Will be revealed

Let the cords that bind you to the past snap

One by one

Until the tightness and resistance

Passes away

And melts int he open spaciousness of being

All through those years

At the time of darkest despair

You heard the voice of the Goddess saying

You will emerge

From the Dark Night victorious

And see one day

The dawn of a new day

Bright and clear

After the storm of the dark night has passed