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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Challenge of Acceptance, The Art of Nourishing


Have this playing as you read this.

I would love to come to you healed and say that all of your words had made a difference. They did. They do. But they do not undo, unknot, unravel the many shields of my self. I am deeply grateful for such kindness as has been shown to me and ever humbled that people whom I will most likely never meet, have taken the time to share their experiences, offer wisdom and advice (all of it good, sound advice) or to simply 'be' with me for a moment. It has been unexpected.

I am feeling a little less 'Noir'. There are moments of light, laughter and happiness - of course there are. It's just impossible at this point to tell what is going to happen next. I am, for once, not anxious to 'fix it'. I am allowing the 'what is' to visit and not feel like I have to escape from it. I know that I have been touched by some sort of sadness that goes very deep and that will not let me loose just yet. No matter how much I struggle against its silky grip.

I'm so tired and so weary to my bones of trying and getting nowhere. I'm so tired of never living up to my own expectations. So tired of always falling short and getting up and trying all over again. And so I have decided to stop. Not stop living obviously, that would be stupid. Just stop striving all the time. Stop trying to sit on my anger at the expense of my passion, my joi de vivre, my soul's yearning to be heard, to be free. Of course, it is easy to say and not so easy to do. Not so easy to 'surrender' when one does not know how to bend to the prevailing winds. How do you describe the act of surrender? What does letting go look like? Feel like? How do you know when you have achieved it? And what of anger? My anger is a part of it all too. I have yet to learn how to express my anger in more appropriate and manageable ways. I have sat on it for so long, all of my life really, and now it wells up at the slightest provocation and is destructive to the one person I want to protect from it more than any other. And yet. I don’t know how to let go and it’s not something anyone else can tell me how to do. How do you explain the process, the art, of surrender to someone who does not know what surrender feels like, what being empty feels like?

I have always known what I have to do. (Have to?) I have been searching for a way but seem incapable of actually doing it. Incapable of finding that middle pathway between self-loathing and self-love, between anger and passion, between nurturing others and nurturing myself. It was quite the revelation to discover that I don't trust myself. I don't think that I know how to.

My acupuncturist, Aisla, is an amazing and intuitive woman. Today, as I dissolved into tears in her office (yet again), grateful for just a moment when I could be 'me' and let the overwhelm come and not pretend to be on top of it all, to be coping, I realised that this is who I really am. This tear streaked, overwhelmed, oh so tired mummy who wants so desperately to be a good mummy and not a bad mummy all the time, who wants so much to be all that she hoped she would be as a parent, but isn't. This is it. This is as good as it gets. At least for now. And in her office, for those few moments, it's ok. Or at least, if not ok, ok that its not ok.

She sits her needles into my skin and they crawl or throb or itch and then she asks me what I think that I do well. I am quiet for a long time. Then I realise that I can offer her nothing. I can say nothing good about myself. Find nothing good to bring forward for us to talk about. 'That's very telling.' She says in her quiet way. 'Your inner critic is dominating. You need to bring out your inner encourager.' Yes. I'm sure I do. But what I need most of all is to let it go. Let go of the striving for constant perfection (especially when I don't know that this is what I am doing). I was moulded for the challenge, for the winning of battles, for being the best at stuff and honestly, it pretty much came easily to me. I didn't fail that much. But I did get scared of making mistakes. I don't know how else to play. So now I sit with the knowledge that this parenting, nurturing thing may be one battle that I cannot win. And why is it a battle anyway? Surely these things should be soft edged and soft focused and easy, not iron and unyeilding and frosty. If the way is hard, if the road you are on constantly brings you back to the same stiff, cold place of hatred and angst, then you are on the wrong frigging road. You'd think that would be obvious wouldn't you?

But its not. It never is. We can never see the beauty that stares us in the face or the courage we have in the face of adversity, when we are the ones doing the looking. I am well aware that this applies to me, of course I'm too busy looking at you.

It's not that I want to be someone else. I don't. I do sometimes entertain wild fantasies about being somewhere else, but I don't actually want to be someone else. Unless that someone is Cate Blanchett perhaps or Kate Bush. I'd trade lives with them for a day. But then I'd want to come back here and be me again and cuddle my girl and hug my man. So no. It's not about that. It's about not knowing who I am. It's about not being able to find something lovable, something bright and good and inspiring about myself to offer up to this life. It's about truly not understanding what about me makes this path so bloody hard when I have so much love to give to it.

If I abandon everthing to a single moment,
then I reach you.
O light-hearted beautiful of the world,
give me that heavy cup.

Give it,
and then I'll be saved
from sorrow and helplessness both.
I'm so tired of feeling oppressed by anxiety
and all of anxiety's troublesome friends.

give it to me,
for then I'll be drunk with God's glass
and be annihilated completely.
I'll open my wings in absence and fly away to the placeless place.

I have spoken before about the process of 'becoming'. And it is to this that I want to surrender. I have no choice really because what I am doing is breaking me into a million tiny little pieces. But how? How do I reach into the deepest still beating part of my heart and bring it forth into the light? How do we touch that little part of ourselves that is Divine and allow it to lead? I am so used to putting my intellect before my heart. My mind over my body. But thinking has brought me to here. Again and again. There is no thinking my way out of this.

And what is nurturing?
I can tell you what it is not. It is not driving yourself daily to accomplish the impossible. It is not running like a greyhound around the same well worn track after the same scabby rabbit who is always out of the reach of your snapping jaws. It is not trying to make yourself something that you aren't and never were. But I cannot tell you what it is. I could reel off some trite magazine worthy observations about 'time for you' like having a long soak in a hot bath (my bath isn't long enough to lie down in - why do they not build them with a sodding head rest for Gods sake?), or taking a mini-break (not when you are mini-broke), eating well and getting enough rest. But then what if you don't cook well or just simply don't enjoy cooking? What if your rest is held entirely in two chubby little hands over which your deepest desire to get a full 8 hours have no dominion? What if you truly don't know what nourishes your deepest self? What then?

Nurturing does not come naturally to me. I've said this before. I can't tell if its because I'm lazy (as I sometimes am) or because I am just lacking in energy and inclination (does that class as lazyness?). Right now, with so little time and energy and freedom, it feels like I have nothing left to give. I am having to learn about nurturing myself and my family one day at a time when I thought that it would all come so easily to me. I realise now that I simply don’t trust myself to be a good parent. I believe in instincts, just not mine.

* Sadness & Light

So in this place of 'no trust' I sit. In this place of 'self-loathing' I wait. Inbetween these moments of sadness and light, I open. I wait to accept myself and this and it. And I know that nothing can truly change until acceptance seeps as deeply into my skin as the striving I wear like a tribal tattoo. I am unravelling and it feels raw and frightening and my skin feels blistered with all my shattered hopes and dreams. What comes out of this blistering darkness I wonder? I guess there's only one way to find out.

'Some hearts are ghosts and they drown in dark waters,
just as silt grows heavy and drowns with the stone.'


Cyndee Greene said...

I know this place that you speak of. Maybe not of being a mother. But many of your words are so familiar.
Here are some things that emerged while reading....take what you like & leave the rest.
Several years ago, I was in a 12 step program. I had just left my family & my business the year before. 9 months later I lost everything in a flood. I had a new sponsor & we were working the 4th step. But lo & behold she offered a new way of doing it. She wanted me to write down all the things I liked about myself. I actually went home eager to do this. Then I had a rude awakening. I could not think of one thing. I agonized. I didn't want to tell her that I couldn't think of anything, but I did. So she asked me to ask my friends what they liked about me & to write it down. I said okay. I'll never forget the 1st time asking one of my friends, I ended up sobbing the whole time. Each time I asked someone it was like pulling teeth, but I did it. Crying each & every time.
Then she & I got together. She asked me to share what I learned. I handed her the list. She said no, I want you to tell me. I started sobbing again. I couldn't. I literally couldn't. So she said, why don't I start w/ telling you some of the things I like about you. So she did. Then she would ask me to read a couple of things from the list. I sobbed the whole time as we walked around Spring Lake (in public) & did this.
Several months later...one day...I heard myself say to someone 'I'm good at that' I couldn't believe it!
So maybe, try doing this. It's not different right away. But it may seep in like it did w/ me.
Thank you for sharing all that you do...as unabashed....& raw...& broken....
Also, another thing that I do is open up Women Who Run w/the Wolves. If you don't have that one, open up I Will Not Die an Unlived Life. The first book is the best if you have it. Open it up randomly & see what it tells you. Then if you have WWRW, go to the beginning of the chapter after reading those 2 pages & begin. It will describe exactly what you are working thru on your soul's level.
My dear one, you are deep in your soul's journey. It is rich & deep & painful.
If any of this resonates for you & you want to know more, you can e-mail me cyndee_g@comcast.net
I can hold this place w/ you!

Mon said...

Doesn't feel appropriate for here what I have to say. So I'll just send a hug, and say, I hear you.