Process of Understanding What I’m up Against

This is what I wrote in my journal this morning.  It shows how I actually use writing to understand myself better.  This process began with a realization that “I’ve had the sense that reading thrillers addictively was in an attempt to avoid something.”  Written on my journal on July 6, and quoted in a blog post.

Friday, August 10

My heart is sore.  Yesterday, trying to back into a parking space in Montpelier, I bumped the car next to me and left a scrape of white paint.  I kept going up the path to Karen’s.  But when I got inside, I started to feel guilty, and realized I had to go back and leave a note.  When I got to the car, the woman was there.  She hadn’t seen the bumper, she’d approached from the back.  I gave her the note with my contact info, but she wanted my insurance info too.  I had to go back inside twice to get the right key.  By this time I was crying, but I brushed the tears away and unlocked the car to get the paper from my glove compartment.  When I got back to Karen I just cried and cried.  Sitting here writing, trying to figure out why I’m so upset about such a little thing, I realize I’m angry at myself.  Furious with myself for such a stupid little mistake.  I can’t find any softness or forgiveness in myself, toward myself.

I guess I’ve been angry at myself all along, starting with the internet scam.  Angry with myself for not handling this whole confusing painful time better.  What do I mean by “better”?  “Dealing with the practicalities efficiently and correctly, not getting all emotional and upset.”

What do I value?  Are efficiency and correctness more important than the underlying psychological / spiritual dynamics?  I can see, what Erica perhaps means, that I am engaged with everything that’s going on.  That I value honesty and integrity. over correctness and efficiency.  Yes, it’s taking me a long stumbling time to deal with a lot of stupid little things.  Because it costs me so much, I don’t have time and energy for more worthwhile things.  Like what?  like meaningful conversations with friends, long walks with the dog, exploring and visiting Howe Library, Montshire Museum, Garden of Life…  Even making sense out of some of this and putting together blog posts.  It’s all so confusing.  I am so fragmented.  Yesterday it was a struggle to write in my Fidelity check register, recording all the checks I wrote for medical expenses from my household account.

Second cup of tea.  While I was up I had a sudden image of Little Jenny, seven years old, struggling with all those checks.  My heart softens.  It’s not important that she be correct and efficient.  I think she’s participating much more in my life than she used to, and I can see how wrong it is to expect her to do things that she’s simply not old enough to do.  But that’s what my parents expected, so I continue to expect impossible things of myself and then get angry at myself when I can’t fulfill them “efficiently and correctly.”

I am so sorry Little Jenny.  You were doing the best you could do.  I should have been taking better care of you.  I remember how I had a similar accident after Shenanigan died.  That time, the woman was kind and said not to worry about it.  I imagine someone coming to me, in tears, because she had scraped my car, and me saying “Don’t worry about it.”  Then I have a hit of fury at the parents who are expecting far too much of this seven-year old.  I also think of my father, scrupulously making sure that mother is recording the checks and marking the ones to charitable causes — and he’s essentially on his deathbed.  What a waste of his last days.  Then I see another scrupulous child, trying to get everything taken care of before he leaves.  I feel grief for him and anger on his behalf.

“Grief and anger.”  That’s what I told Elizabeth I was feeling.  What a confusing tangle.  Such opposite emotions and yet both appropriate for loss.  So many different ways they could be aimed.  I can be angry at myself, or at my parents for teaching me to be angry at myself.

Thank god I talk to Erica this morning.  She’s the only one who can offer balm to my wounds.  O but Laura did a pretty good job, and Elizabeth and Karen.  I think of the line from The Secret Life of Bees, which describes a “time out” from your life.  I hope Kindred Spirits will give me that.

I had to write checks from my household account because my Fidelity account was frozen because of the scam.  First I had to get more money into that account which didn’t have enough money in it, and that was a complicated process.

“Feeling fragmented” was described in a talk by Dan Seigel, on integration.  He talks about “developmental trauma,” a new description for very early trauma while the nervous system is still developing.  He says that trauma prevents the brain from developing integrative circuits.  I found that comforting but also scary.  What does it take to repair that?

I was also told, in a workshop with Bessel van der Kolk, that they had tried to get the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to recognize Developmental trauma as a separate diagnosis.  The DSM refused, as of 2009.  As of 2017, things had not substantially changed, except that a lot more research had confirmed the problem(s) and the extent of the disorder.

My father, trying to make sure checks are correct.

One of the reasons it was so hard to recognize that I was angry at myself is that I never experienced feelings of anger.  Instead I felt sad, despairing, or sore as I say here.  I did not experience actually feeling anger.  Instead I began to realize that my feeling of soreness, sadness, hurt were because I was feeling “angered at,” instead of angry.   Only once did I actually experience a feeling of anger toward myself.  http://jennydeupree.com/?p=323  I also had a therapist who often asked me “Are you angry at yourself?” when she could see that I was.  This helped me to begin to tell when I was angry at myself.

A “time out”   The first week at August’s was a consolation, a pure relief.  The world will give you that once in a while, a brief time-out; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody else dabs mercy on your beat-up life.”    p82  From The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Kindred Spirits is a gathering at Rowe Camp & Conference Center.

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Vocation

I wondered yesterday if the effort to heal from PTSD could itself be a vocation.  That my work to heal myself is significant and meaningful.  That the point is not to be healed, and then to do what would be living a good life, but the work on healing itself.  Thinking about vocation leads me to get out Stephen Cope’s book “The Great Work of Your Life.” 

He talks about vocation and passion.  Discovering your “dharma” which is about finding your own unique gifts and living them.   “Actually, you can only expect a fulfilling life if you dedicate yourself to finding out who you are.  To finding the ineffable, idiosyncratic seeds of possibility already planted inside.”   p23

Cope tells of the lives of both great and ordinary people.  The first is Jane Goodall and he talks about how her gift was named and supported from a very early age.  Her gifts were “named, celebrated, cherished, and nurtured.”  p30  That brings up enormous grief for me, that my gifts were not named and supported, but ignored and trashed.  Mis-represented.  My enthusiasm for teaching, sharing and giving what I love to others, was called “thinking you’re so great.”

He talks about his own effort to write books, and how it was the struggle, the work itself, that was meaningful, not the finished book or its reception.  I think of my blog, and how the satisfaction is in putting it out there.  That helps me see that it’s the process of sharing the dances, of designing and carrying out seasonal celebrations, of decorating the building, that feeds my soul.  There is no finished product, nothing that lasts.

Cope says it was the struggle that was meaningful, not what the struggle created.  Reminds me of David Whyte saying that success or failure is irrelevant to the soul, what is important is that what you do be your choice, an active expression of who you are, and not someone else’s idea, or even your own idea of who you “ought” to be.

If it’s the struggle that counts, and not the result, then working on healing can be my dharma, my vocation.  I can see that my commitment is not only to healing, but to the question of truth.  In fact maybe it’s always been more about Truth than about me.  I was always willing to believe that criticisms were true, and tried to change myself.   I think of Bettie, in 1964, telling me I wasn’t interested in people because I didn’t ask them questions.  I saw that I didn’t do it, assumed I was defective, tried hard to do what I should — because somehow I knew that I was interested in people.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t ask questions until I rewrote the 4th July monologue and saw how I was invalidated by my mother when I tried to ask questions.  When I finally got on anti-depressant medication, I discovered myself being spontaneously friendly with all sorts of people.  It was because of depression, not who I was, that I didn’t want to afflict my “black cloud” on others.  What I see now, is that I was willing to accept unpleasant “truths” about myself, as long as I believed they were true.

The quote from David Whyte is on one of his Cds, probably the one on self-compassion.

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Issue of Control

July 10

Fear came up.  The cold vibration in my diaphragm.  It didn’t fade so I stayed with it.  Tried to meditate — actually maybe I did finally hold on to the lovingkindness prayer for myself.  Somewhere along the way I realized that the fear had been triggered by being invited to join a facebook group called Being my own Best Friend.  I went to the page and scrolled down and got to one about “Falling is an accident, staying down is a choice,” and one about “I can choose to not let my life be dominated/controlled by the past.”  I immediately feel guilty.  I’m unable to make that happen, so I must be choosing to let my life be dominated by the past.  I feel totally judged and found wanting.  It’s the old old “I’ve worked so hard for so long.  Why am I not feeling better?”  It makes me just want to quit.

Went back to check.  One entry says  “Let go  Release the stress.  You were never in control anyway.”

The other says “Don’t allow your life to be controlled by these 5 things:
1. Your past 2. other people’s opinions and judgements 3. Your own limited beliefs
4. relationships  5. money” 

That left me feeling like I was failing.  It’s an invalidation just like “If you really wanted to, you would feel better.”  I’m starting to suspect that this feeling of total despair may be depression, and that depression may have more to do with how trauma affected my developing brain and nervous system than with psychological factors I can change.  This depression may not be amenable to neuroplasticity (changing my brain through deliberately not thinking certain things, and forcing myself to think something more positive).  Or if it can be changed, it may take a long time.  So I’m going to go back up to 100 mg imipramine & see what happens.

Looking at this today, I see that the two messages from the website contradict each other.  “You are not in control,” and “You can choose not to be controlled by…”  “You are not in control” is absolutely true.  It’s the basis of AA’s first step: Admitted that my life was unmanageable.  

“You can choose not to be controlled…” is much trickier.  Whether or not you can choose “not to be controlled” depends on how the controlling functions.  If you are being controlled by your thoughts, you can change your thinking.  If you are being controlled by your emotions, you can take a pause, breathe, and then examine what’s going on.  Marshall Rosenberg pointed out that someone does not “make you angry,” you are angry because of what you think about the other person.  On the other hand, if a car nearly runs you down, you are not in control of your fight/flight/freeze response.  If someone bigger and stronger drags you away to jail, you cannot choose not to be dragged away.  You can choose not to be intimidated, to start doing (or continue doing) your spiritual practice.  You can choose to feel angry at yourself for what you did to get dragged off, or for not being able to stop them.  If you are a veteran, and your body dives behind a couch because a car backfired in the street before your brain has time to say “That’s a car backfiring,” you have no choice to not be controlled by your reptilian brainstem.  After it has happened, you can tell yourself that the gunshot happened THEN, even though it feels like now, but you can’t stop your body from reacting the next time.  That takes one of the new trauma healing methods, of which there are many right now.  Somatic Experiencing and EMDR are probably the best known, but there are more.

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Grief about my Life

Journal entry from Friday, July 6

Grief for my life “bleeding away in hard dark places, among the cold faces…”  What would it mean to have a real life?  I think of Oliver Sacks saying “I have loved much and I have been loved.”  If I could say that.  “But no, I never loved, only the feeling of forgetting something never remembered.”  “Wanting to flower and not knowing how.”  All the people left behind as I kept running away.

“Bleeding away…” and “Wanting to flower…” are from a poem I wrote.  

Blood and Stone

“But no, I never loved…” is from something I wrote in 1959, when I was 17, and hurting from someone I had hoped would be my first boyfriend choosing my best friend instead of me.  It’s a little bit scary, reading it now, and knowing that love was something I hadn’t experienced yet.

Because I’ve had the sense that reading thrillers addictively was in an attempt to avoid something, and because phrases from my own writing kept coming up, I looked for the original quotes.  So yesterday I told Erica about that teenage pain, and read her the quote about “forgetting something never remembered.”  Then I read her all the poems I wrote around the time of Journey Into Courage.  I cried reading some of them.  I also talked about how what happened with B left me feeling that I couldn’t trust myself.  I told her about things I learned, or saw, about my ex only after the divorce.  Erica, again, turned things completely around.  She said “people are not their dysfunctional behavior,” and suggested that I gave them space to be their real selves.  What a totally amazing idea!

“B” was a friend who I was trying to help by letting her stay in my house.  When I put the house on the market, she yelled at me for being so cruel to Eleanor.  One of the hardest things about moving to Kendal was knowing that someone I loved a lot would have a hard time finding a new place to live.  I told B that she had no idea what was going on for me.  She didn’t listen to me, and kept repeating herself so I hung up on her.  When I was getting ready to put my house on the market, and asked her to remove her things, she trashed my house.  She was someone I really cared about, so I was very hurt, but now suspicious about things she had told me, one of which I found out was a lie.  I felt like the person I had cared about and wanted to help was not who she was, and began to doubt my own judgement.  How could I not have seen how dysfunctional she was?

I see now, that I allowed her to exploit me because I cared about her, wanted to help her, and don’t have good boundaries.

Session with Erica:

“You give them the space to be their best selves”
a person is not their reactive behavior
I see the best in people, give them the benefit of the doubt
“I can’t trust myself” is a mis-representation
Integrity expects integrity
Honor and recognize that I take accountability — I’m available for repair
“You take grief and turn it into guilt.”
need someone to help me get that it is grief

With this help, I saw that B was just like my mother, so of course I was vulnerable to her manipulations.

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Broken

from my journal for June 10

One of the dances we did was Broken Hallelujah.  When we go into the center we are reaching out to our broken parts.  I have been imagining that I don’t have any broken parts — because I’ve never been consciously cruel — but then no one is consciously cruel, they strike out because they have been hurt.  I see that the homies feel terrible about the “bad” things they have done — but those things are not what’s broken, they only show that something is broken.  When I think about things I am ashamed of, I think about losing my cousin’s bike and not even offering to buy a new one.  Not even being able to look at that because I felt so ashamed.  It wasn’t until I realized that Mother never forgave me for anything, so I learned that no apology was good enough.  No repair was possible.  No “I still love you.”  I learned that the only thing that was OK was never to have done it at all.  Suddenly I’m seeing that that is a horrible wounding.  I put my arms around my wounded self and hold her gently.  I see that my broken parts are mostly about things that were not done and so harder to see.  I’m grateful for the part of me that was searching for the truth and open to it as soon as it appeared.  I don’t suppose mother ever got that chance, her denial was too deep and solid.

As I type this up, I see that perhaps the biggest broken part of me is my lack of good boundaries, my inability to stand up for myself.  I have allowed people to exploit me, and couldn’t even see that I was being exploited.

There’s a warmth in my heart now, as I hold wounded, broken Jenny with tenderness.  I am seeing that the tight hard Jenny that I’ve been imagining was me is actually mother.

“Homies” are what the gang members of East L.A. call themselves.  Father Greg Boyle works with them.

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Attachment Wound

Attachment wound — so deeply buried that it’s out of experience
— absence of that felt sense of support
now — felt sense of internal conversation — in there to be drawn upon
Something going on — let’s sit down and talk about it —
other attitude — rigid judgement — misrepresentation
When what’s needed is a change of belief — Byron Katie’s process works
If I take that system away I disappear
I exist in relationship by belief that I’m defective
Baby — utter annihilation — doesn’t show up as belief
Katie doesn’t acknowledge the power of the felt sense.

These are notes from a session with Erica on Tuesday, May 18.  I am just typing them up and am struck by the power of what is said here.  I sometimes have a hard time understanding what she’s talking about so I try to take careful notes.  Going back and typing it, I begin to have a sense of the depth and strength of the damage.  I’ve always known that Byron Katie’s process doesn’t work for me.  “Who would you be if you didn’t believe that?”  Nothing happens for me.  Something did happen, three times in the past, that I remember because they made such a big shift in my consciousness.

The first time was when I came to Feminism.  I thought I didn’t need feminism because I was wealthy and well-educated.  But one day — this was when I was living in the Zen House in Arlington Massachusetts — I dreamed of Lesbians.  I don’t know how I knew to not start worrying (or rejoicing) that maybe I was one, instead I saw it as what I now know was correct — a desire to explore my own feminine nature.  I took the bus to Harvard Square, went into the bookstore and straight to the shelf of women’s books.  I pulled out a book called “Women & Madness,” read the first couple of pages, bought it, sat down in Passim with a coffee and almost finished it.  I exploded with anger — I had bought the belief that women were second class.  I had in fact identified as a man.  I think that was partly a consequence of having gone to a girl’s prep school and a women’s college — I wasn’t competing with men, and didn’t have to pretend I was dumb.  I remember thinking that “they” were interested in clothes and dates, while I was interested in the things of the intellect.  I identified with “man” in so far as “man” meant “people.”  as in “Man studied the universe…”  So I converted instantly to being a fairly fierce feminist.  I even knew that it was a mistake to aspire to male values, that women had values that I saw were better than masculine ones (as simple as caring for people instead of competing with them) but were not valued in our patriarchal society.  I had seen after I graduated that I was up against problems of being in relationship that my intellect couldn’t solve for me, I had been in therapy.  As soon as I saw the belief I dropped it.  In this case Byron Katie’s process worked.

The second time this happened was when I was in a therapy group after I had bought my house in Brunswick Maine.  I had decided that my life was too flat as it was and I needed to be using my intellect.  I wanted to take a course in Geology — I had started taking geology classes when I was in a Master’s in Teaching Program at Stanford.  There were no courses in High School in Astronomy, so I was advised to get my degree in earth science.  Here I was in California in the 60’s, starting to see the world differently, and of course I dropped out.  Now, I wanted to go back to school at Bowdoin and take a geology course,  but I wasn’t managing to go and register.  Someone in the therapy group asked “Why aren’t you?” and the sentence came out of my mouth:  “If I actualize myself by getting a PhD, I will be so threatening that no man will ever marry me, and my life will be wasted.”  I didn’t know what I was going to say until it was out of my mouth, and I saw instantly the absurdity of “If I actualize myself … my life will be wasted.”  The next day, I went and registered for the course.  Little knowing that the Universe had other plans for me.  See “How I got to Stonehenge Again.”

The third time was after “Journey Into Courage” when I wanted to write a book about cutting myself and realizing it was a response to having been abused as a child.  I was calling it “Written in Blood” and creating it out of passages from my journal.  I was having a very hard time editing it.  It seems very odd to me now, that at the time I had no idea why I cut myself, except that it was a response to childhood abuse.  In my script for Journey I said “It feels like there’s some evil demon inside me.  How can I get it out?  I know, I’ll take this razor blade…”  That was the best I could do at the time.  Since doing the work with Erica, I have been able to understand that it had to do with creating a real wound with real blood, since my emotional pain was invisible to me.  Blood validated that I was hurting.  Because I was struggling, my then husband asked “If you published a book, what would you have?”  Again a totally unexpected sentence came out of my mouth: “If I published a book, it would prove that I deserve to live, even though my parents were disappointed in me.”  The whole motivation for creating the book dropped away.  It felt like a huge part of my life fell into the abyss.  I thought I might even stop writing every day, but I didn’t, it was too much established as a practice.  But I did stop typing up my journals.  This was in 1995, and I didn’t start typing again until 2000, and at that time it was only the guidance passages.  In about 2003 I started typing up more of what I had written.  Once I began the blog, my journal provided raw material, and I started typing up most of it.

I realize that this third time was not quite like the other two.  I stopped working on the book, seeing the belief that if I published it, I would gain something worthwhile, and recognizing the idiocy of the belief.  What it didn’t do was eliminate the profound belief that I didn’t deserve to live, and I continued to push myself out of that motive, but without naming it to myself.  It’s not a belief that functions, it’s a felt bodily sense of worthlessness, and since the felt sense is how I know something is true, that was not a belief but a truth about me.

This is why, when I was in a state of blind terror, I would say to myself: “The thing you are afraid of really happened, but it was in the past.  It’s not happening now.  Mother is dead, she can’t hurt you any more.”  It gave me an intellectual context to frame my feelings, but it didn’t stop the feeling.

My best description of why I cut myself is in the entry about the “Grandmother Patches.”  Since it’s a long post, you may want to go down to the WHO IF patch.

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“Too Sensitive”

“None of the adults in my life ever once remembered to say, “Some people have a thick skin and you don’t.  Your heart is really open and that is going to cause pain, but that is an appropriate response to this world.  The cost is high, but the blessing of being compassionate is beyond your wildest dreams.  However you’re not going to feel that a lot in seventh grade.  Just hang on.”   Stitches, Anne Lamott, p33

I was always told “Don’t be so sensitive” when I was a child.  Which made it sound like it was a choice.  But I didn’t seem to be able to make myself be different.  The first time anyone ever helped me was at a women’s retreat called “Woman’s Way.”  We had done “dream body” drawings, inside an outline of our body on large paper.  We colored pictures and wrote information on them, then hung them up on the wall.  I walked around looking at them, and I was really taking them in and starting to get overwhelmed, when Zanda said something like “You are taking in too much.  Use your venetian blinds.”  That image was a big help to me.

Much later, I read the book about Highly Sensitive People.  I answered all the questions in the affirmative.  I learned that we are 20% of the population, and that turns out to be true of many species of animals as well.  Our brains work differently, where 80% of the population would see 3 shades of red (in a garden, say) we will see 10.  So we can make much more nuanced observations, but we can also be easily overwhelmed.  Since overwhelm of the brain and nervous system’s capacity to process information is the cause of trauma, I think we will also be more easily traumatized.  Certainly the culture we live in is toxic for people who take in more information, making our lives that much harder.

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Identity Confusion/Conflict (for lack of a better title)

Friday, June 8

Don’t know how to start.  So odd.  I read what I wrote down that Elizabeth said in our phone conversation — “Identity in flux” — yes that’s exactly my experience.

“Attachment repair” — homies seeking to “re-identify”  Barking to the Choir p16  Find identity through someone who loves you, not someone who is jealous and threatened and projecting self-hate.

Saturday, June 9

Very intense session with Erica.  I read her the two blog entries about “wild and precious life.”  (April 2013, August 2010)  I cried as I read.  There was also a quote from Father Greg about the homies needing to “re-identify” as the repair for the attachment wound.  I see that I am struggling to replace the felt sense of myself as someone selfish, unkind, rigidly virtuous, with a felt sense of myself as someone worthwhile, with something to give to others.  “I have fought like a demon against oppression.”

Had a very different experience at dinner.  I sat at the long table.  I think D has had to go to the health center — he’s had too many falls, and his mind isn’t quite right.  For me, that lifts a blight.  He made lots of negative comments.  I sat next to Sabra and across from Margaret and Lorraine.  I think because my spirits had been so lifted by the narrative medicine class, and the talk with Erica, I was able to converse easily and even contribute.  I talked about the class, and also — I don’t remember exactly how we got to it — Lorraine had said something about how the teacher was important, and I started talking about Miss Hill, and assumptions, and cosmology.

Note: Father Greg Boyle wrote Tattoos on the Heart, about his work with gang members in Los Angeles.

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Spirituality

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.  Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”       Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p64

Her definition of spirituality is one that I like very much.  I agree with it intellectually, but I rarely have a felt sense of the compassion, and a felt sense is what makes something real to me.  It’s easier to see connection in the physical universe, and of course humans are connected on on the physical level, to an extent that we have lost awareness of.  In a smaller world it’s obvious.  In our world — I once worked it out: this paper I’m writing on is made from tree pulp.  Someone cut down the trees, someone else transported them to the paper factory, someone else ran the machinery…  the man who drove the truck used gasoline from an oil field, and is connected to all the people who work there…  and he ate food grown and transported and sold and cooked by other people…  and on and on.  I am connected to all these people by this piece of paper.  Even the sun comes into it, and the rain, they helped the tree grow.  That we are also connected by fields — electromagnetic, gravitational, psychological — seems obvious to me in some ways, but I’m too habituated to individualism and isolation to be able to feel the connection.  Rooted in compassion is a little harder, but I can’t see how there would be any compassion at all if it didn’t already exist in some form at the simplest level.  In the atoms and molecules, ready to emerge as soon as the right level of complexity is reached.  There is scientific evidence, now, that compassion is “hard-wired” in humans.  I don’t believe for a moment that humans are basically selfish, violent, and greedy.  I think those behaviors are a result of being hurt and scared.

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Journey

This was written 10 days after I sprained my ankle on April 14.  Initially I wasn’t able to walk very far.  The walk to the dining room can take 7 minutes.  Not possible in my disabled condition.  Fortunately, I can get supper delivered.  At first I could hardly stand long enough in the kitchen to cook, but that got better pretty quickly.  It is a long walk plus two elevator rides (and I am so GLAD for all the elevators!)  In fact I’m pretty spoiled here.  The fall also made it impossible to get to the Neskaya Conference, a big event that I had been looking forward and worrying about for quite a while.

So I had felt like I was moving along fine, and then suddenly hit a brick wall.  This made me question why it happened — not because I was stupid, not because God had it in for me, not even because it was a random event — it seemed pretty clear that I was supposed to learn something from this experience.

This journal entry is an attempt to explore what possible meaning there might be in being immobilized for a time.

Journey.  I’m thinking that it will be a long journey to the top of the waterfall stairs and the elevator to the ground floor, then to the massage room.  The word “journey” resonates.  I set out on this long journey, and suddenly got stopped and immobilized.  Where am I going and why?  What’s really important?  What matters to me?  “For a great journey on the drawing tide.”  It makes me think of the Cadfael book, and the crusader whose last journey is up the river a short way, having to be carried, then rowed in a boat.  The “great journey” was Jenny going to Europe, then to California, back to Maine, crossing the country by car more than once.  More than one journey/pilgrimage to Callanish.  The summer I did both a Deena Metzger retreat and the Circlework training, and was so disabled by PTSD terror that I couldn’t get what was available.  That’s actually been true my whole life.  So disabled by early wounding that I couldn’t get what was available.  “Cuncti simus concanente…”  But I did build Neskaya.

The “Waterfall staircase” is a long staircase at Kendal that takes you from the living floors to the community area.

“Massage” — having a massage every week is part of my healing from trauma, since trauma is held in the tissues.

“…journey on the drawing tide” is from a poem by David Whyte

“Cadfael book” is “An Excellent Mystery” by Ellis Peters

Callanish is a stone circle on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides

Deena Metzger is a writer, her book that meant the most to me is called “Writing for your Life.”

Circlework” was developed by Jalaja Bonheim

“Cuncti simus concanentes…” means “Here we come singing..” and is the music for a circle dance called “The Pilgrims’ Dance.”

Posted in Journal, Present Day, Vocation | Comments Off on Journey