I’m thinking of the many times I’ve come to an exciting new understanding of myself, and then on re-reading my journal I discover that I’ve made the same discovery several years ago, and a few years before that, with apparent amnesia in between. It used to make me very discouraged. Recently I was talking to my sister about spiritual matters, maybe I asked her a question about what she believed and she said “But Jenny, everything I know about Spirit I learned from you.” That blew me away. When had that happened? The year we lived together in Portland I was badly depressed and had no sense of spirit. Maybe it was earlier, on vacations from college, and I talked about what I had learned in Bible class. I didn’t believe in God at all at that time, so I can’t imagine what I might have said to her that meant so much to her. Baffled by this, I told my therapist Karen, and she said “You weren’t safe enough to have more than intellectual knowing.”
Recently I went back to read part of my journal for the late 80’s. I knew it was a period, before medication, during which I was having a very bad time, and was severely depressed. From the present I looked back at my life then and saw it as a grey blur. But when I started reading, I was astonished to see how hard I was working to understand what was going on with me. I was working with a therapist in the Jungian tradition, I was recording my dreams and working with them meticulously. I was working hard, but now I can see that it was all intellectual.
I think it wasn’t until I started working with Karen in the early 90’s that I began to deal with more emotional parts of the psyche. Finally, when I began Somatic Experiencing around 2001, I began to pay attention to my body.
I used to be discouraged by how many times I made a discovery, only to have it sink into amnesia, and then it would seem brand new when I discovered it again. Now I see how much work it takes to really “get” something, to ground it solidly and deeply enough that it will hold through a bad time. I have this image of layers and layers of the psyche. The top layer is intellectual, the bottom layer is grounded in the body, and the layers in between are the stages from one to the other. As I rediscover the same thing over and over again, I’m also moving it down to deeper layers. Most of that work, I suspect, goes on in my subconscious.
I also discovered that after the recent time of happiness, thoughts about Lynelle’s difficulty with EMFs didn’t bring me down. Usually it doesn’t take much to bring me down. And I remind myself that of course I will continue to lose and find these things, and I hope that the faith that they will come back will be strong enough to carry me through the bad times.