I’m gonna take a little walk through them fields,
I’m gonna carry me gently so my heart can heal
I’m gonna find me a demon, in a dark dark wood
You can’t come with me. I wish you could.
from my journal for September 18
3rd cup. I’m still feeling grumpy, bereft of spirit, caught in the denatured space of bureaucracy. Inside there’s a part of me that wants to do away with all that. To take a walk down the long road out of town, searching for the demon in the dark wood, so I can wrestle with him, have a conversation, or if not that at least some kind of back-and-forth contact, to be engaged, to push and be pushed back until wrestling becomes a contact-improv dance.
Stephen Jenkinson, from Die Wise, pp 376-7
Down along the fence line in the back forty of your life there is a pile of stones — your regrets. If you don’t go down there to visit them often, you’ll end up thinking either that they’re not there at all or that they make a pile a mile high. Here it is: They’re almost always there, and the pile is rarely as high as you think. When the ending of days comes into view, that’s a good time to visit that little altar. Here’s my advice. Don’t add another stone to the pile by the way you are with the ending of days. Just remember. Then, climb that little hill, picking up one stone at a time and putting it back in place, remembering. It’s not all bad. When you get to the top, look around. That’s the great pasture and field of your life, with everything it was now visible and lucid. You can only really see it from up there. That’s the big story.
The pile of rocks representing regrets. I pick up one, it’s Malcolm who I treated so badly. I put it down and pick up another. I regret that I wasn’t able to keep up friendships with Kathi Brown, Rose Marie, my siblings. I regret that I didn’t come to NVC until it was too late to use it with Mom. I regret that I was never able to make her happy. I regret that I find it so hard to tell people that I love them. I regret that I didn’t tell Aunt Betty, Aunt Carolyn, and Aunt Mimi how much they meant to me. Thank god I at least managed to have one good talk with Mama Greene before she didn’t recognize me. I regret that I wasn’t able to realize what a fine gift to the world Neskaya was until I had left. I regret that I didn’t make friends with Marianne Flack before she died.
I see that my regrets are all about relationships with people. I don’t at all regret that I never had a “career,” never had a “success” that other people would see was a success: good sales for my book, a second printing, many calls for my “Sacred Sites,” a PhD in Geology. I do regret that I wasn’t able to teach the Sacred Calendar more, that was more due to a failure to “market” it successfully, and that’s a kind of effort I couldn’t make.
Then there are things that might have been on a “bucket list,” if my life hadn’t been closed in by PTSD: to revisit Callanish, to get to Tibet, or Iceland, or the Faroes… I don’t feel any desire to do those things, my time and energy are headed for going in and down, inside myself, down to the depths of Spirit.
[added later] I realized, walking down to the attic to meet with Barbara, that all these niggling little tasks (deal with my will, get taxes done, etc) keep me away from going deep and I’m frustrated.