In my Friday talk session with Erica, I told her about the Pit, sitting in it with Younger Jenny, describing how deep it was, how narrow, made entirely of stone. She said “What does it feel like to sit there now?” I paid attention and suddenly realized that the stone was crumbling. Like sandstone after years of erosion, becoming separate pieces crumbling into sand at the edges. I stayed with it, and it began to feel like a friendly container. I was blown away.
Erica said that the process began with accepting, being willing to sit with Younger Jenny forever, and then allowing, being open to whatever might happen. I think of the mantra learned at Kripalu “I offer myself to this process.” It was very helpful to me in the years when I could not say “Thy will be done” to that capricious, malicious and willful “God” who was the only one I knew.
Then she said that “Surrender” was different from “Collapse.” Collapse is the last stage in trauma, when you give up trying to stay alive. “Surrender” is not the same as “giving up,” though we live in a culture that fails to understand that.
These ideas were very helpful to me in understanding the process I had just gone through, where I had been seeing only the details.
Something else I saw was that I had not done anything, but commit to being there for Younger Jenny. Help came by synchronicities, not by direct action.
December 10 was when I decided to sit with Younger Jenny, just be with her, not try to change anything. In Grief Group there are people dealing with the suicide of a loved one. I talked about what it felt like when I wanted to commit suicide — I didn’t think about anybody else, I never thought any one would miss me, I even thought they might be glad I was gone.
After the talk with Erica, I made some notes about that time in my life when the journal was written.
Driving to Grief Group, I took some CD’s to the car to change for ones I had been listening to for a while. I picked up my CD’s of Messiah by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and also another one, just because it happened to be there. David Whyte: Poems of Self-Compassion. When I reached into my bag in the car, David Whyte was what I pulled out, and listened to driving to and from Grief Group.
I had ordered a Jack Kornfield book: A Lamp in the Darkness, “illuminating the path through difficult times,” and it came that day and I devoured it.
3rd cup of tea writing, suggested by planning for book discussion group for Quaker Meeting. The first Chapter in Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness is about integrity. I wrote:
So the question is what does integrity look like when I’m in the pit? Staying with myself, not trying to change anything, just accepting what comes. Doing the best I can, and accepting that my best may not be good enough. Refuse to numb out in the various ways I know so well. Refuse to pretend that I am fine, except with people who wouldn’t get it, who just want to know I’m “fine,” so they can forget me and go on their way. Protecting myself in this situation is legitimate.
I watched a video on the New Story Hub about the man who built the Nature Sanctuary at Findhorn. He talked about using recycled materials and how they contributed to its design. He said some of the rock in the outer wall was “Lewisian Gneiss,” a rock type I remember from my favorite stone circle, Callanish on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It was in the Nature Sanctuary that I had my experience of the Ocean of Compassion.
The daily meditations from Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and contemplation, were this week all about AA’s Twelve Steps which are about surrender, and work to deal with our addiction to our own limiting habits of thought.
Erica asked what the Pit was feeling like, and I realized that the rock was crumbling, and the crumbled rock was starting to feel like a comforting container instead of a stone prison.
Total transformation. I am so grateful to all of the friends: people, rocks, videos, emails that just showed up, that helped me get here.