Trying to Figure out WHY I Got So Terrified

Excerpts from my journal trying to understand about the terrified feeling, what triggered it, why it seemed different from how it has happened before.  The last time I felt that kind of terror was when I flew to California for the Francis Weller workshop.

Tuesday, July 16

The cloud cover is thin, so the sun is watery when it’s out. It would be nice to sit on the porch, but I feel too fragile. I’ve begun to notice how much my behavior is restricted by the need to feel safe. That wasn’t true for a big part of my life. I wonder when it started? Possibly 1984 and the diagnosis of systemic yeast. Maybe it’s only since I started paying attention to inner signals. I’m reminded of the boundary exercise I did with Dave, where I let him right through my boundary and wouldn’t have noticed it if he hadn’t pointed it out.

Systemic yeast requires a very strict diet.  I remember that I couldn’t drink black tea or herb teas.  One tea that was “safe” was Kukicha Twig Tea.  I wasn’t supposed to eat dairy food, so I used soy milk.  For a long time Kukicha and soy felt safe to me.  I actually forgot to take any on that trip to see my siblings, and was upset when I realized it.

The boundary exercise was with Dave Berger, an S.E. practitioner.  He asked me to stop him when I wanted to and started walking toward me.  When he was about 18″ away, I held up my hand.  He said “It should have been back there,” and indicated a place about 3 feet further away.  As soon as he moved his hand, I remembered that I had felt something when he was there, but I hadn’t paid attention to it, and would have totally forgotten it if he hadn’t pointed it out.

So tired. or bleak. or something. Brain is flat.

Talk with Erica:
tell Erica about seeing motive of needing to be safe
experiencing exhaustion —> despair in B.P.
Now that I’ve slept, I don’t feel physically exhausted but I do feel    mentally exhausted.
Too scared to go out on porch this morning.
Now I’m becoming aware of something I wouldn’t have
Parts that were feeling scared weren’t listened to
either override it or become suicidal

That explains why my brain is refusing to work. Visit to B.P. was major OVERWHELM! and I’m shut down. How to reconnect with myself.

Wednesday, July 19

Raining. Thank God for Erica. She was a big help yesterday. Now I see that when my brain is blank and blunt, I’m in a state of hypo-arousal, I’ve been triggered by overwhelm, or by something inside that I’m not ready to face.

What was the problem with the visit to my siblings? Too quick, no time to settle in and reconnect. They all talk fast and loud. Mocha’s diarrhea exhausted me. I needed to have soul conversations, I needed to find out, as we are nearing the ending of our lives, what have those lives meant?

3rd cup of tea

If I’m too tired to make a decision, maybe that means I’m too tired to do anything. Can I sit here doing nothing? Just sit here? I feel a pull toward playing Solitaire and resist it. Typing journal doesn’t appeal. Maybe take the puzzle apart. I did manage to wash the dishes while my tea was brewing.

I could try 20 minutes of housekeeping and 20 minutes of sitting here doing literally nothing. I haven’t even unpacked my suitcase yet. I haven’t looked at the stuff that came from HUE. I would have to try things on. The discouraged part of me says trying things on is too uncomfortable.

It’s July 25 and I still haven’t unpacked or opened the package from HUE.

Something I can do with a whole heart? Often doing a blog post is whole-hearted.

The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, but doing something with a whole heart.

Thursday, July 18

So tired. I don’t know what to do about Dance Camp. It starts on Saturday and I can’t imagine being ready for it. I’m still finding it hard to get practical things done. I did manage to pay a bunch of bills yesterday (good for me!) and get them in the mail.

Yesterday my email stopped working.

Yesterday I was feeling so bad that I got out the Sweet Chestnut — “when you are overwhelmed with anguish and can see no way out.” I wonder if they would let me stop eating now, or if I have to have some serious disability.

Stopping eating is Plan B for dying.

Haven’t seen Dulany, she’s got her son & 2 granddaughters visiting. I won’t be talking to Erica on Friday, so I’m feeling a little bereft. Maybe that’s the problem.

I really do feel abandoned. Not having email working is a big deal.

I am realizing that I am terrified. It took me a while to feel it. But now it’s clearly “blind terror.”

Friday, July 19

Feeling a little better this morning. I saw Meredith last night. I was walking Mocha and she drove by in a car. I was able to tell her that I was scared. I think that helped a lot.

Erica said: Parts that were feeling scared weren’t listened to
I would either override it or become suicidal

I’m actually sitting out on the porch. It’s cool and clear. I could do without the roar of the fan. But I don’t feel too scared to sit out here. so something has shifted.

Sandy Pariseau came at 10:00. I don’t know if I knew I was scared when she was here — yes I think I must have. I think I even told her. I managed to fix the email by shutting down the computer and starting it again (good for me!) With her help I ordered another Canon printer just like the one I have.

Sandy comes to help me with computer stuff.  In trying to decide which printer to get, I decided on the Canon which is just like the one I have that stopped working.  Sandy said that wouldn’t have been her choice, but she supported me in making the right choice for me.

3rd cup of tea:

It’s interesting that it took me so long before I could feel that I was terrified. All I had was the blank blunt blind feeling, also feeling out of control. Maybe the first clue was not feeling safe to sit on my porch. I think of how I didn’t know I was frightened until Dr. Asher named it. I didn’t expect to be afraid, I have reasonably good relationships with all my siblings. So the fear didn’t make sense, so I didn’t feel it. Maybe Mocha picked up on it. Erica said something about when we all got together, especially in a family house, we all tended to regress. I think that house was where I first felt “that twilight feeling,” of my life fading into darkness, taking care of other people’s jobs, doing nothing of my own. Tho I have good memories of the porch, creating games for my siblings, that was also where the Colonial Dames happened.

Saturday, July 20

I’m feeling really lost. Really worried about how I’ll get to dance camp, how I’ll be at Pat’s, whether I can function at all. I’m feeling really abandoned by Dulany, which isn’t fair, because she’s just very sick, can’t seem to stop vomiting. I feel like I did a bad job of relating to my siblings and dealing with Mocha at B.P. I feel like I’m always scrambling to catch up with my life. It’s a lot like the car that drove away with me in my dreams when I was a child.

I see that the problem has something to do with following someone else’s rules. There’s a way in which the bureaucracy of government is a bit like dysfunctional parents. The rules are always changing, and the punishment is unimaginable. What am I afraid of? That if I fail to do something I’m supposed to do — what will happen?

Sandy said to remind myself that we had ordered a printer, and we had got the gmail working. I think I did finally relax a little — I didn’t relax right away — but a lot of the fear is still with me, and it’s the fear that cripples my mind.

I’m also feeling abandoned by the Spirit realm.

Reading through this, I can see much more clearly why I got so triggered into a baby state. I can also see that what brought me out of it were several things: one was simply telling people I was afraid and having them offer a hug, or sympathy & validation, instead of making me wrong.  Another was working on blog posts.  Yet another was actually being able to accomplish some things, like getting the email working.

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Two Whole Weeks of Terror, February 1971

from my journal.  entries are undated.  A lot of this is in a post from January 2016

how calmly does the olive branch
observe the sky begin to blanch
without a cry, without a prayer
with no betrayal of despair… 

This poem is from a Tennessee Williams play: Night of the Iguana

wow. two whole weeks of terror — standing at the edge of the Abyss and looking down.  utter lack of meaning — that is hell — that is the sin against the holy ghost  (the vulgar devil under michael’s foot)  seeing myself weak, shabby, ineffectual, a typical ‘old maid’  (but not a maid!)  a pitiable creature, without even a job to redeem her.  I even came to a final cold place where suicide seemed the only alternative to terror  (a betrayal of despair, though)  and my fantasies were of how to get the sleeping pills, not how I would be rescued.  walking through a long dark tunnel — no sign of light ahead, no memory of light or warmth behind  (the cold, the cold is so appalling)  and I keep walking because the pain is so great and worse when i stop.  praying the plane will crash.  ogod.  wishing i could still believe in god.  praying to apollo and knowing it won’t work because i don’t believe — I have plunged into weaving as an antidote. 

I have achieved limbo — no hope yet, but suicide no longer a reality — have decided to stick with despair.

Tell my sister Jo if she comes home someday and finds me dead it is because the pain became too great.  a mercy-killing?  I would gladly trade my crippled mind for a crippled body if I could have a sound mind with it.  (my god what guilt is that supposed to expiate)

bad day today — confusion
what i so desperately need is a place to rest my mind.

i think i will go back to collecting sleeping pills
the pain is so great and the rewards are so small
what is the point of endurance?
‘i am a rock, i am an island’
to be like the rock and endure…my life is only a flash in the life of the rock after all.
‘nobody ever loved me and nobody ever will’
i feel so paranoid and ugly and lost, and i know that i do it in my own mind, but i can’t change it.  could there be a worse hell?
stumbling across the frozen waste, the sun glints off a piece of ice, fresh and cold here and i have left the company of thirteen far behind.

“sleeping pills”  I actually didn’t have any way to get them.

‘Nobody ever loved me and nobody ever will’  is a belief that I wrote and thought many times.

another night of the iguana to be faced & feared through
i am afraid to go to sleep.
yea though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
what do i do wrong?  why has no one ever loved me — why do they all leave so quickly?  am i too involved or too cold?  i don’t know!  i don’t know!  i must be an incredibly awful person that no one has ever loved me.
yeah, even david.  two screws and he’s done.

“am i too involved or too cold?”  Erica was able to explain this by telling me that I had in inaccurate mirror in my mother.

whatever im going through is so strange.  first the terror and now the numbness and confusion.  i can’t seem to bring my mind to bear on anything.  it chatters on and on, i can’t even find a place of silence to rest it, and yet i can’t make it work for me either.  can’t make it focus and grasp and follow one current of thought out to its conclusion.  a strange blankness — not the emptiness of silence for which i would be grateful, but the blankness of immovable conflict.  

i keep going through the same sets of images.  what can be done to break the ice jam and get things flowing again?

life in one hand, death in the other;  black stone and white pills.  all i want to do is sleep forever, but i am afraid if i take the pills all ill do is sleep for a few days and wake up miserable.  when i was in the hospital there was a boy who took 100 valium and all it did was tranquillize him, it didn’t kill him.  im afraid if i take the mellaril ill just wake up again and nobody will know or care what happened.
theyll all just say im stupid and silly.
im so tired, so tired and cold.
just a warm place to fall asleep

It’s a good thing I didn’t know that too much mellaril can be fatal.  I had saved some from when I was hospitalized in California.

the fear is back — the numbing deadly terror.  how long can this go on.  i feel so horribly isolated — no one i can run to and held and comforted.
people = mirages, all snatched away,
   help! help! help!
so cold.  to wait through the night
        with no betrayal of despair

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Today’s 3rd Cup of Tea

Maybe the feeling of abandonment was more intense because Dulany has become a good friend.  Erica pointed out that my relationship with Eleanor is problematic because she triggered the big sister’s need to take care of younger siblings, and she needs so much help, way beyond what any one person could do.  Possibly my need to help and my inability to help were both triggered by her fall and broken collarbone.

I was also reminded of Deborah’s experience — when she had healed enough to find the world rational, obeying the laws of physics, then Yr became the crazy world.  Now, how does that apply to what I’ve just gone through?  Maybe something about Adult Jenny feeling safer, allowed Infant Jenny to take over my psyche in a bigger way than she has before.  Or maybe it was a kind of mix of terror and observing terror.  Makes me think of the two weeks of terror when I went “home” in — I think it was February of ’71 — I had no witness at all, nobody I could tell, I didn’t even write about it.  Then I think of the 4th July 1986, when I wrote every detail compulsively.  I think it was a couple of years before I rewrote it as a monologue and was able to see the dynamic that was operating.  The writing required a witness, but the witness needed material to look at.  Just feelings, with no more context, don’t give any information.

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Saturday, July 20

Dear Guides & Guardian Spirits, I am having a very hard time.  Please help me.

Dear Jenny, your fear has been triggered and you are very much in a baby state.  You are feeling pretty completely helpless.  The visit with your siblings didn’t help because your old feelings of being an inadequate parent to your younger siblings got triggered.  The whole pattern of being expected to do something you really can’t do, and being given no help and support, has been triggered.  You are feeling totally helpless, that you can’t do what you are being expected to do, and that something unimaginably terrible will happen to you if you don’t do it.  This was your fear as a baby and as a growing child.  The only area in which you felt competent was the realm of intellect.  It didn’t help that your visit to your siblings was preceded by the visit with Barbara and Roger, which was overwhelming because everything was new — now I’m running out of ink and that kicks up the fear that I will have to get to Staples —  Dear Jenny, everything is too hard for you at the moment.  You are also feeling abandoned by both Erica and Dulany, the weather is very hot which is hard for you to deal with, and the whole problem of getting to dance camp is being too much right now because you are so badly triggered.  It would help if you could tell people that you are triggered and too scared to function, but it is very likely they wouldn’t understand.  Another problem is that you are on the third floor at Pat’s, that means a lot of stairs and your knee is giving you trouble.  You are badly triggered and you are dealing with a lot.  We love you very much and wish that we could just materialize as helpful people to help you get through this.  Maybe the best thing would be to just go ahead and cancel dance camp.  — I feel a tremendous amount of relief   Dear dear Jenny, there is so much love around you right now.  We wish that you could feel it, but you are too badly triggered.  We are all around you anyway, we won’t leave you.  Go back to the words of Eben Alexander:  “You are loved, totally and completely.  There is nothing you can do wrong.”

Thank You.

Barbara and Roger are new friends.

Erica couldn’t talk with me on Friday.  When she told me that, several weeks ago, I was feeling fine and thought it wouldn’t matter.

Dulany was sick.  But a baby doesn’t understand that Mom is sick, she just knows that no one is there.

I did cancel going to Dance Camp.  It helped a little, but the fear is not about going to camp.  It’s about being able to handle the logistics.

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3rd Cup of Tea Writing, Today

Sunday, July 21

3rd cup of tea: I am feeling terror and despair.  I am feeling the feelings of all the challenged beings, children separated from their parents, people held in jail who can’t post bail, people wrongly defrauded of their right to vote, elephants, whales, bees, butterflies  — a baby bird fluttering its wings on my feeder pole — sorrow and pain for the beautiful, diverse, complex, healthy life support system, created over aeons on our planet, that we humans are destroying in our greed — and fear possibly — people who can see no higher value than money.  People who don’t care what kind of a world their children and grandchildren will inherit — maybe they think that money will protect their offspring from the consequences of global warming.  Maybe the best thing to do is commit suicide by nuclear holocaust.  Then the earth will have time to repair our ravages.  Maybe there will be a few people left, a community who knows how to live sustainably.  It we don’t crash fast, our slow crash may take too many species with it for the earth to regenerate.

[Added: The baby bird on my feeder pole is a message from the universe, that life goes on.]

Usually when I have felt despair and terror in the past, it’s been darkened by depression, and I thought it was all about me.  Now I know that it’s not about me at all.  Except insofar as I feel helpless to do anything.  I just opened some containers of supplements — they are wrapped in one-use plastic which is clogging our oceans.  I could give up the supplements, I don’t know that they are really doing any good.  I’m tempted to stop eating, but I can’t do that to Mocha.

I’m reading The Secret Garden, hoping it will strengthen my soul.  I read something — on Brainpickings — Stephen Hawking talking about “God” and how the universe started from nothing with a Big Bang.  It’s laughable.  He doesn’t see the amazing universe that I see, built on self-organization.  He doesn’t get that what we call the “laws” of physics probably don’t hold true throughout time and space.  That is an assumption, not something proven.  He may be brilliant, but his universe is cold and meaningless.  What gives it warmth and meaning is life, and life is Spirit moving through everything.  Does that Spirit care about my welfare?  What I feel is Spirit, wanting to get in, aware of my heart closed in terror, understanding it, loving me anyway, and waiting patiently until I can feel the Goodness Beyond Goodness again, and know that I am loved.

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Badly Triggered

from my journal for 6/21

In the evening I watched a talk on Healing Trauma by Thomas Hübl.  He is Austrian, and a mystic and spiritual teacher.  He talked about collective trauma and what was needed to heal it — a healing community.  In some ways it was really an advertisement for an 8-week course.  I don’t think I’ll sign up for it now, but may the next time it’s offered.  He talks about both trauma and karma as undigested experience.  He also said spiritual practice was a way to work on it.  You must listen very deeply and then what needs to come up will come up.  It sounds like my 3rd cup of tea writing.  Possibly my difficulty “meditating” is because I have stuff pressing to come up.

The 8-week Course is offered by Humanity’s Team.

I had ordered wicker furniture and cushions so I can sit on my porch when the weather is right.  I had already gone through one day of waiting for a call from them so I could tell them how to get here in an 18-wheeler, and where to go to deliver the first shipment.  I waited all day and there was a message late in the afternoon that my shipment was not on the truck, they would try again.

I don’t know what to call the cumbersome struggle with details that seems to characterize all transactions not done in person, so I call it “bureaucracy.”  At one point I saw that I was so freaked out by the IRS because they resembled abusive parents.  I think all government bureaucracies function that way.  There are lots of rules, you have to get them just right, they are always changing.

3rd cup of tea.  Another battle with the bureaucracy.  First the shipment of cushions.  Had to call the partner delivery, they switched me to Enfield which is where it is, another big trek, I tell them loading dock, they need someone to sign.  I say call me 10 min ahead.  Then I try to order Biotics.  Can’t get Phenitropic, replacements are problematical.  I call Vreeland and get recording.  I forgot they are not there on Fri, leave detailed message.  Then call Sherry, leave message.  Forgot to tell her the phone just rings when it’s busy — I have to cancel call waiting — call back, she’s there, says it’s a short walk to Reception and they can sign.  I call back the folks in Londonderry, they transfer me to Enfield, I tell the guy they can go to Reception & someone will sign.

The shipment, which actually turned out to contain the sofa as well as the cushions, only the chair was on backorder, had been delivered to another agency, I guess because there wasn’t time to get here.

Dr. Vreeland is helping me with low thyroid function and other physical symptoms.

Biotics is a company that makes complex supplements to address symptoms.

Sherry is the person at Kendal who is in charge of Facilities, which includes shipment reception.

If someone calls when I am on the phone, they don’t hear a busy signal, just ringing which doesn’t lead to a place to record a message.  I never want to interrupt a call to answer another call.  I finally found someone to help me set up a mailbox.

Whew!  My head feels frantic, I’m triggered, can’t think, can’t settle, help!

I see a baby.  It’s crying, it’s frustrated, it doesn’t understand what it has to do, there’s no one to help, there’s a sense of urgency.  Got to get this right, no room for error, no time because Erica will call in about 4 minutes, I hope there’s enough battery on the phone.  Too many details.  Overwhelm. yes the meter is up in the red.  No comforting dog next to me.  I need another body to calm down, help!

I should meditate but I can’t calm down enough to meditate.

“I see a baby.”  Here’s the information, hidden deep in my psyche, about why this is so triggering.  What makes it hard is a baby’s experience is not verbal, so my attempt to translate it into words is tricky.  What the baby feels is an overwhelming sense of helplessness, and that it will result in unimaginable disaster.  The baby doesn’t even have an image of what that disaster might look like.  Now I understand that the fear is of being left alone, or being turned out on the street, when it can’t get food, can’t take care of itself, and it will die, except that it has no concept of what “death” means.

I am vulnerable to overwhelm because I am a Highly Sensitive Person, I perceive more details than 80% of the population.  Overwhelm is what causes trauma, so I am also vulnerable to overwhelm as a trigger.

“I need another body to calm down…”  If someone is triggered, the presence of a person whose nervous system is calm can help calm them down by resonance.  I don’t know if the opposite can happen, but it seems likely that a person in a hyper-aroused state could arouse other people.  Maybe it depends on whether the others are dealing with some sort of trauma as well.

Note from today, July 21: I read this post through, as I usually do before publishing, and it hardly makes any sense to me.  I am currently in a state of terror, and I did a third cup of tea writing about it.

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“A time when you didn’t even guess that you were happy…”

I have been happy for days.  Something so unusual I can remember the times it happened in the past.  Winter Solstice at Stanstead.  Driving back from the first session of Writers for Recovery.  Seeing the chickadees coming to the feeder — I think this may have been when I was getting on anti-depressant medication — one of my first experiences of normal brain chemistry.  I think this started with the last writing session of “Narrative Care” writing on July 1.  The general format is to read a poem line by line, and then to write from a prompt.  The poem was  “The Happiest Day”.  It was about an ordinary experience of a young mother with small children, a typical day.  Looking back at the past, she realizes that she was happy then and didn’t know it.

The prompt: A time when you didn’t even guess that you were happy…

I always knew when I was happy. I remember moments, skiing, dancing with the mountain. They are the ones I remember, not the falls and clumsy times. I remember driving back from the first meeting of Writers for Recovery, and the rock in the road cut warm with the setting sunlight, and I felt a great surge of happiness. Moments from childhood? Decorating for Christmas, not the day itself. The pageant in High School. Looking back on childhood, I don’t see that I was happy very much, but I was innocent that there could be so much pain — in living, in the world. The moments I remember being happy were breaks in severe depression. I was always angry at myself that I wasn’t happy more often, little knowing that the source of my constant pain, so constant that I didn’t really feel it, and never knew I felt it until I got on medication and found out what normal brain chemistry was like for the first time.

Looking back, I can see that the reason I knew when I was happy was because happiness is such a contrast with chronic severe depression.  It was like the sun coming out briefly during a time of cold dark rain.  You would notice it so much more than if the day was partly cloudy with sun and shadow alternating.  Sometimes I have been surprised by remembering something in the past and realizing that I was severely depressed at the time and didn’t know it.

Realizing that I always knew when I was happy has given me a great boost in my trust in myself.  I always worried that I was refusing to feel happy because I watched my mother do it over and over.  It wasn’t until a mood specialist told me that the chemistry of depression prevents feeling joy.  You can appreciate on will power, but you can only enjoy if your brain chemistry is making it possible.

See also a post called “Joy”

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Tong-len for the Earth

from my journal for early June.  It’s very strange, I typed it into the computer just as it is here.  I put it under June 6, but in the handwritten notebook it’s not there.  I looked through both earlier and later entries and couldn’t find it.  A mystery.  But the passage is true no matter when it was written.

3rd cup of tea: writing practice. thinking about doing Tong-len for the earth. I find it very easy, which is a surprise because when I first tried breathing in someone’s pain, it was too difficult. But I love the earth, I have no distrust of my ability to love the earth, it’s easy to breathe in her pain because I’m already feeling her pain. And it’s easy to breathe out “comfort” in the form of a vision of a healthy planet.

“Tong-len” is a Buddhist practice.  In Wikipedia it says:  “In the practice, one visualizes taking in the suffering of oneself and of others on the in-breath, and on the out-breath giving recognition, compassion, and succor to all sentient beings.[3][4] As such it is a training in altruism.[3][5]”

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Further Thoughts

That journal entry for June 6 continues:

I’m also feeling more hopeful about the world. I think it was while I was working on “Goodness beyond goodness” that I saw that the Universe was so much bigger than the idiocy that’s going on on planet earth. I also understood something about undeserved suffering, that it is helping to transform the world in the same way that my work with my own pain is helping. Along the lines of “offering pain as prayer.” And possibly also even as a larger understanding of “Jesus died for your sins.” All these innocent people are suffering to redeem the world. I really don’t understand how that can be, it sits in me as a knowing. Maybe I’m beginning to trust my “knowing” without a strong felt sense. Maybe my felt sense of truth is becoming more subtle. I think of the quote from Teilhard de Chardin: “Evil is a statistical necessity of a community in process of self-organization.” Don’t know what he means by “statistical.” Maybe it’s that when a bunch of units are attempting to self-organize into a larger entity, some of those units will try to hold on to an old way of wholeness, which is wholeness by sameness, and a step backward. “Self-organization” is a process of combining differentiated units into a higher-order wholeness.

My goodness, this is hard to get into language. But it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. Maybe this is what poetry is for, to express the inexpressible.

“No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should be.”

One of the things I’m discovering is that, although it’s bad for me to be too much alone, I do need a certain amount of solitude.

The actual quote: “Evil is the statistical necessity of disorders within a multitude in the process of organization.”   from Teilhard de Chardin, Heart of Matter

“No doubt the universe is unfolding…”  from Desiderata.

The relevant verse:

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees & the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

My need for solitude — I am an introvert which means that contact with people can drain me and I need time alone.  Extraverts are the opposite, energized by being with people, not liking time alone.  Introvert/Extravert

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Ereshkigal Revisited

from my journal for June 6   

I worked on two blog posts: “Professional Psychotherapy Client” and goodness beyond goodness.  The first one was about how I had missed out on a lot of what life has to offer because of severe clinical depression, and because I put so much energy and time into trying to find out the truth about myself, and trying to heal.  “Trying” is the wrong word.  Continually finding new depths and dimensions of myself, of my life, and working on healing the early wounding.  I am coming to understand that people who can get what my life is about are few and far between.  Lynelle and Erica are the ones I’m closest to.  And Karen.  And Jalaja — “the depths to which you are journeying.”  I am also seeing that, even though people don’t get it, and can’t value it, my life’s work has been a significant part of the larger — the huge — design.  In a traditional culture I would be valued as a shaman, one who has traveled into the depths of the human spirit.

Jalaja Bonheim    The quote is from her comment on my blog.

In reading my blog, I came to the post about Ereshkigal.  It was first written during a guided meditation in 1993, and posted to the blog in June of 2012, reposted in December 2018.  Looking at it yesterday, I saw a profound truth.  “This is what it costs” — pain, and misunderstanding by people around you.  The reward is bringing truths back from the shamanic realm.  This is a worthy thing to be doing with my “one wild and precious life.”  I have been living a wild and precious life without knowing that’s what it is.

Ereshkigal is the dark sister of Inanna.  When Inanna “casts her ear to the Great Below” she begins her journey to the underworld.

Doing Tong-len for the earth.  That also is a worthy task.  What did Kevin say?  My life is a severe practice.

Lately I have been feeling a lot of grief and pain for the Earth.  When I really got that my pain was not about me, it was about the Earth, it became easy to do Tong-len for Her.

Kevin Frank is an amazing bodyworker in Holderness, NH.  His wife is Caryn McHose who was my trauma therapist for many years.  They both work with the mind/body interface.  See their website for more information.

3rd cup of tea.  I went back and read the first post about Ereshkigal.  It sounds like I wrote it in my writers group in Franconia.  I went from there to “about Jenny” and then to the alternative version.  A lot of the alternative version was written on a retreat with Deena Metzger in 1998.  In some ways it’s confusing to read because the time sequence isn’t clear, but it also blew me away. blew me away.  I can see the bones of the shaman shining through the rags of the writing, sometimes clumsy, sometimes brilliant.  What a wild, crazy, deep, astonishing life.  And I sleep-walked through it, bored, tired, unhappy, unable to see my journey underground as more than severe clinical depression, “hurt too badly to live.”  Unable to live a “worthwhile” life on the surface, and failing to see my exploration of the realm underneath as a valuable contribution to the Whole.  I did have a sense, earlier, when I tuned into the goodness beyond goodness and found affection/love, that the political, social, environmental madness that’s destroying the ground under our feet, is totally superficial, doesn’t touch reality at all.  The people who are suffering are part of reality, part of the work of changing the — foundation? — reality? the work of changing reality, and their lives are not wasted.

Deena Metzger is a novelist, poet, teacher and healer.  She is a magical person.  I have done several workshops and two week-long retreats with her

“Hurt too badly to live” — The thing that scares me the most is that I will come across an animal who is “hurt too badly to live.”  What do I do?  I can’t heal it or help it, and I can’t kill it.  At some point I realized that, for a long time, I had felt that I had been “hurt too badly to live.”

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