1995: Positive Feedback

I did the first draft of this back in October 2023.  Never finished it. Looking again at it, I see that it fits with my previous post about Vocation.  How amazing!

From my journal for November 23, 1995

I wake to terror.  My husband said yesterday that we will owe the IRS over $100,000 for this year’s capital gains taxes, and that sets off a round of fear.

I come up to my desk and find a note to myself:  “CLARIFYING: Does this belong to the social-political world? or to the path with heart?” and that reminds me that Neskaya is a path with heart.  And that starts a warmth inside and drives the fear away.

November 24

Christie said something the other day about me teaching her that it was good to cry.  Then Lydia and Ed and Asa showed up.  They prowled around here for a while, Lydia showed me a video of the short ski-skates she’s been dancing on — I think I’ll get a pair.  Then we went over to Neskaya.  While we were there, Lydia said something about how I had been the one who had first given her a glimpse of a different way of living.  (O yes, I remember lying on rubber rafts in her cove and talking about my book)  She said I had always been on “the cutting edge” and that was a hard and lonely place to be.  That kind of validation and support means a lot to me right now, as I continue to struggle with the hopelessness.  I told her how I felt like I was “exploring the bottom,” she said she had done something like that herself, described a vision of a past life in which she was killed by priests who wanted to steal her light, and she understood that they couldn’t do it.  She said that since then she hasn’t felt afraid to be herself in the world.  That gives me hope.

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Questions about Vocation

I’ve been reading Parker Palmer: Let Your Life Speak.  In some ways it’s a continuation of what I did with Stephen Cope’s book.  Parker Palmer talks about vocation.  How do you know what your vocation is?  Not from ego, not to be important or famous or make a lot of money.  Something your have to listen for, a calling from the soul.  

My book, The Feminine of History is Mystery, developed out of a dream class, taught by Charles Poncé.  He was a Jungian and looked at our dreams in terms of archetypes.  I began to see a polarity: Sun-Moon, Male-Female, Righthand-Lefthand, the two hemispheres of the brain — so I decided to write a book with left-hand pages and right-hand pages.  

I also developed a fade-dissolve slide show which involved two projectors and a device that allowed me to fade from one to the other.  The pictures were mostly ones I had taken on several trips to England and France to see megalithic monuments.  Later I found someone who had the expertise to turn it into a video on a DVD which made the presentation much easier.  I had imagined I would get opportunities to do the show for audiences and could sell books at the same time.  But, alas, this clever idea was derailed by depression rooted in trauma.

Journey Into Courage.  Remembering how Beverly & I said we would do street theater around childhood sexual abuse.  And then I saw we weren’t doing it, so I said to God “If you want this to happen, somebody else has to do it.”  Only a few weeks later Lynelle told me there was a drama class for victims of domestic violence at Umbrella in St. J.  So I went, and that became Journey Into Courage.  Telling the truth about my life on stage.  Changing, expanding, people’s understanding of domestic violence.

It changed people’s lives.  Perhaps my vocation is to change people’s lives.

I discovered folk dance on New Year’s Eve 1964-65.  I was in Paris with some Greek friends, and we went to a party where they were doing Greek folk dance.  When I moved to Brunswick Maine, I started going to a regular folk dance class.  When I moved to Franconia, I brought a tape of my favorites and taught a small group.  Then I heard about Sacred Circle Dance, based in the old folk dances but with the understanding that they had a sacred dimension. The man I was married to at the time was teaching Aikido, a martial art that has a spiritual dimension. Eventually we decided to build a building for sacred movement arts, and that was Neskaya Movement Arts Center.

But now what?  Having moved away from Franconia I no longer teach dance at Neskaya. Does Jenny still have a vocation?  If I don’t have a vocation, what’s the point?  Having a vocation gives meaning to my life.  I’ve been looking at some things I have done with my life, wondering if there is a common thread that could be my vocation.

What if your life has meaning just as it is?

I got this far on April 6, and haven’t written anything since.  In work with Erica, what happened was I remembered all the people who told me “When you said …. it changed my life.”  What I said was something ordinary for me, not an attempt to educate.  I think of one story.  I was at Kripalu, returning from a walk with a friend.  I saw a wasp walking across the sidewalk.  It was too cold for him to fly.  I was afraid he would get stepped on, so I picked him up by one leg and put him on the base of a statue that stood by the door.  My friend was astonished to see me do this, and said something like “WOW!  How can you do that!”  I said “I’m a member in good standing of the insect rescue league.”  “Well, you just changed my life.”

I think of Angela saying, after I talked about Neskaya to a therapy group she was holding in the building itself “You are way outside the boxes those women live in.”  She’s the one who thought that the building was a “healing sanctuary.”  I remember thinking, maybe even setting an intention, that Neskaya should affect everyone who came in by lifting their consciousness one level above where it was when they came in.

I think it may very well be true that my vocation is just to be myself, and just being myself I change people’s lives.

Posted in Circle Dance, Present Day, Vocation | Leave a comment

“All Shall Be Well”

The combination of early trauma and the possibility of cancer has been totally disruptive. I have been having a very hard time sleeping.  At least three nights when I didn’t sleep at all, and most nights waking at 2 or 3 and not sleeping after that. I am exhausted and finding it very hard to function. This has been going on since the beginning of March.

After another night of no sleep at all, I gave in and took some Melatonin two nights ago. I did manage to sleep most of the night. Last night I did the same thing, but was awake before 3:00. So I am barely functional.

This morning the song in my head was Meg Barnhouse’s song about Julian of Norwich, All Shall Be Well.

This was the best version I could find of the original quote. Go down to the last day. Something I didn’t realize until now is that the words aren’t Julian’s, they are what she heard God say.

From my journal for April 11:

Walking Mocha outside, light rain, looking at grass and trees.  I thought briefly about the political idiocy and the wars, and then I saw very clearly that that wasn’t reality and reality was good.  I can’t explain it better than that, but it still feels clear.

From my journal for April 12:

Then there was that odd realization while walking the dog.  I think it was a variation of the goodness beyond goodness.  Unable to put it into words.  I suspect it was my True Self acting.  I have been calling on True Self to be with me.  Maybe it worked.

From my journal for April 13:

The song in my head all morning has been Meg Barnhouse’s All Shall Be Well.  While walking Mocha I again had the sense that despite all that’s gone wrong for me, all is still well.  I am safely in the hands of God.

This is so different from what I’ve experienced for most of my life. I am just amazed. I think it must be my effort to get True Self to be with me, and True Self knows that all is well.

And I am still utterly exhausted and finding it hard to function.

 

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Today

I’m having a really bad time this week. Last night I didn’t sleep at all. I’ve been sleeping very badly, but not sleeping at all is a disaster. Erica is away this week, so I don’t have her help. I’ve been alone too much, haven’t been able to find ways to be with people. I’m sure my early trauma has been triggered, and I’m also stressed out about the possibility of further cancer.

I’m so tired I can’t think. I’ve been reading murder mysteries by Ellis Peters. Mocha is barking and I can’t stop her. Almost crying, I went into the bedroom and shut the door. She stopped barking so I came out. She did it again, I did it again.

Recently I read a post where I describe a bad time. It’s comforting to me that I’m not that bad now. But I think I will continue to have a hard time until I know about whether or not there’s further cancer.

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Eclipses

Because of the upcoming solar eclipse next month there’s been a lot of interest.  Two friends sent me the link to Maria Popova’s Marginalian on Annie Dillard’s description of an eclipse.  Annie Dillard is one of my favorite authors, but this is one I had missed.  O my!  She even notices the metallic color of the grass!  She sees more than I did. 

My experience of a solar eclipse is the combination of two eclipses.  The first one, July 20, 1963, crossed the state of Maine.  The zone of totality was on the far side of Penobscot Bay.  We parked the car up on a hillside where we had a beautiful view.  I had welder’s glass for safely looking at the sun.  I watched the sun shrink to a crescent — and then the clouds came and covered it.  I began to cry.  And then — the light went out of the clouds.  Suddenly where we were standing was dark as night.  The birds all got quiet, the streetlights went on.  Where we were was night, but across the bay we could see the sun rays still coming down on the town of Camden.  Then, in the northwest, I could see the light coming again as the shadow went on its journey, and daylight returned.  It was like some huge prehistoric creature had flown over the clouds.

The second eclipse was in 1972, on July 10, and the zone of totality went over Prince Edward Island.  I was living in Portland, Maine.  I drove to Bar Harbor to take the ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  The ferry left before dawn, and I could see the waning crescent moon above where the sun would rise.  Drove the length of Nova Scotia to the strait between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  There’s a bridge now, but then there was only the ferry.  I camped out for one night, don’t remember whether in PEI or Nova Scotia.  The next day I went to the beach on the north side of the island.  Every dune was sprouting with telescopes.  I had my welder’s glass.  There were no clouds in the sky.  Again I watched the sun shrink to a crescent.  With an almost audible POP! there was suddenly a black circle with a glowing halo around it where the sun had been.  A chorus of OOOOHHHS! sounded from the beach.  Again we were in night.  Again I could see the shadow moving across the water towards us. Suddenly, there was the sun again and we were back from night to daytime.

For the eclipse next month, Hanover is just outside the zone of totality.  I have signed up for a bus to take a group of us to St. Johnsbury.  The probability that it will be cloudy is 70%, but knowing that unless the clouds are very thick we will still see the shadow convinced me to sign up.  It’s worth seeing.

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Amazing Conclusion from Horrendous Experience

I’ve just been rereading a blog post containing a long passage from 1996. It comes from the journal volumes that I wrote but stopped typing in 1995, because I realized that the book I was putting together from journal entries, was in fact an effort to “prove that I deserved to live.” I was horrified to see that that was my motivation.  I contrast it with my motivation for building Neskaya, which had nothing to do with “justifying my life,” but which was to create a place where I could teach sacred dance, an activity of spiritual importance to me. It interests me to see that that fits with what Stephen Cope says: to work hard at your vocation, but let go of the outcome, of any need to “succeed” or be praised. That is the difference between “Written in Blood” and Neskaya.

This piece was written in June of 1996. It was the summer from Hell, when I was reacting to the horrible experience I’d had on Paxil in February. I couldn’t sleep, I kept waking up terrified, I lost weight…  This was before I realized I had been traumatized, before I got on medication that worked. I was writing something to help me hold on.

I am amazed that, struggling with traumatic terror, I still managed to see that what I was doing with my life was something powerful and spiritual, what Erica meant when she said “You have given your life energy to sacred meaning.”

June 3, 1996
I tried praying again last night, even though I have no sense of any beings out there to pray to.  I keep calling, but no one appears.  Mostly attempts at prayer feel like desperate pleas for help to an unhearing Void.  I keep praying because I don’t know what else to do.

My difficulties around getting in touch with the sacred have to do with trauma from my childhood, being left alone with no answer to my pleas for help.

I’ve been trying to not focus on feeling better, but on asking myself what is worth doing even if I don’t feel better.  I think Neskaya is worth doing, even if I am building for a future that may never happen, it’s still worth doing.  And certainly it’s an action toward creating the sort of world I want to live in.  As for myself, if the soul is immortal, then I hope I’m building in some character traits that will be useful to the next person who emerges out of this particular soul.  Otherwise, all this suffering will be really meaningless.

Then I get angry at myself for referring to this life as “all this suffering”.  Other people envy me, would like to have my life.  Yes, but they see only the externals, they certainly wouldn’t want to have my insides.  What good is it to have a loving husband and a lot of money and a beautiful house if I can’t enjoy them?  I don’t know how to answer that question.

It’s so interesting that I have trouble validating how much I have suffered in my life. So much of it wasn’t visible, it was in my feelings and my inner experience of what was happening, not in what actually was happening.

I remind myself of what Eleanor said the other day.  She was terrified about her therapist and I was having my usual hard time.  I took her back to her apartment, and when it was time to go I could hardly bear to leave her.  I hugged her again, with tears in my eyes, saying “I don’t understand why we keep on going, when it’s so hard and painful — what’s the point?”  She said “I keep going by thinking that God needs our help.  When we don’t give up, and don’t kill ourselves, then that’s refusing to allow the darkness to take over.” I haven’t got her words quite right, but it was something like that.  I got the sense that even when we fail to win any kind of victory, just refusing to be defeated is some help in the battle — assuming that there really is a battle of the forces of light against the forces of darkness.

What Eleanor said is similar to what EttyHillesum said.

I had an insight, a while back, that consciousness, consciously holding a vision, was a kind of strange attractor that could — not control the chaotic forces of life — but direct them in some way, or at least move them closer to the desired outcome.  So therefore, holding on to a vision is important, even if there aren’t any “good feelings” or any hope that the desired outcome could manifest.  I’d feel better if I were more in touch with my own vision. What do I want?  I want to feel connected to my life, engaged in it, involved with it.  I want to have some sense that my daily activities are meaningful even if I don’t know what that meaning is.  I want to feel my rootedness in the divine, so I can move from a place of peace and wisdom instead of fear.  I want to feel connected to my friends, and to be able to support them to the best of my ability.  What about my creativity, the books I was going to write?  I guess what I want is to offer my creative gifts to the Great Powers of the Universe to be used as and when they see fit.  And I would also like to have some sense that those Great Powers are — what? I hate to say “good” or “beneficent”, that seems too limiting, as though the Great Powers were concerned with my material security and happiness, as though the Great Powers were constrained by human ideas of “good” — when I know they can be wild and unpredictable and demanding of larger visions, bigger efforts than would be consistent with “security” or “happiness”.  I think I want to be reassured that the Great Powers are not blind, unintelligent, malicious, mean, but that they are tending toward some vision of greatness, wholeness, divinity, some dazzling truth or beauty or compassion that would call forth my reverence and willingness to sacrifice my health or happiness or life for such a cause.  When have I ever had that sense, of a Universe big enough, spiritual enough, to enlarge my soul and lift me out of my petty concerns?  I can’t think of anything recent, but I know there are times written in my journal.  I think of thunder and wind and fire, and the hands of God, at the time of Fiona’s death.  I think of the “blazing and storm-shattered” maples at Kripalu and my sense of wanting it all, wanting a whole life, both the glory and the pain.  But mostly my experience of the universe is that it’s at best unhelpful, at worst malicious, that it’s set me some hard and difficult assignment, refused to give me help with it or even make it clear what the assignment is, it has some expectation of me that I keep failing to fulfill, it’s just waiting to punish me badly for every mistake and sneer at my attempts to do something “good”, to make something “beautiful”.  Well, I see that I’m not describing the Universe at all, but my childhood experience of Mom & Dad, where I kept failing to satisfy their expectation, and got no help or guidance at all, just sneers and invalidation when I ran into trouble.  I can’t believe that the Universe is like this.  Surely the One who made daffodils is capable of more compassion and support than that.  It seems like I’ve got so entirely caught in the world conditioned by my parents that I’ve completely lost my sense of some bigger wider universe, where compassion and support and abundance are available, and especially support for being one’s “big self”, living one’s big life, really using and living out of one’s creative power and strength.  I see how afraid I am of being punished and abandoned if I dare to live out of my real power.  Gosh that makes me mad!  I see why my advice to Alice showed up in my dream — I too am being restricted by my parents’ “post-hypnotic” suggestion to live the kind of life that would have made them comfortable, not the kind of life my soul is capable of.

Fiona was our first dog, killed on the road.

It makes me mad that I have to keep coming to this insight over and over.  I stopped thinking of the fear states as being related to infancy with my mother because a) if that was really it, they should have stopped with the realization, b) I’m wrong to blame my spiritual failures on Mom, c) I’m tired and bored with the whole thing, d) Valerie Hunt says the fear comes from soul problems stemming from past lifetimes not from childhood trauma in this one.  But the truth is, going over the whole thing in detail again again, writing down exactly what the fear feels like and then seeing how it matches my childhood, results in me feeling much less fearful, much more stable, seeing beyond the shoulders of my parents’ shadows to the possibility of a real Universe, big enough, wild enough, creative enough, compassionate enough, to meet my Soul’s need.

In 2019, I looked at this piece and saw how wrong my ideas were and did a post in which I say:
This is a story that keeps me stuck.  “I stopped thinking of the fear states as being related to infancy with my mother because… a) “if that was really it, they should have stopped with the realization.”  Intellectual understanding doesn’t end a belief unless it’s very recent.
b) “I’m wrong to blame my spiritual failures on Mom.”  I never blamed Mom for my difficulties, I always saw that it was my job to heal the damage.
c) “I’m tired and bored with the whole thing.”  Because I can’t see how to go on.
d) “Valerie Hunt says the fear comes from soul problems stemming from past lifetimes not from childhood trauma in this one.”  What made her the expert?  I think my acceptance of her statement is me being willing to trivialize my experience.  It will be about 5 years before I understand that I was traumatized.  The story that I was traumatized in infancy makes sense of my life and gives me a way to work on healing.

I suppose it’s possible that the fear and the disorientation right now are so great because I’m refusing to do anything at all any more to placate those angry childhood gods.  I think the full collapse came when I stopped typing up my journals, when I gave up the hope that I would one day publish a book that would “justify my life.”  If I ever had published “Written in Blood” it would have made my parents very unhappy, so I was unable to see that it still represented an achievement that is acceptable in their world.  For some reason I don’t see building Neskaya as an “achievement” or a “justification for my life”, though I am sure, to many people looking from the outside, it would be just as much that as publishing a book.  But it’s not, I think because the motivation had nothing to do with “justifying my life”, but rather with needing the right sort of place to do these activities that are of spiritual importance to me, so much importance that I am willing to sacrifice some amount of comfort in living and my future security in order to build it.  (Added later) YES, DAMMIT, and isn’t that courage?  Instead I put myself down (my father’s internalized voice) for being foolish.

It amazes me that, right in the middle of a perfectly horrible experience, I’m still able to come to a powerful and spiritual conclusion. I am astonished at myself. Such a different person from who I think I am. This is deduction, not experience, I don’t feel that I am courageous, powerful, and spiritual, but I can see that I was.

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Intense Work with Parts

Intense therapy session with Erica.  We did some parts work which I found very complex and confusing at the time, and I was upset when it ended.  But reading back over my notes, I was able to make a lot more sense out of it.  I’ve been feeling a lot better today, not so lost, more grounded, back to my “real” self.

The important piece had to do with what IFS calls “polarization,” where two parts are pulling against each other.  The external circumstance was a dinner table conversation the night before.  At the table were two men I know somewhat as friends, and a woman in her nineties who has some memory loss and comes on very strongly.  My feelings about Molly were exactly what Erica was talking about, pulling in two directions, but it took us a while to get to them.  We needed to be able to identify my reactions correctly, with a certain amount of subtlety.  Simplistically, there was a part that didn’t like Molly and a part that envied her vivaciousness.  It took a while for me to understand that I didn’t like her because her vivaciousness felt false in some way, it wasn’t about connecting, it was about overwhelming us with her energy.  I didn’t in fact want to be like her.  My enthusiasm is not about me, but about the topic, and I want to have a real conversation, a discussion, not a speech.  I want there to be connection and relationship.

Last night, as I left the dining room, I was feeling like everyone saw me as a very boring person.  What I realized in the session with Erica was that I didn’t at all want to be like Molly, I wanted to be vivacious in my own way, with real enthusiasm for the topic but no wish to coerce someone into agreeing with me.  As I was leaving the dining room, though, all I had was the part who envied Molly and saw me as boring.

Oddly, I felt the presence of my introjected mother, criticizing me, but if my real mother had been there, she would have said of Molly “She thinks she’s so great.”  It looks like my introjected mother is not like my real mother, but a part who would only attack me, whereas I remember hearing Mother say of someone else “She thinks she’s so great.”  I realize that Molly really does “think she’s so great,” whereas I never do, I think astronomy or folk dance or somatic experiencing is great. Understanding that what I really want is the Truth ended the polarization.

But I can see, while the polarization was going on, it was very damaging.  As long as I had the two parts pulling me in opposite directions, I couldn’t see what was really going on, but got stuck in the place in between. No wonder I was confused and feeling hopeless. One thing that helped a lot was the presence of the two men, who didn’t buy into Molly’s intensity, but were more interested in conversation and relationship than figuring out what was “right.”

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Alone, Cold, Empty

Written in writing group, Monday, March 18

Well.  What’s going on?  I’ve been scared a lot this morning.  Mostly I’m worried about not being able to deal with complex arrangements around my surgery.  Not having to do with the surgery itself, but with the arrangements I have to make for Mocha.  I’ll need to find a place for her to stay during the day of my operation.  I wonder about asking Susan P.  There’s also the question of how to tell people how much food to give her.  Maybe I could do a breakfast that could be set out at the right time.

O gosh I wish I weren’t so tired.  Last night I got the best sleep I’ve had since this whole thing began.

Solving the practical problem of Mocha so I can stay in the health center overnight after the operation.  Which I think is a good idea.  Not to be alone.  Have help right there if I need it.

Not to be alone.  Have help right there if I need it.  Have I ever had that?  So much of my life I have been alone.  Had to take care of myself because there was no one else.  That was even how I felt as a child.  Mom & Dad weren’t very good at help and support, at encouraging and explaining.  I don’t know why.  Maybe they didn’t get encouragement or support or explanations from their parents.  I always believed I wasn’t worth taking time and trouble for.  It still astounds me when someone offers to help, letting me know I’m important to them.

I look out the window.  There’s a little blue sky between the clouds.  Lots of branches and twigs of leafless trees.  Brown, dead, grass barely starting to turn green.  Will spring ever come?  Or will it be endless, empty, winter.  Endless cold in my heart.  Alone, cold, empty.

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1996: Dr. Brunette & Prescription for Paxil

From my journal for February 7, 1996

I’m feeling some fear, most likely I’m scared of seeing Dr. Brunette this afternoon.  I find that I’m really terrified at the idea of taking an anti-depressant for the rest of my life.  This is not how I felt last fall when I first read the book about the new drugs — it seemed like such a sensible solution, but I think I had the illusion that I could take it til I was better, and then quit.

Dr. Brunette was late.  I found myself crying as I waited which lets me know how fragile I am.  The receptionist was one of those people who is a little stupid, but manages to make me feel like I’m the one who’s done something wrong (“We don’t have any appointment here for Dr. Brunette.”) 

Dr. Brunette was thin and dark, looked a little worried.  She asked good questions, described how I was feeling as “no future.”  Yes, exactly.  She doesn’t think there’s an underlying thyroid problem (no weight gain).  She said I was dealing with classic depression and post-traumatic stress.  That was a bit of a shock.  I was feeling like I was complaining about nothing much, but to her it sounded like someone who’s been traumatized.  She thought I should try anti-depressants.  When I expressed fear about having to take them the rest of my life she said that wasn’t necessarily true.  She said “It’s your life and your body.”  She recommends taking it for six months after you feel better, since people often relapse.  She said for someone like me, who’s had three major depressions, chances of another one were very high, but that people sometimes decided they preferred to take the risk.  She gave me a prescription for Paxil, since I didn’t feel good about Prozac.

So I have very mixed feelings.  I felt sad and defeated, yet I also enjoyed the beauty of the landscape as I drove home.  I thought about what I was afraid of: 1) that the drug would damage my body, 2) that it would prevent me from doing the underlying work that needs to be done.  Then I saw that this was exactly what happened to my parents with alcohol, it damaged their bodies, and they used it to avoid facing and dealing with their conflicts.

I read through the record of the days when I was taking Paxil.  It’s not very clear.  I obviously was having a hard time. I felt a lot of fear.  What I remember was that I took it for five days, getting more and more scared, until on the fifth night I couldn’t sleep at all, and started hallucinating in the grocery store, and stopped taking it. But my journal shows a very different picture. It looks like I started taking it on February 19, and stopped on or before the 27, which is nine days. I don’t even mention being up all night, calling a suicide hotline, hallucinating in the grocery store. I do mention feeling like I wasn’t myself, talking to Dana about it, and having him reassure me that I talked the same way I always did.

I was fine for a while, didn’t feel depressed at all, but gradually I began to have trouble eating and sleeping.  In the hot weather I began waking up in terror, soaking wet, after only 90 minutes of sleep.  I would be able to sleep again, but for no more than 90 minutes when I would wake terrified again.  My weight went down to 105 lbs.  I was in a pretty constant state of terror.  I called it the “Summer from Hell. Because I had such a bad experience on Paxil, I decided that Dr. Brunette was wrong when she diagnosed post-traumatic stress.

The story of how I got on medication that worked is in a blog post.

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Blank, Empty, Dead

Written in writing group on Monday, March 11:

I’m scared.  Why should I be scared to write?  Nothing to say.  Talk about fear.  Well, it comes and goes.  I don’t find much else to think about.  Even had trouble writing my journal this morning.  I did do a blog post.  I’ve been working on the letting go as I do meditation.  Just breathing out and holding my hands on my knees palm up and imagining everything flowing out of me with the breath.  Sometimes  I imagine a prostration.  Sometimes I say “Thy will be done” or “into Thy hands” or “I offer myself.”  

I see little tiny bits of ice moving in the air flow in front of the window where I’m sitting.

I’ve been reading Stephen Levine’s book called Who Dies?, but finding it very difficult to understand.  He talks about who you think you are and who you really are, and I’m not at all sure about myself.  I know that who I’ve been thinking I am lately is a real failure, although sometimes that feels like a relief.  Not having a clue who I am feels very freeing somehow.

I have a story about how, at the time of my death, someone else wakes up, as though from a dream, and says something like “Oh!  I was Jenny!  What an intense life!”

How do I feel as I go through my day?  Sometimes blank and bored, same old stuff, everything is meaningless.  Sometimes I’m able to do the thing of being in the moment: walking, walking, grass, snow — just focussing on what’s there in the present.

A cold wave of fear.  My shoulders are shaking.  Trauma release.  I don’t know how much my early trauma affects my ability to be in the present.  Very confusing.  I remind myself to soften, soften around, bring compassion to the fear, to the cancer, to myself, to the young parts.  My heart feels cold.  I notice I stop breathing while I write.  I make myself take a deep breath.  Cold, cold, cold.  Outside is cold, bare trees, snow, buildings, clouds.  The ink is running out, the time is running out, everything is running out…    I feel so blank, so empty, so dead.

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