The Tough Little Drip

“The Tough Little Drip that Just Wouldn’t Quit”
This part of myself appeared at a woman’s retreat in Essex, Mass.  The retreat was called “Woman’s Way” and one of the techniques we were taught was “Percept Language” — mostly for use with dreams, but it could be used other times as well.  In percept, I would speak of myself in the first person and the present tense.  Other people, objects and adjectives always had “part of me” added to them. So, if I dreamed of a big black dog, I would describe it as the big-part-of-me, black-part-of-me, dog-part of-me.  Sometimes doing this would reveal unexpected truths.  Out walking one day, I was thinking of my grandmother, and saw a wing nut in the road.  I wondered if it represented the winged part of me, nutty part of me, grandmother part of me.  It was true that Granny, with her flights of fancy and somewhat tenuous hold on reality, could be described as both winged and nutty.
At the Retreat, my bedroom was on the first floor and stuck out to the side of the building.  It was January and as the weather alternately froze and thawed, a big ice dam built up on the roof which, one night, began to drip, keeping me awake.  I threw a towel on the floor, but then it went thud, thud.  I was very angry and upset about it keeping me awake.  In desperation I turned to percept language: “I anger myself with the tough part-of-me little-part-of-me drip-part-of-me that just won’t quit-part of-me….” and suddenly saw a vision of this tough little kid plodding doggedly through a blizzard, soldiering on through severe depression, and I felt a grateful surge of heart — “…and I LOVE her.” She was the one who kept me going, through mind-numbing depression and cold frozen terror.  I wouldn’t be alive today if it hadn’t been for her.  I made a pottery piece of her to go on a project of a map of my life.

Journal entry from Jan 11, 1994
I tried to go to bed, but the drip was keeping me awake.  I piled on towels, and felt a hit of wry admiration at its stubborn persistance, outflanking me at every move.  I put in my ear plugs, did my breathing, composed myself for sleep…  Drip! Drip!  OK, I said, I’ll have to deal with it:  “I’m irritating myself with that tough part of me little part of me drip part of me that just won’t quit part of me — and I LOVE her!” and my relationship to the drip changed completely and I stopped irritating myself with it.  Yes, that tough stubborn little drip who just wouldn’t quit, despite all the efforts to muffle her, who just kept going until she found her tribe, the people who could welcome her.  And then of course I kept myself awake with excitement with these new discoveries.

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