Where do you feel it in your body?
I haven't posted for a while. I've been using whatever writing time I've had on some book projects I want to get off the ground. But today, I am moved to share, in hopes that those who dwell in this space might recognize themselves in me and feel less alone.
This has been a year of heartache, a year of deep loss and a year of new awakening to a body and a self I had never really known. I once read Dr. Weil say that his 28th year was a watershed year for him. And so I kept waiting for mine, edging myself closer to what I knew would be treacherous and euphoric. And this is it. This is the year. I know I will forever see 2015 as a watershed year in my life. My story will be divided into a before and after, much like it divided into before kids and after. But this birth, this beginning, feels more like going through the wardrobe. Only, the land that I've found, mystical and enchanting, is actually my own self.
That doesn't mean it's not scary.
And fully entering into a love relationship with myself is completely groundless. Thy call it "falling in love" for a reason.
So this morning, as I sit in my car preparing my mind for this day of class, I pulled out my new favorite book, To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue, a one time Catholic priest who wrote poetry in the style of his Celtic heritage. His poems are profound, comforting and thought provoking. Today I read the following. I leave you with this, that you might also discover the self that is unknown to you and fall in helpless love with who you are.
For the Unknown Self
So much of what delights and troubles you
Happens on a surface
You take for ground.
Your mind thinks your life alone,
Your eyes consider air your nearest neighbor,
Yet it seems that a little below your heart
There houses in you an unknown self
Who prefers the patterns of the dark
And is not persuaded by the eye's affection
Or caught by the flash of thought.
It is a self that enjoys contemplative patience
With all your unfolding expression,
Is never drawn to break into light
Though you entangle yourself in unworthiness
And misjudge what you do and who you are.
It presides within like an evening freedom
That will often see you enchanted by twilight
Without ever recognizing the falling night,
It resembles the under-earth of your visible life:
All you do and say and think is fostered
Deep in its opaque and prevenient clay.
It dwells in a strange, yet rhythmic ease
That is not ruffled by disappointment;
It presides in a deeper current of time
Free from the force of cause and sequence
That otherwise shapes your life.
Were it to break forth into day,
Its dark light might quench your mind,
For it knows how your primeval heart
Sisters every cell of your life
To all your known mind would avoid,
Thus it knows to dwell in you gently,
Offering you only discrete glimpses
Of how you construct your life.
At times, it will lead you strangely,
Magnetized by some resonance
That ambushes your vigilance.
It works most resolutely at night
As the poet who draws your dreams,
Creating for you many secret doors,
Decorated with pictures of your hunger;
It has the dignity of the angelic
That knows you to your roots,
Always awaiting your deeper befriending
To take you beyond the threshold of want,
Where all your diverse strainings
Can come to wholesome ease.
~ John O'Donohue ~
|What an Entrance - Bruce Holwarda|
I always thought my issue was depression. I thought my other problems were "physical" problems and that the depression was this "mental" thing. I knew that I had physical symptoms. But today, after meeting with this great psychiatrist, I understand more fully how an anxiety disorder is a PHYSICAL illness. Sure, there are racing thoughts and memory lapses that seem like "thinking" problems, but the body is thinking too. And this doesn't necessarily feel like what you think anxiety will feel like. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder feel like their body is filled with sand and they're swimming through jelly. They might have digestive problems, sleep problems, muscle tension, back aches, sweating, twitching. They startle more easily and can be hyper sensitive to sound. They also often have IBS. Check. Check. And check. So, it might be that all this crap all these years (the digestive problems, pain issues, muscle pains requiring therapy, night sweats, jumpiness, etc.) all might be the result of an underlying illness. If we gave this another name and only listed the physical symptoms, it would garner sympathy, but it's labeled as a brain problem and so it seems "fake" or that all the symptoms are "psychosematic"," but they're not. I'm not making up diarrhea. That is an actual symptom of the illness. Anyway, I am relieved to not be dying. Although, the other night, when I was in agony with stabbing pain and rushing the the bathroom all night, I had that worry that I might actually have some kind of life threatening illness. I was on the fence about going to the ER, it was that bad. Right before we finally tried to sleep, around 2 am, I had a sudden panic that "what if this is it," and I laid there thinking about my life and what I would want to happen. I wasn't convinced I was going to die, but I was realizing that, were it to happen, I wanted a say over what I leave behind. And this little poem was born.
I'm not dying, yet, thank goodness. But, because I will some day, this is here.
If I die tonight
If I die
If I die before I wake
Please take care of my babies
Please save all my crummy journals for them
Please tell them I loved them so
Please keep doing art with them
And brush their hair
And don't spoil them
And make them work
And kiss skinned knees but also praise them
A life without falling is not a life worth living
If you're not getting hurt, you're not doing childhood right
And if they say that things aren't fair
Ask them how they thought it would be
And don't try to make it fair
Nothing is fair
And even gods never said so
And read to them
And play my music
And keep measuring them
I don't care about a legacy other than them
And Marco, I love you.
Could the same be said of marriage as of childhood?
Are we doing it right?
Are we living?
Goodbye, my folks
Goodbye, my family
Goodbye dear friends
It can be said that I did not die of a broken heart
Something is broken but not that
I have been loved beyond measure by so many
I'm sorry I ever complained
Life is hard and then you get diarrhea
Life is unfair, absurd, painful and filled with darkness
But it beats the alternative
Hopefully that will just be nothing
Not existing seems scary
Or just sad
I have existed for billions of years
I go on existing
I just might be a flower
Or a tomato
Or an earthworm
And then, someday
Star stuff again
I am connected to everyone
I am everything
We are Groot
The pain will pass
Surely I will sleep
But just in case
Know I love you
And that love is star stuff too