Grieving for Ghosts

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I don’t know why I feel the hollowness of loss when, in fact, what I’m missing has disappeared well over a year ago.

Depression is a thief. It rips the heart and soul out of the one you love and leaves them a shell, with the cold wind of despair howling through them.

I had my own wrestle with it. The longest, darkest year. Eventually I became whole again. I’d glued myself back together, and this time it was going to hold. I could feel it. The cracks still very visible and the glue still damp to the touch. But I was in one piece. Most importantly, my heart was one. A container capable of holding feelings, instead of shattered numbness. And it was at this point I packed the car and headed for the hoe-down at The Ranch, with one intention. One word branded in the middle of my chest and waiting on the tip of my tongue to be swallowed, so that it could become part of me. Joy. The fire of joy was going to be lit in my heart again, and my heart was going to be able to contain it. Just an ember would be enough, and then it could spread. But I needed to feel the tiny glow of warmth first.

Now I was naïve enough to think things would go to plan. I thought that dancing till my feet were ablaze would surely start the fire in my heart. And I was right.

On the first morning of a 3 day dancing journey my soul caught alight. And like a golden glowing chalice, my heart held it. There was no darkness to smother it. No creeping wet fog to cling or cover. I smiled with the mountains and the river and I felt joy. I was joy. A year of darkness was over and I could finally follow my own light and let the real healing begin.

And then, on the first afternoon of the 3 day dancing journey, I got more than I bargained for. I saw someone else’s light. It was bright and blinding and beautiful and I didn’t think it was real. How could it be? I was here only to reignite my own spark, not to discover someone else’s.

But there was no looking away. When we stood and kissed on the third and final afternoon I could see his fire was blue. Ancient, deep, Egyptian blue.

In moments of solitude when I was catching my breath, I spoke out loud to myself. Fiercely. “Don’t you dare run away,” I commanded the part of me that was so taken aback by the unexpectedness that she wanted to retreat into the safe shadows of the trees, where the path was familiar. I didn’t know what this was, or what it could become, but when there is healing on the horizon it’s time for stepping forwards, not back.

So I ran headlong into brilliance. Burning with feverish joy I became the floating ember swirling above the fire, lifted free by the warm air current. We lived as two luminous sparks, cosmic fiery-fairy dust for a year. Higher and higher. Brighter and brighter. From glowing earth particles to infinite end-of-the-spiral-void stars and back again. We travelled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and consumed each other and were back in time for tea and Tim Tams.

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And then, quite suddenly it seemed, his brilliant blue spark stopped glowing. His joy light went out, smothered in the black ash of depression that erupted from him and rained down. First floating and then settling heavily as it became deeper and deeper and he became unrecognisable.

He’s been in blackness for more than 12 months. I shine my searchlight as directly and powerfully as I can. But it doesn’t penetrate the black octopus ink. I can’t see him and he can’t see me.

Sometimes I grieve for the lost warmth. I’m a pyromaniac without a focus. For the freedom we had together, the mid-flight magnetic connection.  As much as I grieve for our lost joy, I’m embarrassed by it. It seems a childish and self-indulgent thing. But mostly I grieve for the loss of his joy.

None of which can compare to his grief at the loss of himself.

One Deadly Sin

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I knew my wrath could destroy me. Perhaps not all of me, but it would destroy essential parts of me, and in doing so create a person I did not want to be. My anger would certainly not be deadly to him. Only to me. And by default, it would be a sickness passed to my children.

I know enough women who are forever angry at men. Their long-ago hate boiled down over the years to a bitter residue that sticks to their tongues when they speak. It’s glued their eyes half shut. A hard, foul-tasting toffee smothering their hearts. From the start, I could see this was a possible end, and I flatly and utterly refused to write that story for myself.

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Living in the shire of the heart-felt hippy I sometimes feel a bit of an emotional outcast. I’m not known for wearing my heart on my sleeve. I find crying a curiously difficult thing and have often wondered if there is something wrong with me. It’s not that I’m insensitive, I just don’t care. Which of course is not true. I care deeply. But it’s a solid, serious feeling. My care sits heavily in me, not oozing out at the tear drop of a hat.

So the idea of crying for a year was unfathomable. And when everything else came up from that deeply impossible place I was completely overwhelmed.

Ranting, howling, the proverbial banshee screaming. Apparently it’s true – hell hath NO fury like a woman scorned. I sent foul emails to him and even fouler ones to her. In-between I would write explanatory letters to myself, trying to sort my thoughts out in a reasonable manner, trying to get myself under control. But control was not possible. And I would return to swearing loudly and endlessly into the phone.

I didn’t throw the jar of pickles directly at him. He was simply standing close. I threw it full force into the kitchen wall. Smashing everywhere, making a hole in the plaster. Yellow sauce erupting and leaving a permanent blaze of mustard colour on the white paint. An embarrassing and uncomfortably shameful reminder for months afterwards.

Several times I threw myself at him with my fists. Exploding like the glass pickle jar. He was admirably patient. Strong and impassive as the wall. He let me rage and pummel his chest until finally he held my hands and said, “Enough. You have to stop.”

During the day I could mostly contain my rage. Depression and numbness reigned. But once the sun went down and night arrived, so did my fury. A heavy black blanket of anger, dense and thick and suffocating. A claustrophobic feeling that I could not escape. And in the long hours between 10pm and dawn I thrashed about in my bed and my mind, vividly imagining a thousand possible ways of inflicting maximum pain.

The classic scorned wives act of smashing his car windscreen. I held the brick in my hand. Damaging his ridiculous fucking sportscar would be the quickest route to damaging his ego. The glass would scatter unexpectedly on the lawn, reflecting the tiny pieces of my own shattered self.

But I never did.

Month after month my anger flowed through me. Sometimes in torrents and streams of abuse and tears that seemed never ending. Sometimes it subsided for a few days only to return as a flash flood of destruction when the dam wall broke.

And I became fascinated by feeling. The feeling of deep emotions flowing. I was desperate to know everything, understand everything, and feel it all. What was his truth but, more importantly, what was mine? It was all caustic but completely necessary.

Friends thought I was crazy, as I kept throwing myself in pains way and putting myself in situations that I knew would be razor blades in open emotional wounds. I visited her house, had tea with her, met her kids and her brother, and became a crazy facebook stalker. I was advised to be gentle with myself, patient with myself. Bugger that. There was no time for serenity. I felt that if I slowed down then my pain and anger would solidify and turn into hard bitterness. It would become stones in my inside spaces. There forever and irretrievable; unable to be softened. Grinding against each other for the rest of my life. The internal scrapings would leave external marks on my face. There for everyone to see. Especially me.

To quote a friend of mine, “There is something more deep, creative and ‘warrior like’ when you turn your attention to feeling deeply. You have to turn everything around so you can, instead of escaping feeling, participate in this incredible self mending.”

I had to keep the anger moving. So I kept moving. I danced and travelled and ran. I wrote and wrote and ran and danced some more. To feel all the way down – utterly and completely – was the only way to heal, or things would be left unfelt, undone and would rise up later. I was manic and mad and hell-bent on healing, adamant that despite the pain, my anger was not going to destroy me and leave me scarred. I’d seen it happen to so many others and I was defiant. I might not have written the start of my pain and wrath story, but I was sure as hell going to write the end of it. And it was going to end not only with freedom, but with joy.

So when the flowing fury eventually, after nearly a year, had slowed to a trickle, and then finally to an occasional seeping, before drying up altogether, I came to understand that my wrath hadn’t killed any part of me. I was, and am, very very alive.

As I write this it’s nearly 3 years exactly since we separated and only a week since we’ve been officially divorced. It’s been a whirlwind of crazy ups and downs but I am forever grateful that both of us navigated it to place of freedom, growth and love. Who would have thought that divorce can create more love and joy for everyone, not less?

Ghost crabs

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I’ve come to make plans. To sit on the beach in the afternoon and shuffle the thoughts that are taking up so much space in my head and then, possibly, decide something. I’m not sure what I’m deciding, but as a start I am planning to make plans. I’ve come to walk along the sand and throw ideas into the waves just to see which ones come tumbling back to me and which ones don’t.

Image: Keith Christie

Image: Keith Christie

My head is full of possibilities and I am intent on organising them.

As I sit down, wondering whether to walk first or write first or just sit with the inside swirling, I notice the ghost crab that is playing jack-in-the-box from its little hole beside my towel.

There’s the perfect overhanging shade from the tree, on the edge of the dunes, up high from the waterline.

The log at my feet, allowing me to push my soles hard against its roughness. Immoveable.

The breeze. The ceaseless noise of the ocean. The heat.

The real world. The solid world. Is intruding.

The washed up pumice, shells and sticks. The fine white sand trickling over my feet as I burrow my toes.

If I lie with my cheek on the sand and look at the ocean from just the right angle the entire surface twinkles. It’s scattered with stars dancing on the water and playing in the sun. Waiting for the sky to darken and night to come, so they can rise up and play some more.

The beach is long and deserted. In the distance I can see the lighthouse on the headland, announcing the presence of the multitudes of shoppers and surfers and human movements that pulses through the tourist town at its feet. On this length of white ageless sand, that knowledge is inconsequential. Nobody exists.

I’m happily drowning in the soothing combination of solitude and ocean energy.

The energy that always sustains me in the times when I don’t feel like I can sustain myself.

Within minutes the idea of planning seems ridiculous.

There is only joy. So much beauty to connect with that has nothing to do with my mental rummaging.

I open the top of my head and carefully take out my brain, plans, ideas and all. And place it gently under the shady tree, in the safety of my upturned hat.

And run mindless, into the waiting summer waves.

It’s Time

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It’s time to write.

What, now?

Yes, now.

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I’ve waited twenty years. Well, probably closer to thirty. To genuinely take my own energy for writing seriously. This love of the written word that has captivated me since I was old enough to read the dictionary (and that bible of imagination, the thesaurus) . I still remember the random word games, junior scrabble, boggle and other unnameable language puzzles that kept me forever occupied in the wild jungle of words that grew in my head. Beginning in my reading infancy. Just give me a letter. Any hypnotic letter will do. Lying on the beige lounge room carpet and staring like a wide-eyed cat while re-arranging letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into worlds. Worlds far more beautiful than any Barbie doll.

Source: weheartit.com

Source: weheartit.com

I want to say something. Surely I have something to say. Something positive, inspiring. Guru words that will resonate with others, buzz through their blood, make them nod with knowing and understanding. Perhaps the bubbles of sadness they keep locked away will start to rise. Even a wry smile would satisfy me.

Let it be said that I don’t claim any special knowledge. Not ‘consciousness’ or ‘mindfulness’. Certainly nothing as grandiose as ‘enlightened’. I struggle even to claim ‘evolving’. Evolving seems so linear and I’ve taken too many steps forward and then too many steps back. There’s more circular movement in my life than linear. But perhaps the circles of growth slowly get larger.

Not that I don’t try to be mindful or conscious. I’d like my writing to reflect that. I mean, I tried to like yoga. But I don’t want to be the perfect yogi. Nor do I need you to be one. I’d rather you show me your faded track pants with no elastic in the waist than show me a perfect Warrior pose. I’m also not a vegan and don’t aspire to be one. And I’d rather you reveal the crumpled chocolate wrapper hiding at the bottom of your rubbish bin, buried underneath the almond milk container and organic black quinoa box.

I’m tired of hearing about beautiful Bali meditation retreats and week-long courses in the jungles of South America teaching conscious toe-nail cutting. Or the latest ‘off the beaten track’ place to relax and condemn the hedonistic western lifestyle while reading lists of how to be a ‘real’ shaman/tantrika/yogi/insert spiritual elitist label here. Truth be told I have explored various shamanic practices over many years, some of which have been essential tools for navigating my wandering spiral path. Some of which I still use regularly. But my favorite ritual (which I believe every guru or shaman should have a good understanding of) is The Sacred Ritual of Imbibing One’s Own Urine… or how to take the piss out of yourself.

I’m simply here to write about experiences that feel real to me. Transformative moments. Whether blissful or painful. Or completely mundane.

I am here to claim myself.

The View from the Edge

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I’m fascinated by the edge.

The edge of the mental, the emotional, the physical, and all that we normally understand consciousness to be. The idea that my boundaries are self-imposed, blurry and malleable. That by stroking, nudging, tickling and occasionally taking to the grey perimeters with a large blunt object that I might learn what is on the other side and that I might understand this side just that bit better. That some limits may be set in stone, but others flow like the tide. The intrigue of exploration vibrates through me. I’ve come to understand that I’ve been playing with the edge my whole life.

Where is the edge of my patience? My pleasure, my fear, my courage? My body’s physical possibilities? What if I take an idea and push it as far as it will go? What metamorphosis of the mind will happen? Surely I can discover new ways of thinking. I crave new ways of thinking and feeling. I’m addicted to the dialogue between mind and body that happens on the edge. The to and fro of internal negotiation. Fearful words and strong heart. Fearful heart despite strong words. The body has its own distinctive voice that can be unexpectedly deafening. And when the dialogue is over there isn’t silence. There is soul singing; and it’s bringing down the house.

Make no mistake, the edge is uncomfortable. Challenging. Downright fucking scary. I am breathless and sweating. The energy there is humming with beauty. The lessons are powerful, profound. Deep insights await. The edge is a pivot point. Decisions made there can sometimes not be undone.

Over many years I have learnt to experience the edge in two distinct ways. Both deliberately and via Spirit’s game of Dump and Run.

Dump and Run. What a fucker of an edge game. The challenge of being thrust out there, no warning, bright light blaring on the darkest parts of you. Your hairiest, smelliest, most malevolent beasts exposed and visibly rampaging through your being. Unexpectedly and shockingly loose, the great universal jester just dumping you there and leaving you to deal with it. But at this point I am not laughing at the cosmic joke. As I wrangle the beast, or hide from it or do whatever I need to do I wonder if I will ever laugh again. In the well of darkness all laughter sounds hollow.

But deliberately testing the edge of my own accord…. the story is different. I can see it in the distance. I know and seek it. Sometimes I run toward it passionately, and stop abruptly at the last minute, breathless and laughing recklessly into the wild space beyond.

Dancing, dancing, to the edge. The spinning, whirling, thrashing chaos of dance. Flailing like a dying earth-bound octopus. Simultaneously blind jelly and crazy limbs.

And if I can just trust enough to let go, to ride the unrestraint just that bit further, I know I will fall, fall, fall into darkness for the shortest of moments that lasts forever …. before exploding. A starburst of light.

edge falling

Last night I dreamed of the edge.

I drove there in my beloved car. It was my real-life car. She is Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn. She gives me so much joy and takes me everywhere. We adventure together. Along bush tracks and on beaches. Down endless highways. I drive her great distances in order to dance, learn and play.

In my dream I wasn’t planning on going to the edge. I was just looking for a bit of natural bush beauty and solitude. But instead I arrived somewhere unexpected. Not the lush green forest I had envisaged. Instead I got to the end of the dirt road, parked my car and stared.

I am on the top of a cliff, looking down. Down an almost vertical drop, brown, rocky and parched. And dotted amongst the entire cliff-face are cars. 4WD’s of the most rugged kind. Many old-school models, beaten up and much loved. Each one is parked on a small flat space, a horizontal indent in the side of the cliff. I can see no trails or paths, but I know the owner of each vehicle has somehow negotiated the vertical descent. And now sits, safe as an eagles egg in its carefully built nest.

And they have driven themselves to the view of the edge of the universe. It is twilight and there is nothing but endless fading sky. Darkening melancholic blue with a brushing of glittery light. Flowing up into the vastness of forever. Out and up and out and up and out till it’s so big and I’m so expanded that I can barely breathe for awe. But that’s okay, because the infinite is breathing for me. Through me.

It’s the most glorious sight.

I am inspired by those who have come to the edge. Because it is apparent that when they have been humbled by the infinite and have absorbed the vastness of all that is, when they have conversed and smiled knowingly into newly twinkling starry eyes above, they confidently expect to drive away. Taking the essence of the magic with them back up the impossible cliff. And I am singularly overwhelmed by the magnitude of their trust. In themselves, their cars and in the faith that the infinite space behind them holding it’s blue black hand against their wheels, is securing them to the cliff face, guiding their upward climb.

I stand staring and wondering. Inspired by the vision of what is possible. Because to go to the edge and beyond is clearly possible. And I sense return is possible too, but only with seemingly impossible faith.

Standing before the edge. Wondering. Dare I find my own path? Dare I drive over the edge? And if I do, can I get back? Do I trust in my Aurora, in the Goddess of the Dawn…
Can I? Will I? And the answer that I feel is simple.
I don’t know.

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“I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in those places.”
Anne Fadiman
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Down the Rabbit Hole

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This life is all about exploration of the physical, spiritual and soul self and yet again I find myself diving down another rabbit hole, yelling yippee with my heart beating wildly and frantically in my mouth.

Striving for self-knowledge, knowing all the time that there is nothing to strive for and I. Am. Beingness.

I am skeptical of all tools and dogma and rituals designed to set you ‘free’ …..if it does not ring true for me I will not follow it. I take what seems useful to help me get closer to my authentic self. This is just a construct anyway. There is no spoon, use the force, insert any rumi quote here….. I am serious in taking nothing seriously….

I adore hedonism of the conscious kind. Meaningful. Joyful. Blissful. We can merge into the mind-blowingly cosmic. What a gift. What a dance. Gratitude all around!

I am a field of consciousness – I am everything, I am everywhere, I am nothing at all. I am full of shit, full of love, overflowing with radiance, over flowery with language. I make it up every breath of the way.

I yearn for the truth and to meet others who are living in theirs. Love what IS, what you are….come home.

One of my greatest joys is dancing with complete chaotic abandon. And sitting in stillness.

There is always cheese.

Welcome to my blog. ♥