It’s Sunday morning, dark and rainy. I’ve lit a fire in the woodstove to take away some of the chill and gloom — inside and out. My SAD light is in front of me, taking the place of the sun for which we are all yearning. The weather is reflecting my inner process. . . .
Almost three weeks ago, I reached a turning point in my EMDR therapy: another release of abject terror, spasming, crying, contracting, watching my fists trying to protect myself from someone no longer here. Still no memories, which makes me feel crazy. It went on a long time and felt more intense than usual.
Then MaryAnn brought me from there into “adult mode” and the awareness that I was safe at that moment, which she anchored with the eye movements that are the hallmark of EMDR. Within minutes, I was feeling more confident and grounded in my body than ever in my life — which has been mostly lived in my mind. It was a most delicious moment.
Going home, I thought, “This is what it feels like to be whole and oneself. I love it!” Since then, this deeper part has been guiding me out of my usual patterns of overdoing to the point of exhaustion to prove that I’m worthy.
This part doesn’t care so much what others think, although she’s more inclined for true connections now. It has been easier to realize what is a good balance and continue rearranging my life so that it’s met (reflected in all the cancellations I’m making).
The need to be important is being replaced by the need to be healthy and vital and truly myself — along with the visceral understanding that I will have so much more to offer by living authentically.
My body responded immediately. The chronic bowel disorder of 15 years stopped overnight and this lasted a whole two weeks before relapsing (I suspect this will happen a few times before stopping altogether). My fatigue increased, as did my achiness from long held toxins surfacing from my tissues. My eyes are tired and sometimes I can barely see. I often have trouble falling asleep — a classic healing sign, as contrasted by waking too early, a sign of unresolved stress.
Waking in the morning is now difficult and painful, even my feet hurt when I first get out of bed and I walk to the bathroom like an old woman, saying to myself, don’t worry, it’s just growing pains. . . . What a change from being able to wake at any early hour without an alarm and enthusiastically do my meditation, rebounding and yoga. Will I ever be able to do this again? Of course I will.
It’s still early in this phase of honestly being able to feel, but I am so hopeful. Yesterday the deep grief I carry about my children’s suffering, which I was a big cause of, arose and threatened to engulf me. It felt like I couldn’t possibly go on even living with this sense of sorrow and guilt and failure at the most important thing in my life.
Instead of running (which for me is eating/reading/sudoku/starting a new project), I breathed into it, wrote about it, tapped through it. By late evening, it had subsided. . . at least a layer of it. It’s a first for me, making it through these particular searing, debilitating feelings on my own. It gives such an incredible feeling of victory and hope, it’s hard to describe. . . .
Then, another gift: a session with our new massage therapist, Jennifer. She started out with craniosacral therapy and then slipped into energy work, feeling where I held emotions and telling me what they were related to, in this life, in past lives, connected to which people.
It felt like she took me apart at the seams, with my body again spasming and sobbing, and then put me back together with the most tender of hands. It was like being cradled by mother earth herself. After we finished, I looked her in the eyes and whispered: “We’ve been waiting a long time for you.” What a blessing.
This morning, I’m able to access the grief of losing my late husband Mickey, and deeper than that, know that I’ve been pushing away all the potentially close people in my life, especially my girls. I’m able to sob by myself and feel the depth of failure that I haven’t been able to face.
New for me is the energy to deal, where previously I could barely even think about our wounded family situation, resulting in the girls being chronically abandoned by me. It will take time and persistence to heal that rift.
This may all sound rather depressing, but it’s not at all except in short periods. It feels like becoming real for the first time in maybe lifetimes. I’m not who I thought I was, not robust, tough, ambitious, but gentle and sensitive. Until now I haven’t even let myself feel like a woman — not safe.
Instead I pushed myself beyond my capacities over and over, trying to prove that I was worthy and strong and most importantly, not vulnerable and feminine. So much has been lost all these decades through a self-deception that began before I even remember, a self-deception meant to protect myself, which in turn blocked my ability to let anyone in, even my own children.
Only one person has been able to penetrate this wall: my 4 1/2 year old grandson Felix, who lives with me most of the week. In return, my job is not to overly attach to him, but to continue to open, past the pain held in my very bones, to the ordinary, intense love that we all have for our families in our core, accepting all the potential for loss. And with that love to support his mother, my daughter, in taking back her son with full confidence that she will be a wonderful parent.
That’s it for now. My chest feels raw and tight from this writing. More tears to come, more layers to release. And much gratitude for being able to do this work, with glimpses of a new life ahead.
May you also find time and support for your deeper healing.
warm regards, katherine
Art images: ‘Waking up on the wrong side of the bed,’ by Ric Nagualero (painting) & ‘Grief’ by Andrassy Kurta Janos (sculpture)