Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Other Side of Descent

There is a place I go to sometimes inside of myself.  It is a very far away place.  I know that no one can reach me there.  I go there alone.  I stay there alone.  I wait there alone.
I used to spend far too much time there.
It’s very quiet there.  
The other day when two of my favorite people asked to speak with me and I didn’t want to engage them, or even hear the sound of my own voice, I knew I was headed for some dark waters.  My job was to throw myself a line.  
So I did.
I stated that I was was withdrawn and sad and I asked of my friend to please not let me stay there for too long.
But the thing is, it’s not up to her.
I only told her so that I could have a witness.  A trusting witness.  
In my history with descent into this place, I have been the only one who could bring myself back and it has always taken great courage and faith to climb back out.  It has been a commitment to not go to sleep around the signals which bring me there.  
I knew it would serve me to track what was happening even though it would be highly uncomfortable and would be the “harder” choice to make.
I find it amazing how I can rally myself in an instant even whilst in this “challenging” place for someone whom I love and adore far more easily than I can for myself.  It’s worth pausing and examining.
Have you ever noticed how you get upset with someone you love when they aren’t taking care of themselves and your “mother hen” (or whatever the male equivalent is) kicks in and you have to resist the urge to micro-manage?  Or... let me go deeper...  as I am describing here.  I am descending into this inaccessible place.  But then I hear the voice of someone I love going there, going to “THAT PLACE” and “Pop!”  I am right out and into the world showing up for my loved one.  Out there... Showing up like nobody’s business.  
Yesterday, it wasn’t so immediate for me when it came to myself.
I went to my dark place.
I have a beloved Yoga colleague who says that I am simply in the contraction phase of the spanda (“pulsation”).  That’s true.  But I know enough to know that it could also be something more vitriolic and needful of my immediate attention.
I also know a lot about my needs.
I’ve been in chronic physical pain for 6 weeks since my last surgery.  For I cannot even count how long before that!  I have not been walking for very long (approximately two weeks), and I certainly have not had a moment of walking without pain.  
For the last two weeks, I have been out of my home.  
For some folks this may feel like an adventure.
For me, it hasn’t been an adventure.  It has been quite dismantling.
Given many of the needs I had as a child which weren’t met, I have a very deep need for quiet and solitude.  And I tend to harvest this need very deeply.  So although noise canceling headphones are wonderful and well worth the investment, they cannot nurture me in all the ways I wish, which is why being out of my home turns into something which begins to dismantle me after a while.
Amazing how I went to that “no one can reach me place.”  A true indicator to me of how far I was pushed out of the “real” home inside of my self... and understandable to me, why I had to travel so far back in order work my way back to myself.
It’s a lengthy process.
I withdraw from myself first.  Of course that also includes deep withdrawal from others.  And then I have to work very hard to find my way back to myself before even considering engaging others.  
When I saw myself not wanting to speak to my dearest people, I knew that I was in big trouble.  And I knew I had much work to do.  When I saw that I didn’t even want to speak, I knew I had to force myself to try.  To soften there.  
Because I truly believe and know that MY GREATEST SELF lies on the other side of my comfort zone.  And that is the place I want to soften into.  
So I took the leap and had a phone call.  And it was really hard for me.  But if I didn’t do it, I would’ve faded far away.  And it would have been harder and harder for me to pull myself back.
I need to soften into the places which are on the OTHER SIDE of my comfort zone.  No muscle.  Just softness.  Tenderness.  Listening.  Love.  Pacing.
That’s how needs get met.
Listening.  Attention.  Skill.  Nothing else to do but let love flow in.
Honor the dark places.
Make friends with them.  Tell them not to stay for too long.  With humor and compassion.  Pour them some wine.  Wish them good tidings.  
And do what you need to do to stay rooted in yourself.  In your deepest and most whole self.  So that you always know how to come back to her.  No matter how hard it is.  No matter how long it takes.  No matter how uncomfortable.
Throw yourself a line.
Learn how.
Take your time.
Descend far as you need... but for every depth you descend, know you can also soar as high.
I know I can.
And I always keep trying.

Jill Bacharach

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