What I am currently learning is that the sense of emptiness that is under my story cannot be disappeared through work, accomplishment, addictive entertainment binges or by achieving some illusive validation badge from society.
For years I have been meditating; keeping the house spotless; using self discipline to attend to the small, bothersome things first. The result has been a lack of passion. The result has been a deep moat of isolation around my being. No matter how hard I worked I could not drop the underlying sense of fear of making a mistake that would upon occasion arise like some horror movie violin screeching warning. I had to keep myself under control.
After eight years I am no closer to being in a loving relationship with a man. Art sits in my studio unseen, un-marketed and unsold. My books sit in a cupboard unheralded. The sense of loneliness becomes more and more pervasive.
I have grown in so many ways. I no longer awaken screaming from my nightmares. I have lost four sizes and made my body far more healthy. I have totally reconstructed the sense of power in my physical being. I have paid down a massive debt from my “reverse dowry” divorce.
The friends I do allow close to me are supportive, can be counted upon in illness and show me a model of compassionate growth. They are willing to accept all of me, all of my story.
Nevertheless, what lies underneath is The Upside Down World. And the flashlight I am using to go into that dark place is the word “naturally.” Who I am flows out “naturally” as a consequence of from what happened to me as a child.
Once, in a shamanic retreat, I saw myself as a child under the age of three laying in my bed with freshly broken bones and bruises. The room was dark and I wanted to cry. I was overtaken by the consuming pain of knowing that I could not cry out. He would come into my room. He who could hold a pillow over my head until I passed out; he would come in and this time he could kill me.
And since this memory came back to me as a woman in my sixties, I could allow myself to weep. I sat in a group of supportive people and once again came to the thought, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I am so scared. I am so scared.”
All of my energies as a child shifted as soon as my father arrived through the door. I was on hyper-alert and the assignment was to stay alive. Which of his six shifting personalities would arrive. Would he be the small boy who rocked and cried? Would he be the violent abuser? Everyone has seen movies like the Story of Eve, but I lived with it.
My entire life the survival tactic has been to say, “it was not that bad.” My self encouraging, warrior voice told me to just get on with it.
It was like being in a war zone and the buildings were collapsing, so you look for a path through the rubble. There is no point in sitting and grieving. Getting on with it is the only way to live another day. Keep moving.
But now, I am going under the story. What lies beneath in The Upside Down World is darkness. My bones are broken. My nose and cheek bone are broken. I was used as a sexual anesthetic for a sick man’s pain and my mother stood by and allowed anything at all. Anything at all.
And now I am connecting with “her”. I see “her”: the 18 month old; the three year old; the seven year old. For the first time in my life I am not afraid that feeling compassion for “her” will somehow kill me.
The big journey right now is to understand how absolutely terrified I have been most of my life. Because I am strong enough now, I can see how important it is for my future that I feel into the past.
And underneath it all is the chaos; the terror; the sense that if I did the wrong thing he would kill me this time.
The habit of mind of constant conflict that I hold at all times of my day is to ask the question,”What should I have done? Did I just make a mistake, a wrong choice?”
I can never be sure because I was dealing with an adult with multiple personality disorder. What would please one “being” would enrage another.
My patterns, my coping systems, my rigorous guarding of my boundaries make complete sense to me now. As I go down into the dark, underneath, I see how it has created a field of energy that has flowed out into my life.
My child; my little girl was left alone to deal with terror and there was no adult to comfort her. Until now. Until now. I am with her.