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Curious Presence

The idea of a hotspot comes to mind this morning. Generally, a hotspot is like a hub of activity where energy is focused.

I have a hotspot and it’s not by choice. My hotspot stretches from mid-July to end of September. It’s a time when the stirrings begin to find me in my sleep, nudges me when I’m not looking and slowly builds into the tsunami I know it can become.

Its presence is in the background of all my routines. I ignore the murmurs. I don’t want it here. I deny what it means. I don’t want to engage. I turn my head away.

With every breath, I am aware and I ignore. I hear the knocking and don’t answer. I feel a weight of sorrow and push it away. I feel the niggle of fear that my depression will return. I feel the walls of grief pushing on my skin.

Mid-July to end of September is the anniversary my daughter’s health took a major downturn. My mind forgets about the July part though I always remember the September part. My body, on the other hand, remembers it all.

It’s interesting when I lived day in and day out during this time, it was my normal life. Deep concern weighed down by daily rituals. I was consumed and driven to do everything possible to help her find comfort, relief, sustenance and ease. I functioned below a teeming world. I gave up my job. I gave up my expectations. I devoted every ounce of energy to manage the struggle as we navigated day by day.

Priorities changed, my wants sorted out with my needs, directions detoured around varying road blocks. My focus honed into a laser beam approach every day. I wasn’t living in a hole though. I was living through circumstances that required my full attention and action. I held worry at bay. I was strong when she became weak. I was the well that greased the wheel when fear reared its head.

I studied caregiving for many years while being a caregiver. I lived the part that so many books and papers defined as to what a caregiver needed to survive. I was inside looking out. I created ways to survive maneuvering around the fear of the worst-case scenario or guilt of not doing enough or dread for not being enough.

I circled the hole of despair many, many times on the verge of giving up, running away, damning the situation, blaming others, despising my needs, numbing myself out, and blocking self-love. At times it was easier to hurt me than to struggle with helplessness. Hurting myself gave me some control. I could ease my pain. Helplessness is tortuous. Feeling helpless brought me to my knees, a bottom-of-the-barrel feeling.

Many times, I found myself wrung out, cried out, despairingly alone and thinking about giving up. It was in those moments in the echoing silence when I felt a curious presence. I sensed a presence, an etheric presence.

So today, during these triggering times, recognizing all these skeletons hovering around, I’m tired of denying all the nudges and pokes. I stopped pushing it all away and let it in.

At first, a wash of sorrow overtook me and I cried. In the same breath, relief arrived, relief because I stopped fighting. I fought for years and years, denying the circumstances, denying my fear, denying life as it was.

When I stop fighting, my emotions move more freely and I can breathe more freely. I have more energy. This release helps the memories keep moving, which creates more room inside and I can breathe easier.

Life is all about feeling acceptance of my emotions instead of denying and resisting them. Acknowledging my emotions eases the grip they have. Otherwise, I am exhausted in the fight.

Coming to terms with a loved one suffering is a humbling endeavor that forced me to surrender. I never surrendered my fight for their survival. I surrendered my resistance to what I was feeling and listened to my desperate emotions. I acknowledged and respected the depths of my despair instead of whitewashing them with what I hoped for and wanted. I arrived to the center of my being and discovered I wasn’t alone. I found my Higher Self, watching, listening, holding steady as I lived my life.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thanks. It occurred to me, when you said despising my needs, that I did that after my babies were born. That’s the time of exhaustion and you despise your need for sleep and you aren’t getting it. You don’t have time to eat or take a bath. All those needs become apparent because you are not meeting them. I’ve thought of denying needs and resisting needs, but when you say despising needs, that’s really strong. That’s how I could relate.

    • Shirley says: Despising them, we wind up resenting what we are dealing with because we aren’t getting what we need. It’s a good idea to focus on because we can use that in any part of life, because when we deny ourselves what we need, we wind up resenting what’s being asked of us.

  • You wait to the final days of our daily assembly to share one of the most beautiful writings you have ever done. It was a reminder that when we really plunge into what we are feeling, it takes us to the presence and essence that exists there, as you said. It supports me in the times when I don’t want to feel it, like when I was so very hurt and to go ahead and go in there anyway. Because when you drop into that presence, you kiss God. That’s my belief. And things change through the relief of that. Thank you for that sharing. I will remember this day always. Thank you.

    • Shirley says: You helped me put into words what was significant as well. Thank you for your eloquent words.

  • That reflection of helplessness reminds me when we were talking yesterday about the hole versus the doorway. To travel beyond helplessness, however it comes to us, means we have found the doorway and gone through that and stepped beyond the pit.

    • Shirley says: I had that in mind in my writing today. In the pit, we are numbed out and in denial and not doing anything about it.

  • Thank you so much. It is stirring places in me. It took me to a memory of a classic nightmare where I was being chased by something that was clawing at me. A spiritual guide suggested I go back to where the nightmare left off and ask it what it has to tell me, to befriend it, picture it less threatening. That helped me a great deal. I knew exactly what it was. It was my lesbian sexuality chasing me. It helped me make friends. A few years later, I had another nightmare and I talked to another spiritual guide who told me I was a healer. She asked me about my core wound and she told me to read Henri Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer. I feel like we are all wounded healers.

  • Thank you. When you started your reading, I felt such repelling. I didn’t want to listen, it was too negative, it was taking me down. I wanted to click away. Because it was difficult, I put it on you. I started thinking about how you are dealing with this. I stayed because I trust this group. I knew I needed to stay because there’s a lesson in this. During the meditation, I got to sit with myself and let the things that happen to me blow through me. Yes, core wounds. I’ve learned, like with the fear, I can handle it. I had an epiphany. This is one of the places I get stuck: when I come across someone else’s pain, I want to run away. How am I going to let it blow through me or just feel it and let it go if I want to shut down even listening to someone else? There’s a real gift in this. I’ve learned that I not only learn from people who make me feel good, but sometimes people’s life creates chaos inside my heart.

  • Thank you for sharing the bare bones of who you are with us. It so touches me that you can articulate how you feel during this time. The phrase that comes to me is ‘through our wounds we are healed.’ It’s clear to do that we do become healers for each other and ourselves when we come clean with our core hurts as well as our successes. I went to see my friend with Alzheimer’s in the nursing home and brought her gifts for her birthday. I was amazed the number of times she wanted to hug me. She kept asking me if I remembered how she broke her shoulder. When I reminded her, she remembered and hugged me. I felt close to her again. What she can’t articulate much anymore, she is doing it through her physicality. Your sharing this morning reminded me that, through our sickness and grief and mourning and hesitation, we are becoming who we are becoming and continuing to become. It’s a beautiful map.

  • This reminds me of the song Testimony by Ferron.

  • Thank you for the reading. In the beginning, I was thinking how I appreciate hearing everyone’s voices. It brings me so much joy. The reading brought up a lot for me this morning. Some years ago, my spouse and I sat in our bathroom as men removed my son from our house. It was the best day and worst day of our lives. And my husband fell apart. It was the first time I’d seen that. I realized I had to be the strong one; that feeling of having to be a rock. Finally, after all these years, I am feeling I can soften that now. My children have grown so much. I gained so much strength from that rock and I have such grief inside—you all have given me permission to just feel that and not be afraid of it. In doing so, it has helped my children feel strong. I knew about the wounded healer but didn’t know about the book. Being a wounded healer helps people do the work. Thank you.

  • Part of the book I am working on is about returning to the core, which is what we are discussing. The fracturing we see on the outside is often because of how we’ve been fractured on the inside. What it means to acknowledge that and move forward in truth, because only the truth is true.

  • The truth is what has been the magnet drawing us back together each morning.

  • Thank you. Thank your joining us. Thank you for being part of us. I chose to share this writing because this is what is up for me. The truth is the truth. I live by my truth. I can’t pretend otherwise. I did that for too many years. I look at life as learning every day, recalling all the fractures. I think we all do that when we are brave enough to do that. I wish you all a gentle day.

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