Shadow Work (The Less-Than Whisper)

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Once upon a time there was a young man deeply in love.  He and his love enjoyed each other’s company and spent hours on hours together creating fictional worlds and beautiful stories together with their friends.

The young man, naive and trusting, had a great faith in humanity and the goodness of people.  He believed those around he and his love when they spoke of friendship and trusted them wholeheartedly, allowing them close and opening his heart to them on many occasions.

Then one day, out of the blue, a shadow figure appeared.  Witness to things the boy and his love could not see, this figure shared what had been seen.  Harsh words and plots hidden behind closed doors were revealed, and the true nature of those around him were put on display. The wicked witch and her crones exposed.

These others were not his friends at all, but instead aimed to split him from his love and steal his love away, expressing a desire to toss him aside as insignificant and as inconsequential as a wilted leaf in the dead of winter.  His trust crushed, the young man felt a tear rip through his insides, and a wound was created deep within his soul.

He and his love moved on from these people, yet the wound remained.  The young man buried it deeper and deeper, trying to find a way to make it smaller, make it less, and yet it remained… and remains.

That young man is me.  Was me…. somewhere around eight or nine years ago.

And still the wound remains.

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I tell myself all the time that that witch was a jealous cunt, and that her and her friends just wanted to try and separate us because they were jealous of what we had… and STILL have. And yet, it’s like in the back of my mind there’s this -knowledge- that I’m irritating and insignificant to others. Like a gnat.   Knowledge that isn’t true… but knowledge that my mind and heart refuses to allow logic to refute.

That whisper within my head uses words like piss-ant and insignificant and annoying and know-it-all and “special snowflake” (sarcasm).

I have tried for years to bury this whisper and smother it out, I’ve tried to pretend it doesn’t exist and ignore it… and yet it is there still. Insistent and persistent, it works its way back into my ear from the hole I bury it in. An insidious whisper, always there like the slow drip-drip of acid, keeping the wound just fresh enough to remain an open wound.

In our discussion on Monday night, you asked me to begin working on this shadow.

So I’m going to begin a weekly practice, and with it a weekly update post. Some weeks, I might have not much to say. Other weeks… maybe I’ll have a lot. But, each week I’ll go through the details of what I’m doing, and I’ll use this blog to keep myself accountable and on track as I work on this for a bit and see if maybe I can start the healing process.

I do not believe that this will be an easy process, or a quick one. I also don’t believe that the wound will be banished entirely, although perhaps it will begin to heal a bit… and maybe, possibly, start to scab over. The scar is sure to remain, but a scar is an empty echo… whereas the open wound that’s there now is much louder.

My first post, written here today, is an expression of my intentions.  It is a cementing of my will to move forward with the process, the first step upon the path, and an acknowledgement of the whispering less-than aspect of the shadow within, an aspect that I have tried so hard to ignore for so long.

Let the work begin.

 

Dream Share – The Need For Green

I am in a barren and dry place. A city. But there’s no trees and there’s no grass or green. It’s all brown and tan and dry and dusty.

I see a tree in the distance with a tall trunk and lush leaves. It grows out of the sidewalk.

I run towards it, eager to get closer. When I get to the tree, I wrap my arms around it in joy…. only to discover that it’s a fake tree. My disgust and disappointment is a heavy weight on my soul as I pout up at the trunk.

Then, the scenery changes, and I am Keeper of the Green size (about an inch or two tall), and I am sitting in the soil of a potted plant on the windowsill in an old woman’s kitchen. I feel I am glowing in contentment and happiness.

Then I wake up.

Choices… and Perspective

I may have stumbled upon one of the new perspectives that my Self Care Saturday spread from earlier this week was referring to while I was in the shower last evening.

Fish

Sometimes in my mind I gripe about the shit I don’t like… as I’m sure most people do.  You know… not the people per se, but like the soft water in this house that has a weird taste and makes it fucking impossible to rinse all the conditioner out of my hair.

And then my mind kind of wandered on to thinking about my shower at home, which has much harder water and you come out of it feeling much cleaner.  And in the middle of this thought, I had a memory of when my aunt and cousin came to visit MY home for a while and how she had complained about my water being too hard.

And that got me to thinking…

Would I rather have her (or them) visiting my home?

Or would I rather be a guest in her home?

Her home.  Hands down, 100% completely her home.  That’s the answer.  I don’t like them in my home.  I don’t like any of them in my home. I don’t like them touching my stuff, putting ass prints on my furniture in odd places, or mingling their scents into the familiar scent of my home. I don’t like their energy mucking up my space, their dirty dishes, or their constant disturbances, or the need to feed them or entertain them.  I hate it.  All of it. I really do.

If coming here now and again keeps them from coming to my house?  It’s worth the discomfort.   Absolute, completely worth every little shred of the discomfort of being here.

And that is an entirely new perspective on visiting family that I hadn’t thought of before. So there you go… there really is gold at the end of the rainbow, you just have to dig in the mud to find it.

Nature Does Not Hurry

So every day, I have tea in the morning.  This isn’t because I’m a big tea drinker.  All the teas I drink are herbal, because I can’t handle caffeine.  And honestly?  It’s taken me a long time to even find some that I’m fond of.

Nature

That said, I have managed, over trial and error, to find a few.  One of them is a Rosehips tea by Traditional Medicinals that I like to mix with either  chamomile tea or peach tea.   In the Traditional Medicinals tea, each tea bag comes with a little quote on the tab.

Today’s quote was from Lao Tzu.  “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Although I get what this is saying?  I disagree with the quote in a very literal way.  The fact is that it is true, nature does not hurry.  But, everything is -not- accomplished.   This is why plants die before all the buds can open at the end of the season, and there are often still new leaves just coming into being when fall and winter come to kill off the plants and make the leaves fall.

Everything does not get done.

Everything does not survive and thrive.

This quote, or perhaps how it is used in this instance, makes it seem like you can just take your time with things and everything will fall into place.  And it’s true, everything -will- fall into place.   But if you want things to fall in the place how YOU want them to?  It’s going to take more than that.  Otherwise, like late blooms and off-season buds, those things that are important to you will die off instead of flourishing.

This is not to say you don’t need to take time to slow down and breathe, time to step away and relax.   But sometimes?  The only way anything gets done is with a PUSH to get it there.

Just my two cents.

And, because I know you’ll be wondering, I drink tea every morning because I need a hot drink to mix my collagen peptides into. It’s healthier than hot chocolate.

Interesting Places

I really liked one of the prompts in a group I’m a member of on Discord, and I wanted to do an extended reply to it here.

Question:  Where is the most interesting place you’ve been? What did you find interesting about it?

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This wasn’t a difficult question for me to answer, as I live near what I believe to be the most beautiful, captivating place on the planet.  (Not that I’ve seen the entire planet, but I have a feeling I’d be hard pressed to find anything that could out-shine it or my connection to it.)

That place? The Olympic and Cascade Rainforests of western Washington state.

I could spend an entire day exploring the moss draping from branches of trees, or the lichen on a fallen tree trunk. I could pick a spot, a single spot, and spend an entire day exploring just within that spot… and then pick another on the next day.  Another on the next.

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I love that the terrain that is not flat or soft nor hard.  Instead it is rugged, with places of soft, spongy earth, and spots where the jagged rocks of the mountain beneath the soil jut out to trip you.

Speaking of tripping… I love the roots.  They are everywhere, exposed and reaching.  The earth is moist and fertile, roots lift out of it.  They fan out beneath the earth, other than these surfacing of knobs and knots that are like the joints of a swimmer poking out of the water’s surface.

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Lie down on the forest floor in places like this, and even in the driest of summers, over time your clothing becomes damp and then heavy with moisture as the forest lends some of its bounty to you.

Here in this place I know the mosses and the trees, the ferns and the mushrooms; I know the slimy and wet, I know the crisp and crunchy. I know the fronds and the spores, the molds and the crumbling decay of fallen trees that give life to all that claim them home. The flora and fauna here are my family.

These rainforests are filled with life and death.  It is in the air and touches your skin, you breathe it in with every breath.  I love the rich myriad of  greens and browns, the dank and earthy smells, the muffled and whispering sounds in the kind of quiet stillness that feels sacred.  I love the damp darkness and decay that blends seamlessly with lushness of growth and green.

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This is my home.

I live in the city, but it is among the trees and the moss, the decay and the growth, the earth and the water…. it is there that is home.  These places are a balm upon my soul, and no matter where I travel or whatever else I see, I do not think I could ever find any place more engaging and more interesting to me than here.

 

Obsession

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I just wanted to muse for a bit on how much I love you… and how surprising it is that you don’t creep me the fuck out.

What I mean by that is to say that you take me by surprise in many ways.  One of these is in the  many ways in which you fit the “profile” of a stalker.

After all… you’re obsessive. Invasive. Highly focused. Extremely protective.  And in someone else?  These things being directed at me would absolutely set off a crap load of triggers and freak me out.

And yet with you?  Not at all.  You’re all mine, including that intensity with which you set your focus upon me.

It took me a long time to be comfortable with the sheer volume of attention you wanted to direct my way, though. Then again, it probably helped that I was a bit oblivious as well.

I remember being shocked at some of the things you remembered that I would have never thought to even notice. Quirks, shoe size, preferences on various innocuous things, and so much more. If I had not been so oblivious, you might have scared the ever living shit out of me.

As it was though, I became aware of the obsession gradually, only discovering more and more as you snuck your way deeper and deeper under my armor and before I knew it, you’d taken root there in my heart.

I love you.  Always.  All ways.

 

Revisiting Fear and Indecision

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I wanted to revisit the topic of fear after my post from yesterday and the topic of the meditation that I did yesterday.

Yesterday’s meditation was about indecision, which I definitely do not have a problem with in any way, shape, or form.   But I feel like my post made it sound as if I don’t have fear, which is definitely not the case.

I do, absolutely, have fear.

I fear losing my home to the point where I obsess over work and push myself beyond my limits at times in how much work I should take on. (Thank goodness that I’m also someone that likes their creature comforts, or that fear might rule my entire life.)

I often have issues around fear when it comes to some of my scars (particularly the one on my face) and how people react (or may react) to them, which has gotten better over time as I am no longer trying to seclude myself into my home… but I know I still have a long way to go on this.

I fear my ex and the day he will be released from prison.   I fear my ex, as well, in his conniving “other” ways of trying to reach me even while he IS in prison.

I’m goddamned well -terrified- of spiders, even though my logical mind tells me I shouldn’t be.  You can add piranhas to that list, too, ever since as a kid I saw that first original Piranha movie.

The point is, I do have fears, and I didn’t want my post from yesterday coming off as some kind of bravado or something.  It’s just that fears do not inspire indecision for me.

For me, indecision doesn’t come from fear.  It appears when I am feeling extremely vulnerable, which can put me in a place of “I dunno, you choose”, and it appears when I have not managed to gather enough information or had the chance yet to think something through.

Something To Say – An Emotive Rant At No One In Particular

So I watched an episode of the show “What Would You Do?” tonight, which I shared with you a bit in IMs earlier. But… I really wanted to write a post about it because, as you know, this is a really big issue that hits close to home.

On the show, it made me cry. Literally cry while I watched the kindness of some strangers… and the very realistic representation of the hurdles involved with this issue.

Although not deaf, in being mute I have a serious hurdle to overcome when out in public. It is a part of the reason that I often choose to have someone with me when I go out.

Still, I do plenty of errands and tasks out and about on my own, and you cannot imagine how often I run into problems. Whether I go out with paper and pen, my tablet to type messages on, or my phone that has multiple text-to-speech apps to use… there’s just some people that are completely intolerant to the hurdles involved with being non-vocal.

These people? Lift my chin and show them the scar so that they can understand I have no voice? And all you get is an “EW, WTF MAN?? That’s gross.”

There’s no empathy. There’s no understanding. No compassion. There’s no -effort- at all on their part.

I’ve had people I’ve tried to communicate with just snort at me and walk away. I’ve had them literally call me a “retard” and tell me that I shouldn’t be allowed outside my home alone.  These are people that work in a customer service industry.  Waiters, cashiers, retail employees…. people that should have SOME sort of temperance and make some sort of effort to understand and communicate.

I’m not a goddamned cripple.  I’m not mentally handicapped.  I don’t need a babysitter. I’m a grown fucking man that was attacked, died on my kitchen floor, and was brought back by paramedics to find myself forever  irreversibly injured in that attack.  I can communicate just fine as long as the other person is willing to put in a little effort beyond using their ears.   And yet?   That kind of behavior shown by the waiter in that show?  Is so very common.

It was really nice to see the people that stepped up, but as someone that deals with this issue on an everyday basis?  I can tell you from first hand experience, those kind souls are few and far between.   In my experience?  Most people would rather turn their head and pretend it’s not happening.

I don’t know why I’m posting this.  I think I just had to get it out.

 

#MyBestAdvice a (non) VR to Brian Cormack Carr

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So this will be an easy (and short one) for the questions thing.   Brian Cormick Carr over on YouTube introduced the hashtag #MyBestAdvice on his channel recently, where he shared what the best advice was that he has ever gotten in life, and where from, and then asked others to do the same.

For me, this was advice given to me by Z.  Growing up, I spent a great deal of time at her house because she was 1) my parent’s “Pagan Parenting” coach of a sort, 2) she kind of ended up functioning as my sister and I’s “godparent”, and 3) she did a LOT of babysitting of L and myself.

So, with all those factors in place, it’s not really much of a surprise that this advice comes from her.   I think I was around twelve?  Maybe a little older.   Perhaps she was worried about how I would turn out, or perhaps it was just another guiding step on teaching us values.  Whatever the reason, her advice was to read a poem named “The Dash” by Linda Ellis.

Here it is…

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

By Linda Ellis, Copyright © Inspire Kindness, 1996, thedashpoem.com

This poem changed my life in a very literal way. It made me conscious of my effect upon others and the world at large in a way that nothing previously ever had and created a “community perspective” that reached way beyond just my immediate family and friends.

This poem is the best advice that I’ve ever received, and holds a framed place above my altar in the bedroom where I stand to do my devotional each day.  A daily reminder to always look beyond myself and be mindful of the influence I have upon others and the world around me.

The Aliens Among Us

Today, I was tagged by Normal Happenings in a writing challenge.

“They”

Detail an experience of yours (real or fiction) so bizarre you think you might have encountered an alien from another world.

So, as usual, when I get put on a spot, my mind draws a blank.   Don’t you hate that shit?   Anyway.  After half a day of contemplation I finally decided to share what happened to me a few months ago while on the road.

When I first came home from this experience, I shared it with you.  I was shaken up (and feeling a little triumphant) and poured it all out.   Now I’m going to reflect back on that experience here.

So essentially, it boiled down to an experience with road rage.    I was on the highway (two lanes in either direction) on my way back to Seattle from a trip up north.   The traffic wasn’t particularly heavy and flowing fine, and as usual, I was driving a good ten or fifteen mph over the speed limit.  (Yes, I know.  I know.)

This speed allows me to move smoothly past cars in either lane without “whipping” from lane to lane like a nutcase.  It’s a comfortable speed for me when dealing with a minimum of four to five hours of driving.  (I really need teleportation.  Seriously.)

Anyway.  I had just passed a black truck going a good deal slower than myself.  I glanced over my shoulder at the truck as I passed, confirming I’d passed him and was pulling away, then changed lanes.     Apparently…. he sped up to try and block me from changing lanes (some people are just assholes and love an opportunity to show it?) and I ended up accidentally cutting him off as I hadn’t realized what he’d done until after the fact.

I had a moment’s grimace and a mental “shit, sorry” moment.  It happens.

rage4But this guy took things to a WHOLE new level when he then began first riding my ass, and then trying to change lanes and whip around me to get in front of me.

When I wouldn’t let him in front of me (because hello, erratic behavior at high speeds on a highway is a BAD idea) he then tried running me into the concrete median, then into the ditch a bit later.

I knew letting this guy in front of me on the highway was a bad idea, and I knew that losing him on the highway would be impossible.  He was…. I mean, just wow.  Erratic, enraged, violently aggressive with that truck of his, and he was going to cause an accident.     So, I decided to take an exit and get off the highway in the hopes that maybe I’d be able to lose him somewhere.

Instead, he followed and, in the middle of the street, whipped around me by going into oncoming traffic and then blocked the road with his truck, forcing me to stop in the middle of the street.   He then proceeded to get out of his truck and start in my direction.

I felt this was a really BAD idea, so I backed up (in the middle of the street).  A semi started coming our way, and I guess he figured the current situation was untenable to him, so he got back in the truck.   While he was getting in his truck, I quickly passed around him and hurried ahead.

He caught up, of course.

To keep hmi from getting in front of me again for a repeat performance, I used the left lane and got right up behind a car.  I felt bad riding their ass, but I didn’t want to let him get in front of me again because this had definitely become an issue in personal safety.

For just over 2 miles, I rode this car’s ass while he drove beside me in the right lane with his window down, screaming obscenities at me, flailing out his window, giving me the bird, etc.    TWO MILES!

I then (finally) managed to lose him as, while he was stuck in the right lane (and traffic was becoming more busy so he was definitely going to be stuck in that lane) I used a last-minute redirect before a traffic light to slip into the left turn lane and turn off.   He was forced to go straight.

Fortunately?   I have a very innocuous car in a very innocuous color, so once I was away from him, even if he saw my car again there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be able to be sure it was me.   Just to be safe, though?   I took an alternate route back to the highway to be back on my way.

In the time since this happened, it has been suggested I should have driven to the police station and pulled into the lot to sit there for a bit.   And you know what?  I really like that idea, and I think that’s exactly what I should have done.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think of it at the time.

That said? The focus of this post is on the driver of that truck.  He left me shaken and a little freaked out.   And reflecting back now?   I sit here wondering… How does anyone get -that- angry?  Where does that kind of anger come from?  How does someone allow anger to enrage them to the point where your actions are violently aggressive danger to not just yourself or the person you’re upset with, but the population at large?

This type of overwhelming rage is something beyond my scope of understanding, no matter how many times I try to wrap my mind around it.  How does the human condition even have room for this type of rage and resulting behavior?

Alien?  Absolutely.