16 April 2010

The Spa

The relief from external (I mis-typed it "eternal" before inserting the correcting 'x') stress in combination with abundant positive regard that surrounds me now is producing a relaxation deeper than any I've ever experienced. What I notice most is a respite from the stultifying, inherent reprimand that I anticipate subconsciously most of the time.

This reprimand was originally issued by my mother when I was a child. In the house where I grew up, there was a correct way (and countless incorrect ways) to do everything. Setting a table, ironing a blouse...washing my face or entering a room. Every gesture, every choice, every situation was another test of intelligence. And if I failed, judgment was swift, harsh and unforgiving.

I internalized this relentless censure and have carried it with me since childhood. In my psychology, it can be activated either independently in the private recesses of my mind or I can project it onto the words and actions of other people, perceiving judgment and restriction all around me.

And I am dancing dancing dancing dancing
through the minefield
smiling and sweating
terrified of a possible fatal misstep


The coffee grinder stopped working this morning. I didn't break it--it just stopped grinding. For a brief moment I was gripped by some strange, strangling mixture of fear and guilt and panic; like I was a child again caught in the bright searchlight of parental discovery with my hand in the cookie jar. (This is purely metaphor because I don't remember ever being caught with my hand in the cookie jar...)

In the next moment, reality washed over me: I'm not a child. In this house, no one will slap me or yell at me. In this house, the coffee grinder has stopped working--that's all. It's not a measure of intelligence or proof of a character flaw. I will still be loved.

It is life-affirming to breath this air. To have this time. The pores of my psyche are opening for deep cleaning.

All this is possible because a very special friend has said, "Come live with me. Rest. Be. Do what you want. I trust you. I love you. I want you to be happy." An act of breath-taking generosity.

Have I ever been offered this before? Was it offered before but my childhood lens that perceived imminent punishment everywhere prevented me from realizing it? How many times has it been offered to me and I couldn't see it? I suspect many times.

I'm grateful I can recognize the gift this time. I am grateful for the gift. Unconditional love and positive regard are very strong medicine.

I am curious how this experience will change me. It's the psychic equivalent of a day spa visit. Afterwards, my skin and scent are changed. I am soft and shiny and clean and I smell good. I am strong and agile - in mind and body. I dance and sing, the choreography and tune improvised from the dark, moist ground of my soul. It's the dance of my divine essential nature.

Clean and strong and refreshed, I move through the ruins and fertile fields of the world and my own imaginings.

I walk. And dance. And weep. And and sing.

And weed.

And plant.

There is so much I don't know about gardening. But sunshine and rain are reliable. They will grace whatever effort I make. I will learn as I go along.

*Sculpture, Down by the Lake with Liz and Phil, by Greg Taylor
Fourth image: Closed Eyes Wide Open, by Ben Arieh

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