Creative Therapy

I haven’t been writing.  I mentioned that in my last post, The Wound, as well.  People ask why, and I have to be truthful… I have been immersed in serious, soul-searching, life-renewing therapy.  It’s intensive.

My therapist:

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The truth is, my writing is deeply rooted is some pretty painful places… I don’t know how to do it without connecting to the very center of that raw ache, and without naked honesty.  And for so many reasons, I just haven’t been capable of it for a large part of 2014.  But when it is simply too much to write the words down, I run straight into the waiting hum of my Pfaff. I have been holed up in my attic, cutting up beautiful fabrics into small pieces, and putting it back together to create something new, born of something else.

There is something so safe and so true in this act, I have found myself spending most of my time here.  Making dolls.  And purses.  And quilts.  And little snack bags.

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Often, with the meditative act of pairing one scrap of fabric to the next, I feel as if I may be stitching my own self back together.

It is amazing how finding the perfect fabric for the perfect head of doll hair can be a method of reconnecting myself.  And in that, I have had experiences in the last six months I never could have imagined.  Joining artist groups, sewing banners for a parade, painting rocks for a town wide treasure hunt, trading owl bags and quilts for facial cream and artwork, selling at holiday shows, being on TV.

http://www.wfsb.com/story/27353715/handmade-holidays-weha-artists-emporium?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=10836890

I used to believe that being creative was the same as being blonde.  Or green-eyed.  Or tall.  Some of us got dished out a whole lot more than others in the genetic pool we sprung from.  I must have waited in the tall girl line, and forgot about creativity….

Not so.

We have all been born out of creative energy… it is our life force.  Spirit.  God.  The very essence of who we are is this creative source.  Some were born with a deep sense of that energy within, and some have not fostered that connection.  Somewhere in their childhood, that place was snipped free, and we “uncreative” ones became untethered from the source.  Its tragic, and not without repercussions in our lives, to feel separate from the source of our humanity.

This may sound a little woo-woo to you all… and don’t worry.  Me too.  It’s coming from a woman who has spent a larger part of 10 years trying to scrub all things “spiritual” from my world.  More likely to spell out the word G-O-D than any choice four-lettered expletive.  And I have spent most of my childhood as well as adulthood actively rejecting all things Martha Stewart… including dyed wool felt and cotton batting and quilting thread.

Those eye rolls and f-yous are a part of my spiritual crisis now, and some of the reasons I am sewing up piles of little dolls and snack sacks. IMG_6769IMG_6770

I can revisit that later.  For now, I am relieved to just be writing a few hundred words.  And to feel that some part of my Self was stitched back together in the piles of fabrics and spools of thread.

So check out my goods… what has sprung from the therapist’s chair.

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Message me if you want any, or check me out at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.302818606570850&type=1

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The Wound

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“The wound is the place Light enters you”    – Rumi

About a year ago, we were entertaining guests on a friday night.  I opened the refrigerator to offer my friend a beer, and the bottle seemed to launch itself at me from its overstuffed pocket and smashed to the tile floor, pulverizing in an impressive explosion of beer foam and teeny shards of glass.  One particular piece of miniscule shrapnel left the tip of my pointer finger bleeding, the glass stubbornly embedded itself deeper and deeper with each attempt to pull it out.  Eventually, my finger healed over the shard, and I had a tiny brown freckle at the tip of my finger.  It would give me a sharp, biting reminder of it’s presence once in a while, when any pressure was applied to my fingertip.  It was a part of me, this invader, a permanent wound lurking under a new layer of skin.  I lived with it there for a long time.  And then, many months later, I found myself in pain again.  My finger became red and sore, the tip got swollen and hot, and my body began to fight.  The eviction notice had been sent.

This process was shocking and sudden and a bit unwanted… I had grown accustomed to the glass, and did not appreciate the throbbing pain I was suddenly dealing with.  The expulsion was much more painful than the first moment it entered me and left me bleeding.  My body smartly worked that glass back to the surface of my fingertip, and in a moment of desperation, wanting to end the pain, I aggressively pinched under the enflamed tissue, hard and tight, and squeezed until the glass cut through the skin once again.   Finally rejected, I rinsed it away,  purged at last.

 

 

I have been silent.  Gone.

 

Things happened, and the pain swallowed me up for a while. And I am learning that I do not handle my own pain well.  I have no tolerance for my own tears.  My own suffering.  It simply does not feel just, when I am so aware of my privelege.  There is a magnitute of suffering outside my own sphere that I cannot comprehend…  So,  I have learned to be scornful of my wounds.  And now, that scorn has revealed itself… the dark truth of it’s nature.

We all have shrapnel, healed over and buried beneath our skin.  Words that carry shame and rejection, moments that violate and negate… these are the shards that cut deep and become a part of us, grown in.  We carry them until it is time.  When we are ready to let them surface, force them out, and bleed again.

But it is not the purging that transforms.

It is in the wounding.  The embedding. The healing.

In this spiraled process, we are found whole.

The Cure

We think we get over things.

We don’t get over things.

Or say, we get over the measles,

but not a broken heart.

We need to look at that distinction.

The thing that becomes part of our experience,

never becomes less a part of our experience.

How can I say it?

The way to get over a life is to die.

Short of that you move with it, let the pain be pain.

Not in the hope that it will vanish

But in the faith that it will fit in,

find its place in the shape of things

and be then, not any less pain,

but true to form.

Because anything natural has an inherent

shape and will flow towards it.

And, a life is as natural as a leaf.

That’s what we are looking for:

Not the end of a thing,

but the shape of it.

Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life

without obliterating, getting over,

a single instant of it.

                       -Author Unknown

My Hysterecto-versary: Lessons I Learned While Losing My Lady Parts

Photo Credit:  Gardner Edmunds

Photo Credit: Gardner Edmunds

At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.

– Alan Alda

It’s my hysterectoversary.

A year ago, I had major surgery.  They opened me, took my womb.

Let them open me, I had thought.  Let them take a piece of me out.  It will heal all that is wrong in my world, the pain will be physical.  And then it will finally be healed.  I will be healed.  Not whole ever again, but free from the persistent sensation that my parts and pieces were scrambled up inside.  I had been feeling this way for years, diagnosed with a disease of the uterus called adenomyosis.  It creates a heaviness.  A fullness.  Pressure.  The options were to have surgery, or wait till menopause.  I jumped into surgery, desperate to make things feel light.  In order.  Pressure free.

The surgery did not go well.  It was supposed to be simple.  Heal internally.  There would be no knowing of the scars, no way so see the damage.  Just the emptiness.  They went through my vagina, to reach the uterus, the offending woman part.  They took it out, and repaired the damage, and my body still bled.  Not a dangerous, life threatening pace, but a slow, persistent trickle.  I laid on the operating table for two more hours.  They stitched and cauterised with no avail.  Finally, they felt they must take a more drastic step.  The bleeding was not threatening my life, but could not be ignored.

They opened my belly, exposing the tiny bleeding wound they could not find without light.  And stopped the bleeding.  I woke up with the internal wounds and a big, long, ugly cut.  Visible.  A constant reminder of my missing pieces.  A permanent talisman of the persistent trickling damage.

Once at home to heal, I burrowed deep into the dark of my room, wallowing in the cushy leather recliner.  I tried to hide from the funnel cloud of emotions that had moved into my space with me.  The pain of recovery and healing was a place to focus.  But I felt so… betrayed.  Visible scars were not what I had bargained for.  I did not want a sign, written on my flesh that stated,

“Someone took out your womb.  You gave them this power, and you knew it would not heal you.”

It is true.  I ran towards surgery at a determined speed.  I made the appointments, I talked to the doctors.  “There is more,” she whispered.  My intuition.  I did not want to hear her. So I locked it away.   I carried that intuitive knowledge around, smothered under a thick blanket of denial and simplicity  as I slipped on paper gowns.  Endured ultrasounds.  Vaginal exams.  Blood work.    I met with the surgeon, and walked out, turning the music up loud in the car to drown out the doubt, the voice that began speaking louder, “get another opinion.  She is not experienced enough.  This will not heal you.  It is more.”

I clung to the diagnosis.  It felt good to have something with letters and sounds to define my experience.  A name.  Adenomyosis.  Simple.  There is a physical discomfort.  There is a name for it.  We will surgically remove the offending part.  We will sew you back together.  You will experience great pain.  And then you will heal and it will be over.  I loved this idea.  It needed to be true.  I would make it true by going through with it.

Wounds heal.  I wanted healing.  If I had to give away a piece of me to do it, so be it.

 In my desperation for wholeness, I willingly ignored my screaming intuition…the deeper pain, the slow bleed that surrounded womanhood, hurts that needed much more than the scalpel of a surgeon.

For weeks after the surgery, I laid in a recliner, listening to the sounds of my family downstairs, their lives marching on as my layers of skin grew back together.  I slept.  And my dreams were filled with holes.  I woke and thought about what my body must do to shift and sift and fill the hole within me.  What my surgeon had to do to stop the slow, persistent bleed.  The belief that it would all be worth it, the pressure would be gone, the pain would heal, and it would be a distant memory was like holding water in my cupped palms.

Eventually it all ran out.

It’s been a year.  My parts have shifted, the hole filled, the bright purple line has faded from an angry purple to a more relaxed violet.   I have spent every day of this year healing.  From the hysterectomy.

 From the betrayal of my inner voice.

I was taught as a young child, that this inner voice was a gift from God.  A women must receive this gift from the priesthood powers of men.  I was taught that I must earn my worthiness, and that  worthiness would be determined by men in the church.  There were definitive measurements of my worthiness as a girl, before I could have this gift of the Holy Ghost within me, the still small voice.   And I was taught to use this gift as my most precious possession to guide me throughout my life.  I was also taught with great fear that I would lose this cherished gift if I did not receive guidance that matched those of my church leaders.  I could ask within myself, and their answers would always come to me.

I have always been aware of this pulse inside me.  The throbbing, persistent boom-boom-boom-boom of my heartbeat in my eyelids, my fingertips, the base of my throat, the top of my scalp.  The sensation is a drum beat, calling me to my truth.

My intuition is not a sleeping beast, needing poking and prodding to come alive.  It is a roaring beast, tantruming inside me, fighting to be heard.

My intuitive voice has never been hard for me to hear, but almost always terrifying to acknowledge.  Because the whispers, and persistent shouts of my inner voice have been in opposition to the voices of those that claimed to bestow me with this great spiritual gift.

Herein lies the bleed.  The tremendous heaviness.  The healing process is long and repetitive.   I am learning, ever so slowly, and not without pain, that  ignoring my own intuition has brought me into my darkest moments, and finally being brave enough to do what I feel called to do inside has been the light to guide me out of those dark times.

I signed the consent forms, I put on the paper gown, I laid my head on the hospital gurney, and I allowed a surgeon I did not fully trust take out my womb.  In the end, the adenomyosis was confirmed, and the offending part, the center of my womanhood, was taken out.  But in the process, I ignored the loud, intuitive voice that begged me to find a more experienced surgeon. So I could avoid the myriad of complications that have arisen since.   And I denied the voice that was begging me to stop denying the knowledge that there was already a slow, trickling bleed inside me.  A wound that no surgeon could heal.  There are emotional and spiritual wounds that  I was tired of addressing, so I chose to ignore them.

And now, I have the outer scar to remind me.  And maybe, that is what needed to be.  A tattoo, calling me to this healing:

We all have the tremendous, powerful gift of intuition.

-I am a woman, and women are powerful.

We are all worthy of this gift.  Always.  Worthiness is an inherent birthright.

-I am worthy.  I have always been worthy.

The ability to connect with one’s inner knowledge gets stronger with consistent practice.

-No one can give or take away this ability from me.

No other person can provide you with answers.  If you are seeking to only confirm what others have found to be their truth, you are denying yourself access to your own inner wisdom.

-I can trust myself.  The answers are within me.   

 

One must be open.  It is easy to be blinded by desire, or the need to be safe, or the need to please others.  There are many ways to be dishonest with one’s self.

-Living in defiance of my inner compass will leave me lost in the dark.

 

Clotheslined

I felt high after my last post.

It actually worked, this E-Squared business, and I couldn’t wait to try the next experiment.  I spent a day just BE-ing and it felt amazing.  I was ready to call up a tattoo shop and get’er done.  I felt more present and open.  I felt free from the long list of things that I had felt splitting me apart… the to-do list still existed, but I had really only one assignment.

Be.  In each moment.

I was like Maria in the Sound of Music.  Heart full, skipping down a path with my guitar in one hand and carpet bag in the other, singing with gusto…

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I have confidence in sunshine!
I have confidence in rain!
I have confidence that spring will come again!
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!

Strength doesn’t lie in numbers!
Strength doesn’t lie in wealth!
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers!
When you wake up — Wake Up!

Butterflies fluttered and birds sang.  I was super happy, people.

I quickly ate up the next chapter or Pam Grout’s book, E-squared…. ready for my next experiment!

And that is when I was clotheslined.  Hardcore TKO.  Maria, sprawled in the dirt unconscious.    I don’t remember that part of the movie, but that is what happened.  Yeow.  Just typing the words, my heart beats painfully in my deeply bruised chest.

So the last few days I have had to regain consciousness, and access the injuries.   When life clotheslines you, it is natural to ask, why?  I didn’t have the words at first.  But yesterday, and today, the why has come.

“WHY!!!!??????”  (Shakes fist at the sky)

I forgot about E-Squared.  I forgot about almost everything but the hurt.  Just Be.  In the hurt.  It has taken all of me to not curl into a ball and turn this hurt into a hard nugget of anger, a stone that I would carry with me forever.  That was my old pattern.  And I am trying so hard to stop that.  But what do I do with this hurt?  How do we deal with grief?

I found this on my Facebook page, posted by Cheryl Richardson on Sunday.

“Today I invite grief in. I welcome its teachings, its benevolence, and its ability to connect me with my vulnerable, tender heart.  After all, that tenderness is important. It’s the aliveness we all secretly long for every single day of our lives…”

Then, I decided to listen to a good, uplifting radio show.  Something to boost me up, hold me a tiny bit higher than the lowest vibration.  A caller called in with a question for the guest doctor on the show that could have come right out of my own mouth.  About being clotheslined.  About my hurt.  The answer was so uncanny, so exactly what I needed to hear that my husband, who walked into the kitchen as the host was giving the answer turned to me and asked if I manifested this radio program.

Huh…. did I?

We went to meet an incredibly inspiring woman, Colleen Alexander, and her husband on Sunday.  It was the first time we have met, and she brought me a book…an unexpected gift… Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh.  I was touched by her story and bravery and sensitivity.  I tucked it in my bag after we said our goodbyes.

Last night, Lydia woke with a terrible nightmare.  She was out of sorts this morning, being sassy and angry, over reacting, and was in tears by the time she got into the car to go to school.  I tried wrapping her in love as I pulled up to the curb, sending it back to her from the drivers seat.  But  she jumped out of the car and slammed the door, and took a few angry steps to walk away, looking dark and sad.  And then she ran to me, and I opened the car door and pulled her to my lap and held her.  I suddenly asked her about her nightmare.  It felt relevant in this moment.  She said she dreamt that someone took me… stole me. Her fear was real and still present in her eyes.  I hugged it away, reassured her that I would kick anyone’s butt that tried to take me away.  I pulled away from her, and said it again, but this time I gave her a delicious pebble of emphasis… “I would kick their ASSES Lydia.”  She smiled then, and went to school.  Lydia has always been the mirror, reflecting me…

Then it was off to work, and I exchanged a smile with the kind cashier as she expressed concern for me, saying I didn’t seem like myself.  Am I really this transparent?  So I sat with my coffee and the book Colleen gave me and asked the FP  (the field of infinite possibilities) to give me a healing message from the book to help me.  I opened it, and this is what it said:

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Come Back To Yourself

“Most people are afraid to come back to themselves, because that means having to face the pain inside of them.  With the practice of mindfulness, the situation changes.  We come back to our pain, but now we are well equipped with the energy of mindfulness that has been generated by mindful  breathing and by meditation.  We use that source of energy to recognize and embrace our pain.”

Ok.  So I was clotheslined.  It happened.  And then I brought a whole slew of healing messages and moments into my life to help me hold the hurt.  I am going to choose differently than I have before, when feeling broken by something in my life.  I think I am realizing how powerful we all are.  In the sense that I called in these healing moments, I also called in the branch that knocked me out…left my inner Maria reeling from a lesson that needed to play out.  But, oh LORD how it can hurt, this business of reaching for wholeness.

I just re-read the second experiment in E-Squared.  The Volkswagon Jetta Principle.  This is what it claims:

You Impact the Field and Draw from It According to Your Beliefs and Expectations

I read this for the first time last thursday,  just an hour before I hit that branch.  And reading it now, it is funny how the incident, the pain, the clothesline… it demonstrates this principle in the most absolute possible terms.  It exposed to me in no uncertain terms how powerful we are…when we are looking for messages of love and support and healing, they come.  When we are looking for messages to confirm our deepest fears and insecurities, betrayal and rejection… they come too.  And our intention can not direct what others are manifesting in their own lives.

Because of the seriousness of the injury and the obvious way I feel this principle was shown to me, the actual experiment seems funny.  But I will participate in it, if only to give me more time to breathe and come back to myself.

If you missed the first experiment, The Dude Abides, you can see the set up here and the results here.

So here it is, the Lab Report Sheet.  Once again, for clarification, the words in red come from Pam Grout’s book, E-Squared.  The words  in black, are mine.

LAB REPORT SHEET

 

The Principle:  The Volkswagon Jetta Principle

 

The Theory:  You impact the field and draw from it according to your beliefs and expectations. 

The Question:  Do I really see only what I expect to see?

 

The Hypothesis:  If I decide to look for sunset beige cars and butterflies, I will find them.  

 

Time Required:  48 hours

 

Today’s Date:  Tuesday, November 12, 2013          Time:  10:25 am

  

The Approach: According to this crazy Pam Grout girl, the world out there reflects what I want to see.  She says that it’s nothing but my own illusions that keep me from experiencing peace, joy and love.  So even though I suspect she’s cracked, today I’m going to look for orange cars.  Tomorrow, I will look for purple hats.

       a.  Number of orange cars observed _________

       b.  Number of purple hats observed _________

Here we go.  Breathe.  Be.  And play seek and find.

“You will not break loose until you realize that you yourself forge the chains that bind you.”

                      -Arten in The Disappearance of the Universe, by Gary Renard