Riding the Balance between Denial and Obsession

“And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”  

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Two weeks ago, I gazed too long into Nietzsche’s abyss, and it gazed back at me.  But after the incapacitating pain and suicidal thoughts, I broke though again into “normalcy” – and better!

The Hard Two Weeks

I’d compiled a summary of my anomalous experiences of the last 18 months – so much it was a severe shock to my psyche – and I hadn’t even remembered all the events.

Before the first week was over, I discovered a new strange bruise on my arm, which I ignored, but later it faded to two little dots, like the Taser burn dots.

That week, I also got X-ray results, indicating numerous degenerative issues with my spine.  I remembered a technician and a doctor surprised that I’ve never been in a serious accident.  I couldn’t tell them that I just wake up in pain some days, with no reason to be hurt, but learn that my C7 or C2 is out of place – different directions on different days, oddly – or that my C1 is shoved up under my occiput (skull) – all for no apparent reason.  I feel like a very poorly-treated lab animal, and often think that is exactly what I am.

Earth Day began horribly.  I’d been trapped, for hours it seemed, in a nightmare in which someone was trying to come in the house, and I kept trying to scream, but could make no sound – for hours.  And another dream of a family member in shock, having had a gruesome accident.  Then an adopted cat woke me by jumping on the bed right in front of my face.

My brain and body were miserable from the hours of trying to scream, but I went to Earth Day and did my best to be cheerful while demonstrating solar ovens.

That night, I journaled that I didn’t see the point in living anymore, and made lists of reasons why leaving is a good idea (#1:  I may be programmed, still, to do things I don’t want to do), and made a list of things I should do before I die.

Suggestion for my epitaph:  “Part of her tried damn hard.”

That night, I prayed to be healed, and implied that if something wasn’t done soon or immediately, I might not believe anymore in any Help (Wow:  contradicting my #1 rule articulated just four days ago!) or any moral reason to keep on living under my circumstances.

The Break-Through

The next morning, Greg asked how I felt (dreading my answer, I’m sure), and I described feeling somewhat free of “the stuff,” but that it was still nearby, and I was simply choosing not to look at it.

Since a friend was coming over to sing, I rallied myself again.  He’s a folk music historian and banjo/guitar player who has performed for his living for decades – and suggested that we see how we sing together, as he’d like to put together a Woody Guthrie show with us.

I love that Woody “spoke truth to power” and thought this would be a wonderful change for me – from written word to song; from lonely, quiet work to singing with friends for an immediate audience; from personal confession to songs for everyone.

To our delight, our singing together was next thing to magical.  Spontaneously, we all decided to take a few songs to Open Mike, where I had the most relaxed and successful performance of my life – and my partners, both professional musicians, were as excited as I was.

This was significant!  My performance fears, I believe, have always been related to my sexual abuse on stage as a child.  So, to feel totally relaxed onstage felt absolutely like a healing.

A local photographer, a regular at these events, posted this photo of me on Facebook (that’s concentration and passion – I was happy and “totally into it”):

The next day, my partner and I spent the afternoon at the river, where I articulated the purpose of this essay:

We in healing must ride a fine balance between denial – which keeps us from awareness and healing – and obsession – which can overcome us with grief.

I haven’t yet done much work around the things that I let into my awareness two weeks ago (except for grieving) – or the things I continue to remember that aren’t even on the list yet, or the years of stuff that preceded this list – but they’re not brushed under the rug.  I will continue to try to understand them and not forget them.

My second point:  My deepest despair is usually followed by a break-through.

I guess my prayer was partly answered – though someone else might suggest that my decision to “not look” (right then) was the cause for the end of my two weeks of horror.  Maybe it’s all a slow process, and my not looking temporarily was part of the answered prayer.


I still have this 18-month list (and more memories surfacing almost daily) and am not sure of my responsibility to it.  I have assumed that I need to look at it, suss out the patterns, draw conclusions, and do something to heal!

Meantime, an acquaintance in town, who shared with me similar stuff about a year ago, has emailed to say he’s remembering things that he thinks I need to know.  Opening another can of worms….  I will probably talk with him, in time, in a safe environment, not alone, when I have the energy.  Whew, this stuff never seems to end.

My last report on healing concluded with these two commitments/suggestions: know your spiritual help and know your energetic body.  Obviously, I tested my relationship with my spiritual Help, and it seems that they responded.  And singing has always been a test of my ease within my energetic body, which also tested positively this week.

Soon, I’ll begin my first energy awareness/healing sessions with a professional and friend.  Hopefully, it’ll help me have strength and clarity to look at that list and know what to do about it.

Ride the balance, everyone.  It’s turbulent sometimes.  But when things settle down, something is usually healed.  It feels like painfully slow going, but now and then a break-through gives us hope for more.

Now, I’m going to sing….

15 thoughts on “Riding the Balance between Denial and Obsession

    1. Jean Eisenhower

      Yes, I have. I am also a certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist, though not practicing. I have a hard time trusting even friends to do the work, so need to plan to have it recorded, but then there’s the expense.

      So, I keep just doing the work myself, but commitment often flags. It seems like every day, my warrior response is different than the day before, and maybe that non-consistency is GOOD – probably a better strategy than anything too consistent, where the enemy can count on us doing something particular (hypnotic state, for instance) at a particular time. Think so?

    2. balanceenergies

      Hi Krystal…Cat here…………i have been for one session…i got on with the guy famously….but cannot afford to go back yet (or ever?)…i have wanted to do this for yrs., but have always been more than a little nervous about it….and as a sidenote to Jeans entry above..to get it recorded is tantamount……..to me anyway…………….take care people….cat

  1. insomniac

    Good one, Jean! Yes indeed, my lowest lows are always followed by my highest highs. For several months in the early 70s i kept a graph of my mood swings. Four times a day i would mark my mood level on a 1 to 10 scale. I found out two important things… my lows were always followed by highs and they were in a rough sync with the moon. Knowing that when i was low it was only a matter of time until the high was back, really took the sting out of my lows. It also helped me not take it all soo seriously. How important are these very personal feelings when they are so tied to outside infuences? Sometimes it helps me to laugh at myself when i’m down. Singing is good! =-)

    1. Jean Eisenhower

      I just tracked all my big events on the calendar for the last 18 months and found NO relation to the moon cycles – which I’d actually hoped to find, because, as you said, it would be “nice” to have them caused by an outside “natural” influence – but not really. These cycles are severe, and I’d really hate to be so affected by something natural.

      I just watched Tom Lescher’s astrology (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1r_ZRdlgVg&feature=email ), which I find humorous enough that I always look forward to watching. I totally objected to his saying that everything is about us, not about outside forces (big knee-jerk reaction!), but last week was supposed to be a get-down-and-dirty-into-yourself time – pushing many of us through something intense that has to do with looking at our own SHADOW.

      The adopted cat who woke me on that most terrible morning also peed on a rug that meant a lot to me. I found myself being cruel to him – holding his face in the wet rug far longer than necessary, experiencing my intense anger and desire to punish. (I just cancelled a euthanasia appointment I made for him afterwards.) I had never thought of myself as a cruel person, but that cat really brought it out in me and caused me to think about my own shadow. I’m still thinking about it….

  2. juicydreams

    I’ve had the impetus to write down a script of the “character” I am now acting out, her life, her situation, her baggage, her limitations, her failings and unhappiness … (almost like a playwright doing a character study) … and then commit it to the fire, burn it, and tell my self and the universe that I am officially done with that one. That it was useful, but certainly not “fun”.

    And then write a new script. And flesh out the character more each day, continuing to scribble down more description of the new character in my new life … the happy person who is integrated with Source energy, earth energy and the feeling of connection and NOWness to the point of on-going joy or at least a sense of ease.

    No past. Just now. So this is my experiment. My sense is that this dance of denial and obsession is an endless game that we play until we tire of it.

    After all, at one point in life, we enjoyed jacks, and hopscotch and all kinds of games we have since outgrown. There is no “fixing” the obsession with the answers in this game, for the pivotal aspect of the game is that what is in the shadow is to remain hidden, slightly out of our grasp, as this is the nature of the light and shadow worlds.

    So, my sense is to just walk away, and invent a new game. A game that is fun and is enjoyable. The old role was addicted to playing a game that was not fun and not enjoyable, and the only thing to do is to opt out, and declare I am officially “done”.

    1. Jean Eisenhower

      I like this a lot and am glad it worked for you. I think I’ve done something similar long ago, but it didn’t hold, obviously. Of course, I didn’t use your language or even the completeness of your exercise, just said I was closing the door on this and choosing to not post about it anymore, as though it wasn’t my story (http://paradigmsalon.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/new-year-intentions/). But then stuff began happening, and I began posting again.

      Still, I think this is an excellent exercise, perhaps as part of other work.

  3. Caroline K.

    Wow, another beautiful post. When you were talking about doubting spiritual help in the beginning of your post. I knew you would get some. I don’t know why, and sometimes it irks me, but it always seems like it comes when we are at the brink. And I do talk to God/Beingness/(Whatever any one wants to call it), and I tell the Almighty/Love and Light/(Whatever anyone wants to call it) that I am getting too old for this. I need the help sooner, not at the abyss. I’m laughing at myself. Thanks for your post. It helped because I feel like I am getting to that abyss point lately.

    1. Jean Eisenhower

      Yes, Caroline, isn’t that interesting? I know there’s wisdom to be gained on the edge, but dang…! (And you know I also say, “I’m getting too old for this!”)

      I definitely don’t like admitting my utter devastation, my near-total inability to cope, but since I know others also go through the same thing, I figure it’s good for me to be honest about the whole cycle, for others to read and be reminded that we DO keep getting back up with greater wisdom. And joy, and energy, and vision.

      I even told my partner – at my lowest low, just about to sit and write about leaving this plane – that I might just be where the Five of Swords character is in the Mythic Tarot: lying, spent, thinking of death, surrounded by Furies with their swords – while the sun is, unbeknownst to him, brightening the eastern horizon. And sure enough….

      The question still remains though: Why? What lesson have I not yet gotten that requires I repeat this cycle? Will the answer I find turn out to be something I recognize as a cliche? Like rewriting a script? Claiming one’s shadow? Dropping one’s story? Etc? Or will those cliches actually have meaning, but not be enough – that the “enough” must simply also include our own traveling ’round these cycles?

      1. Caroline K.

        You are a very honest and gracious person Jean. You say you don’t like advertising your inability to cope. No one can cope under these circimstances. I have yet to hear anyone on these sites not going through this. You hear about razor blades, guns, notes, but the best part is when you see people triumph over the “abyss,” and the triumphs are numerous thank goodness. It seems to be part of the cycle. That’s what inspires everyone/me, when in the end we realize somehow we can do it.

        You may feel differently but I always like to quote this part from Marciniak’s book: ” Therefore, to evolve, you pick particularly challenging situations in which you have to rise beyond what has been established as a ceiling or boundary of what is possible.You have become super beings in whatever reality you enter because, as a members of the Family of Light, the branch of renegades, this is your true forte. You purposely came to this planet to give yourself such a challenge so that you could be defiant—not in a way that would give you problems or create disharmony, but in a way that would create harmonic defiance. Through your harmony, you are defiant toward the old vbrational fequency.”

        1. Jean Eisenhower

          Wow, thank you for the “reminder,” Caroline. This is what I believe on good days – and I once had a phenomenal vision along this line after having been encompassed in a cocoon of vibration (told in Chapter 1 of my book), but when beaten and bruised, it’s so hard to remember.

          I’m in that in-between place now, feeling very humble (also very good for us), holding a tenuous thread to this idea, but quietly believing. Thanks. I do believe you’ve spoken for a lot of us.

  4. artemesiaspeaks

    Wow Jean, you look so ‘in the moment’ when singing! What a gift.
    I”m not a very good singer, but I like sitting in my living room singing along with John Denver. ‘Windsong’ is one of my big favorites right now.

    Congrats on making it over the hump and into the limelight, all in 1 day! Wow!

    1. Jean Eisenhower

      Singing that day was so amazing. No fear.

      How??? Somehow, something was cleared in me, but I cannot claim to know how.

      Except that I stayed with my stuff and then that day decided to leave it alone. Was that it? Leaving it alone? (Not as a spiritual exercise or anything lofty, but simply because I was too exhausted and couldn’t go back there.)

      Someone, somewhere recently (one of these posts?), wrote that the Shadow is supposed to stay our shadow, in the dark, left alone…interesting. Sorta like my Neitzsche quote…. I’ll have to go search for that Shadow comment.


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