“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.
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 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….