A photo I took of some graffitti in an abandoned home in Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea in Southern California. ‘Knowing’ in our internal chaos.
A friend shared the incredible video below for International Women’s Day yesterday. I watched it today while dealing with feelings of fear and stress and anger. I bawled my eyes out.
I have had many realisations recently about negative emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, guilt, shame, indignation, etc.
The main thrust of my realisations is that all of these feelings are sign posts to the work we must do to connect to our hearts, our desires, to live our purpose, they are about us, not the external world. The external world simply pushes us to see ourselves, and we tend to resist that, at least I always have.
I have always internalised these feelings as self-blame, blaming myself for not taking a form of responsibility for my feelings – I have to do something about this, I have to change my life to stop these feelings coming up, my actions, or inactions have caused these feelings – Or I externalised them in righteous indignation – this person is disrespecting me, disempowering me, not seeing me, being unjust, they are a bad person/I pity them/I have no time for them – in both cases I have thought that I need to shut something down, protect myself, clear the negativity out of my being by cutting cords, protecting myself from outside influence, most often through retreat, but also through entreaty to others – please don’t do this to me! – what I am truly learning now is that I am doing this to myself.
These feelings are all information about internal work for us to do, mostly fears to release, not information about the world around us and the ways in which we need to protect ourselves from it. Of course I have come across these ideas and understood them intellectually before, feeling the understanding coursing through my veins is a different matter. And now applying this new understanding through my most overwhelming feelings and seeing what that does.
I have seen many times in the past how changing my feelings about a situation will change the situation, like literally change them, not just my perspective on them. I once had a plumbing issue, I did some meditation, sent reiki to my home and feelings about my home in general and it actually started working again. When I’ve felt good and in flow transport links in London have all connected perfectly (highly unusual!) and I’ve arrived at exactly the right time at my destination, no matter what time I left, when I’ve cleared up negative feelings about a friend they’ve called me immediately, etc, etc. But there have always been areas of my life where I felt I couldn’t achieve this. Where I have felt I lack agency, whether I admit that to myself or not.
One of these areas is my close relationships. I see people I am close to as having the ability to hurt me and all I can do is retreat and heal, or try to protect myself from future hurt by retreating either physically or emotionally.
In the last few weeks I have been doing an enormous amount of tarot shadow work (see Cards), the Pisces moon plus a bunch of other factors has had me on a roll! A lot of this was done with my wonderful friend who I dropped off at the airport yesterday. We have been able to do so much shadow work together because for some reason we really trust each other with our shit, we are creators of safety for each other. I felt so supported and beautifully, lightly held with her. Today my husband is returning and I am going to pick him up from the airport. My amazing relationship with my husband is of course what brings much of my crap to the surface.
Honestly, if both me and my friend weren’t in the romantic relationships we’re currently in, if we didn’t have intimate partners to butt up against, I don’t think we would have been able to delve so deep, our shit would still be locked away, not frothing at the surface in the way that the reliance, the power dynamic, the tying of your fate to that of another, will do. Both of us spent all of our twenties and the first halves of our thirties staying well clear of romantic relationships that would really bring up our shit. We certainly had some that made us feel like shit, but only now are we truly understanding how that is absolutely not the same thing. We have spent a LONG time protecting ourselves from really seeing ourselves in the relationship mirror, or at all for that matter.
So today I woke up feeling fears in my stomach, feeling nervous. I woke up very early and couldn’t get back to sleep, but instead of trying to force myself back to sleep I got up, did half an hour of yoga, cleaned the kitchen, wrote a blog post and was still able to get to my Italian lesson on time (well about 8 minutes late, apparently thats on time here though so I see to be acclimatising!) After all the work I’ve been doing on myself the last few weeks I felt a real shift had occurred and was really proud of myself, I have struggled to behave so positively towards myself as far back as I can remember. I bounced (to some great tunes I might add) all the way to my teacher’s house.
Before leaving I’d sent my husband a message to ask if I’d got his arrival time right, in the coffee break of my lesson I checked my phone to see if he’d replied. I was already a bit worried that I might’ve got it wrong and might need to leave the lesson early. He hadn’t, I checked when he’d last been online, last night. My stomach tightened. My husband is going through some very difficult stuff at the moment, I knew he had been exhausted and upset yesterday, I also knew he was meeting a friend for drinks. My mind flashed with images of him drunk, exhausted, upset and out of control, that something terrible had happened, I felt sick. I couldn’t concentrate on my lesson anymore, I was counting down the minutes until I could leave and manically check every source of information I could think of to work out what had happened to my husband, and possibly throw up on a street corner.
As soon as I got out of the lesson I started checking my phone for clues. I walked so fast I was almost running. But the walking served to calm me somewhat and I really checked in on what was going on. The worries for his safety were just brief flashes, the emotion I was feeling was not really worry. I was actually angry at him. I was angry that he had not thought about how I might be feeling. He knew I had a tendency to worry if he dropped communication, he was being selfish and insensitive! Irresponsible! He was harming me, he was making me worry, this wasn’t healthy for me, didn’t he care about me!
I noticed the righteous indignation… what was this about in me? I checked in, made myself be honest. I didn’t want to get to the airport and it not be the right time. I didn’t want to fuck up, either by arriving way too early and sitting around worrying, or arriving late and pissing my husband off, my husband who had in fact told me his flight times the day before, I just wasn’t sure I was remembering correctly.
I realised this was one of my core issues with not making mistakes, not fucking up, and also with being the perfect carer for others. He wasn’t giving me enough information to be perfect for him. I suddenly felt a wave of release, what was the issue? I’d go to the airport, if he was already there, well he’d just have to wait. If he hadn’t landed yet and hadn’t been in touch all morning to tell me, well I’d figure it out from there and I could totally just go home and he could get the train when he did arrive. If something bad had happened obviously that would be another matter, but seriously why think about that? As a friend’s dad wisely says ‘worrying is like praying for what you don’t want’.
I got home, sat on the toilet (I know, Too Much Information! I was releasing :)) and clicked on this video:
I bawled. It was a real releasing bawl. I flushed, went and sat down in front of my laptop and started to write this. A message came through on my phone. “No nonwait” it was my hungover husband on his layover in Milan letting me know I was wrong about the arrival time, exactly 15 minutes before I was due to leave the house. I felt so much love and affection for his poor little hungover self. His real arrival time gave me exactly enough time to have some lunch and finish writing this.