I’ve always had issues with being grounded. Very early in this life, some parts of my psyche decided it wasn’t safe to inhabit this body… and it wasn’t safe to allow Her in, either. So I spent almost 40 years living completely in my head, with my Soul most of the time hovering somewhere just above me.
Ever since I started to wake up from that dream, I’d been strongly drawn to healing modalities that relied on verbal techniques, entertained my mind and allowed me to intellectualise my physical and emotional patterns. A couple of years ago, I went to a spiritual retreat held at a power site in India. I experienced huge spiritual fireworks, major mystical revelations and some mythical conversations with Shiva and Shakti and Kali that looked and felt viscerally real. And by the end of 10 days, I was so ungrounded I was practically levitating.
Shortly afterwards, I made a firm commitment to become more embodied… to actually heal IN my body. And then there was this book, and then Montana. I can’t get off this roller coaster now, even if I wanted to. The only way out is down and in.
So late last week, I came back to the house on the rock from visiting with my sister and completely delicious baby nephew, all fired up about starting to write a book on my journey through corporate burnout. My intention is to describe the structure and foundations of my own dream with ruthless honesty, so that perhaps a few other women who are still dreaming might choose to wake up. So how did I decide to start? By writing a list of all the times I had abandoned Her – all the moments during my corporate career when I’d had a flash of despair and knew I was in the wrong place, yet chose not to leave because I was scared.
Unsurprisingly, I quickly felt completely miserable. Still dealing with the abandonment stories that got triggered a couple of weeks ago, I fell into yet another version of an old and familiar story: “I abandoned myself for so long, I am now fundamentally broken. There was and is still something wrong with me. I need to be fixed, but I don’t know how to make it better.”
Thankfully, my guardian angels are on the job and had scheduled me a chat with a wise and skilled medicine woman who proceeded to call me on my bullshit. I’m paraphrasing here (she used far more gentle and loving language) but she essentially said this: “Why the hell would you do that to yourself right now? What you need right now is compassion. What you need right now is love. And in case you haven’t noticed, now that he’s gone there is no-one else on that rock to provide it except you. So maybe you’d better start really loving yourself, before you even think about trying to be of service to anyone else.”
It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.
Because although I’ve spent the past four years dedicated full-time to my own recovery, far too often I’ve approached it as a serious project that needs to be planned and managed and finished. I’ve tackled my own healing journey with a kind of grim determination that wasn’t too different from the way I used to go to work… which is (of course) how I burned out in the first place. Oh the beautiful irony – I fooled myself into believing that I could essentially bully myself back to health and vitality. And in the process, I became my own victim.
So this week, there’s a new resolution. I’m moving into my body and I’m moving towards life. It’s the most simple practice I’ve adopted yet. I’m not chasing mystical revelations. There is no promise of spiritual fireworks. Most importantly, it offers no entertainment for my mind.
It’s just sitting and listening to my body. Noticing how she moves. Noticing when and how she contracts. Sitting on the rock, anchored into the heart of the earth. Lying on the rock, allowing myself to be held. Slowing down. Dropping in. Feeling the heaviness as my nervous system lets go and my skeleton stands up. Returning and returning to what’s here, in this body, right now.
I still plan to write about my corporate dream. But it can wait. In particular, that part of the book can wait until I love all of me, including (and especially) the versions and parts of me that abandoned Her.
So I’m starting a new list – of all the times I chose Her, all the times I chose love, all the times I chose to move towards life. Because the journey out of darkness is also part of the book and it’s a more helpful focus for me over the next couple of months. But even before I start working on that new list, there are novels to be read and baths to be wallowed in and raw chocolate mousse to be savoured and girlfriends to laugh with over red wine and all seven seasons of the Vampire Slayer to be devoured in greedy binges on rainy days (watch out for my upcoming post: “Everything I Needed to Know About Self-Love I Learned From Buffy”.)
Because there is nothing wrong with me. In fact, I’m pretty fucking awesome and I’m finally treating myself like that is true. It’s probably not a coincidence that, since making my new resolution, I can feel Her with me more often and more strongly than ever.
Because apparently I have to love me before I can feel how much She does.