As I write this we are on day 30 of Duolingo. At the Portuguese café I said Obrigada so well a man spun around surprised and asked me if I was in fact Portuguese. The reality is I can only say badly pronounced sentences such as ‘the woman eats an apple.’ ‘You need to get close, get a Portuguese boyfriend,’ he said.
We like to keep a low profile; this was shattered when our car alarm went off nine times in the middle of the night; we slept through it and the neighbour over the road banging on the door…
I got temporarily traumatised by some training on my induction training. Not by the huge volume of eLearning I had to work through, a problem that will be familiar to anyone working in health and social care. No, by the Safeguarding Adults training. Tip- if you are of a sensitive disposition, and the trainer says, this video comes with an extreme trigger warning, I cannot stress this enough, and gives you an option of not watching it, then don’t watch it. Anyway.
I used to follow the Buddhist teaching of ‘guarding the gates of your senses.’ I remained resentful, furious even, if people told me things I didn’t want to hear, because in some cases it took me years, over a decade, to forget.
My first thought was, I’m going to be stuck with this now, possibly for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to be alone, I wanted to cuddle all the time, I was extremely sensitive to the slightest raised voice or joke seriousness. I didn’t want to be in the bedroom alone. I didn’t even want to be outside the front door having a cigarette alone. I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts. I went over and over it, in the complete detail. I tried to push it away, it kept coming. In the end I allowed it to come without pushing it away.
I searched for the lesson in it, (beyond, heed trigger warnings- which I did on the next batch of training, protecting myself this time) and concluded that it was my horizons being forcibly expanded. I’ve chosen a job in this field, and that means I’m going to come face to face with things that most people do not want to think about. Maybe it is time to Open the Gates. Perhaps to become stronger and manage more than I realised. Perhaps like Ganesh in Pushkar, who told us he watched the news in India, so that, ‘I know there is everything.’
Shortly after this, I had a Conversation With My Son About The Past. This was set up by my husband on the request of my son, after having done preliminary conversations with us both. I had previously thought I would go to my grave having never had this conversation but on the day I actually initiated it. I felt dizzy only for a moment, then it was tolerable. I moved, and leant on the doorframe. It was like stepping through a portal, or breaking the fourth wall. A few days after that, he called my husband and said he was making two important actions to look after his health. Is that a coincidence? There’s no such thing as coincidences.
The back bedroom, the warmest, sunniest, sweetest room in the house
Of course it can’t stay like that… Because we have stuff, and because of who we are. We wear the house lightly. This messy minimalism, helps me not to take it all too seriously.
Understanding shadow work, at last, as it pertains to me, not as an abstract theory or Instagram saying. I realised that pushing away that aspect of me also pushes away the creative individual. I hold onto some ideal which I’m not, and deny the sparky original aspects of myself into the bargain. I never understood this properly before. By accepting the so called bad you accept the so called good. Instead of blocking, and continually hoping for something else, some impossible wish; instead accepting what is, and then what is comes rushing in, and it isn’t, after all, that bad. I’m constantly tensed against so much, literally twisting and turning away, from what, what is so bad?
Shadow work, all work, is a continual process of waking up, realising, forgetting, learning; like peeling an onion until all that’s left is you, sitting in an empty room, alone.
Thank you very much for reading
12 RULES FOR BEING HUMAN HANDED DOWN FROM ANCIENT SANSKRIT
1. You will receive a body
2. You will learn lessons
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons
4. A lesson will be repeated until it is learned
5. Learning lessons does not end
6. ‘There’ is no better than ‘here’
7. Others are merely mirrors of you
8. What you make of your life is up to you
9. Life is exactly what you think it is
10. Your answers lie inside of you
11. You will forget all of this
12. You can remember it whenever you want