Call off the Search: How I stopped seeking and found peace
Chapter 10: Every Day Healing
Going through boxes as part of getting ready to move, old photos of me as a child- how terribly sad I looked at ten, better a bit later. My school books, I threw out. My son’s, I kept. My mum’s CV- travelled the world hitchhiking alone in 1968, all sorts of different community projects, renovating a derelict house singlehanded with two young children. My grandmother’s travel diary from when she took me as a sulky fifteen year old to Italy. Photographs of me in dresses my other grandmother made. A note from my grandmother after my grandfather died, ‘from grandpa with his deep love for you’.
Ancestors give you stuff; they pass on their attributes, and their weaknesses, they give you experiences, they show you how to be, as well as how not to be. They invest in you, give their love and time and attention, but the fruits of their labours may only fully blossom and then ripen once they and most of their things are long gone.
My mother’s mother commented on others’ lives right up to the end. She tried to control my mum’s life, or at least she commented on it, right up until she died, by which time my mum was in her sixties. Right up to the last months of her life she would tell me I was fat, in front of visitors and other family members. My mum doesn’t say anything directly to me, which is an improvement. And if I can learn not to tell my son what to do with his life and not talk about him behind his back, then that will have improved things even more. (Don’t tell my son how to live his life- this includes indirect references to things that could be construed as, or actually are, unsolicited advice- telling him about the Hare Krishna mantra was borderline at best.)
I used to just have guilt around my mother and my son, then I learned to have a little bit of anger as well, to be able to say aloud (or at least, to write down): bringing up my son was very difficult, I had a difficult child to bring up. (He was brought up by a teenage mother who didn’t know what she was doing, so he probably has loads of anger too, but that is for him, not me.) Into and throughout my adult life, I have had a mother who has very strong opinions and judgements about most things, especially men. It’s not so much the views themselves, but how stridently they are held, so that it’s hard to be free to be yourself. Myself. Funny how that’s hard to write. (But it’s not about her needing to do anything or that she should do anything- it’s for me to do the work, it’s for me to set myself free, to be free, and just do whatever I want without defending or justifying myself).
Emotions to deal with: anger: access and make friends with it, enjoy allowing myself to feel it and then let go, but I can’t let go until I stop repressing it. I could even be angry with my younger self, instead of always being so compassionate, poor her, etc. etc. You could have done so much, you were hot, you were powerful; you silly stubborn thing, determined to be miserable! I am perfectly happy now, but I am just saying; Wow, you made it hard for yourself/us!
Maybe instead of guilt being my default response to everything I could experiment with other things, like anger, like hedonism, like self care comes first, for example.
I hardly EVER go in record shops but I was with a friend who collects vinyl so we went in one, and there in front of me was a Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy poster. I thought it was an original old one, I didn’t realise it was advertising a 30 year anniversary tour. If I’d said anything out loud the record shop man or my friend might have realised I was confused and put me right, but I didn’t. Thirty years ago I was fifteen and so desperate to see them, I was at boarding school and not allowed out. A boy in my year went, his dad made an excuse so he could go, I was so jealous. They played for fifteen minutes with their backs to the audience and walked off but still, it had been one of life’s big regrets. But luckily for me the universe gave me another chance. A few weeks later a patient asked to go to a concert-this is a fairly unusual request- and I also fairly unusually offered to get involved and look up local gig programmes… I looked up the UEA programme and there it was, Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy 30 year anniversary tour £25.
Oh, thank you, thank you, so much pleasure. I went on my own to just soak it all up. A sound bath; the lights red with gun like firing of individual white lights, a wall of dry ice lit white, almost all the stage eclipsed. Seeing mosh pit kids, a girl with dark hair, her face lit up with happiness. Images on the screen, a serious, sad looking girl (me, at fifteen, thirty years ago) and then at the end a pair of infrared heat image hands, (me now, healing hands). I don’t want anything to come between me and this awareness. The bar tender gives me free sparkling water, a man gives me a token for free car parking. You don’t need to ask for help to make your path, you have created this life, and it is perfect.
On healing… I don’t believe in spirit guides or anything like that, not for me anyway, they may well be true for other people. I’ve been doing it a while now, and with experience comes confidence that it will come, and so it comes… I only have to think about healing, or raise my hands above a person and they heat up. I relax and tune in to all that feeling, and concentrate my mind and energies on giving healing- just thinking that that is what I am doing is enough really, and then just staying in focus. I start with resting hands lightly on shoulders, then go over the chakras, then back to the shoulders. And, often, bliss: like being ensconced in a bubble of love, feet swaying, body swaying, dizzy, feels almost the same getting it as giving it, except when giving I stay in focus that that is what I am doing. I see green light sometimes. A lovely warm feeling, purposeful, like I know what I am here for.
Healing a woman who said she felt as if she had stress in every area of her life, but was ‘trying to think positive as there’s other people worse off’ (i.e. telling herself off for feeling bad). I think trying to be positive when you don’t feel it is self invalidating and can cause more suffering and I also think the message has been corrupted; it’s more about remaining intact, having faith no matter what, not being happy no matter what. It’s like how people have interpreted mindfulness to be stopping all your thoughts- which my counsellor says is nonsense.
I am finding my own opinions, my own way of doing things. My own levels of healing: I had met John as I started to heal, more stuff came up, re childhood stuff, I dealt with that and moved on. Later, more stuff came up, I began counselling, and as I am healed, I become a better healer. I am a stronger healer for having gotten better (lately got really strong, same time as the counselling?
My teacher said, ‘this is Sadie, she is a very powerful healer.’ I remember her saying a while back, you have to sort yourself out first, i.e. before you become a healer, well yes, to a certain extent but then the healing helps you to further heal, in ways you may not have identified without embarking on it (like art therapy and having to have your own psychotherapy along the way as part of it). It’s perfectly natural really that it should be this way.
Practiced healing on Kim after yoga. She is a healer and I worried, what if she doesn’t feel anything, but afterwards she said it was the strongest energy she had ever felt from a healer. She doesn’t work full time, each morning she does chi gung and meditates and sends healing to people- goes through their bodies, sometimes does an hour as she has time and it made me realise, it validated: This stuff is important, even though work is the thing that pays the bills, or, the fact that work pays the bills doesn’t mean it is the central thing of value in your life. Meditation and healing are the pivotal things around which life can revolve (this concept of pivots etc comes up a lot in yoga). Build my life outside of work, invest in these things, and they will invest in me/all will be well.
Did healing on John- he said my hands felt so hot he could feel the heat off my hand which was on his chest, he could feel the heat on his throat, under chin, and when my hands were on his shoulders he could feel it all through his body.
At work I saw someone at lunch that I hadn’t seen for ages. I think it was to show me that I am different now. Sometimes you only notice by encountering a person or situation from past and finding that you respond differently and feel different. I noticed the way he seemed so supportive yet it is just business; the way he criticised people I liked, the way he gave me advice… And I realised, I don’t need your advice and support, I have outgrown you. I am not that anxious awkward person in awe of having dinner at the Premier Inn with people from head office. I am capable and confident.
Swimming pool empty and friendly- two people talked to me.
Car park almost full, spaces looked a bit tight for me but then I find two spaces next to each other and what was more, one also had a space in front of it so I could drive straight through to be facing ready to go.
Two staff at the whole foods shop, astonishingly friendly, talking at length about their cats.
Driving home in the dark, I noticed the pretty pointy silhouette of a chapel, a beautifully illuminated pink neon No Vacancies sign and a pretty yellow window lit up.
A meeting got postponed so I only have to do one report not two this week.
The secretaries next door offering me biscuits just as I was getting hungry at 4pm.
All falling into place ‘live life as though everything is rigged in your favour.’
Sitting on floor, stapling papers, staples ran out and I remembered I’d found a little chunk of staples the day before and put them by my computer just within arm’s reach.
A member of staff I don’t know being extra nice and friendly, like the staff in the whole foods shop.
Finding some extra pouches of cat food so I don’t need to go shopping today.
Home, stars, little walk.
My stepdaughter saying ‘let’s go home and have hot dogs* and watch Buffy on the sofa with blankets and one cat each, what more could we want?’ *vegetarian ones
Someone at work introducing me: ‘this woman is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and you can tell by looking at her that she is just like this at home too’.
Someone else saying that I have the happiest team in the hospital.
One of my staff bought me a posh houseplant ‘because you’d been having a hard time recently, I wanted to give you something happy.’
A moment shared with a member of staff on her last day. ‘As you go up the ranks it can be, ‘Lonely’’, we both said at the same time.
After going to a friend’s party, John saying, that’s the most relaxed I’ve seen you in company, even making jokes!
An old friend asking, are you still writing and me saying yes, he said I’m glad and me asking, are you still drawing and him saying yes, but it’s just a hobby, I’ve accepted that and me saying me too (except I haven’t, not really).
Massage today, didn’t have the surface niggles, so went deeper.
I ‘woke up’ on the massage table, hair everywhere, enlivened, thinking, what if I just arrived here, what would I observe about myself? I am hungry for good healthy food, I have a nice job, I am a healer in training, I am married, I have an adult son and two step children, I drive around a lot and go away with work no problem, I sleep well, I exist separately to my thoughts.
I get up early in the morning, compared with John anyway, who gets up half an hour before he needs to leave, I allow about an hour and a half or two hours. Partly because I faff around a lot and also this year I have been meditating but the real reason I like this time is that now and again I will have a little treat: I will put the internet on and check my emails or I will sit at the bottom of the stairs and read for five minutes or I will do a little sorting out job, something that I wouldn’t normally do in the morning before I leave for work. I had one of those moments looking at my bookshelf. John’s sister was coming to stay with her friend and spiritual guru so I had been getting the room ready. I started thinking about books and the bookshelf as it is in the spare room. I thought first about if I had anything to lend John’s sister, and then I thought about if they looked through the books on the bookshelf, and wondered if I should put them in any sort of order.
I looked at them impassively, as an outsider would, and this is what I saw: John’s books, sci fi, psychedelic, spiritual novels, and mine: New Zealand literature and creative writing books; a set of women’s erotica, all containing a short story written by me; Eat Pray Love, various other spiritual journey books, all mixed up and mixed in with Lace (from when I was 11 or 12, not the original copy, although it looks like it, old and battered. I can still remember the woman being fingered and brought to orgasm in the cellar, whilst wearing a primrose suit). Princess Daisy, ditto, loved for the hot lesbian scene; When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr, and The Fault in my Stars. All the books I have listed are my favourites. If that paints a picture of me, I feel it is strangely accurate. Looking at myself reflected back to me via the medium of my bookshelf was a thoughtful and nice experience, a concrete illustration of my eclecticness. That I am made up of a lot of different things that are strangely synthesised into something pretty. I like the way the bookcase is, I am happy for people to look at it.