When something happens to you, your responsibility is not in that it happened: it’s already happened after all, you cannot change what happened no matter how much you wish you could. Your responsibility is in your choices, actions, decisions and response after the event, now in this moment. What are you going to do with “it”, your Jabberwocky, your captor?
Are you going to dwell on it, turning the event and feelings associated with it over and over in yourself again and again, pocketing it, “forgetting” about it and suddenly feeling called to bring it out and up again? Or, are you going to do the work that must be done because to choose otherwise is to choose captivity?
Choosing to do the work means you will fall, stumble and pick through the rubble, get dirty, pick yourself up with what you know to be true for you, the “you” that is underneath all the crap that life can weigh you with, let your tears wash over you, unchain yourself from your captor, open your eyes, see for yourself what you have been chained to what is no longer serving you, choose to let that go, acknowledge yourself and forge ahead.
When you make the choice to do the work, no matter what has happened to you, or is happening now, you are not alone. There is help, there is support, there is a way out, connection, love, relationships – you are not alone. No matter how alone you may feel, how isolated, how lacking in resources: you are not alone.
Find helpers (friends, teachers, therapists, acupuncturists, doctors, pets, etc.) who HEAR and SEE you for you. Your network of support, your safety net, will be able to hold you without putting their shit on you. This network takes time to weave, it takes care and conscientiousness. There will be no conditions that you have to be one way or another in order for you to reach out into your network fto get the support that you need. You show up as you are, if it is a tangled mess, if it is glowing and happy, if you are in the pit and need a rope, you are who you are right now and it is okay, all of it: messy, glowing, deep in it… Your helpers will help you find the thread that can start the untangling process, they’ll rejoice in your happiness, they’ll throw a rope to you so you can pull yourself out, they’ll hold you while you cry yourself to sleep, they will be solid when you feel fluid. They’ll tell you “you will get through this” as many times as you need to hear it. They will tell you, “I am proud of you for doing this, for working on yourself, for your healing.” Most importantly, your helpers will listen to you and accept you as you are showing you that you are not alone, that you have a team to support you when you need it most.
If someone proclaims to know more of your experience, emotions, feelings, past, etc. than you – they are not your helper. The fact of the matter is, if you are asking your network for help, it is not the helper’s responsibility to place their burdens or to set the conditions/terms on how you should feel or act from one moment to the next. Their feelings, their crap, is not yours. They are not concerned about you, they are concerned with themselves; their Ego and perception of the world is at stake, and they are unable to support you with open arms and hearts. They are the burrs that trap you and prevent you from moving beyond where you are now. If you have to give, give, give of yourself in order to receive a little bit of support, or if you have to fit yourself into a preconceived box in order to receive support, if you feel like you cannot speak your truth – it is likely not the kind of support that is truly helpful: unconditional, filled with empathy, caring and compassion.
You do not have to tell anyone what you are going through, you do not have to work with who you are referred to, you don’t even have to confide in your closest friends or family members. It is your choice who you talk to, how much you reveal, and how often you talk.
People who hear and see you for you are those who see the light, the you that is not affected by this thing, the authentic eternal you. These are the people who know in their heart of hearts that you are still there, needing support and cheer-leading, able to speak the words that make you feel like you are doing it, that you can do it, that you are capable of letting “it” go. Those are the people who can help you, those are the people you should hold tight. They are priceless gems and treasures, treasures beyond treasures, full of empathy and love, caring, support, and guidance.
Because of this work, you will have to look at yourself and what you have gone through, you will have to process it (body, mind, soul) and do something with it. You will have to take responsibility for yourself and change; change your patterns of behavior and interaction. You will be met with obstacles, landslides, floods, downpours, quakes, fury and fire. You can make it through the storm, through those waves into the calm.
Through therapy and meditation, we start to see ourselves in a new way. (As I am not a therapist, I will focus on meditation.) Contrary to popular opinion or assumption, the goal of meditation is not to obtain a state of bliss or nirvana, contentment, happiness or joy. Wouldn’t that be nice?! To be all light with no dark! How do we know we are in light without having dark as a reference, a contrast, a comparison?
Meditation is about sitting, and letting whatever comes come, letting whatever comes go, and witnessing it without judgement (good, bad, right, wrong, fear, happiness, etc.). Meditation is about letting things be as they are, and letting our innate selves… grow. The body and mind change around us, we do not change and move around them. Just as a tree is a tree whether it is winter or summer, we are still us whether we are in a swirl of thoughts or a state of calm. Meditation is about embracing and being your choice, your freedom to choose your response, your action, your reaction.
Your mind, your thoughts, are empty, meaningless. The clarity that emerges, can emerge, sometimes emerges, is what I think some people call “bliss”. To me, it is more of a state of peace and freedom. Freedom because you are no longer chained to your mind, your thoughts, or your feelings. YOU choose how you respond: you don’t jump on board with the runaway train that is your mind to get swept away, or scratch the itch at the end of your nose, do you? When you love your partner, spouse, friend, child, pet and they do something you don’t like – does it mean you don’t love them? Underneath that layer of frustrated emotion, you still love them, don’t you? If you feel angry, are YOU angry? Is that your innate nature, your innate authentic self?
That is what meditation is to me (and what therapy): underneath all the layers of crap I am me, I am here in this moment and I am discarding the crap that I’ve acquired that isn’t me. Who are you without all of the crap that you have acquired?
This work, this shit, can be hard and messy. It takes time, effort, consistency, dedication, commitment. If you are being called within your deepest self to resolve your Jabberwocky captor, listen to yourself and do what you can. You make the decisions, you make the choice, here, now.
Light takes years to move across the universe. And like the universe, we are infinitely small and large; your light is there, just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean you aren’t each moving towards each other right now. You can choose to look up from your “it” and go to the light, or you can let the light pass you by while you keep turning “it” over and over. How long do you want to look at, or run from, your captor and crap?
It will feel like interminable slogging, this work. It will feel like it is taking “forever”, that you are a failure and a mess, that you are damaged, broken, beyond repair, and you will never get out of your rubble pile. We all have to do this in order to heal, to choose what we must bring with us on the next phase of our journey, to change or disengage from the patterns and behaviors that no longer work for us. You are not broken, you are not beyond repair, you are not damaged, a failure or a mess – you are pulling yourself out of the rubble, you are becoming more of who you really are. What a wonderful thing that is!
Time is a funny, subjective, thing: one minute can feel like an hour, and an hour can feel like a minute. Days can drag by, and months seem to disappear. Time is an artifice – ignore the ticking of the clock, allow it to turn into the sound of rain so you can focus on what is most important: your healing. In the end, this will take as long as it takes, let it wash over you.
There is light on the other side – it may seem like it is at the end of the solar system, but it is there. Whatever your “it” is, “it” is not everything. “It” is something that happened, or is happening, but it is not your totality. “It” is not you. “It” seeks to keep you in its wake, drowning, deprived of the light that is you. Remember that: you may be in the pit or darkness now, but you were once in the light, and you can get reclaim it, to shrug off this veil that has been covering your eyes.
Sometimes we have to go underground, into the belly of our underworld, in order to learn and see that we need to pull ourselves out and get ourselves to a better place. Just like light and dark, if there is an underworld, there is an outer/upper world.
We are, each of us, unique, walking along our own paths, yet we are not alone in having to walk these paths. We can stay where we are, nestled in and feeling how we feel, or we can fly out and live life, free and with the ability to choose for ourselves how to live, respond, feel. That is the journey.
The journey isn’t the end-game: the award, the diploma, the paycheck, the promotion, the climax of the book, it is what we do each and every day, the choices we make, to become more of who we are. It is tilling the soil of the earth, picking weeds, removing stones, cultivating and yielding the fruits of our labors, only to till the soil again and again, to pick more and more weeds, to remove more stones, to bear fruit time and again. The journey is showing up time after time and doing the work that needs to be done: to be more true to yourself.
Are you ready to get your hands in the earth that is you?