Every week my friend and fab-o-rama coach, Lynne pulls a Tarot card or a rune for the week, to give us readers something to think about or to explain why certain issues might be “up” for us. This week’s was quite a doozie but I knew exactly what it was talking about, because it pretty much sums up what this past year has been like for me. You can read the entire text at her blog; I’ve excerpted the parts that were particularly applicable to my experience here.
“The role of Nauthiz is to identify our shadow, our dark or repressed side, places where growth has been stunted, resulting in weaknesses that are often projected onto others.”
“This is a time to pay off old debts, to restore, if not harmony, at least balance.”
“When something within you is disowned, that which is disowned wreaks havoc. A cleansing is required here; in undertaking it, you will fund a will and strengthen character.”
“Thus you are required to undergo the dark side of your passage and bring it into the light.”
Yup, that pretty much sums it up quite nicely. But as you know, if you’ve ever gone racketing around in your own unconscious for an extended period of time, there’s a b-i-g difference between reading these words on a page and actually undergoing the process. A difference which I think can best be expressed by the phrase HOLY. F&%@!!
For the longest time, the unconscious force that drove me was something very odd, yet very powerful. I used to belong to a church that was very big into anticipating The End Times-all the stuff in the book of Revelation where the world ends and Christ comes again.
I also attended the school that was a part of the church, and they started teaching me all this scary stuff-Antichrist, Armageddon, Tribulation-when I was in the second grade. And, hello, no seven year old needs to know about that!
Then when I was in the 6th grade they taught me that, according to the way they interpreted the Bible the Rapture was going to happen in 1988. (If you are not a recovering Baptist, the Rapture-as I was taught-is the time when Jesus comes back briefly to slurp up all the Christians from the earth, leaving everyone else behind to endure unspeakable misery and suffering.)
If you did not grow up with this idea constantly being forced on you, I don’t know if I can describe what something like that does to your psyche.
First of all, it is deeply unsettling to spend every second of your life worrying that you are suddenly going to be whisked away against your will. Because frankly, I didn’t want to go to heaven just yet. There were lots of things I wanted to do first. So that meant that for the first 15 years of my life every time I couldn’t find my parents, or someone wasn’t where they were supposed to be, I was terrified that the rapture had happened and I’d been left behind. And that is a fear I would never wish on anyone-not even my worst enemy.
Another thing it did was to keep me completely disconnected from my self and my life at all times. I was afraid to open up to anything or anyone too much, and heaven forbid I should actually enjoy myself, because at any moment the rapture was going to come and take everything away from me, and take me away from everything.
So I never learned how to be present in my body, in my mind, in my emotions, in my life. And consequently, my past has been strewn with all the parts of me and all the life experiences that I just could not handle. For a large portion of my life I felt like I was outside my body looking in, because it was just too damn scary to fully inhabit myself with the constant threat of annihilation hanging over my head. (And don’t even get me started on how I was supposed to be happily looking forward to and desiring this horrible event to occur!) The easiest, safest thing for me to do has always been to just disconnect.
And on top of all of that, I was convinced that I was not going to live past the age of 16, which was how old I was in 1988. I was convinced that I only got to go to my sophomore year in high school and then that was it-no more. And so every birthday, every New Year’s Eve, every anniversary of any kind, well that just meant that I was one year closer to death.
Frankly I am amazed that I even made it through all of that, and not only did I survive, but I have also thrived. But I have certainly had my share of STUFF to work through. And this past year has been about going back to heal myself. Because this was abusive. This was traumatic. This wounded me.
For one thing I did have a day where I finally realized that, holy cow, I’m married! And a grownup! And apparently I’m going to have to figure out something to do with this life, because apparently I actually am going to be here to live it out. I never thought I had to deal with that issue because I didn’t think I’d be living past the age of 16. I hadn’t really been paying attention to learning any “grown-up” skills, because I didn’t think I’d ever need them.So that was a rather rude awakening-“I’m here, now what?”
I’ve also spent a lot of time going back and collecting all the various parts of me that split off throughout the years because they were just too much for me to handle. And it is not an easy thing, first of all, to have to deal with all this trauma, but also to have to face the fact that even though you may be 34 years old, your inner 17 year old has been running your relationship to money, and your inner 12 year old has been setting the tone for how you deal with change, and your inner 19 year old has been driving the bus in all your relationships. Even though is certainly explained a lot of things, it was still a bit of a jolt.
And if that weren’t enough, I realized that I also had to take responsibility for all the STUFF that happened between me and all the people in my life. Some of this has been fun, like reconnecting with old teachers and friends, and thanking them for the difference they made in my life. And some of it has sucked, like admitting to certain people that I was wrong and asking for their forgiveness. That is not easy to do, especially when your Deadly Sin of choice is Pride.
So needless to say, during this past year I have really gone through the wringer. It has definitely helped me get to a better place, but Universe, if you’re listening? I could REALLY use a break.