Comforting Words: Wilderness Journal: Day 1

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wilderness Journal: Day 1

The Beginning: At the Center

Each morning I will locate myself in the Center by lighting a candle or candles and sitting in silence while the Eternal Fire burns away the falsehood that I must realize in order to proceed on the healing journey for the day. It is important to “stay in the now,” and so, the ritual is for “this day,” and is renewable each morning starting at the Center.

From the center, I moved northerly. According to Native Spirituality, the North, represented by blue, is symbolic of winter but more importantly for me, it is the place of defeat and trouble.

That is exactly what I have been feeling since my partner announced that she really did not want our 16-year relationship any longer. I knew I was in serious trouble lying in the Emergency Room after trying to kill myself by overdosing on aspirins, ibuprofens and my diabetes medication - Metformin.

As such, Day 1 begins in the North for now, until a shift in the direction is felt. In that place of trouble, it is important to acknowledge where and in what ways you feel defeated. The first step therefore for me was to read Scripture or some other text that I will use as a sacred guide for this Day 1.

Today’s Scripture:

Proverbs 3: 5 -6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

The next step in this process is that of acknowledgement. I firmly believe that what we do not acknowledge we cannot heal.

Acknowledgement of Vulnerability: The Trouble Spots

In my case, my deepest despair and the moments when I feel most defeated are:


  1. The memories – as I look around the space that we shared everything reminds me of our history, things as small as an ashtray or as large as the bedroom furniture. Not everything holds good memories. For example, the living room couch constantly reminds me of the moment I felt most betrayed – by my partner and our friend.

  2. Nights – sleep was eluding me and I had become afraid of the evenings and nights, as this was the time we would watch television together, have a meal and go to bed. We were sharing the same room up to the morning that my partner left for good. I hated the nights and in order to get any sleep and keep the thoughts of ending my life at bay, I had started sleeping with a lit candle.

  3. Diet/Nutrition – I am a diabetic and so watching what I eat is crucial, however, for almost two weeks now, my eating has been minimal. I have no appetite and am simply eating to stay alive. On this day, my meals were:
    Breakfast - One egg and a small Banana Lunch – One slice raisin bread (toasted and with butter)
    Dinner – Leftovers: approximately two spoons rice, peas and two slices of roast beef.
    Snack(s) – A few seeds of roasted salted Almonds leftover from a recent flight.

  4. Psychological Health – although not a psychologist, we all know when we are well mentally. At this point, I know that my frequent panic attacks cannot be a sign of good health. In this day, I have had two major ones that occurred when I had to call my ex-partner for legitimate reasons but feared that she would be upset with me for calling and when the thought of her simply not being in my life in anyway overwhelmed me. Another sign of psychological imbalance for me is this being in a daze. Nothing seems real and I am feeling much like a walking zombie.

Mindfulness

My intuition tells me that on this journey, one has to be extremely self-aware, seek to understand the symbols and signs of the Universe, mindful of their surroundings to receive the messages being sent from the Divine, seek out “soul food” – things that will nurture your spirit and do practical things to keep busy.

On Day 1, these are what came into my experience:


Self- Awareness: Locating Oneself

I found it helpful to upfront answer the question: “Where are you today?”

Imagery helps to do this and on Day 1, I would say I am still very much at the bottom of a very deep, dark and dry well. I am scared and although I can hear the voices of my friends calling down to me, even sense them throw down ropes for me to grab and climb up, I am not sure that I want to.

There are moments when I do in fact grab on to one of the ropes and see a bit of light, such as at the end of an early morning walk with my dog and he reaches back and grab the leash between his teeth and tries to lead himself. This brought a spontaneous laugh to my mouth.

Signs & Symbols from the Universe

  • For the first time in my life, on my early morning walk with Angello, my dog, I saw what a man who I had excitedly stopped to ask told me was a porcupine. When I got home, I consulted all the sources and understood that seeing this animal was an invitation to continue unmasking my vulnerability and also my gentle, tender, innocent and affectionate nature. I was being highly reactive and the porcupine was calling me to, according to Native American Spirituality, assume a state of gentle innocence and trust in the Creator through this prickly situation, one that is very difficult to handle.

God Messages & Angels

Throughout the experience, I have been blessed with a constant flow of angels bringing messages from God to support and guide me. On Day 1, by remaining open and receptive to them, these were some of the angels and messages that came through:

  1. Joyce Meyer, televangelist: “God has a good life planned for you – it matters not where you are right now.”

  2. Jamaican Pastor at Bethel United Apostolic Church in Edmonton: “Turn to God. If God draws you, stay in his Presence – do not be moved.”

  3. Dr. P during our bed time call: “Your healing cannot truly deepen until you accept for yourself that you are whole, perfect and complete and do not need your partner to fill or complete you!”
Soul Food

Coming back from Toronto, I knew I needed to continue being in the company of people of Caribbean and/or of African-descent, worshipping with them in the way of my roots. I needed the rich gospel music, the dance and the praise and glory worship style that would take me to the deepest part of my soul.

I knew exactly where to go for that and it was at the Bethel United Apostolic Church here in Edmonton. The worship, the sermon, the music, clapping, crying, dancing and getting into the spirit touched me deeply and I felt my pain and anguish being massaged. I left there after about two hours, feeling ready to at least try to grab and hold on to the many ropes that were being thrown down to me.

Life-Sustaining Busyness

My greatest feelings on Day 1 remained a sense of being shattered and emotionally lost. As such, trying to at least start piecing my life back together in a intentional way I:

  • Cleaned up the kitchen

  • Allowed my creative juices to flow and expressed them through writing several pieces
Radar Moments

What are some of those things that are flashing red on the radar of your heart? What thoughts, insights that are so large you cannot miss them as you talk with or listen to a God message someone has brought you? Is there anything that you now realize that has been beckoning but you either did not notice or chose not to notice them? On Day 1 these are my Radar Moments:

  1. During a conversation with a visitor from my faith community it busted into my consciousness that what we (my partner and I) had was a dysfunctional relationship for a very long time. We had managed to change some of the way we 'related' but obviously - not enough. The question that this raised in me was “Why would you want to continue in that way?” The answer – I did not. Soon after she left, I checked several sources to see if I was on to something here and found this site that gives a brief yet on point description of many aspects of my relationship.

  2. After reading about and seeing in ‘black and white’ what I knew to be true either of me or my partner over the years, albeit one or the other of us have shifted in many of the areas, the radar question then became “Why do I still feel hopeful about us?” I could not give an answer to that one – not yet.
Divine Inspirations

Inspiration, steps to take or guidance usually comes to me as I walk in silence or in the shower as the water washes over me. It is like a divine action plan and Day I was no different and these are what came not in order of priority:


  • Share this lesson how ‘being met in your darkest moment by people within their own brokenness’ is a crucial help in your healing journey.

  • Set compassionate boundaries:

(a) With another party in this ‘crisis who is unconsciously asking you to remain toxic and bitter - say no, nicely. I did.

(b) With your ex-partner – respect her boundaries by acknowledging that the manner in which she ended the relationship was her first act of courage and probably the only way she could walk away to go do her work. At the same time set your own boundaries (she needs to come get her stuff from the apartment and we must have a way to communicate until such time as it is not necessary, you cannot be left out at sea). Pending.

(c) With potential ‘relationships’ who might see you as fresh-meat or who you might have reached out to in a moment of despair. Kindly decline dinner invitation. Done.

(d) With your daughter – neither you nor your partner should keep her in the middle. Be honest with her about the situation; keep her in the loop but not as mediator or messenger. Consider getting professional help for her if necessary. Offer made.


Reality Check, Paradigm Shift & Movements

Finally, before going to bed (to lie with eyes open for hours) do a reality check – what comes up in your heart as absolute truths that cannot be denied. Then see whether there has been a paradigm shift in any way. Lastly see whether you are emotionally, spiritually and mentally ready to move towards a different direction on the medicine wheel or are you still in trouble.

As I did this last exercise, my findings were:

Reality Check - I am single again! I have not been single since age 25. However, I am not afraid of being alone and if I would allow myself, I could actually be happy living alone.

Paradigm Shift - This sudden change in my physical reality – my living arrangements – is extremely hard to adjust to, however, as I reviewed my day and the truth emerging from me, I realized that the paradigm is shifting. The movement towards this break-up has been occurring for a very long time now. I did not want to believe the end could be true. My way of thinking is ever so slowly changing and though at first I resisted what Dr. P said to me about needing to accept my wholeness and independence first – I now can begin to admit her correctness.

Movement - As I went off to sleep, I knew a slight directional shift had started in Toronto being in the company of people of African heritage, experiencing the prayers, music and songs of my roots. By the time Miss T’s visit was coming to an end my direction shifted. I feel that I am now still going north but veering more towards the West. I am still in trouble (north) as long as the panic attacks and the suicide ideation continue to emerge. However, I can feel the West pulling.

Major Gift of the Day & Thought for Bedtime:

Major Gifts

What are you most grateful for as this day ends? What thought would you like to hold you throughout the night?

In my case, I was most grateful for the many angels, disguised as members of my faith community, Dr. P., the Bethel United Apostolic Church, my friend Ann and yes, Judith, my ex-partner.

These people came to the well and threw ropes down or simply reminded me they are available. The pastor at the Apostolic Church said “Remember, the church is a place of comfort,” and that is what I received throughout this day from all these angels.

As for Judith, I could only see the gift in retrospect – the gift of her courage, finally, to act and end what really was not working. To think about the agony she must have been going through, trying to set herself free, finally willing to look at herself and taking the space to do so, is the biggest moment of true courage and true strength I have ever, ever seen her display.

Thought for Bedtime

Marianne Williamson words that are usually attributed to Nelson Mandela, and sent to me again by M in Ontario took me through this first night, as a Truth I long knew but was unwilling to walk. I have been afraid to accept this truth because I felt that I owed my partner a life-long debt as it was her presence, her light that helped me to discover and uncover mine.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, "who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?"

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of god.

You playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

And as we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

So, I will enter Day 2 with some anxiety for sure but certainly one step along the healing journey, with greater clarity and slowly opening the match box to relight the flame - I hope.

Blessings,

Claudette

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