Comforting Words: Wilderness Journal: Day 3

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wilderness Journal: Day 3

At the Center

Day 1
Day 2

It’s Day 3 and as I have done every morning since being in this Wilderness of Healing, I visualize that I am in the Center of the Medicine Wheel, which if you have read the other posts you know is the place of the Eternal Fire. By lighting a candle or candles and sitting in silence, you sit in this Eternal Fire and allow it to burn away the falsehood and the masks that needs to go in order to live fully and not superficially.

From the center, you move in the direction you are drawn based on your sense of self and feelings at this time. My movement on Day 1 was towards the North, and then by Day 2 it took a North-Westerly turn and now Day 3 I am heading West.

As mentioned yesterday, the West is the place of death and for me this means dying to the things, thoughts, ways of being, situations and even people that would prevent me from fulfilling my deepest desire – which is to shed light on the suffering and pain in our world, particularly among women, LGBTQ people and children.

Day 3 started at 5:00 a.m. for me with the following Scripture.

Today’s Scripture:

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the right paths
For his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and your staff – they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
My whole life long.

The next step in this process is that of acknowledging the memories, the issues, the conversations, and all the things that cause extreme emotions. 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 – have been a constant with me, although I have gotten much better at saying to each one as they arise – “Okay, but that’s past now.”

  2. Nights – I got one extra hour last night! I slept for 5 hours after getting to bed around 12:45 a.m.

  3. Diet/Nutrition – This has not returned. I am still doing the survival eating. On this day, my meals were:
Breakfast – One banana and a slice of raisin bread (toasted and with butter)
Lunch – A Ham Sandwich
Dinner – Leftovers: Fried Rice – I did about five spoons this time
Snack(s) – None.

  1. Psychological Health – The panic attacks lessened with only one today, however, it was a major one that caused me to literally run away from work. I could not stay there the full time that I was supposed to. I frantically ran out of the complex, dashed to my vehicle as my chest tightened and a piercing pain went through it. I made a couple of calls while driving on the highway, hoping to find someone to talk me through this as the suicidal thoughts came back and I just wanted to turn my van across the highway for someone to run into me. Quite honestly, I am worried for myself. I know people mean good but until you experience not only the physical but the soul pain of these attacks, please stop telling me that “you can beat this.” I now have a completely different appreciation for people who have suffered mental health challenges for numerous years. These attacks take over rational thought and it is a battle to remain in one’s body. In my case today, I heard myself telling a friend on the telephone that I do not wish to return to my body, it pains too much!

  2. Session with Psychologist – in the throes of this attack the only thing that kept me rational was seeing my psychologist face, remembering her insisting that I look into her eyes and promise not to attempt suicide again before sees me next week Monday. I will discuss what brought on this attack later.

  3. School Work – I have not been able to do any of my course assignments for two weeks now. I simply cannot focus that intensely and on such heady matters. If this does not change by the end of this week, I may have to make a decision about continuing, which has serious the financial implications for me.

On Day 3, these are what came into my experience:

Self- Awareness: Locating Oneself

“Where are you today?”

The imagery has changed. I now see myself on my knees at the ‘entrance’ to a dark forest. I am more confused than scared, riddled with questions about what do I need as I walk through this ‘valley’. I know God is with me – of that I am certain – my questions have more to do with what should ‘die’ in order for me to come out at the other end ready to live far more authentically on this Earth plane

Signs & Symbols from the Universe

  • I cannot say that I noticed any overt signs or symbols today.

God Messages & Angels

It was my first day back at work since my suicide attempt. For the two months that I have been serving at this particular place, I go eagerly to be with “my girls,” each day. Today was no different. I knew that being with women who share my story in more ways than one would help to ground me in the fact that this is my mission. They would erase or at least lessen the scar caused by yesterday’s malicious email. They did not fail and came through with these messages:
  • The first messenger was a lady who has hardly ever spoken with me, much less come into my office. Today she did, saying that she just wanted to tell me ‘hi’ and say how much she liked my blouse. She took a seat in the couch next to my desk and started telling me a very disconnected story, then said, “You just have to wait.” She then got up and left.

  • The second messenger asked to see me and we chatted for a while about issues of real concern to her, then she said something that just went straight to my heart, causing me to look deeply in her eyes. She said, “The hardest part is not having closure, not being able to have a final hug, do you know what I mean?” I said, “Yes, I do.”

  • The third messenger was so glad to see me and that alone was joy – I have not had anyone being so glad to see me since last week, maybe except for Ann who came to my ‘rescue’ last Wednesday night. What she said to me was so powerful I wondered whose story she was telling, her’s or mine? “I have never had that kind of love and sometimes it can be scary when someone loves you unconditionally?” If that was not enough, she went on to say, “I used to resent [her] but now I just want to take care of her. I have learnt how to forgive her.”
Soul Food

My soul was particularly fed today in two ways:

  • I recalled the Jamaican pastor on Sunday mentioning a woman in Genesis 29, Leah, and so I opened my Bible and read the passages and commentaries about it. One commentary struck me where the author wrote, “This was a story of deception, lack of integrity and faithfulness. It is also a story of a woman’s devotion to someone who did not love her.” Leah was shamed in many ways and not being a beauty she was abused by her father who married her off through deception. The one thing, however, that could not be taken away from her was her deep and abiding love for the person who did not want her and for her child who would later bring her ‘glory’. As I read this, my hope and, ironically, my outrage were affirmed.

  • Two friends made me laugh out loud today and that felt good. The first one, D, has not been around for a few days and so she was only today catching up with what had transpired in my world. As we spoke, she said to me, “Claudette, as someone who knows these things, been there done that kinda thing, I just really have to tell you that aspirins can’t kill you!” She had me in stitches with that comment.

  • The other friend resides in the States and I had placed a call to her while on the highway. By the time she called me back I was at home, pacing the floor not knowing what to do with myself. We were on the phone for quite a bit as she too had not realized the extent of my pain. She is African-American and so try to hear the accent and intonations. “Girl, I thought you two dun gone counseling!” “You two too old to be looking to get your groove on now!” “Girl, someone went through the wrong curtain and clearly it ain’t you!” “In your house?? Nigga, tell me that you jokin’!” “And you say you didn’t … that …” I was on the floor by the time we rung off – she was the medicine I needed. She also promised to definitely be on a flight asap.
Life-Sustaining Busyness

I was in an anticipatory mood as I started Day 3, eager to see how this journey to the West would unfold as I returned to work. I felt that being back would be another step in putting the pieces back together:

  • Paid some bills on line before leaving for work.

  • Checked my library account for books that I needed to either pick up or return and sorted them out.

  • Cleaned up the kitchen again before leaving.

  • Went to work but only four (4) hours – could not finish my full time.
Radar Moments

On Day 3 these are my Radar Moments:

  1. The panic attack today came on as I pondered the rationale for and the impact of not telling my daughter the full story but just the portion that reflected badly on me. It was totally incomprehensible to me and although I was thankful that my daughter felt safe enough to share with me what she was told, all my motherly hackles went up. I was outraged by this act especially when one considers the history of my relationship with my daughter and the fact that of her birth parents; I have been “the parent” for her. In that moment, I knew that what I felt last night, the gratitude that I feel that such lack of authenticity is out of my life changed into complete vulnerability – to another's ability to deceive. How can I trust that the financial commitments will be kept? How can I trust that more attempts will not be made to undermine my relationships (professional and personal) as seen demonstrated by these two acts – lying to my child and sending out that email?
Divine Inspirations

I decided to go for a very long walk with Angello, my dog, this evening as the apartment was closing in on me. We walked a route very familiar to him and as he dragged me miles and miles and miles, I tried to silence the concerns that were plaguing me as discussed above. I asked Spirit the question: “What do I need to die to, as clearly you are not going to let me die or kill myself no matter how much I beg you?” These were some of the thoughts that flooded my mind:

  • Research intentional communities (this is something I have talked about with my former partner, telling her that should she die before me I would join an intentional community as it would give me the solace and silence that I am sure I would need). The thought is extremely appealing as I am really having a challenge coming to terms with, not the being alone part, not the no-contact order, not the request to let her go (which I have done) but with what feels like deliberate acts of passive-aggressive violence for the past few weeks and what continues.

  • Leave Edmonton, start over from scratch in other some other city, just walk away from everything we purchased, planned together, every photograph ever taken thereby releasing my self from this financial bondage and dependence that I am in. My academic and professional progress was intricately linked to our lives together – we had planned it that way, up to four weeks ago we discussed the next move! The plan had altered, putting aspects of mine on hold, to facilitate her being able to join and complete a programme. Now, I cannot afford to finish mine on my own and maintain a roof over my head – so the option to just walk away from everything seems very, very enticing. Intentional poverty is far more preferable to me than living in fear. Poverty means freedom and hanging on to these 'stuff' feels like bondage as they hold such painful memories as I am told everything was a pretense.
Reality Check, Paradigm Shift & Movements

Day 3 is not ending with a bedtime story as this entry is being written long before I will be sleepy. I needed to process these thoughts and sit in silence for the rest of the night and so here are the reality check – what are absolute truths that cannot be denied, the paradigm shift and new direction – if any.

Reality Check - I am still not afraid of being alone. I am, however, feeling extremely vulnerable, exposed and at risk. I have been cautioned to not write about my ex-partner and her friend in fear that I will feel a whiplash – it has already been demonstrated by that email. I have no intention of denying my truth and although I took the suggestion under advisement – I feel extremely vulnerable to what I can only describe as dishonesty.
Paradigm Shift - The paradigm remain as it was yesterday – I am glad to no any longer be in a situation where forgiveness, compassion, honesty and truth are absent. The paradigm also remain, paradoxically, the same as at the core of my being – not in my identity – I love (dare I write her name?) Judith. I smell her everywhere I go and I wait to catch her breath again as the Universe spins. But I am glad that the lie is over.
Movement - I am firmly in the West, waiting for the Divine to answer my question – “to what must I die?” I have done it before and I can do it again – start over that is – it’s not right that I would have to but it is okay and all will be well indeed.

Major Gift of the Day & Thought for Bedtime:

Major Gifts

“What you meant for evil, God used for good” or something like that Joseph said to his brothers who sold him into slavery and who then stood before him as leader.

The evil that was meant for me has turned into gold – as not only have I received the donation that will help me to heal even further, I now know that I will never set up the Comfort Foundation as an organization that could be open to duplicitous personalities. Comfort Foundation was always about God and me – God using me to speak the truth even when it hurts for the sake of the voiceless. Certainly, there are times when my mouth is big and I am screaming “unfair!” But it was always about truth. And so, the gift is seeing how to legally protect this organization from being silenced by anyone.

Thought for Bedtime

I have no bold or famous thought for tonight, except that I will spend the rest of the night in silence and prayer – waiting for the truth and the way to be revealed. I am not afraid and I am not alone – God is with me.

When I rise in the morning, I will return to the Center asking for direction for Day 4.




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