Sunday, 27 July 2014

Doing the work.

I have been back in the UK a week now.  It felt strange coming back to the relative quiet of the mysterious fens here in Burwell.  We have a tiny barn conversion (courtesy of my in laws) in around 22 acres, my husbands parents live a stone throw from us.  I wasn't quite sure how I was going to handle my father in laws constant visiting several times a day.  It started off well but has become a bit of an issue.  I am practising patience and boundary lines in my head.  It's difficult.  Any kind of introspection - god forbid mental illness should ever be mentioned) is seen as weakness in this family.  Work work and more work is the cure for everything could be their mantra.  If only that were true.  That very sentiment plays a huge part in how I have come to end up in this pile of angst.  I am taking time to rest. To heal. To restore.  Getting out on a market, opening a shop, doing trade fairs are not part of this remit.  How to get that across to people who have only ever known 'work till you drop and then some more' is more of a herculean task than I care to take on.  Approval, with its hungry head lurks ever near.  It's time to look it squarely in the eye and say 'no more'.  For some people more is never enough.  It's time for me to let go of that childhood need.  The only person right now I need validation from is myself.  It's scary but I am sitting with it.

A lovely friend phoned me several times.  I didn't pick up for a while.  She nagged me to get to see the doctor about my still swollen feet, legs and bump on the shin.  I gave in and went, which wasn't so bad.  The doctor was quite lovely, despite my evident fear of actually being in her surgery.  I'm sure this abject fear of hospitals and doctors has been reinforced from when they told me my father had three months to live.  He didn't want to know, and I held that tragic information for several weeks until I could hold it no more.  I was as I had been for many years, the parent of my family.  I was 32 years old, feeling like a hundred and really only a scared kid myself.  The real underlying fear, I am sure is fear of death, buried deep since childhood.  I wonder if one of my abusers used to threaten me with this.  As with most of my memories about my childhood abuse, I don't remember actual conversations.  Only the pivotal ones, where my conscious thought began to realise this was wrong. Not normal.  I could never find the word no.  But I digress.  I met my friend for lunch after seeing the doctor.  I have to have some routine blood tests for kidney function, (being on water tablets necessitates this) and a general all round MOT of bloods.  I put it to the back of my mind and enjoy catching up with this dear friend.

After my monthly session with Shelley via skype, I began thinking about the stuff we talked about.  She helped me to see it was no accident that the good looking Greek doctor told me to rest for 'a year', just as it was no accident that I had previously declared a 'year off to restore' (obviously I hadn't been doing much restoration!) It also seemed quite strange that I hadn't got any firm bookings for my normally quite busy 1:1 retreats in Kefalonia for the latter part of the summer.  This was the first year in several years that I wasn't booked up.  I couldn't understand it, despite several large ads being placed which I don't normally do.  I was beginning to understand.   Shelley with her wonderful insights and well placed observations was helping me to understand my own psyche and where it was trying to take me.  I knew it was time to stop and begin the thaw.  I also knew from previous trainings I had taken and counselling I had received that Shelley was more than special.  She 'got' me.  Not many others had.  I had never really connected or felt safe enough to show my vulnerability, on a couple of occasions when, in desperation I had opened up - they just weren't experienced enough to hold the space for me or to take me on the next part of my healing.  Some felt threatened by my depth of self enquiry I had already learned from or by the insight I already had.  Shelley felt different.  She didn't try to box me in, label me or coerce me in to doing or being anything.  She patiently waits until I 'get it' which sometimes is a while and she has this most amazing knack of just as I think I know something, she'll turn it on its head and I realise I actually don't know anything much about myself as I previously thought.  She highlights where I am living in shame, fear or overwhelm.  She is helping me to feel. Her work to me and with me is invaluable.  I am both nervous and excited to be finally taking pen to paper and doing the work.  She's also helping me to piece some of the information that threatens to explode from my ever busy mind, into a kind of sense of order.  Helping me work out where my thoughts have come from.  She's also helping me to get out of my head and into my body, to let emotion float up, to thaw, to process and to understand.  Stagnant energy that's what I have stored for such a long time.  Art and writing I know will help me to shift and move this.  Then I hope I will have so much more to share with the guests that come to me for healing.  In my own healing I hope I will be better equipped to help them.

I also made a decision this week.  I have revisited the work of Dr Lucia Capaccione.  She is also an expressive arts therapist and I did, a few years ago decide to do a year long training with her.  It didn't happen for a variety of reasons at the time.  The birth of my wonderful grandson Spiro, our return to summer living in Greece, and probably because I was just not ready to open up and being the journey I am now beginning.  I am working in conjunction with Shelley Klammer and the work of Dr Lucia Capaccione to explore and understand more of how my thinking and choices have led me to now.  Art and more importantly my version of art will be my guide and companion.  It's art from my soul, my psyche, my core self, my authentic self.  It doesn't require analysing nor approval.  It's for me to fathom out, use and restore.

It feels right to be doing this work.  Despite the voices that threaten to halt me, the sneering ones, the bullying ones, the ridiculing ones that take delight in my distress.  I am doing a little each day, safe in the knowledge that this is leading me to a better place. A place of nurturing, love and kindness.  I still have many of life's challenging hurdles to clamber over, but with the never ending quiet - and I do mean quiet - support from my husband, my real friends and my family, I know I can get there.  I am also stronger than I quite believe at the moment.  This I know.

This week thus far has been an emotional one.  A tearful one. An uncertain one.  Yet in my quiet solitude, my slow minded state, I have found the first inklings of what an emotional thaw feels like.  Soft tears have fallen.  I have moved my body with gentle stretching and back exercises.  Taken a small walk, gathered natures gifts, eaten well and felt quite out of my comfort zone that bulldozes through feelings with more plastic plaster coverings, sneakily disguised as good ideas, money making, egotistical salves to soothe fears.  I realise this is what I do to 'make' myself feel better.  I realise they have been shiny bright bling trinkets which don't hold their shine for very long.  A surface level soother to prevent the authentic real feelings from showing up.  For the first time in a long time I am urging myself to just be.  To look within and outside for my salvation.  To deal with confrontation in a caring kind adult manner where it is safe to be heard, and not resort back to the child who doesn't know quite how to address the adults overbearing bullying.  It's not feeling easy.  That little child who has got me to hear still wants the power.  The problem is she is isn't equipped to handle the consequences.  It's OK for me to gently tell her to move over, my real self will protect her and take the reins for a while.  Bugger this is hard work but it seems to be what I need right now.  Now if I could just explain this whole thing to my father in law who is hoovering yet again to invade my sacred space, without him declaring me 'potty'.  Now that would be a breakthrough for both of us!  Celebrating the first Sunday I have not trekked out to car boots for shiny things which I really don't need.  Grateful for sunshine, space, green grass, yoga mat, yogurt, fruit, seeds and this blog.

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