Tags: hope

treelights

Closer

I woke up a little bit ago, and the new, compassionate world feels close to me. I also dreamt of Cecily. I was searching for her, and leaving messages for her, and then it turned out she was staying in the same house as me, and so she was with me all along. She was interacting with her parents in the dream and I felt a little awkward that I was there, hopefully not in the way, but it was still worth it to know she and I were able to be there together. I was fine with waiting until she was available, and I wasn’t going to leave just because other things were going on. I need and love her, and I want us to be able to stay close, even though she died in 2018. I’ve come to believe the dead are busy with a lot of stuff despite how they try to keep available for their loved ones that remain living. Cecily has been there for me many times, but she also has other ppl, places, and things she is caught up with. Before her death, I had always envisioned the dead as being at the beck and call of the living, just sort of ghosts hanging around, waiting for us to call on them or need their help. That’s not what it feels like to me now.

This morning I am close to the compassionate world. Among other things, that’s the world where I can stay in touch with Cecily, and Will, and the other loved ones I have lost. Importantly, it is also the place where I can be myself and I see the world as the ultimately good place it actually is. It’s where I can see how things balance out intentionally (even if I don’t always see it), and that it’s not some random collection of horrible, futile experiences waiting to let me down.

I lose touch with the compassionate world when I get triggered. At this point, being triggered jolts me right back into the old, harsh world I was raised to believe was what existed. The most recent trigger that put me back into the old world was when I got the call that my dad was in the hospital for a sudden heart issue, and the week afterward that I spent contending with my family to get him feeling stable and in to see a reputable cardiologist. I’ve been struggling for almost two weeks with the psychic hangover from that event.

How the harsh world started for me: A long time ago, my heart (unbeknownst to me) became shut to the full good perception of the world because of the foundational relationships and experiences I went through while I was very young. I became a resident of a harsh, merciless world gradually (a world view my parents both were raised to believe in themselves) as my hope and sense of self were worn down and “corrected” out of me.

It made me believe less in myself: second guessing all the time, feeling defective, and filled with loneliness, estrangement, and fear. It made me see the world as a dangerous, heartless place, out to exclude the real me or wear me down. Every stressor after that upbringing only cemented it for me as added ‘evidence’ of the true nature of myself as a victim and the world as an insidious meatgrinder. Death was a lurking dread underneath it all even when I was wishing it would all be over. Death was just the cold summation of the cruelty of the world I already felt around me.

From the start, I did not really fit into this harsh world, and it made me suicidal at first. Later, it made me extremely depressed and dissociated. Eventually, I had panic attacks and then I became crippled by the physical ravages of ptsd and the mental horrors of severe agoraphobia, as the harsh world’s experiences added up to burden my heart and soul over the years. I carried that burden as it got heavier and heavier, not even noticing it anymore for what it was... sheer baggage. To me, it was simply the truth of what lay underneath it all that I was either bravely facing or understandably avoiding or trying to distract myself from living with.

What has now come to pass is I have realized there is not just the one, old world, although it does exist if you are tuned into it. Just like the day when, with the help of a good therapist, I finally had it viscerally made real to me that there was my family’s set of beliefs about me and then there was a whole giant world’s set of beliefs and how they might apply or not to me, and so I did not need to keep judging myself by solely my family’s standards. I “jumped over the stick” as I call it bc of the situation it happened in. What this amounts to is, I chose to leave the mental cult of my family and cross over into the ‘secular’ understandings in the rest of the world when it came to judging myself. I saw there was a new way to see myself, many new ways. Just because I was raised to think the ‘safe’ way to view myself (to survive) was the way my family had modeled, I now understand that is not the safe way, it was only safe because it kept me able to predict THEIR reactions. I don’t need that to survive as an adult, only when I was dependent on them as a child.

This new thing is letting go of my ability to live in and perceive the harsh world I took on from my early days as well. I have known better about how to perceive myself, but until the last six months, I had not ever thought to seriously question how I was molded to look at the world. On the surface, there are so many ‘evidences’ of the harshness and cruelties of the world, it seemed a no-brainer to continue to believe as I always have about what life is like. It would probably take a book to describe this mounting change to my understanding fully, so suffice it to say, I began glimpsing experientially the world as a completely different place.

Actually, I would not say it was completely unknown to me. It just feels new in comparison to what I have lived under all my adult life. When I experience the full, new, compassionate world, it feels reminiscent to me of some very young child experiences of the world... before the harsh world view was imparted onto me, and then ‘proven’ over and over to be an unavoidable fact. Before that, I was open, free, and unaware of being able to be harmed by life. That is a part of the feeling of this new compassionate world. One of the additions to this new experience is my intention. I am not just a passive resident of the new compassionate world. I am passionate about it, a believer and supporter of it. I know it is great, even as it contains things that are scary and cruel, because I see the basic nature of it as being overall compassionate in ways I just do not fully understand. When I am present in the compassionate world, I feel alive and whole and in a place where who I am is accepted. I know the world contains haters, but I also can finally see it contains a whole hell of a lot of space for me to still be me in peace. I trust that things will work out. It is a huge perk of being an adult. I get to be who I want to be now. I get to decide how things ‘really’ are, not someone else or some traumatic experience I went through. I decide what makes up my world— what is important, lasting, and true, and what is just temporary and not worth my attention. I choose a beautiful, compassionate world where I fit right in and feel grateful to get to be here.