Healing in Broken Times

It is 3:35 a.m. on the fourth night in a row that I have been awakened by lightning and thunder.  The big dogs have come slinking from their couches into the bedroom, much to the resistance of the small ones who are curled snug in the blankets.  Quieting frayed canine nerves at this ungodly hour under flashes of unearthly light could be a real drain.  But it isn’t.  It is the hour of the wolf after all.  The hour for intuitive work and self knowing.

Almost every night of storming I have dreamed of healing.  The first night I dreamed that I had awakened in the bright morning light and that the windows had been left open.  The sunlight covered my face in a wide ribbon ending at my chin.  I blinked at the brightness of it and had my first waking thought “MAN this is bright!  I could be sunburned right here in this bed!”  Then I noticed that the light was cool and soft in spite of being incredibly bright. Surprised and comforted, I closed my eyes without having moved at all and went back to sleep.  In the morning when I woke up it was dark in the room.  The bedroom blinds were drawn so tight that morning had to struggle to prove herself through the cracks.  There was no way I could have been bathed in sunlight or even moonlight through such windows.  That is when I realized it must have been a dream.

Tonight lightning woke me from another dream.  In this one I was waking from days in a coma.  It may even have been months.  I was not in a hospital, but somewhere beautiful surrounded by nature.  Two of my close friends were standing vigil over me and were overjoyed to see me awake.  The rejoicing at my return was so beautiful I got caught up in the joy of it.  And I was hungry.

These dreams coincide with a real life healing that feels nothing short of miraculous.  I have been so full of joy in my waking life that it makes no sense to me!  Over the past year I have battled dark thoughts and feelings, the depths of which I have never seen in any dark period before.  But quite suddenly this seems to have come to an end!  It was on Sunday night that I had my first fit of giggles sparked off by my God daughter throwing the funniest tantrum because she was trying to beat her playmate into wanting to play with her.  It’s ok – she’s three.  I laughed so hard that the tears were running down my face.  And then yesterday afternoon, in a training session hosted by one of my team that I had requested weeks before, on wry word became the most debilitating fit of giggles I have had in years. As the tears rolled down my face I found myself astonished at the well of bubbles, joy and mirth I had stumbled upon inside myself.  Against all odds, the odds that are killing people every day in a world that seems to have gone crazy, I have found healing.  It has been a revelation from God or the Universe and it has struck as bright as a bit of lightning.

Even now my front yard flashes an unearthly bright, giving glimpses of trees soaked to the skin on the slope now slick with sky water.  I settle under the soft microfibre blanket patterned with leaves and the word “Blessing” all over it and watch the show.  I am flanked by my four dogs, finding comfort in the closeness.  The rain washes the roof in a steady drumming heard inside the cabin like an army of marching faeries.  More and more time passes between the flashes of light and the air splitting sound – a sign the storm is moving on.

God heals and reveals in his own time.

MY HAPPY LIST – Things I have been doing differently this past two weeks…

  1. The CoolingListening to A Course In Miracles on Audible.
  2. Allowing myself to get angry with my ex boyfriend.  I’ve been avoiding anger, and maybe by doing so slowed my own healing.
  3. Spending three hours on Skype with one of my best girlies in Canada.
  4. Running frequently and longer and longer distances.
  5. Reviving this Singlestreaming blog.
  6. Reading my abandoned manuscript for the book I began two years ago.
  7. Ballsing up and having some difficult conversations in my life and in my work.  Turns out they weren’t that difficult.
  8. Voicing a heart-felt response to the killings in the world.
  9. Building my tribe with lunches and coffees and yoga classes.
  10. Finishing a new painting “The Cooling”
  11. Stocking my fridge with food regularly.
  12. Giving away the beer in the fridge that I bought for the ex.  I don’t even drink the stuff.
  13. Long baths and yoga classes.
  14. Reading my favorite book of poetry before bed every night.
  15. Choosing to let go of “low-life” love.  You know, the kind where they are doing the best they can where they are but it isn’t even a drop in the bucket of what you need or deserve?  It’s a term my girlie on above-mentioned Skype convo and I came up with about her ex cheating on her and being mean.  That love was probably the best he was capable of, but definitely not worthy of her.
  16. Calls with one of my favorite people in Jamaica.
  17. Sending stupid jokes to my brother in Canada and having him spit out his drink.
  18. Writing my morning pages (practices from the Artist’s Way) in the room that gets the best morning sun.
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The Power of Fantasy

It is not a widely known fact that I battle with depression and anxiety.  On a monthly basis.  It’s something many women face.  For those of us with this tendency, every time we face down PMS we pray God please let it go away after a few days.  There are months when it lasts the whole month.  There are years when it lasts for several months.  Fortunately for me, I have only once seen it pass a year.  I’m sure that if a study were to be done on where a woman is in her cycle when she decides to kill herself, commit homicide, or do something absolutely dreadful and drastic it would find that that time of month is where the magic happens.

On a bout several years ago I spoke to my brother.  He was just out of med school and had already passed the psych rotation (The one where he was diagnosing every member of the family with some random disorder or another.  I got the diagnosis of histrionics.  I told him to piss off).  He said something to me in the wisdom of his youth that I have never forgotten.  When you find yourself depressed you need to step outside of yourself and act as a carer.  Pretend that you are caring for a member of your family or a friend that you love very much and that they are sick.  What would you do?  You would take them for walks.  You would take them to the movies and distract them.  You would cook good food for them and give them good books to read and sit on the beach with them and watch the sunset.  You need to care for yourself as though you are caring for someone you love.

This is a practice that has kept my monthly to a monthly for a few years now – caring for myself as though I am not myself but someone else that depends on me.  And I have found a tool that works.  FANTASY.

For those of us who are avid readers there is a lush forest of material to feast on.  Every form of thought in this life is represented by a written book.  There is poetry, self-help, scientific, chick lit, classic literature, romance, comedy, spiritual, technical – you name it there is a book on it.  But what does a mind that is plagued by pain have the capacity to digest?

My saving grace has been FANTASY.  Sneaking into the worlds created by the minds of others has been a great distraction from my own gnawing aches.  It exercises my weary mind when I cannot sleep, it embraces my imagination with something other than darkness, and when I wake from the foreign world I find myself grateful for the comfort of my apartment, the love of my family and my two animals, and the work to which I dedicate my waking hours.

Narnia and the Lord of the Rings were some of my early entertainers.  These have been made famous by years of followers and have been represented by movie-makers a few times over.  But a series can be so satisfying because as you finish one book you look for the next one to carry you through next month.  I have two obscure recommendations for those new to fantasy but needing to escape.

Stephen Hunt’s Jackelian series:

I came across these books in college.  I don’t know what made me pick up this little book with the nondescript cover off the shelf in Waterstones but I have become bound to this series every since.  My mind could not rest after ploughing through the brilliance of ancient lords of the court and so I would simply switch gears and cares into the world of Jackals.  Stephen Hunt introduces you to a world that resembles the home of Oliver Twist in some ways and Star Wars in others.  It is inhabited by human beings, the Fey, Steammen (sentient machines from the frozen mountains of the North), Cassarabians of the deserts to the south with an uncanny science for the development of mutants with the use of Womb Mages, Catosians who are steroid-pumped amazon-like women warriors, Craynarbians who have an exoskeleton much like crustaceans we now eat, and many other “races”.  The travels of Commodore Black (resembling an old version of Jack Sparrow) through the Fire Sea, over the deserts, through the jungles and into the sky cities of this world are easy to relate to and impossible to abandon once you pick up a book.  The first book, The Court of the Air, was an incredible launch into the life of Molly Templar, an orphan with a fantastic fate.  I recommend this book to any woman sufferer, and any person needing an escape.

The Redwall Books of Brian Jacques:

This world is inhabited by the animals of our own world with a noble congregation in a place called Redwall Abbey.  Mice are mighty and Badgers brave as they fight off the hoards of stoats and tricky foxes.  The medieval abbey of Redwall is full of secrets and surprises, headed by an Abbot and championed by a warrior.  The language takes on the accents of the British Isles with such accuracy it will tease the laughter out of the surliest and most unwilling reader.  The suspense is something that will keep you in the books late into sleepless nights.  The lessons and even the language of these books are appropriate for every age.