My journey towards wholeness

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After making a conscious decision to renounce a lifetime of abusive relationships in order to heal, here I am five years later finally being able to disinfect the pus from the gash that infested and controlled my life. Now I see it, recognise and have befriended this gouge in my being, it all seems obvious but unlike physical wounds that are clearly visible, emotional injuries are more like viruses, they change form, hide or disguise themselves in order to stay undetectable…for years!

I felt its presence, like something was wrong from the age of about 14, yes puberty awoke the hungry serpent. I metamorphosed from a quiet, sensitive young girl who lived in a world of her own to a drug-taking, angry adolescent determined to break free. I thought I was a rebel liberating myself from society’s grasp. I was drawn to the new age movement, believing my anger and I could change the world…this revolting, mean, crazy, unloving, unthoughtful, selfish world. I didn’t realise that what I was really fighting was inside me, the craziness, feelings of being unloved and unlovable, the incapacity to think of myself or others, the selfishness of unfeelingness were all coming from inside. But like the virus that it was, the trauma took its strength from a camouflaged view point, undetectable it caused chaos along its path.

By the age of 18, I was synergising’ A’ level studies with what they call in the trade, ‘brown powder’…I was going for it, I was daring, I was crazy and you couldn’t catch me. I wanted to live and I thought that taking whatever I could lay my hands on was living. I didn’t realise at the time that escaping from myself wasn’t being alive but its contrary, accelerated disassociation from my innermost feelings kept me running. Running from what? From society, from my parents, my middle class upbringing and the expectations that go with it…that and most of all myself!

And so the incessant fleeing continued, I scraped through university to become a drama teacher, I was quite good but the drama in my own life and the rebel in me that said ‘NO’ to anything with the name tag, ‘security or ‘routine’ led me away from that path.

I was pulled magnetically to what was happening under the surface, the world we didn’t see, the conversations we didn’t hear, the magic of the unrecognised…I lived in squats and collected furniture out of London skips, I felt alive, near the edge. Drugs and damaged people, me and my wound were at home.

From the heart of that context, I saw him coming towards me along Kilburn high road, tall with blond dreadlocks, he had transformed a parka coat into an urban warrior uniform by attaching cricket batting pads to the shoulders – I knew from afar it was him….together we were going to conquer the world….he stopped me and asked with a strong French accent if I had any change for some food….three children later and a police section order, I saw his hospital notes, ‘schizophrenia’ and I took a deep breath.

There were fourteen years from the day in Kilburn high road until the day I managed to say, ‘no’ and mean it. I had grown up, my sons had too, we had survived beatings, hunger, delusions, homelessness, a stabbing, police interventions and most of all a severe lack of self esteem. The running, the rebelling had bought me to this….and it still wasn’t over. A wound won’t give up until you love it…I was far from loving it as I still didn’t recognise its existence, I just knew something was eating me from the inside.

I became a single mum, although in most ways I had always been, I was a single mum with an attitude and a deep need to get away from myself in every second that passed. I tried all sorts of ways of freeing myself from the constraints of three kids and a sedentary routine; we spent a year in India backpacking (much to the disapproval of my ‘entourage’), a couple of years on the road with a horse, a wagon and a yurt, home schooling of course, working at festivals, living in people’s fields anything to fly away…and yet I still hurt.

The years went by and I managed to pull it together so to speak, I created more ‘grown-up’ jobs for myself including English teacher and wine courtier. A sudden need to belong somewhere, anywhere led me into marrying not just the son but his father the Mayor, the family and even the small, French village where my husband prided himself in being a seventh generation wine-maker. I transformed myself into the perfect French, farmer’s wife, I had a home, my rightful place…but at what cost? The price for trying to ‘fit in’ to hide from my aching soul under an umbrella of acceptance from the local community was numbness.

I would have stayed there forever, I had made my bed and now I should lay in it so to speak until one day someone came into my life and showed me through her eyes where I was, I wasn’t at home, I was an alien in a forgotten world and I needed to get out.

I spent four years learning kinesiology with Caroline, I peeled away the layers until the choice became clear, live or die? I chose to live, I left the farm and the community that went with it with one kid more than I arrived with…and once again found myself in that all familiar survival mode that I had become an expert in over the years. But this time it was different, I had made the decision to stop running and turn to face myself. With the help of the local social services and some divine intervention I got myself a small, light filled house in a nearby village and continued one by one to lift off the layers that separated me from myself. I gave myself time, healthy aloneness, I became softer, happier, more stable but not due this time to outside appearances, I was more present for myself and my kids, I was slowly healing. Hermit-like, I studied, wrote, cried, bathed, made alters symbolising the change I was undergoing, formulated affirmations and most of all went back to the place of childhood. The dwelling place of that little girl was with the flowers and the plants, the trees and animals and it is to that ‘homeliness’ that I turned to once again. A deep connection re-awakened in my cells, in my heart, I felt at one, pure and free, the hurting was calmed by the loving resonance of the trees that became my teachers and the fields and woods my resting places…no need to run to hide, to search outside myself for they led me inwards. Nature mirrored my connection with the whole, I was no longer alone, I belonged.

As I grew stronger with a gentle strength like the oak, I came across an inner river, I had explored the depths of the self and knew that the only way to dive in and continue to heal was to immerse myself in ‘relation’. I had reached a point where myself as an island was no longer fruitful, a conscious relationship with someone ‘big’ enough to hold that space and love me as I plunged into the darkest waters was the only way forward from here, there are certain things that will only show their face when mirrored by love. Terrified, …I had no map for love or healthy relating, I had convinced myself that I was best alone, no need to trust, share or risk opening my heart to another. The idea, however had been planted in the humus of my consciousness and one day, unexpectedly I felt our souls meet, recognise each other from lifetimes of knowing.

And now we have connected on this earthly plane and I understand the sacredness of consciously relating. As if it recognised this sanctuary of trust, the pain I had been running from for ever began to surge from inside my belly with a force that could destroy all in its path, except that love won’t let it. Heads or tails? I am no longer subjected to the rolling of a dice, only the truth for me now, either it consumes all or I walk into its fire. I tried to tame it, accept it, talk to it and it just kept roaring, until one day the grasps of its lion-like jaws were too strong for me, I could no longer resist its clench. I let go and like a balloon losing its air I deflated. In the closing death throws, I intuitively felt there was one last thing to do as I perished…and that was to hold it and love it. I lay there and scooped up the burning pyre nestled deep in my womb and with tenderness and devotion cradled it gently like a new born baby throughout the night. To my surprise, with the dawn, the scorching flames had turned to embers, a restful peace purveyed, a doorway had opened to another world. I had finally lovingly confronted my biggest fear and survived, no more running, no more burning desires to flee from myself…I have embraced my entirety.

I am under no illusions, love’s road ahead is a path unto itself, there is no winning post, each day we will be born and die again, however having loved the beast, I now love myself and from that all else is possible.

I take the first step into a world of possibilities!