Looking through the kitchen window, where I now sit, there is a line of trees in full summer green leaf. The wind is high today and the tree tops are pulsing as the breeze breathes through.
We bought a new kitchen clock and it has a very loud tick. My husband, Irwin, isn’t so keen on the tick, he finds it a bit irritating. But I love it, I find it soothing. The tick is continuous and consistent but I notice the way that sometimes cuts through the air and becomes more apparent. It depends, I think, on how busy, or not, my mind is. It’s like the clock is speaking to me, “take time, take time” it says.
Anyway, I find this whole scene incredibly soothing. The continuity of the clock, the continuity of the ever-changing seasons responding to the weather. The way that time carries on, life-ever-evolving, no matter how stuck I feel that I am.
This week I finished a brand new poem and it was a great delight to share it for the first time in the Doubters Den live session on Wednesday.
The poem was written in response to an assignment from my poetry group, which was to take inspiration from looking through a window and to include metaphor and similie.
I could have just written about the soothing scene out of my window. But then the poem wouldn’t have had much meaning to me. And I wouldn’t have been excited about sharing it with the Doubters.
I much prefer to write about the trauma and the drama of the inner-world. And so that’s where we come into the poem.
The contrast between the inner and outer world in this poem helps to portray the healing relationship that I’ve discovered with the physical world. The soothing sense that I have been able to tune in with has helped immensely with the mobilisation of trapped energy in my body.
When the body cries out, no more!
My body had been crying out “no more!” for a very long time before I took notice.
Anyone looking in on my life would have seen that I was doing well. And I was doing well, in so many areas of life I had come a very long way and I was rightly proud of myself. I thought that I had dealt with all the dramas and traumas of my childhood. But I hadn’t really. My body was still storing this trapped, unexpressed, unacknowledged energy. I like to think of these as my unfinished stories, the moments in life that I’ve shoved beneath the surface, denied, and thought I could leave behind. This is what weighed me down, exhausted me, and called out to me through doubts and anxieties.
But submitting to the slump was the thing that I was MOST afraid to do. I wouldn’t allow myself to sink helplessly into the chair because what if I couldn’t get up again?
This was a huge dollop of self-doubt… I was terrified that if I did stop, I might never be able to start again. And where would that leave me?
Watch the rabbity mind flee…
I think most people will recognise this. When we allow ourselves to be still after a period of stress, the rabbity mind takes some time to catch up. It will go hopping around collecting up all those unearthed memories and unfinished stories. When we stay still for long enough, the rabbits will unearth this trapped energy and allow the shame to burn again.
Gagging for silence, yet aching to be heard.
Here’s an edge of life where self-doubt manifests. The friction between something we want and where we are holding back. I’ve grown to become extremely curious about these edges, in myself and in my clients. Because I know that it’s through these edges that we find potential for healing, growth, and unique creative expression.
But these edges are certainly not pleasant places to hang out. My body was crying out to rest but my mind kept pushing on in fear that if I stopped, I’d never be able to start again. My unfinished stories were pushing to be resolved and this was what manifested like the great grey fatberg blockage in my throat.
Where light and shadow meets
What’s actually causing the discomfort is my attempt to force my way through the edge. My fear of stopping is causing me to keep pushing myself. I’m holding myself back from the raw expression in fear of what’s going to happen on the other side of that.
This is where the gentleness and natural rythyms of life are so healing. Welcoming the space where light and shadow meets, allowing it to form, release, ease, dissolve, evolve. When I force it, it becomes more stuck, and causes more self-doubt. When I allow it to evolve without fighting it, the self-doubt becomes a beautiful moment of possibility, taking me into the next evolving space.
Let light in, breathe with it.
This is what we need to do for the light and the shadow to meet, sounds simple?
I believe this is actually the difficult part. Because to let light in and breathe with it, first of all you have to stop. Which then means that you will work through all of that resistance that I’ve just spoken about.
When in the dark place of self-doubt, we desperately want to let the light in and breathe with it. This is where we can often fall into the trap of forcing it. Reciting positive affirmations that don’t feel true. Endless gratitude lists that only cause more guilt. Extreme breathwork exercises or freezing showers in an attempt to shift the blocked energy…
Unless we’ve given ourselves the time and space to acknowledge the unfinished stories, all these activities only serve to deny them further. The more we attempt to force the light in, the more we reinforce the messages that these parts of us are wrong and not welcome.