This morning there was the sound of rain and sea gulls, which was a relief. It’s also cooler today, which I don’t mind as the temperature will be going up again. A cool spell is ok, as just a spell.
I dreamed this morning of the damaging relationship I had through much of the 80s, even a bit into the 90s, though by then I was largely free*. The worst (and the most spell bound) was about 9 years or so. In the dream I relived rejection, humiliation, worthlessness, loss of self. I was in some expensive, soulless apartment belonging to people I didn’t know, looking out over the Thames, crying. The feeling was anguish. Sometimes I can’t believe I still have these dreams, after all these years, but I feel better for it this morning, all the same. It seems a little trite to say it was something being “released” (how many times would this have to still happen?), but at least made visible, and with acknowledgement things can heal.
I am of course better now than I have ever been. I have a husband I love who loves me, and we are closer than ever. I am stronger, and have more of a sense of self than I have ever had. I have found my path in life, in company with my spouse. The past really is left behind. I think that is why I can have these dreams. I am strong enough to be myself.
We look back on our lives sometimes, and feel like the scenes are indictments, maybe even disasters, pain for which we still bear responsibility, for being there. But these are just lands that belonged to us, indications or our breadth and depth, that if we were unconscious, we were still the irreplaceable experiencers, learning our meaning through the awakening of living. We apparently lived in a muddy field, our feet in a cold stream in Winter. But actually, we just owned that place. We didn’t have to live there.
Mythology, when it isn’t wooden morality tales, is always full of glory and tragedy and meaning, because that is what makes it recognizable, and thus realistic. When you suffer and fail most powerfully, it is not a sign of your smallness, but of the opposite. It is not the only way of course; that should be noted. But deep pain is one way our selfhood hatches from the shell, like a glittering lizard, a tiny mermaid or man, god and demon.
I think when I was a lot younger I once read something by RD Laing where he said words to the effect of “what of the person who literally gets on the boat in search of their Shangri-La, or who takes their beloved as their god, or actually embarks on the quest?”. I don’t remember the words exactly, but I remember the meaning. We talk about symbolic processes, poetic realities, but what about when it is literally real for someone in their life?
Laing was talking about the area of “psychosis” and “madness” and “sanity”, but I think anyone who has deeply lived has touched on this, even the most down to earth and solid of us. What I understand as the process of individuation involves some of this. For to become an individual, you have to learn how to live, which is a hazardous participation in shared myth and energy, and through that come to live as yourself, which is your real story and meaning.
You lived and suffered in the field and the stream, and had joys that couldn’t belong to you, till you realized that you chose on some level to go where you did in your realm, just as the chick “chooses” to break the egg shell. Then knowing enough of the many lands that you own, you can build your house and live there, and also explore, with choices more consciously and wisely your own.
Rain by Tadam (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
* I should point out that I stayed in this relationship, so it was also my doing.