Apart from a few short outings, I have spent the last month at home with a painful and uncomfortable disk problem at the base of my spine. I have been living in a barren land of flesh and bone and usual activities involving movement, walking and sleeping have taken my full concentration and effort. Sometimes it feels like I’m imprisoned here at home, and I imagine being stuck here forever, in pain and fear of what may be. Part of the self loves to dwell on imprisonment, darkness and stuck-ness, and would quite happily keep me chained up forever. This same self, who I like to call the wolf, runs these horrific story lines past me over and over again in an attempt to convince me of my helplessness and vulnerability. The wolf’s only concern is being in control, and sometimes he has me on my back with his bloody teeth snarling down at me with his dirty paws on my chest.
There have also been times where I have relished the sereneness of being still and used this time to write, reflect and ponder… my form of meditation. I am fortunate in that the view from my window overlooks a park and the River Thames. Each day I lay watching the children play, animals going about their business and stare at the clouds and the water rising and falling about the wilderness. Having therapy sessions over the phone is not the same and I feel a huge distance between myself and my teacher. Wishing the out of date rules of psychotherapy would allow a home visit, a cup of tea with him, relaxed in my own space. Life as I know it has been put on hold. This recent stillness has led to inner change and a new perspective which is impossible to put into words. Words which may lie somewhere over the distant rainbow. I’m a weary traveler who is resting his bones, a much needed rest perhaps.. My back has done it’s best to support me over the years.
My heart has had time on its hands. Past experiences, especially thoughts about old flames, have been resurfacing and floating around. What could have been’s, and some kind of inner cleaning and clearing is in perpetual motion right now. I feel the need to write letters, to apologise, to explain and to move on. In particular one person from the past has been drifting around inside of me like an ocean, as well as in my dreams, which have been so colourful and vivid. I have a need to reach out and touch this gracious ghost from the past while the memory of her beautiful face is still vivid. I want to show my love and gratitude to her for sharing half a decade with me while I was a lost soul. I want to apologise for not being fully present back then. The timing was all wrong, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, and now she has beautiful children and a new lover. The wolf is envious, bruised and battered while the true self sits graciously smiling and feeling so happy for her. I have been worrying that my time is passing like the currents beneath the deep river so close to my door. Have I been living my whole life in the confines of fear.. O’ sweet heart show thyself and bless the stillness and the shadows within.
The self is more distant than any star ~ G.K. Chesterton
16 responses to “A Month in the Shadows”
First, really sorry you’re going thru yet another physical travail. These illnesses or events, usually do bring up memories of times past, and regrets. I truly believe a life lived with no regrets…is no life. This too shall pass, dear Wil. I hope you can be patient with yourself. Heal!
Thanks Fu, I never been ill for this long so it’s all pretty new for me. Thanks so much for the support as always! x
Hi Will, I think that this might be a good time to say that this time, thanks to the pain, is for being ruthlessly honest with yourself. Meditation indeed 🙂 Courage and patience dear friend.
Hi Robert, yes you are right, I sense the cog turning internally through this time.. Courage and patience indeed buddy! Thanks kindly, Will : )
Will, through this excruciating pain you have felt comes such depth and beauty in your writing. How clearly your thoughts come through this enforced time of waiting in your life. And then – happy to see you made it to your local – a sign of mending indeed. Sending love for complete healing for your back very soon. Ann
Thanks Ann, thats lovely of you to comment, especially at this time. Seeing a specialist tomorrow, possibly Mri scan, so we will see. I bless you and the support! Will x
Hi Will ~ beautiful & courageous posting ~ with a stunning ending: ‘O’ sweet heart show thyself and bless the stillness and the shadows within.’ ~ which immediately brought to mind a poem by Edith Sitwell entitled ‘Still Falls the Rain.’
Simply speaking, it is a war poem that refers to the bombing of England courtesy of some very rich & Passionate imagery that relates to Christ’s crucifixion … yet it is the final three lines of Sitwell’s poem that seem to switch the emphasis from pain to hope:
‘Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain—-
“Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee.”
And I look at Sitwell’s title & see other interpretations of it other than the constant dropping of bombs, in particular as an oxymoronic (still/falls) representation of the stillness that rain brings when all life seems to shudder to a stop beneath the raindrops … & there is a feeling of cleanliness & purification, too, brought about by the rain, which is akin to the inner cleaning that you refer to. I have a strong feeling that your heart has already begun to show itself, Will … & that the stillness is enabling you to stand beneath those shadows & absorb the darkness … such an essential process towards the realisation of our True selves. Such a moving post, buddy ~ bless you 🙂
Wow Peter, i had to read this quite a few times. The poem is saintly! Your comments brought tears to my eyes as your understanding of my words and meaning is other-worldly to me. Bless you too Brother, bless you too : )
As I read, I felt as if you were sitting across from me while we had a chat and a cup of tea. Pulled me right across the miles…amazing.
That’s so sweet to hear Diana as that is how it felt writing this one. Thanks so much for your comments x
Love the openness and honesty of your blogs…You have me thinking of what I should call my wolf…hope your back heals quickly and you hold the wolves at bay.
Thanks Sue, I used to name my wolf for quite some time, it can be very useful. Thanks for the get well wishes and comments!
It is beautiful to see someone who can look at and acknowledge their own truth. In that kind of honesty is everything: vulnerability and strength, beauty and irony, respect, honour, and love. This might sound strange to you, but it has happened to me before … this immobilization of the body and I think the Universe does this on purpose: to not let us run away from ourselves. We are forced to sit with ourselves and to accept what is. You will be well, Will. I know this in my bones, just like your bones. 🙂
You know Q, you have hit the nail on the head and the head has hit the nail back. Your part about the universe creating our immobilisation is what I have been thinking about lately. Except in my case; the universe inside me has forced me to accept what is. The big question of why? Why me? Why now? is floating around and I have come to the conclusion of ~ Why not? Is it so painful being still and mindful? Well it takes getting used to. Thanks Q so much!
Now is actually always the perfect opportunity, even though we always delude ourselves that we are never ready for ‘now’, but sometimes we only realize that, because we have no other choice. Sometimes, “the only way we learn is through pain” and I am quoting someone here, but I can’t remember who; “this is how the Gods demonstrate to us their love.”
If it is not ‘now’ that we confront who we are are or why, it will be ‘later’ that we shall confront all those things. It is only a question of procrastination, because we will never be spared from this confrontation.
Well put Q and, in my opinion the only way to grow through life. Thanks again for your input.. as always very valuable.