March 9, 2022

We Can’t Simply Fall into the Life of our Dreams—we need Practice.

My body wants to curl in on itself.

My bones long for a configuration that would take me back to the state of primordial ooze where it would be okay if I was nothing, did nothing, and had nothing to accomplish.

Some days it needs to be okay to feel sad and formless but that can’t go on forever.

When I simply get still for a moment, my needs and values emerge quickly and rather poetically. That is the burden and blessing of being a writer, of being “articulate as f*ck” as I like to say. 

Having values and knowing our needs is not enough to birth them into the world though. We need practice. 

Honestly, doing anything for the last few days has set my teeth on edge and stirred up body-reverberating resistance. I’m holding back something big. 

I want to explode. I want to cry. I want to give up. These are markers of disconnection.

Disconnection, for me, is spiritual, emotional, and physical. As someone who resonates with a more pagan approach to life, my rituals are practical and involve my home, my bones, and the elements. I laughingly and lovingly call myself a “Kitchen Witch.” 

Food is medicine. Touch is medicine. Conversation is medicine. Pet love is medicine. Movement is medicine. Making love is clearly medicine. There are things we practice together and there are things that need tending alone.

When I feel overwhelmed, lethargic, depressed, or anxious, I need grounding, physically and emotionally. I need to return to my basic practices.

The other day I made a list: clean the house, cook the dog some food (he’s old, bony, and can’t digest anything but what I fondly call Grom grub), make a pot of soup, take a shower, take a walk, and write. What actually happened was: I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, took a bath and masturbated, went for a short walk, and had a long nap in my big leather chair. I got up, made broccoli cheese soup, then watched Netflix for several hours. 

That night, I dreamed gratefully and memorably. Dreamwork is something that I consider a valuable practice. I record my dreams in my journal first thing in the morning as I have coffee. It is a ritual that helps connect my inner world with my outer one. Writing helps me sort through symbols and sensations. 

Listening is my primary spiritual, mental, and emotional health practice. It is what I do for a living. I sit with people, and they reveal their struggles, confusions, and pains, but also their hopes and dreams, and I listen. 

Our psyches speak to us through our bodies. Our souls whisper stories through our flesh that we have forgotten. This signals us to know when we are in alignment with our choices and relationships. In the past, I had stuffed enough energy down to power a small village; that contributed to lethargy, anxiety, and bouts of depression.

Part of listening to my inner guidance or, more accurately, my instinctive wisdom, is knowing when to reach out, when to pull in, when to take action, and when to rest. 

Listening and honoring what we hear is a powerful practice. 

The fact that I passed out cold in my chair the other day means that I needed to rest more than I needed to dust and vacuum my living room.

There is an ache in my womb and a surrounding aura of agitation. I’m bleeding. As a woman, it is cyclical and unavoidable, so I do so with intention. What can I release? What can I shed?

Mentally, I was spinning stories about my self-worth to accompany my physical discomfort. 

I’m not important is the undertow of these tales. I project it primarily at my partner, as that is often where our deepest wounds seek to land. And although it is not true, it is a convenient distraction from the fact that I am not treating myself as if I am important. I am the one who is inside my head, letting my thoughts run wild with rejection fantasies. I am the one who has strayed from my practices.

My obsessive worry and need to pick is born from my own neglect of myself—my hopes, my dreams, my passions and purpose, and my rituals. Owning that energy makes me want to puke and crawl back into bed. 

I don’t want to do the things that light my soul on fire, and I want to do them more than anything. This is the paradox. There is only one thing that can bring relief to this exquisite tension and that is to play with it. To hold it, to turn it round, touching it curiously and gently. 

Curiosity is a powerful practice.

There is so much there to explore. There is love, hope, creativity, and a whole lot of sadness and fear. When I don’t give voice to what is within me, it stagnates, crowding me out of my own psyche and leaving no room for self-care and creativity. 

I have a delicious memory of my love, in his underwear, holding his guitar and telling me to pick a song to sing. I smile. My whole body smiles and little tears percolate in my sparkly baby-blues. This memory is sweet but my body has deep wells of bitterness stored below it.

There have been various men in my life who, both physically and metaphorically, wrapped their hands around my neck, who wanted to cut me off and shut me up. It’s not a dream or a fantasy—it’s something that happened to me. 

I am sad, angry, and frustrated not only for myself, but for all of us who have been trampled and intimidated into behaving ourselves—into being silent. 

My hypnotherapy teacher once said, “The best revenge is a life well lived.” Well, I want revenge. 

I want a well-lived life, damn it!

I want the trust that was stolen from me before it had the chance to settle into my body. I want to expel the bitterness left by so much betrayal, including the ways I have betrayed myself. 

How do I find this well-lived life? 

How do I reclaim my physical body, align my state of mind, and manage my unruly and chaotic emotions? Well, I need a f*cking practice!

I’d like to sing with my love the next time he picks up his guitar because I used to love to sing. I will have to practice. 

I have books inside me—endless words wanting to be birthed into the world. My writing needs practice. 

I love to dance, but lately my hips feel as if they are moving through molasses. My body must remember this practice.

Life does not simply come into being in a certain way because we desire it to do so. It takes tending. It takes care. It takes devotion. It takes practice.

~

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