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Every once in a while I have a day where I feel more connected to the stars, the moon, the cosmos, the things hidden from the plain light of the material world–the “real” one, as most of us call it.
I crave going further into the abyss that exists deep down inside me, into an alternate dimension, because I am drawn to something about which I know nothing, intellectually speaking.
I’m held back but my body seems to know something about this other aspect of me.
My tendons, muscles, their intuitive web of fascia that sends and captures signals of a sixth sense. They want to release a gush of howls and salted healing water. They plead for something else.
The blood that courses through my veins is the ink that longs to spill out onto paper and write it all down, this mysterious condition.
My throat is the gatekeeper of a divine being that is caged within my ribs unrecognized, leashed, not permitted to sing.
There’s something that makes me want to cast off my iron bra and kick off my confining shoes, shake the dust out of my hair, and sever the whole damn heavy past from my cells so I can lift, head first, into a sea of wild colours and an unrestrained world.
Far from the blank-walled place where I have to do the laundry, pay the bills, feed my commitments, and slap on an expressionless face just to save face.
Far from the concrete life where I have to engage with the mundane order of things just to survive a necessary part of myself in another necessary world.
And then I forget. I forget that I am allowed to enter that abyss and expose it to the light. I forget that I am permitted to take up space and sing from the bottom of my soul.
I forget that blank walls mean any picture is possible and that concrete sidewalks lead me to some incredible places.
I forget that my ability to remember right down to my bones is a gift far greater than my ability to forget.
Because when I forget, like an unwatered plant, I shrivel up and dry out. My voice cracks when I try to speak. My gnarled hand stops writing. My unwilling feet lose the way.
My heart light dims.
And I become someone who does the dishes in haste, who mindlessly walks the streets to and from where she has to go, who makes plans she doesn’t care about, who sits and stares out the window picking the threads of her shirt making excuses for why things are the way they are. I waste myself.
When we don’t tend to different sides of ourselves, the ones that pester us or are quick to anger, that threaten to drag us down into an abyss and compromise the solid self that joins us in full daylight, we become incomplete.
How easily we go from complete to incomplete without even noticing, kind of like our inability to witness ourselves aging.
Ignoring the dark parts of ourselves is like looking at a sick, skinny kitten with matted fur and crusted eyes and then turning away, unable to help, not because we don’t want to or for lack of compassion but because we don’t know how.
Because somewhere along the way we told ourselves that those parts of us are not okay and it stuck.
It’s the sign of a distressed soul when we reject the part of ourselves that whispers for a way out at 3 am. It doesn’t play nice when it’s ignored. It stirs arsenic into our coffee and stashes lead in our shoes. It fills us up with greasy, sugared foods and slows us down. It makes us victims of our own impulses and excesses.
And it doesn’t leave. It grows stronger if we ignore it.
So what do we do?
Throw open the windows and let in light and fresh air. Toss down some pillows and ask it to sit. Look into its eyes and see what’s there. Watch it move and breathe. Observe all its filthy layers. Listen to it speak. Hold it while it weeps. Offer it an entire pallet of colours and invite it to paint with you even if all you end up with is the colour of mud. Then roll around in it like it is mud.
Feel it become a source of power, creativity, and energy you never thought possible. Watch a whole new world open up into which you can enter, consciously, fully, without losing anything but fear and excuses, without mourning the loss of something you once had and never acknowledged.
And then go tend to your life and thrive. Do the things you need to do with far greater knowledge of and appreciation for who you are.