I woke up to deep undulations in my womb. Heavy energies stirred and churned. The dull ache familiar and yet bearing something deeper. A moontime message? I laid with my arms and legs splayed, shifting uncomfortably under my warm cover. Should I get up, take a hot shower and start my day or should I stay here and curl into a ball, allowing the purge to flow and pass as it always has?
I called in power, as we say on the medicine path, to bring relief to my aching abdomen. For the first time in my life, I also asked to know if there was something more that was leaving, something other than unneeded Life Force material. The answer came instantly.
I crawled out of bed and into the hot steam shower pelting my skin with fiery bullets to pull me away from the foreboding waves filling my core. Sadness erupted suddenly and clearly.
I saw myself as a little girl. Afraid. My father was an alcoholic. He was a broken, sad and angry man. His moods rolled through in waves that led him to the bottle. I took care of him. When he came home after work and the bar, he would fall over the threshold of the front door, fumbling for his keys. More than a few times he would pass out right in the front hall. I would drag him to his bedroom, somehow. Lay him onto his bed and take off his wingtip shoes and socks. Sometimes I could get the bedspread to cover him. I would always turn at the door to see if he was okay before I left the room and turned out the lights. I can still feel the lump in my throat. Mouth dry. The primal anxiety.
We never spoke of it.
I learned to be the good helper daughter. I took care of the dishes and laundry. I did all the household chores. I don’t really remember but I don’t think my little brother did many. I remember my mom thought my dad had turned me into his “little wife.” I thought that was mean and wrong. They had a bitter divorce and fought about everything from custody to what we wore or who paid for what. I saw my Dad’s broken heart. I saw his pain. I wanted to help him. I wanted to fix him. I loved him. I was his baby girl. I did everything I could to please him. To keep him happy.
I remember asking for help with math. He was an Engineer but he would get frustrated with me when I didn’t understand right away. I couldn’t take his frustration with me so I stopped asking for his help. I did not want to be the source of his sadness or his anger.
I learned to enable dysfunctional behavior for love from my father. The broken father. The addict. The angry withdrawn and unavailable man. I would be perfect. I would be strong. I would be capable. I would hold everything together to survive. I would give up my need to be a child, to be truly safe, to feel worthy, to keep the peace.
He was strong in other ways, though. He was a mountain man. He was a successful Engineer at Boeing. When he was in his element, in nature, he was very capable and very happy. All I had to do was play when we went to the woods. The woods were my childhood. The forests sheltered my innocence from the relationship pains of my family.
Perhaps this is why the medicine path speaks so powerfully to my Soul. Mother Earth has never forsaken me. The forests were my cathedral, my safe place to be.
I met a healer a few months ago who talks to the body to find areas that might need healing support. He instantly found the longing and depression related to my dad. Zero’d right into it. I met some Reiki healers recently who said my Dad was in the room and showed them that he died of a broken heart, not cancer. They also said he loved me tremendously. I was his little girl and he was more proud of me than ever.
My dad told me he was dying when I was 13. I fell into a deep depression. My future narrowed to just surviving that day and the next. I couldn’t imagine my future anymore. Would he be there? Who would I be without him?
I found the dance scene. The deafening pulse of electronic beats tapped into my wounded heart like a puppet master of IVs and defibrillators. Keep. On. Dancing. Don’t. Ever. Stop. I craved sweaty, dizzy relief from the pain, the fear of being consumed by a grief too black and cruel to face. I was never enticed by the treacherous invitations to sex or drugs. Reflecting on that now, why so many others were taken down that path and I wasn’t, especially given my Dad’s addictive patterns, I think I was determined not to lose myself. I knew it had done nothing good for my Dad or anyone I knew. I knew there had to be a better way to be free of suffering. In that moment, dancing took me out to the edges where I could touch something beyond.
I had already come back from the dead once when I was ten, so I knew that I could do it again. This oblivion, however dark, would not take me.
New Order’s TRUE FAITH – A taste of what I got me spinning around and around.
The two years my Dad died were two years of me dancing like a dervish; wild, unbound, free and foolish, afraid but brave and very determined.
They were two years of perpetual twilight, death and soul discovery through poetry, perseverance and challenging perceptions in every relationship and situation I encountered. I observed the steadfast strength of my father disintegrate before my eyes. It bestowed upon me the choice to crumble or take a leap of faith, off the cliff of childhood and into womanhood. I had nothing to lose. I lost him in pieces over the years of his self destruction. There was no question this was my life and how it was going to go was entirely up to me. No more first dances. No more gentle rites of passage. No more fairytale send offs and no giving away the bride. The unconditional fierce father love was evaporating from my arms and infused my heart with a shield I would not see until I was much older and it became time to mend the wounds hidden underneath.
Father wounds come in many flavors. There is no exact formula for how you experience it or repair it. But for me, I now see that I often fell for men who were fragile in some way, usually not visibly. They were perhaps a bit insecure or over compensating for something. They were generally unavailable, unable to tap into their deepest emotions consciously. And like my father, there was an undercurrent of anger. The wounded man just needed a good girl to support and nurture him and he would be okay. And the more I did to soothe and love, in my active hands-on way, the more they would pull away into their own orbits. Perhaps I seemed too competent or like I didn’t really need them? I had learned to protect myself, too. I couldn’t fully trust a man to protect me. Losing a father early in life shakes the foundations of your sense of security and safety. In my marriage, this pattern has been running, too. We’ve only recently become aware of the wounds and how we each mirror those patterns for each other.
I cried hard in the shower, feeling the deep longing to be loved and safe in childhood rise up in my body. I remembered the pain I witnessed and absorbed around me. I saw my own defenses, my desire to fix my dad and everyone else. Be the peace keeper. I tried to keep him stable. Alive.
I saw my younger self sitting in the pew in the front row at his funeral, aware of his lifeless body folded in a suit he probably wore at his second wedding. I felt compressed by every atom. My grief was spread throughout my body so thickly I couldn’t sense any place it wasn’t. He failed to protect me. I could never fully trust another human being to protect me. I had to find my own strength. The illusion of safety lay there in a casket before me, a victim of his own demons. That would never be me, I vowed. I would not follow his path.
And of course, to the skillfully trained therapist, I did follow one aspect of his path. I fell into my “strong” but enabling behaviors over and over again. Because I needed them to validate me, to love me, to possibly maybe keep me (and my children) safe, I would turn a blind eye to neglect and emotional detachment. And only when I could see the impact on others, on my children, did I begin to wake up and ask the hard questions of myself.
What was I doing to create this? What was I not doing that allowed this? Why didn’t I love MYSELF more? I would never stand for this for my daughters, so why was I okay with it?
The work to release these patterns and beliefs is well underway and the impact is already beyond powerful and very positive. I have no doubt that many more insights will emerge in the months to come.
As I was meditating on the feelings and revelations of this moon cycle, I heard very clearly:
It matters, it unmatters.
It matters, it unmatters.
It matters, it unmatters.
It was rhythmic, just like the tides being pulled by the gravitational power of the moon. Or the swing of a pendulum. Yin and yang. A breath in and a breath out. Both equally necessary. The pulse of life that leaves little shells of magic on the shore awaiting discovery by our awareness. Once fully understood, these messengers wash away. Back into the sea of possibilities for another day, another comber to chance upon.
We are constantly creating meaning and awareness in our lives. I made this as a child to survive some very painful experiences, without the benefit of the wisdoms I have now. I’m making meaning out of the revelations in the shower, with my body speaking deeply to me, because it helps me to understand the complex emotions that arise in a long term relationship like a marriage or in a family with many dynamic Souls working to understand themselves and their experiences. It ALL matters. Everything we think, feel and do matters. We create matter because we ARE energy, or unconditional love in motion. That’s our job. To create and reflect. Create and reflect.
Life is a dance. We dance with Life. We dance with ourSelves.
And then the tides, the breath, the elements roll in and wipe the slate so we can look again.
My dad gave me a tremendous gift when he left me exposed to the elements. While I had to grow up early, I was able to take risks and dig deep into my own resources for strength I would have never discovered if he had been there to hold my hand. Grief teaches us to value the present as a gift because loss can be swift and profound. Mourning what was is not to be avoided, but a process we surrender to and honor. And it passes. In waves. It matters, and then it unmatters a little bit….until we see the little treasures left behind and hope to do the same for those we love.
As Rumi said, “the wound is the place Light enters you.”
Light, in my experience, is love. Self love comes from understanding who you really are. In childhood, we are learning from those who generally do not know who they are. We are magical beings who manifest reality through alchemical mind-body-spirit reactions. Our feelings and thoughts become matter. WE are powerful, brave, exquisite Souls fueled by stardust and moon beams. We are love in motion, when we free ourselves from everything we are not.
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