something pretty important happened to me last night.
the 3rd saturday of each month is drum circle at pathways. this circle is always different. sometimes 4 people, sometimes 20. sometimes almost complete silence, other times talking long into the evening. sometimes it's sweet, occasionally profound, sometimes church-like (you know, "i didn't get much out of that, but somehow i feel better for going.") oh well, not everything can always be earth-shaking. anyway, this circle has been ongoing for over 20 years, with various people showing up and dropping out along the way, and i have been a part of it for over 4 years now. i started going when i was about halfway through chemo.
part of the time is spent in journeying- people are to remember their entrance into a scene from nature, and ask their spirit guides to give them wisdom or insights for themselves or for someone else in the circle who's asked for healing. myself, since to be honest that's not so much a part of my spirituality, i usually spend the time in meditation or just plain blessed quiet. sometimes i seem to have a definite thought about someone's question. usually, just calm. after awhile, we're to announce if we have messages for anyone in the circle.
in the "request" portion, before the journey, i'd decided to speak up- lately, i've been having a mild case of PTSD. all the time i was in the hospital and going through 2 yrs of chemo, i was a rock- on the conveyor belt, no problem, just do it, get 'er done. NOW i'm 5 years cancer free-- thank You-- and the last 3 times i've gone to a doctor, i've had huge anxiety reactions- shaking, sweating, dizzy to the point of almost passing out. this happened even when i went to my PCP to see if i needed antibiotics for my bronchial flu! when the nurse tookmy BP, it was 190/110, for goddess' sake! (after exam- 120/70, which is fine, but no WONDER i'd been dizzy, my bod thought it was stroking out!)
so i decided i'd ask for insights and practical suggestions.
timothy, the circle's leader, told me that he'd like to do a Soul Retrieval for me. according to shamanic tradition, when a person goes through trauma, parts of her soul are taken from her, and must physically be brought back. in tim's journey, he'd seen a girl in a white dress standing outside of the circle. he asked her who she was, and she'd replied, "i am nan's vulnerability."
well, that made me get weepy, since...vulnerability? oh HELL no. not only in my personal life ("you think you can hurt me, asshole? no fucking way") but during my medical crisis- i HAD to just get on that bus and ride forward, because if i let myself think of how truly terrifying it all was, i would have run away and just kept on running.
and that, of course- pushing the RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! feelings that any person has when faced by a slobbering tiger, leads to PTSD.
so. with my permission, he came over to me and said he was going to "blow" the missing piece back into me through my Upper Heart chakra, and then again through the top of my head, so i'd really "get it." he made a cone of his hands and blew his breath hard, twice. by that time, tears were running down my cheeks big-time.
13 yr old girl standing on the sidelines? that's my young self..and about the last time i was truly idealistic and thought there really could be love in my life. vulnerable? me? not even a little bit. maybe it culminated in the early 90s when online chat brought a handful of profound, miserable, married men into my life who promised, one quote i'll never forget, that we would "always be in love, always be friends, never be alone." uh huh. one gave me an engagement ring (oh the humanity) and made a wedding date..by then the kids would be grown and he could, oh yeah, THAT little thing, get divorced. yuck.what a sap i was. and don't even get me STARTED talking about my Ex. really. don't.
silly girl, long ago. no longer- but i'd also shut down a large part of me- the healthy part that still hopes, even expects, that new possibilities can also (gasp) be good things.
but vulnerability? ok. now how the hell do i deal with that and not turn into a victim?
well, grasshopper..perhaps by actually being a grown-up...knowing i can be vulnerable, because that's really the only way new adventures happen, that i CAN still be hopeful- for myself, for love, for my healthy future, for music, for my own good work- but not be a an idiot and a SAP. being vulnerable does NOT mean BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF, nor does it mean suspending responsible judgment. it was essential to not be terrified and freaked out every time i went into chemo- sometimes ya just gotta get stuff done. and i have to deal with the physical manifestations of that now. but i DON'T have to allow myself to volunteer for situations that are dead in the water before they even start. vulnerability is NOT interchangeable with VICTIM mentality or pure IDIOCY.
i can acknowledge reality and STILL be vulnerable. i don't need to shut off myself, my friends, my family, or other possibilities that might arise in my still-to-be-discovered young-nan-life. i just don't have to be so black-and-white, either/or. some things ARE scary. it's OK to be scared. i CAN go into uncharted territory. but i can also rely on myself, my spirituality, my friends, my teachers and my Own Good Brain and spirit to give me strength when i need it, and that it will be All Right.
thank you, timothy. what a gift.