Looking back and thinking forward

Month: April, 2015

Releasing the shackles

I had the weirdest sensation on Sunday morning as I prepared to walk in the Wissahickon Valley. I hooked up my earphones and opened the Map-My-Walk app to record how many miles I would go. As I set out, music started playing from the playlist I created for my four to six mile walks, each song or melody reaching into my brain much like a meditation as I strode out into the spring day. It was the perfect spring day with cool temperatures and an almost clear blue sky above the tall, old trees lining the Wissahickon creek. Leaves turning the softest shades of green and some trees or shrubs bursting out in pale, pink or white blossoms. Along the way people were arriving onto the path as if tumbling out of their wintry stupors to soak in the fresh, hopeful air of rebirth everywhere around us. Some accompanied by dogs of all shapes and sizes, others jogging, cycling, riding astride the odd horse or two, or walking steadily along Forbidden Drive like me. 

Out of the blue, I felt something strange happening around my wrists and ankles – something I had never felt before. It was as if iron shackles were snapping apart and releasing me. So vividly real was the feeling, that I could hear the irons clanking open, and I almost stumbled with the force as they broke apart. I stood still briefly experiencing the sensation, and tears of joy and relief filled my eyes. A rush of freedom washed over me, and I started to walk again. This time, my step was light and I seemed to flow forward along the path with a force of energy the likes of which I have not experienced before. I might have thought I had dreamt it all except that the feeling of freedom and relief stayed with me for the full two hours of my walk, and even through the brunch I treated myself to in the little coffee shop at the end of the trail – a full three miles before returning on the second half of the walk for the next three miles. Indeed, even two days later, the full force of that feeling has remained with me.

I am still not quite sure what it portends, and there will be time to process it further going forward, but one thing is sure, I am letting go of something big within me. After all, I have been a prisoner of my mind and ancient paradigms for long enough, and the old rules that helped me survive as a child clearly no longer apply to me. 

One month later

Have I been so busy that a month has passed me by without writing on this blog? I know there were travels across the country and many presentations, that's true. But what about all the thoughts and feelings wandering through my brain while these things were happening? I know I thought of many blog posts even as my days were full of this and that.

Ah, and there's always the book that I am writing. That takes up much of my time, for it fills my thoughts throughout the days, accompanying me on trips to the grocery store, on my walks, and at times even when I am chatting with neighbors. I had forgotten what it is like to be all consumed with my literary endeavors, and I am so privileged this semester to have the time to do just that: allow myself to be consumed. 

Apart from all of that though, this past month I have found peace of mind about my early childhood and the connections with the present reality. It started in March in Oxford, although it had been a long time coming through all the psychological work that I have been doing on myself over the years. I felt it in my presentations this past month, and as I stride out on my daily four-mile walk. I sense it as I take care of myself more and more – whether it is in preparing a variety of salads for dinner just for me alone while Life Partner is away on his travels; or sleeping in until six in the morning – one hour later than usual! Something has shifted within me.

It has taken a long time getting here, and continues to be a process of uncovering the inner workings of my emotional memory. I understand the reasons why. Some might call it forgiveness. Forgiveness for the people who hurt me so deeply – who broke my heart over and over again – forgiveness for myself for some of the choices I made. I call it understanding with my emotional brain – not the rational one. Understanding in my guts, if you will. Understanding that people who broke my heart knew not what they did. They had unresolved emotional issues, which they took out on me because I was so willing to believe their truths – so desperate was I for their love and acknowledgement. Understanding that the choices I made were the best I could do with the undeveloped awareness I had at the time. 

This type of understanding helps me heal my broken heart. It allows me to forgive myself for who I am and what I feel.