No Weddings, But a Funeral and A Rollercoaster

img_0081I hate rollercoasters. Let’s just get that down officially, shall we? It has been a rollercoaster week for me.

It began Monday, when one of the bigger triggers of my very-Cold-War-get-under-your-desk-kiss-your-ass-goodbye childhood was hammered by a news story where a restaurant owner ordered a “nigger” out of his place.  And yes, I AM going to by gods use THAT word just so you all can be reminded just how UGLY it is.    Yes, I grew up partially in the segregated South and that word was heard constantly.  Even in schools and (gasp!) churches.  I walked away from the news item reeling, holding back tears only half successfully.  I literally curled up in my bed in a pile of pillows and shut off the lights.

Tuesday was “date day” for the Minotaur and me.   We will see our 40th anniversary of marriage this month — and it has been “interesting” in the Chinese curse sort of way since we both suffer PTSD.  Mine is of standing clear to my childhood — he has it from a similarly abusive childhood AND the Viet Nam War.  So, pretty much one or the other of us is triggered at almost any given moment of difficulty.  The Minotaur, finally, after more than a year in VA counseling and marital counseling, IS in a better place.  Apparently, this cued MY little inwardly bleeding self to think it would be alright to cut loose and fall apart?

Because Tuesday, still tender from re-confronting memories of three months *of 5th grade hell in Louisiana — where the teacher opened each day crying “All you children who hate niggers raise your hands!” — I fell apart.  We were in the car, and the Minotaur was on auto-pilot “find a freeway” mode.  I hate our freeways; people drive Mad-Max-ish on them here.  So, I wigged out and we had a huge fight and no date time happened.  I beat myself up the rest of the night, barely sleeping and writhing in self-loathing for my personal failures.

*Only 3 months because I dropped out of school then.

Wednesday I put it on hold, choke-chaining myself into duty of re-stocking the cupboards before the other household residents got restless.  But, ah, Thursday — oh woe.  Thursday we went to the funeral of the 23 year old daughter of a guy from the Minotaur’s veterans’ group.

First off?  I am pretty sure the “Christian” god IS dead.  The funeral put me in a Baptist Church for over two hours and the very things I thought as the service droned on and on SHOULD have brought lightening down IF there was a god there, ok?  Yes, I know, harsh and melodramatic.

But rollercoasters bring out the melodrama in me, deal with it.

First, the “viewing”.  Oh my gods and goblins — she was SO young.  At 23, I got married.  She had just given birth to a pair of tiny twins.  Motherless twins, now.  It was shocking looking at that pretty young dead face.  There were Bible readings, the usual “green pastures” bits.  I told myself if it comforted the family, it was ok.  But of course, it was NOT ok.

Then the family members spoke with tear-stained faces of how much she meant to them, how she brightened every room and helped everyone she met.  Now THAT was brutal and grief-soaked.  Then there was a song about “holding the hand of God and keeping the mind on things eternal” and I began to risk a lightening strike.  Because for me, a humanist pagan?  This is NOT helpful or comforting at all — this is “shove that grief and anger in a bottle and be good little Good Book slaves!”  What about NOT thinking of the eternal and about questioning why the hell a 23 year old is DEAD? What failed that this young mother is DEAD?!

Then the youngish minister spoke.  He was incredibly proficient in trite platitudes about how time heals, god doesn’t give more than you can handle (apparently “god” thinks this family is a bunch of badasses?), etc.  He KEPT saying he was “almost done” and yet kept talking.  He explained that in times of grief and pain, it felt “as if God doesn’t make sense.”  Then he got downright revolutionary and daring and said, flat out: “God doesn’t always make sense to us.”  Of course, he went on to explain that was what “faith” was for — to help us through those things we cannot understand.  That’s when “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder began playing in my head at about 110 decibels.

The tear-soaked tissue in my hand was balled into a rock-hard ball by now.  I was SO hurt for the family in front of me suppressing sobs.  THIS is all their “faith” had to offer them?  Platitudes?  Hollow phrases about just getting through it?  Hel’s bells, I TOLD them that a couple days after we got the news: “When you are going through hell, KEEP going.”  The minister told them their tears should “endure through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”  What IS that — a Christian order to “shake it off” that a beautiful, smart, loving woman doesn’t deserve more mourning than that because god says so?!  What about WHY she is dead, what societal failure – aided by religious opiates of “stop bawling and move on back to work, etc” – made it so unremarkable that she IS dead?

So yes, here is Friday.  I feel like a beehive has been tucked into my ribcage.  If “God” is the answer, I think we are asking the wrong fucking question.  But I’m just a “godless heathen” — so surely my opinion is to be discounted if not ignored entirely.

 

At Last…

coffee goldI’ve been called “co-dependent” so many times that if I had a nickle — just five cents — for every time? I wouldn’t have melted down over a mistaken $1100 “contribution” that I did not make today.  Because hey, those nickels would have covered the cost!

I’ve long argued that using the phrase “co-dependent” whenever someone just doesn’t give up on a person or relationship when it is in trouble in exactly the way marriage vows (for instance) suggest one should DEAL WITH, is abusive and terrible psychology.  Especially if the topic is alcoholism or drug addiction, labeling family members trying to support an addict as “part of the problem” is very damaging.  And frankly, telling the spouses of those suffering the enduring horrors of PTSD that they are “contributing” or “enabling” is bullshit, too.

Someone finally gored that “sacred cow” of psychology.  Finally, someone bloody agrees with me!  At last!  About time someone finally woke up and smelled the bullshit in the coffee!

Birthday Month – Never Easier

mcesThe storm blowing in from the Pacific comes in gusts that shake the house and set the trees to writhing as if they dance to music only they can hear.  In between the noisy bursts of wind, which jangle into motion the wind chimes the Minotaur-husband adores, it is too quiet — a deep unnatural stillness when if feels as if everything alive is holding its breath.

We wash every dish, afraid of the power failing at any instant and not wanting a sink full of dirty dishes.  Menu plans change if it calls for a long oven use – we cannot be sure of that.  And so, there it is: what CAN one be sure of in the year she, this one, turns 63?

Not much, apparently.  When I was one third this age, at 21, I did not error in thinking I knew everything.  But I was very certain of what I did know and sure I could quite easily learn all else worth my effort.  And at 42?  Oh, such a comfort of mind then, even as a physical monster threatened as I struggled to regain use of my nerve-damaged left arm.  I was happier then that ever before in my life – sure there were problems, but by then they all seemed old familiar ones that would surely respond to old familiar solutions.

Now, at 63, all those sureties seems such illusions.  My marriage was non-existent at age 21.  At age 42, it was troubled but stable in its instability.  At 63, deeply intertwined with my spouse like the M.C. Escher image above?  It is pained and difficult; no, dear ones in the world – it does not get easier with age.  We are new, we two long-wed combatants.  He is all raw nerves awakening from his own self-induced coma of inattention and the world is boiling with pain and shock.  Me?  Oh, I am jaded and bitter with long exposure to the salt and sea and sand of living like a raw nerve all along.

He acts like a man bewitched, enchanted by me – alternately wildly romantic and utterly detached.  I feel unseen, as if he has fallen for some idol of me instead of the woman I am.  I find it hard to feel romantic about him; his health and injuries keep me in care-taker mode and how can I love something so injured that my heart will break sooner or later?  He is, like so many men, spectacularly bad at self-care and when I try to impose it upon him, he is resentful and peevish with me.  I recoil, hurt and furious.

So, thus we dance around the ashes of the marriage that burnt down in a PTSD pyre in 2011; trying to find some ember, some spark.  But neither of us trust that ember not to burn US down, I think.  Neither of us is the person were were before that crisis night; and we need to get to know each other anew.  That is so hard amidst the clutter of daily life in old familiar surroundings.

I long for dates, dressed up pretty and wearing jewelry.  He takes me to coffee and the hardware store.  I go home to repair broken bird-feeders and resist the urge to live in sweat pants or pajamas.  I immerse myself in books; he spends half his time at the VA hospital in endless appointments and classes and meetings.

Nothing gets easier with age.  I am definitely too old for this brand of lonely nonsense.  And so it goes.

 

Gratitude 29 July

50thI am a Viet Nam Era veteran, my husband is a Viet Nam veteran who served in combat in Viet Nam.  I am grateful, that in the course of finally seeking aid with his PTSD, he began going to a Tacoma Veterans’ Center.

Today, they had a ceremony for the 50th Anniversary of the Viet Nam War there, giving certificates and pins to veterans who served in that time.  This is in response to an order from President Obama, that from Memorial Day 2012 through Veterans’ Day 2025 — in some way, veterans groups and centers across the country should pause and note the service of the seven million veterans who are still living out of the nine million who served in that turbulent conflict and misery.

I am very grateful I was there today, when this local (and among the first in the nation) centers established for and by Viet Nam veterans noted that service and honored men and women who likely were never welcomed home from difficult, dangerous, often fatal duty by the citizens who were wrapped up in the political turmoil of the time. It also broke my heart to see men and women of my generation get teary eyed at such a simple thing as a pin on a lapel and a certificate of thanks.

It would make me much more grateful if the 99% of Americans who do not serve in the military and don’t even KNOW a military member would realize that abusing the soldiers who take an oath to obey their Commander in Chief and go to the wars declared by our civilian government   is cruel and futile. Soldiers do not choose their wars.

7 July Gratitude

wedding cakeI am grateful for newness.

What does that mean, you say?

It means that as I’ve focused in harder on home life this week, as the Minotaur recovers from carpal tunnel surgery – that I’ve found the work load all on my shoulders just a wee bit difficult.

And that made me want to open champagne — or some nicer bubbly mead.  Because it is a new thing to not be used to carrying the entire household load myself!  That means our working on the PTSD damaged marriage has worked!  It means he has changed and been shouldering his part — physically and emotionally!  It means I can finally relax, stand down, admit my exhaustion and recover! With that realization, a few days or weeks of doing all the dishes, driving, etc. seems like nothing at all.  Well, except maybe, it seems like an act of love instead of weary obligation.  It IS a newness — we are new people,  Together and strong and new!

 

Gratitude 6 July

I am grateful for a bit more sleep, a bit less spoiled by fireworks noise.

Fire & MoonBTW, all you uber patriots? Do you know that most veterans HATE fireworks noise/smell because it induces PTSD symptoms in many of them. Just saying — is there no way to celebrate being American that doesn’t involve gluttony and blowing shit up?

Personally?  I like to celebrate by making sure my voter’s registration is in order.  And by living the ideals of our Founding Fathers — NOT being a noisy racist shit-heel, for instance.  Does it show that I’ve been sleep deprived for two weeks now?

Slammed – Reality Bites (the Cookie?)

mirror,mirror,mirrorMirrors are a terrible start to most days, don’t you think?  Similarly, epiphanies are tricky things. Not every “Eureka!” denotes celebratory champagne.  At first, like most folks facing an issue, it does seem like a great thing to have identified the precise issue.  If most of my marriage had been a sort of ministry to my PTSD wounded husband and I had not known it?  Just what else had I been similarly unaware of; ignorance certainly was anything but bliss by about ten minutes after completion of my last “triumphant” post.  The optimism of my last paragraphs died ugly.

I had already been fighting depression as our marital counseling seemed stuck on a plateau of going nowhere.  Thinking how my nurturing of the man I knew to be wounded had been dismissed/diagnosed as codependency by friends, and realizing it certainly was outside the realm of mere romantic love hedged me in self-doubt.  I never lied for him (nor to him) about any of his issues.  Nor did I lie to  myself about the constantly embattled state of my marriage and life.  I checked my actions against my ethical code and usually found them in accord aside from the occasional screaming battle involving name calling and door slamming.

LoveSo why was I suddenly so deeply down and depressed?  All I crave is sleep and sweets.  No amount of either seems sufficient.  Suddenly diagnosing my years of (mostly) solicitude as service instead of love left me feeling emotionally naked.  It didn’t necessarily do him any favors either.  I’ve always known I am one of those people who almost reflexively tries to fix things I find in busted up condition.  I had generally held the opinion that people were the exception to this because (a) who did I think I was to feel in a position to so label another human, (b) nobody can be “fixed” if they don’t want to do it for themselves, anyway, and (c) I had observed those efforts ended badly.

So, how did I fall down that rabbit hole after all?  Youthful arrogance and the unspoken “dare” –  my husbands fearful defiant statement as he feared he was falling for me, telling me I was not the one for him?  Good chance that did it, my own “I’ll show him!” hackles rose and into the fray I went.  Oh, I hate to say it, but sometimes pride does go before a fall!  Well, really, hubris.  I have no issue with ordinary pride of accomplishment – but pride before the accomplishment?  Yes, that was an issue.

And it surely didn’t turn me aside that the sex was amazing. I can hear an old astrology buff acquaintance intoning, “Stupid Scorpios.”  I will never stop contending that there ARE worse reasons for relationship, ok?  That does NOT mean my astrology crazed pal had a point.  It means my “black heart of innocence” was NEVER convinced that sex was bad!  I remember, even as a young teen, hearing the sermons and lectures about lust/lechery/sex and modesty/virginity/purity and thinking “What a crock of crap!”  Anything as vital as the cause for continuance of the species cannot be a bad thing – now, making half that species into chattel by telling them if/when/how/with whom they can have sex?  That is a bad thing.

But what now?  With both of us calling a pack of Pecan Sandies and a quart of milk a meal?  Both of us are exhausted and depressed.  He is most depressed IN counseling sessions as I decry my invisibility to him as real person vs. a projection in his mind.  I am most depressed OUT of counseling when feeling that we may suck as a couple, but feel far worse alone.

Or do we?  This morning the house was silent after my initial rising.  One son off to work, the other sound asleep, the husband off to his veterans’ group.  I got up and cooked food instead of searching out cookies. (OK, it was mac and cheese, but with a tin of tuna!  I can’t fight the radioactive blues with salad, alright?  Cheap carbs and cheap protein from a tin is my go-to.  Bite me.)  Does this mean we ARE better off without each other?  It might be hubris to say that — I think it felt better not to look at each other in our current suffering condition, a restful break from sorrow.

Perhaps that is the clue.  That we need to see more in each other than our suffering condition.  How to do that?  ::::sigh:::  You know, I think our climate-battered garden might suffer even more this summer?  I think both of us need to step outside “ordinary time”.  He has been doing auto-pilot grown up things like dishes and vacuuming, I’ve been bathing and napping, reading and weeping.  Him doing all the scut work makes me feel worse, while he feels nurturing.  But then some of his rather passive-agressive control bits (that he needs to feel secure) slide in and I go ballistic.  And the gears of marital battle turn faster.

That particular bomb needs defusing.  How, oh how?  We can’t live in a ritual circle/sphere, now can we?  One rather toxic pagan couple I knew did fine in a circle with each other and a nice audience, but outside of that they lived bitterly separate lives fueled by food and alcohol alone.  Not the pattern I want to follow.  But I do want a new “pattern” because the current one is useless to us both.

Perhaps finding something to do daily that allows us both to see beyond our shared dysfunction?  Meditation instead of morning news?  Yoga together after coffee?  Haiku to express the inexpressible?  Blowing off dishes, bed-making, and all that to go on ahead and eat cookies and milk while watching a movie?  Finding reasons to laugh together instead of crying alone?

There was a quote in my current reading today, a non-fiction book about the absolutely most dire circumstances ever experienced by humans.  It lit a candle in my brain when a dying man told his last surviving child:  “Live for the benefit of others, thus all will benefit.”  Ah, I thought, take that all you codependency-labelers!  (No, it was not some book of monotheistic schlock, thank you very much.)  We had fallen so far apart in the last five years that perhaps for the only prolonged time in our 40 years together, we were living only for ourselves.  That stops.  Today, now — an hour ago.  I have been ruled by fear of loss of self.  That fear lost me my most significant self – the self that lived by “the light of my heart… regardless of consequences.”

 

Part 2 – Descent and Ascent Of Innana

Vertical Roses 1So, down I had fallen/passed — in 35 years of slippery slope.  I loved roses, ever my favorite flower and scent; and yet my life no longer had a scent.  I greeted my 35th wedding anniversary living apart from my husband, unsure where I was taking my life.  My life was upside down, all looked hopeless and black.  Sure, I had known he had PTSD and had tried many times to address the issue with him.  He was in denial, as so many veterans are and his self-loathing was finally poisoning every close relationship.

I’d lost friendships, women I’d known for years called me “co-dependent” because I did not want to do as Innana did — I would not sacrifice my Thomas as she did her Damuzi- Tammuz.  I would stay hung in “hell” before I threw him, battered and emotionally bleeding, under the bus.

But I did feel broken, shattered.  I didn’t feel like a wife, I felt like a scapegoat.  I reminded myself not to take it personally, but I was so tired I DID take it personally at last.  I spent three months in self-distraction to defuse my own hurt and rage.  I needed the rest.  I fell asleep in front of television shows whose dialogue drowned out my inner screaming.

As a Feri friend of mine would say, my iron pentacle had certainly rusted.  And so had my wounded warrior husband’s.  I tried sex almost at once as a restorative.  He was surprised and delighted, fearing he would never have sex again — but it was not sufficient healing.  After three months of self-indulgent wallowing to acknowledge the level of my pain and loss, I finally got to work figuring out how to fix myself, my household, and then how to get help for my husband.

I began exercising almost every day.  I aligned the “triple soul”; for though I am not a Feri initiate, that clear humane tradition laid out by T. Thorn Coyle in “Evolutionary Witchcraft” was the closest thing to my own mix and match manner of working through life.  Immanent divinity and personal responsibility were ever my watchwords.  I recited a famous (if fictional) “litany against fear” — sometimes several times a day.  In dire need I used a quote from another version of Innana’s story — Finnan/ “Prometheus” defiant proclamation from “Vellum“: “I’ll bear my fate without a care,

But I will neither tell you what you want to hear,

Nor hold my tongue about my state.”

I ran the iron and pearl pentacles to restore myself.  I walked and cared for my Labyrinth although large parts of the yard withered around me.  I kept the roses alive, even moving them from the windswept road-side.  It was not easy, but it got easier.  He found a good counselor, after a year wasted with a very bad one who thought he needed Jesus, not a wife.

I was strong enough by the time this bad counseling came to light that I didn’t despair, though I did weep.  To realize my marriage had been put on the block by a stranger because I was obviously not a Christian shocked me with the venom and hatred of someone whose faith claims to be made of love.

I rebuilt parts of my marital home.  I stripped furniture and antiques — conceptualizing the damaged old finishes as the blasts my marriage had taken.  I made everything again clean, clear, and bright and moved back into my home after three years of nigh ritual solitude.

My “lost” runaway son came home that same autumn, my heart rejoiced even while startled by another household shake-up.  I felt my heart re-bounding, color began to bleed back INTO my life.  My husband retired from his stressful job.  We began seeing a marriage counselor, while he continued with another for his PTSD issues.

It is still difficult and painful, but realization filtered through as we argued one day.  I was demanding to know how he “really” felt about me, because I did not feel loved – I felt “necessary”.  He was hurt and insulted, although that was not my point or aim at all.  What had often occurred to me was that while I loved him, he didn’t seem capable of the same emotional commitment.

The sickening feeling that he might truly not love me, but might desperately need me very nearly turned my life black and withered again.  I listened, once morning in the garden, to a small hawk screaming over-head.  I thought it had been a while since I aligned my Feri three part soul — the “uppermost” that is the connection to the divine world; Coyle calls it a Sacred Dove.  I call mine my “Hawk on High” — around here, doves are for dinner!

In the next days of turmoil, I became very silent in between necessary interactions.  That feeling of “something coming” rang like klaxons of alarm in my head.  I took myself to the tattoo parlour to exteriorize the pain and to mark a friendship.  FullSizeRenderA sliver of white waning moon now adorns my right wrist — a sliver of barely waxing moon adorns a sweet Texan’s wrist.  In the mirror, I see her waxing moon and feel her friendship; in her mirror she sees my darkening moon and hears my smart-assed sass!

I sat in silence in the night and asked myself: “What if he loves you as well as he is currently able, but needs you as well.  What if, all along, you have been only a part-time wife and lover?  What if the full time job has been something else?”  I recoiled.  I did not want to be his mother, his care-taker, his nay-sayer, his nag!

Memories came filtering through the night as the moon waned just like the one on my wrist.  Other men.  Other women’s husbands.  Coming to me, by phone, or sitting at my table, standing on my porch — running into me in a store and talking and talking and talking.  About things they could not say to their wives.  Questions they could never ask aloud in their households.  Matters they could not bring up in their church.  The air felt alive around me.  A chill ran over my skin on a hot night.  Was my “Shining One” trying to tell me something?

The next morning, as we read together about healing; I suddenly had to stop to tell him something.  I had to ask him to not freak out, but to seriously listen and consider that if I was in fact NOT what he wanted, but merely needed because of his wounding; then he deserved to find healing and then find love.  Even if it was elsewhere.  He looked like he might cry and said that I was too willing to sacrifice myself for his health and joy.

rose-cladAnd then, Innana Risen, I had to tell him — it is not a simple wifely sacrifice, it is my job.  My job as what I’ve known I have been for many years now – a shamanistic priestess whose job (aside from psychopomp to the dead of war) is apparently to speak to men alienated and lost from their own lives.  They came to me, they found me against all odds!  And it only so recently dawned on me that he had also so “found” me, before I even knew who or what I was to be.   That before I could be wife, I must be priestess to him.

I do believe he loves me.  I fell into lust at once on seeing him, my Minotaur — my bull to leap and love.  But if it has been only necessity to find healing and wholeness?  Well, then, we will deal with that, too.  Perhaps, someday, not only will I be his priestess – but his true wife?  And someday, perhaps he will be my priest, and not my “sacrificed” husband/lover.

 Ereshkigal shall have to find someone else to hang upon her wall, she won’t have me just yet — nor my “Tammuz” in my stead!  I have descended, seen shades of death and despair around me.  And I have ascended again – in peace, to pick red roses again.

(For full definition of Feri practices like the iron, pearl, or rust pentacles and alignment of the triple soul, I do recommend you find “Evolutionary Witchcraft” or a Feri Initiate!  My own explanations would be cumbersome if not likely to be inexact!)

 

Scaling the Plateaus of Hell

This post could be filed under “first world problems” or “bloody drama queen”, depending on one’s point of reference and view.  It is not a secret that my marriage has been a study in contrasts and often painful and storm-wracked.  A sort of nuclear detonation of PTSD crisis happened in 2011 and all since has felt like an emotional version of a horrid famous painting. (Yes, yes…more drama.  Don’t say I’m not Romantic, though, ok?)

witch inner courtBut I congratulate us both for effort to fight our way back to each other.  It has been painful.  We have hurt each other and we have hurt ourselves.  A struggle for a marriage, for a relationship is like any other struggle – there are falls, backslides and there are progressive climbs to better moments.  There are also, however, plateaus.  We are on a plateau presently. While the moments of progress feel like a sort of bliss and the backslides have the sharp acute pain of a stabbing; the plateaus have the sucking dreadful boredom of quicksand – or mythic hell.  One is alternately frozen with dread or burning with fear and/or fury.

ruby slippersWhile we have been like any other troubled couple and shouted at each other and said bitter hurtful things, we also both have generally never lost sight of the humanity and pain of the other person.  We have always returned to the basic logic, “Yes, I hurt — but this must be hell for _____, too.”  That serves well enough to engine our way back from the backslides and falls.  It doesn’t work for plateaus.  One feels caught in the center of the kaleidoscope – every direction has a terrible sameness and one feels incapable of discerning anything more functional from less useful.  You cannot click your ruby heels together and find your way “home”, no matter how much you desire it.  It seems impossible to know which way is up and which is down.

star heartsBut stasis is death.  The plateau must be battled, beaten, scaled, surpassed.  How?  I have been considering the conversation with our counselor.  He asked what our ‘go to’ was for stress and ptsd triggers.  Answers like “calming music” and “time alone” came forth from the Minotaur.  I have plenty of time alone, myself, and only usually crave that when i am burning with the desire to murder someone.  Perhaps the plateau is ascended or descended(?) by breaking out of the usual “calming” methods?  Perhaps music that gives voice to the fears, the angers, the triggers, the pain is a better solution?  Wrapping pain in layers of preserving insulation doesn’t seem to me very likely to get one off that field of continuously futile dreams?

bead cathedralIf emotional paralysis is the problem, why would it be best handled by continued static behaviors?  Fear of pain from a backslide or fall might incline one to sit in comparative peace, but isn’t risking the feeling of pain and living through it, fighting through it more promising in terms of eliminating the frozen fires of failure?  I see a reluctance to pick the harder, sharper, brighter way in my own marital struggles and in my nation.  It makes me curious — are we, personally and nationally, so exhausted that we put our trust in a stagnant, impotent mental Maginot Line rather than being willing to charge the problems in our lives?

peacock starPhysical therapists get people up between the bars, learning to bear physical weight on damaged limbs.  Should we not be our own mental/emotional therapists and insist that we stand to face the issues instead of bowing to crippling enigmas of human emotional pain?  A villain in a recent Netflix binge said something revealing to the hero.  He said that you didn’t have to be afraid of pain.  I think he had a point – at what point does protecting yourself from pain mean you don’t react to a necessary pain?  If you don’t act to eliminate the cause of the pain, rather than hunkering down with lulling distractions to help you bear the pain, how do you get better?

Time to leave the fortress, brave the minefield?  What enemy will be met there?  I cannot drive my fellow citizens into battle for America.  I cannot even drive my husband into a battle for our marriage.  But me?  I am picking up javelins and strapping on spiked sandals…a loss of will is the kiss of death.

(All photos are taken with an i-Phone thru the view hole of a kaleidoscope.)

 

Then the Prose….

(Because I don’t want to force the poetry, many of my poem days will also have a doubtless boringly pedantic bit to follow on.)

Why do we like what we like?

Have you every thought of why you choose what you choose, specially things you choose over and over again.  Or things/people you choose that seem at odds to deeply held beliefs?  Yet you hold them precious and won’t give them up?  Why?  Why?  Why?

I am always asking “Why?”  I get in trouble for it, too.  “You think too much!”  “You can’t ask ‘why’!”  “That’s none of your business!”

DreamcatcherI contend that if we are to be human beings and humane beings, that is our ONLY real business — to find out the whys of what we do.  All those English class “What, where, who, when, and how” questions are utterly inferior to the Big Question: Why?  Because why we do a thing/love a thing/hate a thing determines the what, where, who, when, and how!

This morning, the Minotaur husband and I made our mental rounds of the labyrinths of our lives, discussing trauma and recovery among other subjects.  I have long created techniques of healing and repairing of broken bits of self – I now call these “rituals of restoration.”  Sometimes these are unconscious things, sometimes artfully deliberate.  Some are charmingly childlike and utterly undetected for what they are by even the closest people in our lives.

Why, for instance, do I love kaleidoscopes?  Because they look like beautiful wholes made out of shattered bits.  They tell me I can pull my own shattered bits into a beautiful whole.  From within the beautiful glittering field of a kaleidoscopic image, I can compare my personal microcosmic existence to that macrocosmic entirety to see where I join the “dance” and where I stand aside as observer, or critic, (or priestess?) until it is time for me to step back into the music.