The end of suffering

I have been looking back at my life for a couple of days now. I have looked at the long arc of suffering that finally ended when I landed in this, my own sweet apartment six years ago, having finally achieved financial independence from my (alcoholic) husband.

I looked at all the suffering, the whole arc of it, perhaps for the first time, certainly with the most solid perspective.

I could see that there is perhaps a blessing in not being close to anyone when I tried to become an adult. I didn’t get stuck in family stuff, perhaps ending up married to a Mormon man, with children in tow. I decided to go my own way starting at age 15. There were no family ties to hold me back.

And yet, I looked at how my life now still feels very stuck to me. I have a publisher for a book I should be writing, but I am not. This writer’s block is crazy making.

I saw it all differently than I have before. I realized the major factor in play is anxiety. I am managing anxiety. When I am using my computer, I am completely submerged in that use of my perception and consciousness. It is a familiar, certain path that draws me through my morning, through my email, my Etsy site, my budget, and assessing the day’s tasks, a process which I enjoy, problem solving I am good at. I am making order out of these certain structural elements of my life.

And… I have a problem with anxiety! How did I not know this? Because what I do to manage it is quite effective. But it means my life is very, very limited. And I feel stuck, unable to change it. Why? I kept asking. Now I see much more clearly.

When I am doing these activities, at the computer and in bed, I am mostly holding still. I am not moving about. This is profound for me. I’m sitting at my computer, mostly holding still, drinking my coffee. It feels good to not have to get up very often. And in the evening, it feels simply and thoroughly nourishing to lay on my bed, to let go and completely relax for the evening. (Ask any practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, bed rest is essential for dealing with stress and imbalance).

If I have any buzz of mania, of the dull, incapacitating body ache of bipolar depression, laying down is a mighty cure for both.

(This is part of why I qualify for disability. Sometimes I simply cannot move, no matter what meds I take. My work history is a consistent month to three months of employment followed by some months of unemployment. I just can’t keep a job. Except Etsy. I can put my shop on vacation when I hit a rough patch).

When I still made scrying mirrors, I would work on ordering of antique picture frames, then the making, cleaning, preparing for and the shipping of my mirror orders. Then, if I felt up to going out, I would run any errands. This was the first half of my day. I would try to get these activities to last until a reasonable hour before retiring to the bedroom to watch TV, so I wouldn’t be watching TV for more than a few hours before going to sleep. My TV watching usually started with some educational things on PBS, (Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, costume dramas), and some artistically valuable entertainment. Then I would “slum” on YouTube for awhile, watching videos about plane crashes, Karens, unruly airplane passengers, disasters and such. I have such a fascination with these things, when life really seems to be underway, and something is really happening.

Now that I have finally “obeyed” the signs and urges of the entities, (after failing to heed them in January), I have stopped all but the readings part of my Etsy site. I currently have no orders. I tell myself that now is time for me to pull inside. The entities will send me more people for readings when it is time. This is the time and space for the shadow/emotional work I was to have started in January.

Now that I have no orders, I get to the TV part of my day earlier. Instead of 8 to 10ish, I am starting 4-6ish. I don’t go to sleep until around 2am. Eventually I get tired of TV, and have to figure out another activity for awhile.

The trick is to find something that I want to do. Something that doesn’t cause me anxiety.

It is not a part of my flow to do anything besides these things. It is very hard to write, make music, measure my car for my new car camping project, or etc., even though I really value and want to do these things.

And I realized. I am stuck. I am still stuck. Other forms of being stuck have fallen away. I have done good work dissolving some of that which has bound me, that which has kept my life very small. But I am still stuck in what seems like a mighty way. My growth seems limited; I can only expand a certain amount.

And I realized it. I am managing my anxiety. I have a fairly serious form of bipolar, which is somewhat well controlled by my medications. My highs and lows aren’t near as bad as they would be without medication. But I have not thought of myself as having a problem with anxiety. I take a Benedryl occasionally when anxiety gets going and will not stop.

The bigger picture has changed, has become more nuanced. I had thought of myself as being someone who can’t get my routine to be larger, to incorporate more things into my day. And that this inability, bad habit, stuckness in the familiar, whatever…was what was causing the anxiety.

But… what if the anxiety is the problem? And keeping my life rigidly made of things that deeply focus my consciousness and allow me to hold still physically is how I manage my anxiety?

It turned everything on its head.

And I was sad. Tears came to my eyes. It really feels like most of my life was a waste, worse… a long, slow wreck. A spinning decent of the long wreck that slowly destroyed me. I went around trying to find my world, the world of adults. I had found a wonderful world for myself in my childhood, riding my bike out through the weeds and canals. But I had never succeeded at adulthood.

I didn’t understand my dilemma. So I couldn’t come up with any truly productive ways to deal with it, no matter what I tried. I was bound by shame about my inner disfunction, and kept it hidden. I went around hurting myself, ejecting, giving parts of myself away, trying desperately to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. But there were always pieces left out. I did not fit. I hurt myself over and over with making a long variety of attempts to create a life that worked.

More little tears, a moistness to my eyes as I thought about these things. Why? Why was the long arc of the first part of my life so damaged, wasteful, hurtful? What purpose could that serve in the larger schemes of my long-term spiritual evolution. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I now I feel this, that I am seeing my entire life for the first time. My perspective is such that I can look at all of those years and see at last what really happened. What I was trying over and over to do. How it hurt me, why it didn’t work.

This was why I was jealous of people in the hospital. Their damage and broken potential was obvious. They could get help. I suffered alone, trying to do something I just could not do. Become a successful, independent, functioning adult. With fulfillment and meaning, instead of pain and emptiness.

All of this was part of why I felt so empty. How I felt as an adolescent that life was passing me by. I had missed my chance. There was something wrong with me that made me empty and alone. Now I know that I was completely altered by a mighty trauma at age 11 that left me emotionally rearranged, empty.

And so I became a seeker, for meaning, emotion, story. And I was a damaged adult, unable to cope. I did have a few short periods where I landed and did well, but they did not last.

Why? Why?? Why am I sixty-five and only now starting to live and thrive? It makes no sense. How could there be divine entities helping me now, but only now?

And I saw it. I could not be “saved” from those things until I could see them clearly. For my guides to have pulled me out of who I was and what was happening to me—before I knew what these things were, before I stopped trying to find bandaids to change it all and fix myself somehow—would have blocked my progress, not supported it.

As they say, when you hit the wall, make it your wall. Push against it. Slide slowly down it. Stary there until you are sure about every aspect of it. Own it. It is your wall.

I can see it all now. And now that I have done this vital work of understanding, of completely understanding who and where I have been, I can now move on to what I will become. I don’t know yet what that is. But I have divine help now. I can relax. I am being led and cared for. There is a purpose to my life now, and for now I don’t have to do anything about it except allow it. And this is a sweet freedom. It is so, so sweet.

I have what I wanted at last. Personal meaning, and divinely inspired growth.

Treasures. My treasures.

Priceless treasures.

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