Healing is messy. Sometimes it looks like chocolate coconut water on a plate, having snorted it out of your mouth and nose.
I’ve not been OK at all recently, (which probably signifies being more OK than I’ve ever been). Ive lost my drive, run aground. In short I’m having a disproportionate reaction to a heartbreak, which is triggering the early trauma of not being met. Coincidentally, trauma they are working on my brain to release daily with the neurofeedback this month.
Last weekend I wept and laughed hysterically for four hours. Thankfully two of my best women were with me and knew exactly how to keep me crying; one of the benefits of having trained everyone around me to listen really well. At one point I started speaking nonsense that I really believed at the time.
“I shouldn’t be allowed to live in this house, they should keep me in one of those ‘safe houses’ for special people. I should have a warning sign on me”
“What would that say” urged my sister
“Keep upright. Handle with care.” I wailed.
And then I pissed myself laughing and remembered all the times where being horizontal with a certain person recently has got me into this mess. The relevance of being kept upright on loving skin as a baby rather than horizontal in an incubator was not lost on me either.
It was an epic release. Snotty tissues piled up. My tearstained tshirt became a beautiful piece of art that my friend Alice dubbed ‘Rainfall on heartache’. We continued with our ritual Sunday pancakes until someone said the words ‘fragile friends’ and suddenly liquid was escaping from me in every direction; first in laughter and then wild bawling. Luckily the plate caught some of it.
Sometimes you just gotta let yourself come completely undone. Today I become a sobbing, trembling mess in the kitchen while my friends hold onto me and my knees give way, wetting their shoulders as they take turns. Then I’m curled up in a ball and letting folks reassure my boy that the primal howling emanating from his mother is safe. It’s an effort to keep things afloat when a ship this big goes down. My sister’s morning of work derailed as she holds onto me through the raging storm in her bed. Emails and tasks gone unanswered for another day. My dear friend who makes a detour to compensate for my sudden immobility and scoops my kids. Skype and professional support from several different countries. And this beautiful cup of tea, brought by my sweet pal and left next to the building pile of tissues. I think the Neurofeedback might be working.
What surprised me were the many moments of profound intimacy through this experience today. Finding new depths of emotional vulnerability with my sister. Several beautiful calls with friends who really get me. Sweet cuddles from my kids, who notice that something is not right. And a stolen moment on Skype with my beautiful listening partner when both our kids were occupied in the middle of the day. We didn’t do a listening partnership, but simply sat and looked at each other, wordless, tears streaming. And after a long, smiling, tearful silence, we sobbed this exchange:
Me: You are so precious to me
Her: Thank you for being in my life
Me: You are giving me a reference for what love is
Her: And you are showing me what it feels like to be totally accepted.
Me: thank you, I will remember this moment forever.
Her: me too.
When your heart is wide open in pain and you share that with others it seems to open a channel for a much deeper exchange of love also. Maybe love and pain are two sides of the same coin. That’s when it goes well at least.
Last night I got into a devastating exchange with the horizontal person. Our pain bodies triggered each other and we were soon down the low road. I’m embarrassed that I let that happen, I do emotional intimacy for a living and here I was messing up a key conversation. I recognised that my brain was offline but couldn’t make it stop. It’s that moment where the magic can happen; where the wise one in you remembers to hang up the phone or walk away from the screaming child you want to wallop. Listening Partnerships are what give me that capacity for the wise me to keep holding space for the losing it me. And I haven’t done any this month so I’m humbled by how easily I’m knocked off track. Healing is messy and in the epicentre of the chaos all I can do is trust that I’ve got this and it’s part of the beautiful, playful unfolding of life.