Category Archives: Recovery

Furniture of Life

Yesterday, in class we did this silly little quick write activity. The prompt was in the form of a multiple choice question: What is your favorite piece of furniture?

a. swing

b. couch

c. desk with computer

d. pillows on the floor

I asked my students what they thought mine was. Some thought, rightly, the desk/computer combo. A good choice, backed with plenty of evidence. I love technology, our class is nearly 100% digital, and I am a writer. Others assessed me as a pillows-on-the-floor girl. Right on, again. Lots of support for that one, too. There is a shift in atmosphere when people are sitting on the floor, comfortably with something soft to recline upon. I also think it takes away the distance thing that happens with tables and chairs. It’s harder to stay emotionally separated from another human being when there are no barriers. You can get closer to hear what someone is saying. Also everyone is on the same level. No hierarchy.

Although these two answers are true of me, at the heart, I am a swing girl.

First of all, a swing is exceedingly simple. Very low tech. It’s movement calms the savage beast within. It is, by default, set in nature. Very important. Desks, computers, and pillows are creatures of the man-made world. In fact, they dominate in some ways. Or a least play a starring role. A swing is a small thing set against the lush wide wild world of God.

There was this swing up in Santa Cruz, probably long gone from the playground there, a casualty of that oh-my-god-swings-and slides-are-the bastions-of-danger citizen’s group. You know those clans that have existed for all time. The ones that think the unsafe must be eliminated at all costs. They should be called the taking-all-fun-out-of-this-world group. Okay, back to that swing. It had so much purchase that once you got going, you could touch the low tips of the Redwoods that clustered, in a protective way, around that little box of sand. At night, you could gaze on the blanket of black dotted with its starry random pattern and feel right again. I think it was also the site of my first kiss.

You see for me, the swing puts me in my place. I am a part of a much bigger picture. I am not isolated from the world. I am in it. Those Redwoods, those stars, the maternal movement of the swing, are far more like me than those things made by human hands. And I feel at home with my worldly family.

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Filed under Healing, Materialism, Perspective, Recovery

Mystical Warts

Okay…this might be a little weird and a smidge gross…but welcome to my brain. I have my morning chores…stuff I have to do so that  gluttonous trash cans and dirty socks and their bad-boy friends stay within their territory. I do hate these boundary disputes and right now my laundry room is threatening to become a new state. Anyhow, sorry for this upcoming TMI (too much information), but  I have this wart. Not one of those white bumpy ones with more tiny dry relatives on the surface, but one that could be blessedly mistaken for a callous. I have been assaulting it with a pumice stone and I do believe it is on its last leg. But, again sorry for being graphic, but when I do this, it bleeds. And this morning whilst I was changing out the sheets et al, it still hadn’t coagulated. So I muttered something about it to my husband while digging around for another band-aid. He coolly reminded me that warts spread through all the layers of the skin and that is why, when you get them burned off, they hurt so much.

And that was all it took for me to get thinking. You see I have been on a spiritual journey for a long time and I do have a guide…not an audible voice (though that would be so cool) but there is presence, a teacher in my head, that points out analogies in the most odd subjects. So today it was the wart metaphor. You also should know that I have had a running, often intense, dialog with God about why it is taking sooo damn long to get me “done.” That is, why is he taking his sweet time getting me healed and moving me forward? Well, the wart offered an answer.

You see the physical world informed my spiritual world today. A wart is caused by a viral infection called the human papillomavirus virus. I also know that they can exist more often if an immune system is not strong. The virus enters through a weak or moist place in the skin and sets up shop, sending its tendril deep…just like the pain of some severe emotional experience. And I don’t know about you, but I have had this funny thing that has happened to me over and over again. When in the past, I have experience something terribly traumatic, I have often acted as if it was “no big deal” and have gone on like nothing ever happened. Some people have called me resilient. But I think that I have just been in some permanent state of shock and my personal gyroscope has been disconnected. I have also thought, again in the past, that dysfunction was normal. These events are both like the way warts function. They cause weakening in the skin of the soul and then they download a program, for want of a better word, that insures a permanent pattern of pain and even implants a homing beacon of  sorts that sends out a message that you are, albeit unconsciously, open for more abuse. I see it all the time in others. The little girl rejected or not protected by her father is spreading her legs for anyone as a teen. Everyone is appalled. But I know that she has just been profoundly hurt and is trapped, like a cursed princess in a dismal fortress of pain.

So the wart is the wound. So back to the analogy and what my guide was saying: all pain is not the same, that is, there is a difference between the pain of just being unconscious of your need for healing and the pain that results from the process of healing. You know the first kind well. It comes in scenarios like these…when you are asking yourself why, for example, do all my boyfriends reject me or why are all my bosses so disrespectful. This is the wart acting upon you. But there is a different kind of pain…and that is like my I-know-it-is-gross bleeding wart analogy, which is the pain that comes through healing. And it has dawned on me, that this is why I often give up on any kind of projects that would move me out of my wartiness. It hurts. Just like the searing of the skin to expunge the virus, so my spiritual innards throb. They are tender. Vulnerable. And a little weepy. But I must not be confuddled here. This pain is the layers of my spiritual dermis healing and it takes time and I won’t like it.

So my little meditation on warts has helped me to be a little less whinny about God’s timing and little more willing to be grateful for the gift of pain.

” Pain is the touchstone of spiritual progress.”

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Filed under Healing, Pain, Perspective, Recovery