I find myself recognizing that there are many things that inform how I walk and where I walk internally each day. My emotional reality changes from moment to moment and when I take a step back to grab a breath and some perspective I recognize that I have usually been here before.. wherever here is. And with that recognition comes a sense of timeless connection with the rest of creation. Sometimes that connective experience feels like God. Other times, it is just too close, to comfortable and intimate. Have you ever known a place so well you could navigate it blind and without a worry? Have you ever experienced that much trust? It can actually surprise me that much, and it did a lot of the time, in the beginning. Since I began some simple but profound morning and evening practices, I have been brought to a profound gratitude for the basic supportive elements of my life. Warmth, shelter, wholesome and good tasting food, exercise, reading a good book, or talking with caring friends.
Accepting and moving through my day with a felt sense of being known, seen and felt in this way still feels frightening sometimes. I lived most of my life throwing up barriers that prevented me from seeing or feeling anything outside myself, or anything or anybody from getting to close or knowing me at my most vulnerable, inside my self and my experience imposed walls.. From many conversations with others, I have discovered that this is a common experience for some of us.
Someone touched me today. She shared something devastatingly personal and life changing, and then I heard the message that yes, these things happen.. but you cannot let them take you down. You need to grieve and move on. It was like someone reached into my chest and gently squeezed my heart in a way that anyone else saying that would not have affected me. And it made me want to help someone else, as she had just helped me. So I thought I would write about it. I have been helped by so many people in my years on this planet I could not begin to name them all. Some were momentary contacts. Some were long term relationships. Some I will never see again. Yet… I can express incredible gratitude for the moments of clarity and the insight and wisdom they have gifted me with. Many of them had letters after their names and were being paid to be in a supportive role. So I do not decry paid support. Many many more were not in paid positions of support however. And yes, those people have my eternal gratitude for helping me wake up and not give up and to continue the fight for a world that offers real choices in real life situations. This is a world where we are not told “NO…that is impossible”. This is a world that can be dreamed into being by listening to each other and acknowledging when we do not know what is possible. When I do not know, I can say that. It does not mean I say “NO’.
I am not talking about situations which will impinge on my right to my own choices and my own future. What I am dreaming about is the creation of a world view that recognizes what is working in the relational interests of all of us in our current way of seeing things,,,, and what might need to be added to enrich that reality of perception and experience. How many of us have spent our lives isolated and seeking answers to innumerable anguishes of experience we cannot find words for? How many have been reduced to numbers on the receiving end of a disability cheque and told to be grateful? I wish that when the inspiration to write came over me I was able to sustain it for longer periods of time and I wish that my ability to type was better than it is.
I started this post talking about fundamental tools. The circle is a fundamental tool of relationship that it takes tremendous courage to participate in. I am thinking myself about the power of the talking circle, where everyone has an opportunity to talk, or not talk, if they do not yet have words. This is a potential creative space where worlds change and people open to the beauty and power of healing from all the unspeakable past events that have dragged us down and shut us up. Such circles need to be safe. They need to be structured so that all who participate know what is said there stays there and that no one is going to try to fix or solve their problems. The circle is a place where there is no abuse tolerated and only one person speaks at a time. This is modeled on Indigenous talking circles. I just finished reading a book called Indigenous Healing, by a white man named Rupert Ross who was a crown attorney in Northern Ontario for many years and who was invited to learn about indigenous healing work and did so in a respectful way. This book affected me in deep ways. Much as another book I read a few years ago affected me. That book was called Black Foot Physics. The author is F. David Peat.
I am also wanting to say that I am non native. My own cultural past comes from England, Scotland, and Ireland, with some French and German in the mix from away back. What I have learned in my journey is that to really heal, it is important to go back and look into one’s familial and cultural past. There are traumas there that may be affecting present and future generations. It has been my own experience in circles such as are described above that have brought me to the level of awareness and gratitude I am presently at. To any who find this post helpful, I send you many blessings on your own journey.
Does the title of this blog sound interesting to you? I remember my youth, and my idealism, before learning to recognize phrases like this one as warning signs that someone is looking at something about another’s reality deciding it is not reality. The sensations that come with labels such as this one may differ for others, but for me, I feel smaller, under the microscope, and a large part of me gets reduced to something of less value. This could be seen as a simple difference between a scientific view point and an artistic viewpoint. Yet science has been used for centuries against artists and dreamers and mystics. If it does not make sense to the business man or the scientist, if it does not generate money, it is inherently of less worth. Things that are of less worth can surely be put to use in some way that will generate some capital. Label someone with a name that tells them they have a problem that must be explained by someone knowledgeable in the complex systems that control our world at this time… and watch them give their power away. I did. I offered my personal power to anyone who was willing to listen. And I was genuinely confused and hurt, even before I hit upon the strategy of using my power of imagination and creativity to invite others to create my reality for me. In a big way, it was a sell out. Me selling out me because I did not understand much of the context I was born into or the world that I inherited. We do not actually inherit a world however. As Indigenous people say, “We borrow the world from our children and grandchildren”. When I started hearing things like that, my existence started making more sense.
I have always been able to create amazingly complex scenarios and worlds in my head. They often seemed to exist outside and beyond me. And I am aware that this played a role in my confusion and in the adventures I had lost within the maze of psychiatry. I am still finding my way out.
For the past four or five years I have read many articles, posts and blogs about getting off and staying off psychiatric drugs and striving to avoid the psychiatric system and its perspectives on what constitutes ethical and effective care. I have also written my own bits about what my own experience has been. At present I am capable of making what appear to be independent and sound decisions about my own care and what that looks like. Some of us are not supported in managing their own lives in this way. Usually when I get to this point in writing about this problem, I end up writing down the same track over and over again and it starts to feel rather old.
I suffered a brain injury when I was a child and also come from a family that was deeply impacted by child sexual abuse and all that comes with it. Many of my family members have lived with trauma and its after effects for years and the best we can do is simply move forward in whatever way we can with the best strategies and attitudes that we can. I grew up with the labels histrionic, melodramatic and narcissistic somehow lodging themselves in my brain. To be honest, those words were not in general use in my family, and we had reasons to avoid psychiatrists and psychiatric drugs. I did not know those reasons as a child, but they provided a strong value in certain members of my family that kept me safer than if they had not held those values. When I suffered brain injury and catatonia as a preteen I was briefly put on benzos but my family got me off. They did not force me to continue seeing a psychiatrist who I only remember vaguely but who I strongly disliked.
I grew up and partied to avoid many internal experiences that made me want to ask for help, but I was afraid. In my early twenties I found recovery from drugs and alcohol for a time and sought help for emotional surges and perceptual experiences I had no way of really sharing. I was again fortunate that I was not labelled or drugged.
This is at present just the beginning of a free flow expression of experience that I am hoping will begin to help me present what this site is really supposed to be about. I am an anarchist and a feminist. I am trans* and proud of who I am. I am active in a number of intersecting communities that experience multiple and overlapping oppressions.