Sunday, April 22, 2007

An Unfurling of Hope

When I left for Findhorn at the end of March, the plants in my garden were holding their breath, uncertain of what was to come. Only the most Tentative signs of growth were evident. A week later, every plant was unfurling, opening and pushing forth tender, yet sturdy leaves. Moist, yet cool to touch, each leaf felt fresh and strong. I imagined them gleaming, an optimistic new green, and the trademark of this time of year.

AS I stood breathing in the newness and allowing the gentle perfumes fully into me, I felt a settling of joy which brought me to tears for the beauty of it. Not given to such feelings generally, I was surprised but also relieved to feel like a human being again. For too long I had stood in the pain of the frozen north of my grief and anger, expressed over the death of my father, but really about so many other things too. For too long, I had danced in the dark place of my self-hate and internal revivification for the weaknesses of my flesh – the serial addictions which had taken turn one by one, to stand centre stage within my conscious and unconscious mind. So many times, I had resolved to shift them, standing at the dawn of new beginnings only to have each one shrivel and die as I returned to the old habits that had be bound.

My fingers gently stroked the cool, smooth bark of the rowan tree. I remembered the victories. Three years without a cigarette, five years since I allowed myself to toss sleepless at night, 18 years since I broke the destructive hold of alcohol, at first through total abstention and then into a place of allowing with judgment. Now I was facing the oldest and perhaps the most entrenched to shift – my compulsive eating. “You are set back by your failures on this (emotional) level”, the card in the game of Transformation played two weeks ago at Findhorn said. “How bloody true,” I thought as a fountain of despair overwhelmed me again.

I played the game of Transformation on the 3rd of April. 35 years ago to the day, I woke up to find the face of bob Dylan, on the poster over the mantelpiece in my bedroom, blurred into a series of shifting greys. The penultimate of a series of eye haemorrhages had unbalanced the delicate structure of my right eye. Within hours, I was flat on my back in a hospital bed.

For five weeks I Languished there before coming to my senses and demanding to be let out. After all, there was nothing to be done and I had my life to live. I was only sixteen and “o” levels were looming.

I think back upon that grey time (for colours had faded into insipient milkyness beyond the fog of swirling eye fluids, and remembered how others began to close in and limit my choices. I remembered the depression of sitting and feeling old before my time in the day centre for the blind. I wondered if I would ever get out again.

Then I remember learning to march along waving a huge long cane and the dawning realisation that I could get out and move around. I remember stoutly demanding to go back to school so I could sit my “O” levels. I remembered the hours of pouring over borrowed lesson notes for the sessions I had missed, knowing that if I didn’t do this, I would be lost. As the sun grew strong, I squinted in the painful glare and longed for cloudy days when I could see well.
That single-minded determination brought results. Against all odds, I passed the exams I was able to take, half of them with ‘A’ grades. Time went on and I continued to confront the obstacles. I went to Art School (studying to post graduate level), the first blind student at that time to have ever done so. I’ve gone on to be successful in most things I do, pushing aside others limiting beliefs on the way. So what stops me truly confronting my own? What can this journey with the goddess teach me about facing and learning from those demons?

All around is the evidence of trust and hopefulness in the burgeoning of the garden. There is no certainty that the temperature won’t drop and a frost return to destroy that new growth. The climate change that brings this golden sunshine may yet deliver that too. Yet the bluebells wave determinedly in the soft breeze as though to say “stuff you, I’m here now!”

And so I move through the year with the goddess, synching with the seasons. It’s time to allow this deepest of changes to grow within me and shift me forward. It’s time to take the learnings from my past and let go of the emotions. So stuff you compulsive eating, I’m here now and it’s time to let you go.

And with this in mind, I set out on another pilgrimage to meet the Goddess, this time to Mid Wales.

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