This winter a transformation began to crystallize. Before, it was swirling around; I was aware of it but now it feels more grounded and available to me. Since dad died last August I have noticed the small voice that I knew as the Grown-up – my adult self – has been getting stronger. This is not exactly a voice of reason as it holds many emotions, but more a still centeredness, an assuredness, and the gift of fielding my reactions and allowing me to respond appropriately.
Previously, I have felt a tsunami of feelings when I am upset or angry. I have not always been able to avoid being swept away into a reaction that is devastating and damaging to myself or others around me. I would yell, cry, maybe even leave the building, and then repeat if pursued. This is a catastrophic limbic reaction, I know, and I found it impossible to contain, until now. More often I find that if I feel upset or angry I can hold that in, return to it and while breathing through it, not open my mouth to shout or feel an overwhelming urge to run away. I can literally face the emotions that are coming up. I have a new image; a dam wall holding back the water and I can operate sluice gates to let a little emotion out, and then a little more. It isn’t perfect and sometimes the dam wall breaks anyway, but it is beginning to feel more enduring and I am beginning to trust it will stick around!
I am sure that mum’s death, now three years ago, began this change, enabling me, freeing up space in my head (and in the physical world), to move more into Myself, hear my Grown-up, and feel the corresponding groundedness that accompanied it. Mum and I had a complex relationship. This is another blog post in itself I am guessing but here are the headlines; my adoption issues and her depression, the contorted family relationships and our repeated failures to be the mother and daughter we needed led to much pain and heartache. Her death was a release from the binds of this relationship and so I could stretch, begin to move into Myself.
I also think that being 50 became a turning point as in the last year since that birthday the sense of Myself has been stronger. I am amazed because this last year chiefly has been full of all the parental woes; illness; aging; incapacity and finally death. J and I have been juggling three parents in these difficult stages in practice whilst also trying to handle the emotional minefields that these circumstances created. The amazement is because, looking back, I have not only managed myself through these tricky waters I have also grown and changed in this period. In times gone by I would have felt I was continually bailing the boat of myself, the leaky vessel would be getting worse, not better. I have the definite feeling that I am mending the holes in the boat – healing not constantly bailing and just barely managing to keep afloat. This is both a surprise and a joy.
Being 50 and being free of my parental relationships released me into something that I didn’t know I needed; permission to be Myself. I will continue to navigate this opening way and hope to record it here.