I have this character defect of intense self-doubt — or at least I suspect I do, because I haven’t yet arrived at that portion of the program during which I get to articulate the things that are wrong with me (that phase of my spiritual development begins tomorrow, and I’d be sarcastic if I said I can’t wait). And to say “doubt” is a mild characterization. What really happens is something more along the lines of seriously questioning my own sanity every time I find myself embroiled in conflict (especially with The Philosopher), at which point I retrace my steps and try to figure out how I could have said something better or been more clear or exhibited infinitely virtuous qualities because, had I DONE all of those things, the conflict never would have happened, right? Well, no. Not so much.
The problem is that I’m stuck there right now — the mental equivalent of a dirty musty crawlspace that, once you’re inside, there sometimes isn’t enough room to turn around and get out, so you sit there kinda stuck for a little while trying to figure out if you can slither out backwards or if your perception of the proportions is just off by a bit and you really can wiggle around and get out frontwards after all.
For the most part (as much as possible), I know what got me into this cobwebby mess, and I really, really hate spiders (especially of the spiritual malady variety), but I’m stuck. And maybe it’s not a crawlspace at all but a deep ravine without a belay or up a creek without a paddle or between a rock and a hard place or a thousand other metaphors people use to describe that feeling of being at the end of your rope (there’s another one!) and not knowing how much longer you can hold on before it just becomes a matter of deep, deep faith… letting go, that is.
I get that letting go thing, I really do, but what I don’t get is finding space when I feel the walls are closing in, seeking out spiritual breathing room when I feel suffocated, and — in the words of that woman last night — listening to my heart when my head is so, so loud. Over the past five months (and then some) I’ve learned a hundred ways (maybe more) to do the next right thing, work the steps, reach out for help, pause when things get too intense, make room for more meetings, speak my mind, express my feelings, and (all of the above) stay sober. But I’ve only learned maybe one or two ways (if that) to keep myself out of that crawlspace… and I can’t remember them, which makes me wonder what the point is of trying to catch my breath.
Really what I’m feeling is a horrible combination of sunburn and headache and asthma attack and skin-crawling anxiety and bee stings and back pains and… well… all those intolerable feelings that don’t necessarily make me want to drink — I do not in the least crave the taste — but absolutely leave me wanting to do something — ANYTHING — to make all this crap just get the hell out of my head. And I know it’s as simple as being as honest as possible about what I need and want and brave enough to say those things out loud — even in the face of not wanting to disappoint people or be overly testy — but there are times I don’t know how to do that. No one ever taught me how to pay attention to what I need to not feel suffocated or crowded or buried alive, and the idea that it’s my responsibility to keep on top of that now is more than a bit overwhelming.
Rebel came over today, the first time since the heated “discussions” with The Philosopher last night (plus an email from him that would have been an entertaining example of how to use logic and grammar in the most convoluted way possible had I not already been making plans to kill my cat and Hummer drivers). And when Rebel got here and settled in to playing PlayStation, he paused the game for just a second, and the following conversation transpired:
Rebel: I almost cried at recess today.
Rebel: I missed you so much that I felt a hole in my heart.
Me: I cried a little bit today because I missed you, too.
Rebel: You did?
Me: Yes, I miss you quite a bit.
Rebel: That’s okay, mom. We miss each other because we love each other so much.
Awww. It reminded me of how, almost a year ago, I wrote this blog about how I missed my grandmother way too much, and I invoked some Kahlil Gibran, who said
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
And (duh!) I think this proscription applies not only to grieving that which has been lost but also — just maybe? — in a weird way to the things in our lives that make us weep in general, be it out of fear or sadness. So maybe it’s the case that when I cry for Rebel in the middle of the day, I’m not missing him but bringing to fruition all the happy times we do spend together. Or when I’m stuck in that mental crawlspace, I feel like crying because I’m scared at all the delightful things that are going to happen — delightful, but TERRIFYING things — once I can get my act together to stop sitting among cobwebs in dirty dingy spaces.
I suppose this is the point where I say, “More will be revealed.” And I certainly have faith that it will. Namaste.