Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Spiritual Journey

We were diagnosed with DID in 1991. Spent quite a few years in therapy, many of which were with a therapist who trained with Dr. Kluft (sp?), a pioneer in dissociative treatment. Stopped in 1997 when the money just wasn't there anymore. Continued to do powerful work on my/our own, and got to a place where things worked pretty smoothly most of the time. Information was shared between alters, and there was very little "lost" time.

Although we'd been told as early as 1991 that we wouldn't be able to continue working, and that we should file for disability, that didn't actually happen until 2002, after a series of powerful stressors. The final stressor caused the whole system, which had been weakened, to re-fragment and fracture. Life became horribly frightening and very chaotic.

Eventually, even in the midst of all of this, there was recognition of the gift in the middle of the rubble. Although our professional life was over (at least in the form we'd known it), that didn't mean our ENTIRE life was over. Far from it! We now had the luxury of time - a commodity in woefully short supply in years previous, especially when working 80+ hr weeks in high-tech. Jo realized that not only did she not have the answers in life, she no longer had the right QUESTIONS.

In-depth spiritual studies had called to us, particularly our inner sage, Wise One, for many years. Wise One has been with us as far back as anyone can remember. She's a Native American woman, roughly in her 60s. No doubt, at some point she'll chime in, perhaps clarifying the Native nation from which she originates, or her age. Then again, she's really rather timeless, so it probably doesn't mean that much.

We began studying Earth-based faith in 2000, something that Jo and others in the tribe had been fascinated by for nearly two decades. Self-study was intense, but appropriately solitary. Eventually, we enrolled in classes regarding Earth-based faith, and found a community of welcoming people who were delightfully eclectic, creative, and a bit outside-the-box. We quickly felt at home.

After a couple of years of classes, an opportunity presented itself - a yearlong Multi-Cultural Shamanic Apprenticeship. The decision was made to commit to this process, and a powerful transformation began. (The man who oversaw the apprenticeship is a deeply spiritual, gentle and caring person, still a beloved friend in our life - though we don't see him as often as we'd like to, because of the now roughly 150-mile round-trip to his location.)

During the year-long process, an enormous amount of insight was gained, and powerful healing techniques from most continents on the planet were learned. Much of the "core" work facing the shadows of the childhood abuse was done in this setting. Countless tears were shed, some in class and many more outside of class, but it was a cleansing, healing process.

One of the things I learned about life, and about myself(ves) is that spirituality is woven through every fiber of our daily lives. A moment of enlightenment is possible at any given instant - provided we are open to it. Each burden or challenge contains within it the seeds of an important gift. Learning to recognize such opportunities is the key.

My mother's recent death has been a very challenging experience for me. Especially in light of her ~begging~ me not to come down to see her for the last time - how could I not feel rejected? But I'm learning...

I'm learning that my mother's life (and death) can be a springboard for me. I'm going for what I call the Anti-Mom Action Plan (AMAP). The idea behind AMAP is to do things completely the opposite of what my mother did. I will not live my life in fear. I will not put off self-care and end up with Stage IV cancer that could have been fought if detected earlier. I will not make excuses about nutrition and exercise. I will not postpone my dream of writing, and I will make my voice heard. My life and my words will count for something.

This is not meant as disrespect for my mother. Rather, I am choosing to take her suffering and death and make it mean something. I/we can learn much from her example - on how NOT to go about living and dying.

Wherever you are, Mom - we miss you, despite everything.

No comments:

Post a Comment