Since leaving the island, these last six months have been a challenge. After the openness of endless hours, silently sitting on a rock, mind thoughtless, feeling flowing, waves crashing, wind swishing through the Birchwood and long dead dogs, breathing by my side. How am I to be a person again ?
Writing this sentence I feel bereft, as if I have known a truth that answers all questions, that frees one from all suffering but now am in a far distant land, left only with the memory.
If I could only be near the sea again or once more sit upon a mountain top, I’m sure I could feel the island again. For the island, although real, is not just a place, it is a feeling. Perhaps it is all feeling and to be in those high places above the world where there is no self, there, is the island, there, is freedom.
Those island years taught me much. Tough lessons indeed. The most important of which is that I mistook the pain that I felt to be my fault. For me the pain was what defined me. I held it so tightly, it was my reason to live. For most of my life I wielded it as a weapon. The fight was what kept me going. From my first breath I tasted it, it was always present. How could it not be mine.
The pain is held in places and people, in our blood and in our bones, in our thoughts and ideas but it is not ours. It extends backwards through time, ever branching out, down, along the distant tendrils of our family tree, back, as old as humanity.
As a very young child I remember crawling on the floor and with confusion watching the anger and despair around me, it made no sense. Why was it there, from where did it come. As children do, I thought it was my fault, so I blamed my self for the suffering that I witnessed. All pain was my pain, I made it so.
With little time this pain became interwoven in the fabric of my body and mind, it became me and I became it. Inseparable, indistinguishable, one. Yet in a place untarnished and untouched, I held onto something definite, a question, why ? Why could I be in so much pain yet not know the source. This burned inside me for most of my life. Much as I tried to find an answer, a reason for this wrongness, I found none but my own thoughts of guilt and unworthiness. Nor did I find a cure or salve for the pain, only temporary relief in numbness and oblivion.
To me, Will is a gift. This, I am most definitely blessed with, but this I also do not make mine. This will is no more my own than the pain. By choice, it is received. This, is very much mine, this choice, this I do own. It is my power and with it I cease to be the victim of circumstance.
Finding the courage to make the choice to find truth, brought alignment with Will and the strength to visit the shadows, to look into those places of shame and sorrow, there, is where I found my answers.
There was a time I thought myself fearless, this is inaccurate, I feel fear but the motivation to face this fear and the refusal to continue to live in such pain drove me to change.
What is healing but understanding, knowing that I need not become the pain. That though I feel it, it is not mine, I need not share it, I need not use it to justify anger or despair. It is there but to make it my own is to make the choice to perpetuate the cycle of suffering that was my history.
On the island I learned that there is a place beyond suffering. There, within the ever changing weather, upon a windswept hill of rusty bracken, I found that place. A place of stillness where there is no need to grasp or hold, no need to reason. It is a realm beyond joy and pain, it is neither and both. It is all feeling, witnessed without judgement, without thought for why. What irony that it was in that place of surrender I at last found the answer to that smouldering question, the question that had kept me fighting for so long. In stillness, I realised that the voice of self harm, of ridicule and pain, it was not mine.
This realisation allowed a glimpse of freedom and from then forward, with each footstep, to write a new history. Knowing and allowing this, takes time but from that moment, began the healing. A healing not just of myself but of those carried through time with me. For within my blood are not only my ancestors but my tormentors and aggressors, my torturers. Perhaps they are one and the same. Their hunger for resolution was the emptiness inside me, their sadness and pain, echoed in my thoughts. For them I hold no malice or resentment, only love and forgiveness. Do they not emanate from the very same place as I. Am I not blessed to be their healer. Was their suffering not the cause of my freedom.
The pain is not my own, if I hold it, I hold it lightly and from time to time, releasing it, unburdened, I lay upon the earth that gave me life. This life, is also not my own, this life is a gift and in return for this gift I choose to do the work required to heal, for as I heal, I find eternity and the world heals through me.