Have you ever experienced that space between sleeping and awake, when you think you've dropped off but actually you can still hear things and have random thoughts flying around your mind? This happens to me quite a bit as I struggle with sleeping these days. However, what happens in that suspended reality state is that images and subconscious thoughts materialise from the hidden parts of my psyche, as well as symbolic memories and connections that reveal deeper truths about my life. Cool eh!
So last night, I had a huge experiential memory moment laying there in the darkness, and a realisation of how that past moment gave me a glimpse into what was happening in the now. As a caveat, we have decorated the bedroom so it could be the wall paper paste and gloss, but it still felt meaningful and uplifting. I felt amazed and moved.
(Warning - I'm about to share a memory about drug use about 25 years ago so if you aren't up for it, exit now!)
So I took LSD once. (Or maybe more than once, but that's another story). I remember going up to the common in the inky darkness. It was very early in the morning about 4 a.m, very cold and my breathe misted in front of me. I was wrapped up warm and didn't actually have a plan or direction. I found myself in a large circular clearing, trees around the edges, and lots of knee length heather. I spreadeagled on the ground and looked skyward and was completely overwhelmed by the sight above me. As I lay there, I was surrounded by a fringe of leaves, edging a huge dome of the universe above me, which on one side was black with bright stars, then graduating from left to right from an Indian ink navy blue, all the way through to red, and orange and yellow as the sun peeked it's head above the tree line. I felt like I could see the whole world in one small moment of time. I was laying inside a snow globe of space, floating on the heather totally connected to my environment.
What strikes me about this is that I never see the whole picture of my life at any time. To see everything of God's plan for my entire life would just be too intense to deal with, so I am privy to snapshots and the odd connection and memories that reflect back to me the journey so far. It can also make it hard for you to measure where you are at.
Recovering from a severe episode of mental illness takes time. And what I realised yesterday is that I have been trying to recover since I had Oscar in 2005 and it's been incredibly hard. The last 8 months has been the first time that I have totally dedicated myself to getting completely well. I have fallen foul of the "Have to do it all" even though I have a severe mental illness mantra. On some level the deep acceptance of my condition is still happening, but I am also influenced by the expectations and hopes of others. In acting out my desire to be well in the world by going back to work too quickly or down playing how bad it actually is, I have thwarted my own recovery. And this made complete sense to me when yesterday I was chopping vegetables for Ian's lunch. For about 5 minutes I was totally relaxed, I had energy, I had motivation to do something boring but necessary to help my husband that wasn't forced, I had no anxiety in my body, and my mind was almost silent. I didn't feel chained to a concrete block or feel like my breathe was laboured or that in any second I would be taken hostage by a thought of self harm or death. I felt what I can only term as "Happy and normal". It was truly humbling.
The Dome of the universe connects to this, because as I wander around in the snow dome of recovery life, I only ever see a small section of the sky. Three years ago we were in inky darkness, but my eyes had adjusted to living within that tone, Now, as I look skyward, it's actually turned orange and although it's shaded differently to before, it still has it's challenges and again I adjust. Yesterday in my kitchen, God allowed me a glimpse of the amazing place I was in, in relation to the rest of my recovery journey. Meeting with God, in simplicity and deep soulful gratitude whilst chopping veg. How very Brother Lawrence!
"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen , while several persons at the same time calling for different things, I possess God as if I were on my knees at the blessed sacrament." Brother Lawrence c. 1614 – 12 February 1691