Coming back from Australia didn’t mean that life had changed overnight, but it was certainly different. I wasn’t as irritated by Mum anymore. Whatever she said at this point I could shrug off pretty easily. The OCD was still there but somehow it didn’t bother me that much. For perhaps the first time in my life I could choose to not think about it. I would have preferred it to be gone entirely but we can’t always have what we want.
I continued to work through the past and all my assorted issues. I didn’t need to understand, only to feel. I took long walks in the park and meditated and let whatever past trauma I suffered be released.
It wasn’t easy. There was a walk back where half the time was spent shaking. I wasn’t quite sure I could make it but I did. What previously I only could do in session I could do on my own now. I felt pretty damn proud of myself!
I stopped taking psychotropic medication entirely. Since Australia I was already off it, but one night I suddenly experienced incredible panic and fear when trying to go to sleep. It was one of those panic attacks but it felt…different. The fear mounted until I went to my desk to get my emergency supply of Xanax.
Suddenly I heard a voice (my own? the Divine? was it even a voice?) say “is your faith so weak than you need to resort to medicine?” It wasn’t. It had never been. It was only now that I had the strength to respond in kind.
I drew the blade and golden light filled the room. And as the light grew the fear lessened until it went away entirely. I knew then I would never have to take anything of that nature again.
But that was not the last time. The fear came back in lesser form about a month later, again when I was trying to sleep. I tried to breath and center myself but that didn’t work. I closed my eyes and a spear appeared in front of me. Which spear?
I couldn’t quite tell…the Lance of Longinus, the double-helix that broke AT Fields and tore the flesh of Christ? I flung the spear at the darkness in the distance (it was kind of like Nibelung Valesti from Valkyrie Profile) and it pierced it and that blackness became a flower. I felt a sense of great relief and fell asleep.
And the dream I had which explained the Life, The Universe and Everything. (I’m not kidding.) It had giant robots in it (which is how I know it was a divine revelation) and it foretold the death of OCD and my past. Prophecy and robots both in a single dream! I’ll write it someday. Maybe after this book.
Things were progressing well enough but yet I felt that they could be faster. My 33rd birthday came and passed and I wondered why I was still in the same place that I was. I still felt kind of…stuck? I wondered if I should go on a second retreat. I asked Florence and she turned back the question to me. I wasn’t sure…but wasn’t that the whole point? To not be sure. Needing to be sure was the OCD again
But I had a new battle cry and it was I Don’t Know! And I ran down all the hills and valleys of my mind, screaming and shouting it. I don’t know! I don’t know. I don’t have to know. I can not know. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know. I don’t know! It was nice – it was great, fantastic, amazing! – to not have to need to know.
I could choose, and so I went. It made sense. There was still trauma that still needed to be healed. I could do it by myself (my experiences proved that) but why put more pressure on myself than I needed to? There was help available…why not avail myself of it?
I was also frustrated. It felt like I was stirring soup in my mind – turning the past over and over and over with no real resolution. I wanted to move forwards in a way that I never had done before.
It turned out to be the right decision. If I thought the first retreat was mind-blowing the next was even more so. I started crying not five minutes into it (we hadn’t even unpacked our luggage yet!) and over the week I would cry about twenty more times. There was a LOT that I hadn’t yet worked through and most of it came out. There were no more panic attacks but there was a lot of release.
I came back with a renewed fervor to do everything. I searched for universities. I started a blog (as yet unpublished) I began to write poetry, short stories, everything that I had once wanted but had been unable to. Oh, and this book of course.
I think I wrote something like 100,000 words in four months. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. For once in the longest time I had no thought of how “good” it was (always a value judgment) or its saleability or potential readership. It was like I was twelve again, or maybe nineteen. I had no thought for outcomes, just the writing – very Zen, I guess.
I would like to say that the world changed overnight but it didn’t, it took about a few months.