Aug 2, 2016
On the eve of ending a 7 year cycle. This thought pushed me out of bed and on to this page to write and share. It has been another 7 years. A good friend had recommended a book for me to read and in January 2015 I read Michael Brown’s Presence Process. His exploration of the inner life is unique and insightful, and one of the most interesting claims he makes is that we experience life in 7 year cycles. Whatever emotional currents we experienced in the first 7 years of our life are being repeated until we do the inner work required to integrate the charged emotions from our childhood.
I won’t get into his book further, but for anyone interested it is widely available and I did receive a lot of benefit from reading it and going through its practical part. But far from integrating my emotional charge, I seem to have become deeply stuck in trauma in a way that I have never known. Maybe because before these cycles were so underground. Maybe it is because i’m more connected now. Maybe its because I’m more ready now. But being ready or more connected doesn’t change how difficult this work is. A woman’s account in her recovery of childhood pain shares that staying with the feelings is like moving through broken glass.
Its another night, and I am restless. I have been fighting with my husband about so many things and yet just one thing for so long. I cannot break free from this cycle. But tonight, as we moved another step forward in my many steps backward my mind suddenly went into the 7 times table. I realized I’m 8 days away from a cycle ending, and a new one beginning.
At 28 I officially was divorced from ex-husband. I moved back from Canada to Pakistan. I quit my career as a researcher/academic and social worker and started to study yoga. I became a part time teacher at a university and I pursued body work. I became a believer. I remembered what I had forgotten. What I still keep forgetting but only because the game is getting more difficult, the levels more intricate, and so the remembrance is a dance with forgetfulness. I started traveling and loving nature in a way that someone like me was never groomed to but the spirit in me had never forgotten how to.
In the last 2 years I met my heaven sent husband, had a child (the most precious and beautiful gift I can ever know), and am pregnant with our second. I have gone from a life that moved at the speed of a cruise ship with all the illusion of protection and security, to drowning in the rapids of abandonment, despair and hopelessness to now a river of endless twists and turns.
Ship-wrecked in the embrace of grace, I have met myself over and over again in this dark dark place of emotional pain. It has lived so long in my body that as the sensations begin coming to the surface not only are my wounds raw, I can feel that I’ve got an infection or two. Maybe more.
Maybe more. And I know, this is contagious. This state of mind of ingratitude, this constant chatter, this incessant mistrust is pushing me into a deep abyss of forgetfulness. Yet tonight, in this brief respite of a realization, I can witness that a pathway of sincere inner work is being established despite the onslaught of trauma rising to the surface.
For every time I succumb to the conditions of my nature, I am also for the briefest of moments able to hold with presence, hand on my heart, and say, I am sorry you are suffering. It’s going to be ok.
If when I was falling into the abyss of the unknown 7 years ago someone from the future had given me a video of my baby, and my wedding photo, I would have been shocked into submission. Yet somehow its a lesson that needs so much repeating. We cannot know the design of our lives. We can only trust and surrender. Submit to what is, and always believe that what is coming to us is from a design so benevolent that no science can ever explain it, and no mind can ever truly understand it. But the heart can hold it, it can hold the loving awareness that is Us, and remind us of what we really are. Human, and complete with our acceptance of it.
“Search the Darkness,” from The Pocket Rumi, ed. by Kabir Helminski
(also recently referred to by Tara Brach in her talk, Night Travelers)
Search the Darkness
Sit with your friends; don’t go back to sleep
Don’t sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.
Life’s water flows from darkness.
Search the darkness don’t run from it.
Night travelers are full of light,
and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.
Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
don’t slip into the dirt like quick silver.
The moon appears for the night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full.