Day four after the 5Gateways New Year Retreat at Glastonbury, third day back at work. Has it really not even been a week yet? It feels so much longer. And it's been a real roller coaster, all the ups and downs.
Though I realise with increasing frequency that the "downs" are actually "ups". They might feel horrible, but they all teach me something. It's brilliant. And I'd like to share some (okay, I lied: a lot) of the ups and the downs here.
I'm staying an additional night in Glastonbury, at a lovely place called Sacred Garden Retreat. It's the perfect place to transition back into the "real" world. It's calm and cozy, and I'm a bit exhausted after the last few, intense days. I mean to go to bed early. And indeed I'm in bed around eight. But there are thoughts running through my head, and they return to the morning, to the experience I had walking up to the Tor, to the immense fear and dread I felt there in the dark.
The feeling comes back, and I cautiously poke at it. Feel deeper. I start crying again, and then suddenly there's this feeling as though my back is cut open, my spine tampered with. There are beings around me that are doing things to me, and I cry and shake, and then there's the thought "I lost my grace".
No idea what that means. It just feels right.
I cry harder, feel deeper, feel through the pain, shaking so hard I almost fall off the bed. Actually, I do, I just catch my fall before I land - what a "coincidence", now that I type it. Because on the other side of that feeling is an equally immense sense of joy. I got my grace back? Doesn't matter what happened, I feel amazing.
Slept well, too. I get up and allow the pull to lead me to a shower and then to the meditation room, where I sit at the window and breathe. After a while, I feel the urge to sing, so I do. No words, just single notes at first. Whatever note wants to be sung. I follow them inside, feel where the vibration wants to go, and after a while, I notice a pattern. It's really more a pattern to me that I see/feel behind my closed eyes than a melody. It's amazing, I feel my whole body vibrate like a tuning fork.
I have a lovely sharing with the retreat owner before and over breakfast, and sooner than I expected I'm on the bus to Bristol. All goes well, until there is a delay at the airport, when it takes twenty minutes until its decided where my flight is supposed to board. Impatience, frustration, anger? Ooh, look at this tightness! Let me unravel you.
The plane is tiny, like the one on the way here. Unlike last time, I have a not-so-good feeling. Or rather, something has a not-so-good feeling. I know everything is fine, still there is this panic/fear inside about the plane crashing. I keep working with it; it ebbs and flows.
Somewhere in the middle of the flight, there are turbulences. The panic ratchts way up. I breathe, feel into it. Open's words about having done this a zillion times come back, they take the panic right away. It really adds perspective when you think about it. So I died before. So what? I'm here right now!
I breathe, inhale up-hold, exhale down-hold. I feel the expansion, feel the plane. Feel the turbulences inside of me.
Wow. What a brilliant feeling.
Also: turbulences. Inside of me. Remember the roller coaster I mentioned before? Uh-huh.
Anyway, I land safely, catch the train at the airport - it arrives just as I step on the platform, perfect timing - and off we bullet through the dark, going at 293 km/h. Until the train suddenly stops. And doesn't start again. There's a malfunction of the tracks (typing this down really helps, because is this obvious or what?), we stand there for thirty minutes. Arrive at Cologne TradeFair 40 minutes late, my connecting train is long gone.
And because its twenty past nine at night, my train only goes once per hour, so I get to stand around until five past ten. And then it will be another hour until I'm home. And tomorrow I need to get up at 5. Well, at least this way I have enough time to go and grab something to eat.
Later, having devoured my sandwich and assisted two lost travellers to find their respective trains, I sit in an enclosed waiting area, somewhat lost in though. Someone walks in, approaches the couple sitting opposite me. Some words filter in, and before the guy even turns to me, I'm digging my purse out. I got some change when buying the sandwich, so naturally I give it to the guy who asks if I could spare a little something "for a warm night".
I drop about one Euro in his plastic cup. He... sags? I don't know, he seems grateful but at the same time a little despairing? He shuffles off while I'm still trying to sort this weird feeling inside of me out.
This isn't right. That's the feeling that then comes through strongly. Just a bit of spare change, that isn't right. Well, if I see him again, I'll give him the five Euro note I have. This still doesn't feel right. Is he around still?
I see him at the other end of the platform, so I shoot out of the waiting area, fiver half in hand. Still doesn't feel right, not the fiver, I've got another ten Euro note...?
In the end, I follow the pull, walk up to him and ask him how much he needs for a warm night. He looks into his mug: "Now I need fourteen Euros."
So I give him fifteen.
He looks gobsmacked. Stammers his thanks. Asks if he can hug me (sure). There are tears in his eyes. As he almost staggers off, I can still hear him going: "Oh, wow, how fantastic, oh wow." You can hear the happiness in his voice.
And now I know why I missed my connecting train. Not because I had done anything "wrong". But because I needed to be there and give that guy some money and human connection.
Five hours of sleep later I wake up. Instantly, my mind starts to chatter about early morning and going to work and all I'll have to do. I catch myself, take a deep breath. Realise how automated this is. And yeah, I've been waking up like this for a while. Well, time to change that.
The morning is amazing. Slow and deliberate, in a way. I catch myself almost every other step at going back to autopilot. I stop, breathe, feel inside, go with the pull. Wow.
I get to work, and almost the first thing I hear is that there's been an issue with one of "my" clients. Long matter short, two of my co-workers, who took care of things in my absence, were dragged over the coals, and as I stand there and listen to one of them tell me, I feel this cold fear-rush through my body. Fear of me being reprimanded as well. I know this feeling, I've been working with it for a while. So I just stand there, feel it, let it flow, listen to my co-worker.
Hey, you know what? This is fine!
And it's like that for the rest of the day. Always one eye half-turned inward. It's not always comfortable. I feel how painful being in this office is, which surprises me a little, while at the same time not surprising me at all. I've been feeling this for a while now. I wonder if this is me reacting to all the electricity and the wireless intranet and internet.
I'm glad to get home. I feel exhausted, drained. My body is almost humming with this energy/vibration that I can't define. Again, I'm familiar with it. And no surprise I usually hide myself away in a book. This is painful.
I try to mediate and almost fall asleep. So I get up, turn on the computer, and finally register on this site. Play the "anger song" Open posted over on the NewYear Retreat thread and box the air until I almost collapse. At one point I feel a really strong energy rise inside of me like a wave. Whooooo!
Then I look up this song I've had stuck in my head for a while, called "On Top of the World", by Imagine Dragons. I look up the lyrics. They have a lot to tell me: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/imaginedragons/ontopoftheworld.html
It's been a long day (are you still with me here?), so I go to bed. As I sit there, hugging my hot water bottle, I feel the urge to sing. Not On Top of the World, but How I love you, the song we sang at the end of the course. So I sing those four words, again and again and again until I feel done.
Wow. I can feel how the energy changed in my bedroom! It's so much lighter! I smile as I turn off the light.
Starting the day without chatter, yay! But what a weird night. I remember waking up several times, at least once I felt an incredible rush of energy through me (remember something Pennie said on the retreat that sounded similar). It's not bad, not tiring. It just is. Weird. But good. Somehow? I let the pull decide on which tea to drink, and also what to wear. Wow, someone has an amazing fashion sense here. I'd never had thought this combination would work, but I look fantastic! This is me!
Despite the amazing start, the day turns fairly horrible pretty fast. I get stuck again and again in these mental loops. Or like, not loops, but this thing where I mentally write stuff? Like this entry, for example. And not just once, I finish it and go right back to the start, start mentall compising it again, lose myself in tangents, circle around and around, and all the while my body runs on complete autopilot. Gah. I can't seem to stop it. Or whenever I do, not five seconds later I'm at it again.
Has it always been this bad or do I simply notice it now?
And there's this buzzing in/around my head whenever I get lost in this chatter. I don't think it's me deciding to do this. It's a distraction. A real distraction. I tell myself every time I catch it, and again, five seconds later, bzzzzzz. It's frustrating and quickly starts to feel like swimming through quicksand. I try to relax, breathe, feel into the feelings - bzzzzzzz. And of course the frustration quickly turns inwards, and then I'm not only struggling not to lose myself, but also not to go and start beating myself up over it.
In more lucid moments, I'm half aware this isn't entirely me. At least, it doesn't feel as if it's entirely me. Something is there, in my head, working hard and doing its damnest to distract me.
How many things are there in my head, anyway? I'm so sick of it.
I'm still struggling when I get home. Sad, frustrated, exhausted. I'm tempted to just plonk down on the sofa and disappear into a book. But I bought groceries, lots of fresh veggies - I'm having a real craving for raw veggies recently - and I'd been kind of looking forward to making myself some nice salads. So I resist the call of the sofa, go into the kitchen - and have an amazing hour and a half preparing my food. I mean, I love cooking, trying out new recipes, things like that. But it's never felt as satisfying, as fulfilling before. And I can tell by the fact that I'm kind of smiling again when I go to bed.
So here I am, on day four After. Anybody still reading this? I'd apologise for being wordy, but hey, this is me. I love telling stories. :-)
Today's better than yesterday. And a good deal of realisations going on today, too. Such as the fact that the downs are actually ups. Also this morning on the train, the thought suddenly crossed my mind: "The veil is getting thinner." The veil between the identity and authentic self, I think; it certainly feels as though small-i is getting smaller, thinner, and a biiiiiiiiiig I is waiting behind and underneath. Again a feeling I've been having for a while but only today been able to put words to.
Also, my boss invited me today to join this new, kind of "elite" think-tank team, and in that moment, the sun broke through the clouds and shone directly into my face. Hm, I wonder what that might mean... ;-)