Thursday, October 23, 2008

Clarity Through the Tears

Cold snap. The temperature was 25 degrees at 8:00 this morning.

Clarity snap. For the last three days I've been working out some things that have been trying to come to the surface for weeks.

Things started to shift on August 26, a day that holds significance because it was my friend Marie's birthday. This year it was also the night of Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention, an inspiring speech that made me all the sorrier to see an end to her campaign. I climbed into bed that night and all the emotions of the day came pouring out. I sobbed. Ken woke up and wanted to help, but there was nothing for him to do. I needed to cry it out. Loss. Missed opportunities. Grief over what will never be.

Since that night I have been extremely emotional, crying at the drop of a hat. All of a sudden the tears will start, while I'm driving or watching a movie or listening to music. I've been working with my massage therapist around whatever it is that I have been trying to work through.

I've also been working with my acupuncturist. I had an appointment yesterday and told her at the beginning that, after another short breather, the night sweats and anxiety had returned full force in the last week. We talked about what else has been going on with my family and my job search. Once I was on the table she positioned a number of needles in my ears, legs, and hands. Then I had a period of quiet time, which is sometimes filled with mental chatter. Yesterday, though, I silently asked for "the peace that passes all understanding." The phrase came to me this week as a last resort. For weeks when I prepare for sleep I have said "I am at peace," but my mind and body have not taken the bait. I haven't been at peace. So I started asking for the peace I can't understand with my mind, the ultimate peace that comes from the essence of who I am. And that simple request has helped me get to sleep.

When I made the request yesterday the tears started to roll down my cheeks. There was nothing I could do because I had to lay quietly. What was going on? Where was all this emotion coming from? I relaxed. I listened. At the essence of the request for peace that passes all understanding is the acceptance of who I am at my core. I realized that by making that request I acknowledge the real me, not the me I think I have to be. And at that moment I no longer saw myself divided as an outer me and an inner me. I was one.

When the acupuncture treatment was over, I felt calmer, though still emotional. Before she left the room, the therapist asked me if I felt better. I said yes. I did.

I moved through the rest of day feeling like something was working itself out. At the end of the day, while I was taking a shower, another piece fell into place. I have felt for a long time that there is a place inside me that I can't reach. I envision that place as a black box, like the box on a plane that tracks what really happens in the cockpit, the box that holds the secrets. Last night I realized that what I haven't been able to reach is me, the essence of who I am.

The last four years have been a search for that essence. Menopause has not been a time for me to hit my stride or come into my own because I am still sorting out what I am not. I am not the roles I play. I am not all the things I am able to do or all the things I know. I am not who other people say I am or who they need me to be. I am not who I thought I would be.

While I kept trying to reconcile all those things, I needed those things to fall away. While I was trying to replace one role with another, I needed to accept that all roles are false and no role can take the place of who I am.

This morning I revisited chapter 7 in A New Earth for the umpteenth time. Every time I read any chapter in this book I learn something new. It often takes several readings for me to digest a concept. I know what the words means; it takes time for the meaning to sink in.

These words on page 190 became crystal clear today: "Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world. You are withholding it because deep down you think you are small and that you have nothing to give." I have been withholding "me" from the world.

The journey continues....

3 comments:

Kate said...

Sharon; a very "close to my heart post". I get it, totally. This time of life definitely feels like a tougher journey than almost any other time in my life, like we are rediscovering who we are, the pieces buried deep inside. Keep exploring and keep writing about your experience; we all benefit.

Cindy L said...

I love this post too. You've said what's been going on for so many of us at this tender stage. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. As I sigh...
You could be talking about me (except for the part about the election,lol).