Friday morning, the garden soaked and green from all this rain, more clouds looming, the cold as intense as ever. Woke in the dark from a distressing and unresolved dream about homelessness and being attacked. Sat up shivering and took some deep breaths to calm down.
Reading through vegan recipes for creative ways of working with very simple grains and beans, a few vegetables. This style of cooking rather exhilarates me once I get over the ‘too poor to buy red meat’ sense of deprivation. I have soaked black beans and will concoct something with garlic, chillies, lime, broccoli and carrots. Slow food is very satisfying to prepare and eat, and when I looked out of the kitchen indow this morning I saw that the rosemary bushes are flowering that lovely deep blue the Irish call ‘Mary blue’. My heart lifted just to see that blueness.
A friend asked me yesterday in an email about how I manage to stay centred and not overwhelmed by loss or anger. There’s something I needed to put into words and say quite clearly. I’m talking here in this blog and in emails about the ending of a relationship and consequent feelings of hurt and loss — but I am not talking about abusiveness or violation or trauma.
I have endured that kind of violence before, both in prison (under the struggle against apartheid) and in my childhood with a very disturbed father and battered mother. That is something very, very different and raises issues that for me have required adjustment therapy and post-traumatic counselling.
This break-up is painful and full of awkwardness, full of feelings to do with misunderstanding, rejection, broken trust and disappointment, but it is not traumatic or overwhelming. The only thing that would make this frightening and ‘out of control’ for me would be if either of us were to start drinking and acting out against one another. Fractured and erratic exchanges between active alcoholics are, in my experience, nearly always abusive and traumatic. When they are not pathetic and absurd, that is. Drunks can turn anything into grubby bathos.
In quiet times (and there are plenty of those right now) I’m thinking things through. Talking to those I can trust, who have known me a long time. Keeping boundaries straight. Looking at patterns around intimacy and psychological space, looking at friendship, thinking about acceptance.
I’m reconnecting with those in my village and with the messy, chaotic, creative and challenging realities of South African politics and civic life. Feeding myself and my housemate, taking care of household stuff. Doing the bodywork that keeps me in touch with thwarted energies. Reading and writing. Gardening and walking. Letting the deeper fears surface and just listening to what they are saying. Nurturing the ‘conscious contact’ with my Higher Power.
Hoping to see the way forward more clearly as time passes.
Some days are better than others and I have always enjoyed Fridays. There will be friends to see this weekend. Exciting things to do with lentils (Joke). With luck, a little spring sunshine. And one of these days the healing will start.