Photo: Jenelle Ball
Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 671 – Day 677)
It has been nearly 2 years since I quit my job, intending to leave London, and I am finally leaving. I am in shock, and when I think of leaving, and returning to my birthplace, I start to feel like I am suffocating. I have done so much work on myself in my lifetime to become who I am. When I am there, I feel that people see me in the way I was, when I left, more than 20 years ago. Nobody knows me, there.
I have lived in London longer than anywhere else in my life. It is home to me, now. I have a life that I love. Or I did, until the country voted to throw it all in the air. There are things I must do and they are calling me away. For two years, I have been sentimental about my love of this city, my friendships and my life. I find myself grasping to hold on while trying to let go.
I’m not ready, but it is time to go take care of some things.
While the timing now means that uncertainty stretches out in all directions, I am glad I waited. I took time to invest in myself, in my healing and in my writing again. In the first year, I spent a lot of time exploring and I made a whole new group of friends. In the second year, I assimilated, and learned a lot about myself. I have gone from watching artists paint to taking baby steps of picking up a pencil and trying to draw, to picking up a paintbrush and watercolours. It has been an incredible journey of trying out and of pouring out my love into everything I draw and paint. I have also been writing for 2 years and writing like mad these past 6 months. In the last 2 months I rarely left my desk. Along the way, I have unearthed and dared to dream (again) a few writing dreams that were long ago buried. I couldn’t have imagined that it could have been like this, if I hadn’t had the love, encouragement and support of very accomplished artists along the way.
I think that this is the path of art, psychology and spiritual work: Experience, savour, explore, unearth, assimilate, pour out the heart (some would say “tear out”, but leaving is the only thing that tears out my heart), transform, and move on to a new vulnerable place, to experience anew.
I just don’t feel ready to move on, yet. But, I must.
Even before the death of my friend, a few weeks ago, and all the world events that followed (Orlando, Jo Cox’s murder, Brexit, Istanbul), so much had happened in my inner world, stirring up my dreams. In my spiritual circle, we work with dreams and so I take their symbols seriously. My dreams are very vivid, particularly when I send Reiki to one particular spiritual friend. He has been “absent” and so I have not had the chance to get closure before leaving. It is surely one reason that my dreams are so charged.
Recently, I dreamed I was sent to awaken a man. When I looked into the room, I saw that he was levitating and so I thought: I must wake him slowly. I knocked gently on the door several times and when I stopped knocking, I awoke from my dream. The man was me.
Readers will know that I have very recently and sadly come to the end of my association with my spiritual community in London. They have introduced me to a new kind of work, which involves a sort of spiritual alchemy and I have taken tentative steps into this work. It makes me feel vulnerable.
It makes sense that this dream would come to me when I am sending Reiki to my friend, because when I met him, the word “Shaman” came to mind very strongly. This is not as strange as it seems – Shamans exist in the modern world, working with spiritual alchemy. I told a friend about that experience. She looked at me directly and said: YOU are the Shaman.
Now, I still believe my friend has unusual spiritual qualities and I certainly don’t believe that I am a Shaman, but as a healer, light worker and as a storyteller, I guess I share an aspect of their work. Perhaps the dream suggests that despite my anxiety, I don’t need a spiritual community and it is time to let myself fly.
“In My Dreams, You Levitate.” Photo: Tania D. Campbell
A few nights later, I dreamed that I was on my way to see my friend, but my journey kept being interrupted as I was greeted by people who no longer lived in London. I was preoccupied with giving away my things to them, and as I parted company with someone who left London years ago, I realised that I, too, was already gone. I texted my friend, asking him to join me somewhere underground, though I wasn’t certain that he would come. Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars played like a soundtrack.
On the face of it, this is a love song, but to me, it is a song associated with death and a kind of melancholy that leaves one unable to reach out, but longing for someone to lean in. I suspect that the melancholy is my own. When I last lived in the city where I will be going, I identified with the archetype of Persephone who was kidnapped to spend half her life with Hades, in the underworld.
The dream probably speaks to my anxiety about leaving London and what lies ahead. I fear losing all the inspiration, love and transformation that has characterised my relationship with friend and my Tribe. At its essence, that text message was an existential cry from a universal fear of being, and of dying (suffocating), alone in our own private hell.
It is bittersweet, because the dream has come to fruition: I am leaving London without connecting with him. I have tried, but it hasn’t happened. If this is the end of a chapter and this sense of connection is lost, then I am grateful for the many ways that my friend and my Tribe have touched my life. I am scared, but I am grateful to be so deeply in touch with and able to express my fear. I know it causes me to feel and act rather intense right now, and this all may seem dramatic, but I am grateful for a rich inner life. I have to face some tough things, ahead, and I am grateful that I have the courage to decide to face them, head on. Courage does not mean there is no fear; it means we feel the fear and walk through hell, anyway. It has been a joy to live in London (not always, but overall) and to be part of this quirky Tribe I have come to know and love. I will miss them more than they know.
When we really have faith in Oneness, we know that the connection, whether conscious or not, is always there. The tree, the flower, the pomegranate, the ocean, the raven, the whale, the bear, the people – we are all connected, always and everywhere. Like everyone, though, I struggle with my faith in Oneness.
My service this week has been to make sure that the last of my things have new homes and are sent on to the new owners with love and blessings. I am trying not to say goodbye. I say that I will be back, and I hope that I will be, soon. But the truth is, I don’t know what will happen. Chaos stretches out before me, and I leave a Britain in chaos. I don’t know where, when or how I will emerge.
The meaning in all of this? Nothing original. Some people are with us to take us to the next crossroads and then we are meant to walk our separate ways, because we have learned all we can from one another. And some people are meant to walk on with us, wherever we go. Who will be in which group isn’t really ours to determine. Attachment causes anxiety. So, when we get to that junction, let’s embrace one another and then let go, with gratitude, and have a dance.
If this is to be the last dance we will do together, let’s not make it a sad one.
“Those 3 words are said too much.
They’re not enough.”
For what are you grateful, this week?