I am happiest when I am quiet, when everything is quiet, and listen best when there isn’t much visual input. I close my eyes a lot to focus.
I have trouble watching plays — too much going on at once. If I am listening very intently to you, I may turn my head away.
Both my traveling companion and my housemate in Portland find it baffling when they tell me something and I don’t understand it, and the reason is because the radio is on in the background, and I am overwhelmed by sensory input.
All this to say that I am most emphatically an auditory person…
Not only do I orient towards words and sound, but add to this HSP empath, and kind of witchy, and what you get is someone who a) can access more intel than a lot of people, and b) this happens in the form of words.
If you’ve read those pieces though or any of my writing, you know that the vast majority of my processing happens through listening, allowing things to be revealed.
Five weeks ago I entered some new internal territory (hello, Year of Releasing) which includes chronic pain, among other things, and another interesting piece to this is that now I am seeing things instead of hearing them.
Today I wanted to share some of what I have seen in the past couple weeks.
The copper bowl in the wrong place.
I was doing a Tami Kent exercise which I learned from Danielle Cornelius. You sort of imagine clearing out your pelvic bowl.
I saw the bowl instead of what would normally happen which would be feeling the bowl and then the bowl would talk to me.
It was a large copper bowl, in a wide open clearing in the forest, and it was in the wrong place, but I didn’t know the right place, and I wasn’t able to do anything with that other than receive it: this isn’t the location. This was the for-now location.
I was sweeping out the bowl with a broom, and the broom and I had a little laugh about how this is kind of like the secret purpose of a witch’s broom: clearing things out. The flying is a disguise. Or maybe flying is another form of clearing things out and releasing.
The wolves came then and circled the bowl. They couldn’t get near it because the bowl is protected, but this felt so very familiar.
Predatory energy. It just is. It’s everywhere and always has been.
I didn’t have to do anything about the wolves because some wise elders, women, from my lineage were there — clear, zero tolerance for bullshit. They just pointed towards the forest, and the wolves immediately slunk away, slightly apologetic, as if they’d already known they weren’t allowed near me or my bowl.
One of the women showed me how to point like that, with authority and a total lack of concern for what the wolves think they want.
You stand very tall, and you get very grounded, and you look both strong and bored at the same time. A comfortable, careless, sovereign knowing: this is no space for you, wolves.
The anger cauldron.
I found a cauldron inside of me and it was boiling anger, and had been for a very long time.
Probably anger about all the constant bullshit I deal with from wolves, past and present and theoretical and just the general culture of that. And the injustice: why is our world built to support the desires of wolves and not the safety and protection of bowls.
It was uncomfortable being home to an anger cauldron. The cauldron was heavy and old, and so many things had boiled down inside of it that it was coated in charred bits of old recipes.
I pointed out that once our bowl finds its right home and I get better at this authoritative pointing thing, we won’t need to cook up anger anymore, and then the cauldron seemed to feel relieved, and it left on its own.
The gazelle and the flower.
A gazelle came by and circled the territory of my right ovary in a loping gait, graceful, powerful, at ease. My left side bloomed with pale pink-purple flowers.
Everything felt calm.
The temple of yes.
It’s an altar of stones by the ocean and it is the place of yes.
I put flowers around it and hung out there for a while.
The ocean was peaceful and spacious and it told me to come back soon.
A conversation with a special table, and then more sights.
A few days later I was getting some physical therapy in Salt Lake City, on a very unusual table.
I asked the table what it wanted to tell me, because clearly it had things to say, and because I am a person who hears things. The Table said:
Put everything down. No, put everything down. Really and truly everything.
(You can pick it back up later if you choose to, but first you have to experience what it is like to not be holding it.)
Then it asked me to just watch. So I watched.
The table stopped talking, and for the next hour it just delivered images…
First the cages.
Giant wrought iron bird cages and then small ones.
These were guilt. Ha, I just now got the pun. Guilt/gilt.
Normally I would have gotten that right away because I would have received it as a WORD.
This was image, followed by feeling. I saw the cages, a procession of them, and then I knew what they were.
The cages demonstrated the uselessness of guilt. It can’t be contained, so you just end up caging yourself. It limits freedom but it doesn’t hold anything in.
The cages understood that they were unnecessary: I let them go, and they let me go.
Stacks of boxes.
Then shame: messy looking cardboard boxes, like moving house, all shapes and sizes.
They were taped up tightly, some with messages scribbled on them. Most of the boxes were falling apart, a little damp, moist, old, ragged. Enough boxes to fill a supermarket.
The thing with shame is that it doesn’t need you to look in the boxes. It’s the not wanting to look that strengthens it. It doesn’t really matter whether you look or not, since lugging the boxes around is a futile pursuit.
I followed the table’s advice, and let the boxes go.
Back to cauldrons.
Once the guilt cages and shame boxes cleared out, I was able to see how much anger I’ve been holding onto.
Cauldrons of all sizes, black, iron. Old potions had been cooked and forgotten, coating the insides.
I didn’t want to let the cauldrons go yet, but then I remembered the part about how I can reclaim anything I want later. The purpose of this was to discover who I am when I am not living on a slow burn of fury at the world for what is and what has been.
The cauldrons marched themselves away when I agreed to let them go.
Let it burn.
What happened next was a series of surprises. I expected the room might get cooler when all my internal cauldrons left me, but it actually got hotter because suddenly there were fires everywhere.
The fires were fear. Forest fires of fear. This made no sense to me, it didn’t fit how I experience fear. And it wasn’t what I thought I would find beneath the anger.
I circled the fires and the fires circled me and I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless.
The Table said: Let them burn themselves out. Don’t feed them, don’t worry about them, don’t be afraid of them (because that’s feeding them). Trust them. Trust their work of burning. And trust that this fire cannot hurt you, it’s just a process of endings.
LET EVERYTHING BURN, said the Table. And so I did.
Once everything was black and charred, a breeze came and lifted it all, and then there was nothing.
That was when the grief came but I didn’t cry.
I sat where the fires had been and let bowls fill with water, and let them empty.
Grief, grief, grief: rituals of releasing.
Then the horns.
After grief was another surprise: Regrets.
They were musical instruments, and there were so many of them. Rows and rows and rows of French horns. Then saxophones and trumpets and drums and all manner of things, but mostly French horns.
Not being played, just placed down. So many of them. Like watching an airport parking lot fill up with instruments.
I saw a house from my memory, and remembered what the regret was.
I wanted to touch the instruments, ask them why, but the purpose of this was to let them go, so I said I LET YOU GO, and an entire airport parking lot of French horns floated away.
Places and roses.
I waited for more emotions to come to me in unlikely shapes, but that part was done.
The table showed me all the physical places in my life where bad or unpleasant or unhappy things have happened, and I was asked to turn these into rose gardens or let them become rose gardens.
It was surprisingly easy, now that I had let everything go.
All I had to do was agree: This space can now become a rose garden.
Four summer camps, six cafes, apartments, book stores, street corners, buses, trains: all rose gardens now.
Then I became a rose garden.
The table told me that my only job from now on is to live in my garden and tend to my garden.
I walked through my garden and in the center was a beautiful elaborate labyrinth made of small stones. And the center of the labyrinth was my copper bowl. It had found its home.
I practiced pointing but there was nothing to point at because wolves don’t know about my garden.
The bowl asked me to wander the garden and remove any machinery or any “gifts”, anything that does not belong there because it is not mine. Things people want me to store for them because they feel safe with me.
I found objects belonging to former clients and internet people and people who have had crushes on me and former bosses and my ex the Spy, and all of it had to go. WHOOSH GOODBYE.
When the garden was happy because all of the not-belonging-here belongings were cleared out, I sat down next to the bowl and waited for more information.
Here is what came:
What?! Why? Why would I want to stop caring.
I didn’t understand.
The bowl said, sometimes caring is another form of carrying.
A door into glowing.
The bowl explained how this works. Stop caring means:
- Stop caring what people think.
- Stop caring about how you look.
- Stop caring in the sense of over-empathy with all the bad things, where you feel the pain of the world and it becomes yours, where you get so upset with injustice that you can’t function.
- Stop investing in other people’s opinions, philosophies, judgments.
Caring makes it real, and it’s not real.
It is a beautiful illusion. So stop carrying and stop caring.
Also this means stop caring in the sense of worrying, for example, the way I am currently all worked up about my illness right now This whole experience of pain is just a door to get me centered, grounded and focused downstairs, it is healing all my tendencies to float around in my head.
It is MOVING ME downstairs (a parallel to what is happening in my actual home because The Havi Show is the funniest), and this experience will help me be a better healer, dancer, writer and glowing flowing person.
That’s what the bowl said: Trust. No more carrying/caring. Let yourself care less and be more.
The treatment ended and I asked the table what is next. It said:
YOU ARE HEALED AND WHOLE.
YOU ARE HEALED AND WHOLE.
YOU ARE HEALED AND WHOLE.
And then after that.
And then that evening I got angry with my lover for the very first time, and then we made up and then we watched a movie, and there was a spectacular releasing of grief, which lasted for hours, undoing and undoing and undoing some more.
And then after that.
I am practicing.
Practicing looking in addition to listening. Noticing if and when I’m carrying/caring too much. Bringing my attention downstairs instead of just living upstairs.
Being curious about what I can put down and how that might feel.
Letting “healed and whole” be an option as a thing that is possible, even when I am in pain and in process and figuring stuff out.
Allowing airport parking lots to fill with French horns, if that is what is needed.
Giving permission for things to move and change, and for me to ease-and-release my way through it, to rest my way through instead of fighting my way through.
What would you like to stop carrying? Come play.
Keep me company!
Anything you would like to set down and let go of: it’s the month of releasing in the year of releasing, this is as good a time as any.
Other things that are welcome: hearts, pebbles, warmth, sweetness, any sparks sparked for you while reading,
As always, this is beautifully safe space, and we are able keep it that way by the intentional practice of not giving advice and not going into care-taking mode. We remember that we all have our stuff, we’re all working on our stuff, it’s a process.
We meet each other (and ourselves) with as much love as we can.