Thursday, 9 October 2008

How many rivers?

It's been a tough week. Tough but incredible. At Shaka's wake on Tuesday afternoon, I was moved to tears several times by what people had to say about him. But also by the people themselves. I was blown away by the beauty, the openess, the courage, the depth of my friends, and how willing they were to be seen, to be open, to be honest.

The same again at Shaka's funeral yesterday. It's been so good to feel this connection and to finally release the pent-up emotion that was stuck inside me. And insights have poured into me - I have seen myself measured against others and found myself wanting. Why is it, I ask myself, that I still find myself stuck with this carapace of pain, tension, and insecurity? Is that really me? Well no, it's not. This is one insight, that despite my understanding this truth again and again, especially through the hell of last year's emotional burn-out, I'm still coming to terms with. This stuff: it's not me. So what the hell is it? Who is it? Who am I? Do you recognise a unique emotional-psychic flavour that is you? You know the one - it's the one you relate to, when you hear your name, that's who you are, that cherry-vanilla burnt acid ice-cream sundae. But is that you?

Then today my aunt called because my uncle - her brother - was in a bad way. I hastened over to see him and ended up going into hospital with him. Here's a man who has reason to want to let go - at 88 years of age, and having survived the loss of his wife, his job through modernisation (he was working up until earlier this year and received a CBE for his contribution to his field last year), he's been hit with incurable cancer. I helped him change to go to hospital. His arms and legs are shockingly emaciated. He is so much more feeble than last time I saw him 2 months ago. He didn't want to eat or drink.

In A & E as he waited on a gurney, I asked him if he wanted to die. Yes, he said, I've had enough; I want to go to sleep. After doctors came and went and procrastinated I finally managed to persuade them to put a drip in his arm because he was so dehydrated. Eureka. Half and hour later he was feeling better. Still weak. But able, eventually, to go home. And I think how often I've wanted to die in recent years. Why? Because of the immense amount of pain I've been in. Is that an excuse? Probably not. Eckart Tolle says women are closer to enlightenment that men because they have to endure more pain. Well I don't know what the fucking yardstick is - but I can tell you, in terms of emotional pain, I've ridden the hoary razor-backed monster to hell and back. In terms of physical pain... well, I guess having 50% of your body covered in thick plaques of searing, burning, crusted skin, so sore there is NO release... 24/7.... that must qualify me for some kind of enlightenment equivalent, by Eckart's reckoning. If you consider I've been enduring this torture for the most of the last 20 years...

But what of it? There is no cure in resistance, and even less in self-pity. There is certainly redemption in love. Despite, in spite, of this suffering, I have managed to feel, more and more, that I am loved. And to say to myself, if I can truly feel this pain, and be in my body, and accept this, then I can be cured. Become whole. At Shaka's funeral I felt the bonds of love, and friendship and family. In truth, I felt this: that WE ARE FAMILY.

Peace out brothers and sisters.

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