Patience. I’ve always been impatient, both with myself and with other people. This is an emergency, and I’ve got to get this over with! This includes my every conversation with other people. I need to get this over with before they have a chance to hurt me. Then I can go off by myself and fantasy how I wanted the conversation to go. A few weeks ago, I walked up to the glass table at the Center, and I let out a big breath. David asked me, “Why do you do that?” I asked why, and he said, “You do it quite often, and I was just curious.” I had no idea then, but now I do. It is because I’m always waiting with bated breath for things to get over with. Once the Minnie crisis passes, I let out a big sigh of relief.
Now I can ask, “Why? What’s the rush?” In my sessions that followed I could easily see the answer to that question. It’s fear of my father and mother. With them it was real. I had to get my interaction with them over with and get away because I knew things would go from bad to worse. This, in my act out, is transferred to any person in a position to tell me what to do. And it goes deeper. I’ve got to get out of here, right now or I’m done for! Of course that is seeing it from a wombs-eye point of view.
I feared these medications might keep me from feeling in my sessions, but that fear dissipated with my first session. However, it was different. I have in the past been a straight 3-2-1-2-3 patient. I always feel great after a session. I feel a lot and as I’ve previously stated, have great connections and insights. But this time my session wasn’t so clean cut. It took a little longer to let myself open up, but then it proceeded as my sessions usually do. That was until I went through a very painful birth sequence. At the end I started to cry.
At first I thought it was a defense and tried to drop back into first line. But this kept happening until I finally let go of my image of how a session should go, and simply let the feeling take me. My body took over and started going in every which way. My arms and legs flailed, while my whole body writhed and turned and jerked and jumped. My head was banging on the mat as I shrieked and cried. And then it culminated in a complete body tremble. This sequence came in waves and repeated itself over and over until my body was spent.
Then the connections: My God, that’s what I’ve been trying to do my whole life, and my whole life has been a struggle not to do that. I’ve been struggling to look normal, to be normal, to feel normal, and I finally got a taste of what MY normal feels like. And the more I feel that in sessions the less I’m driven to it in daily life – which means I struggle less and less to control that urge as it diminishes. It is diminishing because it is what I had to do then, not now. That whole feeling is terror, which followed me from womb to cradle and beyond.
My life right now is in a whirlwind of change, but got interrupted by a really, really, really rotten bout with pneumonia. I thought this was my last Christmas, and didn’t really care if it was. I wanted to get it over with so bad. But then I remembered how Primal that feeling was, so I decided to hang in there. Now I’m pretty much on the mend.
I started this little quest in order to be able to do better therapy. But what I didn’t know is how much it would affect my whole life. Before I started on my meds as an adjunct to my therapy, I would have described my world like this: I am a very messy packrat; I’m disorganized; If I lay something down (such as a tool), I’ve lost it. I spend hours every day looking for things I’ve misplaced. And it gets worse and worse because I let things pile up. If I have something in my hand, while in my office, and want to set it down, I have no place to put it. I never know where anything is. Every surface in my office is piled high with books, papers, bills, toys, electronic parts, boxes, tapes, DVDs, and everything else you could think of. Look around my house and you will see thousands of books, video tapes, CDs that I’ll never watch or read or listen to. But getting rid of them is worse than an amputation. I open a package and I don’t have time to properly dispose of the wrapping. I leave it where it lays and I’ll take care of it later. I never do. So I live my life in clutter that is too overwhelming to even address. And I suffer. I feel helpless, hopeless, and ashamed. What is the matter with me? But I’m too busy to bother with this. I never stop working and never seem to get anything done.
Patience. Going slower now, finding my pace, and something new: Letting other people have their own pace. Be with them, not manipulate them to be with me. I don’t need to impose my images on anyone else. I don’t need to finish other people’s sentences for them. Let them find their own words. That is not really helping them. I only think I know what they are trying to say, but I really don’t know. The scary thing about that is that I didn’t know that’s what I was doing until the meds slowed me down to where I could see. In subtle ways it makes everything feel different.
I notice more. I look around my house and realize I don’t want to live in this clutter. All of that brings its own boatload of distress. My priorities are shifting. First up is to turn this place into one that makes me feel good. I don’t have to do it all at once. Just one small thing at a time, and take my time. I look at all my stuff that I can’t bear to part with and now I’m wondering what the hell I ever wanted with it. Most of it is an Albatross around my neck. My wife rented 2 big dumpsters. In no time they were full and my house is looking better and better. We replaced some curtains we’ve been going to replace for years. The office is clutter free, as well as our bedroom. The bed gets made in the morning. Our dressing room sinks are no longer covered with clothes and papers and receipts and old prescription bottles. I want that sink clear and clean and now it is.
Once the clutter is gone and I’m moving slow enough to put the things I use back in their proper place, I’m not spending so much time looking for things. I’m selling all my books worth anything and dumping the rest. All the books I have kept are on bookshelves with spines facing outward so I’m not forever looking for the book I need. It’s now easy to keep the house clean and neat – especially the kitchen. Dishes don’t stack up simply because I don’t want them to.
I’ve been too busy for three years to get over to my ophthalmologist for a check-up on my good eye, and to the ocularist and get my other eye polished. Now I’ve taken care of that as well as getting a new eye made.
Finally, my life is no longer like living in a funhouse filled with distortion and imbalance where perspective and priority are pure guess work. When I started to sell my books on Amazon, I thought the whole process was so complicated, and required so much work, keeping track of orders and not mixing them up, assessing them, wrapping them, getting postage and shipping them, that I almost didn’t. It just made me feel weak, helpless, and overwhelmed. But then I decided not to let it get to me. I’ll try just one and if that’s okay, I’ll try another. Pretty soon I had a hundred books up for sale and had sold 25. The process still seemed confusing, however. The man at the post office suggested I buy myself a scale and purchase postage on line instead of waiting in line at the post office. He showed me that it was cheaper as well.
But it was while I was trying to process about 15 orders one night that I had my biggest insight so far. I had just gotten a couple of orders mixed up. I slowed down, retraced what I had done, and WOW! I had skipped a step and it put everything in disarrangement. I couldn’t remember what I’d done or not done, I start to get anxious, unsettled, unsure…. Then the light went on. DON’T SKIP STEPS! It is one of the first Primal Principles we learn. We know that if you skip steps in a session, it is ruined. But I’m going so fast, I have to skip steps. I’ve gotta get out of here. In the meantime, I’m cross-dominant and my brain is mixing things up to begin with. As I look over my life in detail, I can see that most of my foibles as well as really big calamities have been caused by skipping steps.
An older Primal Revelation has taken on new meaning as well. As a child I had to have the right answer, and I had to do things right or there was hell to pay. This leaves me focusing on how I’m doing instead of what I’m doing. Nowadays, just like then, as soon as I do that, I stop being fully conscious of what is going on. In training we can be watching a tape of a session and I’m trying to pay close attention. Suddenly the tape stops and France asks, “Was that the right move, or would you have done something else? Equally as sudden I realize that I don’t remember what I just watched. I had experienced just a subtle shift of attention from what was happening to how I was doing. It was only for a few seconds and now I’m in a head spin trying to get my mind to recapture what just transpired. My mouth stops working right, and my mind goes blank, and my impulsivity takes over and I say something that is off the wall, immediately realize it and then struggle to repair the damage, making things worse. This while my desperate 1st line need to get out of here comes shooting up, leaving me in a mess, pretending I’m not.
Now I’m catching myself more as the process starts to happen. I can stop it if I just stop, relax, and let the tension flow out of my body. At times that can be like waking up.
Patience. I need to have patience with myself, first of all. I need to go slow enough that I can remember left from right, and remember to help that left eye and right hand stay in tune with each other. I have spent my life in a state of panic, running for my life. I didn’t have the time or capacity to make sure I wasn’t missing steps. Now my life is moving a little slower, and I not only skip fewer steps, when I do, I notice. That gives me something tangible to work with. Don’t skip steps is not just a Primal Principle. For me it is an axiom for life:
DON’T SKIP STEPS!