Interlude in Limbo

in limbo

1. Lit. a region of the afterlife on the border of hell. (In some Christian religions, there is a limbo set aside for souls that do not go to either heaven or hell. This sense is used only in this religious context. (*Typically: be ~; remain ~; stay ~.) The baby’s soul was in limbo because she had not been baptized.

2. Fig. in a state of neglect; in a state of oblivion; in an indefinite state; on hold. (*Typically: be ~; leave something ~; put something ~.) We’ll have to leave the project in limbo for a month or two. After I got hit on the head, I was in limbo for about ten minutes.
In Limbo (my title) by Solve Sundsbo

My dreams, my hopes have shattered. The dreams still in waiting of fulfillment don’t have my spirited input in deed and consequence.

All my intimate relationships have broken up, and the one I intended to be true… it’s hopeless.
A deep understanding of my father’s words, five years before he seized the opportunity to die, that he was tired of it all and that he wanted to go.
As I’m entering into all this, deciding not to avoid the pain inside, the dark cloud of thoughts in my head, I see that unawareness doesn’t cure suffering, and never has. Escaping with organic chemicals, distilled or grown,  escaping into stories as told on flat screens and pages, drifting off in any way, may alleviate the churning sadness in the guts and heart, the actual emotional pain coursing through my innards. But it doesn’t alleviate the suffering, at best it postpones it. Until now.

And in the middle of this, as I walk the streets, an acute clarity of vision arises. As if the shallows were removed, the flatness of the mental screen. A fleeting shine in the eyes of a child far away hits the inner eyes with freshness, opening up the sky of clear vision even more. There is no hope in that, it’s the flicker of the inner sun. As if a star shows up momentarily in the clear dark.
Picture by Eve Sussman

Intentions? Face it and withhold nothing.
Feelings? Hopeless sadness.
Activity? Contemplating shattered dreams, broken promises, manipulations, the hurt and suffering I instigated, the wounds of treason and destroyed intimacy, and yes, sure, the friends that are not here in the flesh, the embraces I refused, the endless self-boycotts and failures I meticulously produced. The unawareness, the sleep, the obfuscation of the pain, the projections, the escape of thinking big thoughts and grand projects, and all the myriad ways to numb the sense of hell that humanity keeps warm for all creatures, the doom hanging over us all.

Ah, yes, calling on my enlightened oasis, energizing my inner bodhisattva, hopping into the non-dual dimensions … I could do that. But I’m not in the mood to leave the limbo, knowing these spaces to be truly empty whereas this limbo is substantially alive.

I’m lost. And accepting the intrinsic purposelessness of reality, of what is substantially alive, how could there be assurance or certainty? Where would you place a foundation in a bottomless polyverse?

I’ll stay here and be lost until I’m found, if being found is part of the pattern of my life’s reflection on the waters of the Mystery. As in my darker dreams where I know where I’m going, where I do have a goal to reach, but everything conspires to thwart me reaching any significant advance.
As my friend  says, “I got drunk in another place. Let the one who poured me the wine find me and bring me home, if that is where my steps are to lead.”

And over night, in my sleep, I left this place. Transported by my inner tribe to another sky.
There is an inkling somewhere of a meaning not translatable to any other spaces, like something lurking at the threshold of awareness, never to enter, always around the corner; like a dream just before we remember it.
And there is this other idea that I connect to my experiences with the Circle of the Heart. In it we always reach the place where we have to accept our utter failure to make ‘It’ (in that case the We, the Circle Being) happen; were we have to accept that we cannot do anything more to invoke, conjure up, install, (co-)create the “Next”. It is utterly beyond our reach, our grip, our power. We have to die to our ability. And then, of its very own accord, it may enter…
Raffaelle Monti, The Bride, 1847

Enlightening the Passions – Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)

I thought today was going to be about guilt… it was one of the first feelings I was confronted with in the morning.
One of the unforeseeable consequences of this experiment is that I’ve gotten a very thin skin. I pick up on a feeling that previously would have led me to an automatic reaction immediately (denial, reframing of the story to my benefit, fight/flight) when it is quite weak in comparison to the ‘harder feeling’ like anger, fear, jealousy for instance. So I picked up this sense of guilt triggered by a minor remark this morning and took it as a cue to look at that.

So I sat down and invoked feeling guilt. I needed to remember some stories before I could really get in there. So I remembered what I tell myself when I feel guilty to turn up the volume, so to speak, “It’s my own fault,” is a good one, and then I stumbled upon an old time favorite, “When I am truly myself I inevitably hurt the people I’m close to with my words and deeds.”
Having turned up the volume I noticed how my shoulders rose and I bent over; I don’t know if this is an English saying but in Germany we say sometimes of a person, “He walks bowed under guilt’s weight.” Guilt, indeed, feels like a heavy burden.
And I also experienced this morning that when guilt is there the question “Why?” and “Why me?” are rampant, and down that road also the feeling of self-pity is pretty close.

Guilt is, like many other ‘negative’ feelings very ego-oriented. If something goes wrong in my relationship there is often, at least when I look closer, the feeling that it’s all my fault. This is most likely in deep resonance with a child’s feeling when their parents separate; I’ve heard a teenager say that her parents divorce was her fault recently, and I remember my young years and that I was convinced that my father left us because of something I did wrong, and that was only proven by my mom then sending me to my grandparents… and on and on the sad story goes.
The feeling that everything that goes wrong in my relationship is wrong because of my inability or even unwillingness to do the right thing, say the right word, or do or say nothing in the right moments, is a well known acquaintance of mine. Triggered by a situation guilt comes, and leads me into automatic reaction… and this is not only so for guilt but for almost all (or is it all?) feelings. Evolutionary this makes sense: You don’t want your consciousness to get in the way when  there’s a tiger approaching, you want your body to go into overdrive and survive (and it was those humans that actually did survive and were our ancestors). But in these extremely complex times we live in, and the type of relationships, however intimate they are, that we live in, we don’t want to react automatically to people and situations, to the things friends and partners say or do – we want to respond from our soul, our heart, our very being.

Before I couldn’t explore my sense of guilt anymore because this feeling was overwhelmed by another one, I found that guilt is closely related to being depressed (another feeling not yet on my list) and the fear of being cast out; maybe because guilt is a social feeling indicating just this danger: people feel guilty when they disobey the rules of their clan, community and maybe even society.
But I have to revisit this at another point because jealousy rode strong and intensively right into my heart at the breakfast table. And now I know the difference between feeling jealousy because of what I fear might happen and feeling jealousy because of hearing that indeed it did happen.

Within the “fearing of what might happen” jealousy there is still the hope that it doesn’t happen. But the other one is without that hope, hopelessness gets mixed into the brew in which there is feeling forlorn, helpless, paralyzed, “How can you do this to me?”-selfpity, turning away, wanting to close down forever, and more.
So not only is it a more intense version of this feeling conglomerate it is also one that has “Let go of all hope, ye who enter here” written over its gate. At least that’s how it is for me as I’ve discovered in the waves that have been washing over me today. Yet, it’s not just one awful day long drawn out feeling at all. Probably because I’m not telling myself long, winding stories about how I got here, what it is she did, etc. (I can’t stop images appearing in my mind, like I said yesterday, but that’s different from telling myself all kinds of things about why I suffer this). For hours the jealousy is gone, and there is this beautiful sense of connectedness with her, all and everything that is also there. This I’ve found to be true for all the ‘negative’ feelings. It’s the feeling-field that I mentioned yesterday that is very much there when I’m out on the streets (at home also, of course, but out there it’s noticed in a different way). But when I’m in the jealousy-conglomerate there is a disconnect that beckons…

Jealousy comes in waves, as all feelings do. You could could say that since they are not permanent you shouldn’t attach to them, or whatever you tell yourself about your feelings. I prefer, having gone down the road of this experiment so far, to openly experience my feelings, to get to know those I’ve avoided and disowned so far by invoking them and welcoming them. Even if it looks as if jealousy is here to stay, (really this is a story) I prefer to be with the feeling and explore it closely.

I’m happy I have had the good fortune to do this experiment ‘out in the open’ because it keeps me at it, also helping me to reflect on it in a wholesome way, and have the encouragement I get from lovely people here and in private.

Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)