Needing Darkness to See Light

madeleineI woke up, gasping for breath and  pasted flat on my back against the hot sheets.  I was sobbing and my sobs were so deep and hard that I thought….Nothing.

I wasn’t thinking.

The dream that had woken me was beautiful, bittersweet and incredibly painful.

For a second or two, it felt like I couldn’t move, like I was smothering, like more than anything else, I needed to run.

I flailed my way out of bed and ran to the living room, opened the patio door and stepped outside, still trying to catch my breath.

Although my breath came, I breathed purposefully, deeply, counting as my Sifu had taught me when I first learned to meditate.  But the tears still flooded my eyes, and poured down my cheeks.

My breath was jagged. I had to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. I breathed deeply and started counting again. My hands shook, and my entire body felt like it was vibrating, getting ready to fight or flee.

I’m not a pretty crier by the way, and I can’t remember the last time I cried like that. It’s been years. My tears are usually reserved for the bathtub, my pillow, or late at night when I’m the only one awake.

The dream woke me early in the morning, and I’m loathe to ever breaking my own rule of ‘don’t call before 10’. But I knew I had to talk to someone. Two phone calls later and two cups of coffee under my belt, the tears still flowed.

That was a full week ago, and I’ve been in a deep funk ever since. My mood and thoughts took a steep tumble, and I thought that I’d shake it off later that day. But I didn’t.

After a week of trying to push the dream out of my mind, and spending a weekend in seclusion, I decided to go to my go-to-make-it-all-better; men, booze and shenanigans.

I got in last night at goodness-only-knows-what-time, and fell immediately into bed. Apparently I had the good sense to take my contacts out, put on a nightie and not bring any of the less-fair sex back home with me.

At 6am I woke with pain (this has nothing to do with the drinking or the dream), and fumbled around for a sports drink to help ward off what was working up to be a doozy of a hangover.  The dulcet tones of the Jimmy Buffett classic, “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink & I Don’t Love Jesus”, briefly flashed through my mind.

I curled back up in bed, the cat clamouring over me to inspect my state of disrepair. “I’m not  dying Willie Nelson, ” I said to his little pink nose and bright green eyes. That seemed to satisfy his curiosity, and he curled up next to the pain in my abdomen.

My head did hurt. My feet likely did stink, and I was starting to wonder why in Jesus’s name I didn’t stop after the single glass of wine I had intended to have. Bourbon, I have decided, is a fickle, fickle friend.  We’re not on speaking terms this morning.

However, as I lie there, tucked into the fetal position, hungover, and recouping from what was supposed to be a ‘minor procedure’ that has dragged out into a painful two week-hell, it came to me! Like a cool drop of water on the hangover carpet of my tongue.

As adults, we relive trauma in our lives just like children. Children re-process past trauma or crisis as they move through different stages of development. I had that ‘duh’ moment in the clarity of my hangover. Adults re-process as well, and this year is a landmark number for me.

I’m re-processing under rather crisis-like circumstances. Not the getting older circumstance, just the subject of the dream.

So, I thought to myself, maybe that’s why I found the bottom of a few bottles last night. Maybe I needed to feel miserable enough not to sweep this under the rug any more and question why the hell someone as wonderful as myself has been so down in the dumps.

As rationally as I tried to explain away this deeply emotional and yet beautiful dream, there is nothing rational or logical about it. It is emotion, and you just can’t counter emotion with logic. It’s like mixing water and oil. Sometimes we do need the darkness to see light.  Sometimes hitting rock bottom emotionally, leaves you with nothing but the firmest of ground upon which to build a solid foundation.

 

 

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