The Hanged Man

In my dream last night, a man told me that I must stand in the strong current of the river and feel its energy moving through and around me, whilst simultaneously staying connected to the stillness and peace. Good advice, I’d say!

Yesterday, Laurie and I got out amongst nature – the first proper excursion in weeks, thanks to L’s workload and my constant bleeding. After hitting a physical low point, where the bleeding was becoming worryingly heavy and showing no sign of stopping, I returned to the Doctor and he persuaded me to dig out the Utovlan, yet again, and this time stick with it. What convinced me that it was worth another try was his honest admission that he had run out of options and that all that was left was cauterising the lining of my womb or hysterectomy. I went home and took the Utovlan!

Within three days the bleeding stopped and it has thankfully stayed that way. I was also sent for blood tests for anaemia and to check that I am clotting normally. For now, I am taking the pills and gradually building my strength back up after an exhausting few weeks.

Getting out for a good walk was bliss although very tiring. Despite not being quite up to par, it made such a difference being able to explore one of my favourite places for the first time this year. We walked down through the Devil’s Chimney – a steep, narrow rock cutting – and into the Bonchurch Landslip, following the path down into Luccombe Chine. Last year, the chine had a landslide and the steep steps down the ravine had severely shifted, the slippage revealing the beauty of the waterfall that tumbles through the chine’s centre down to the beach. After all the wet weather, another slide has taken a section of the steps out completely, a deep, muddy chasm now prevents anyone from reaching the wooden steps and boardwalks that lead down to the sea. In fact these hang loose over the most beautiful part of the waterfall. The path above the slip is leaning even more dramatically than usual, the wooden fence having fallen and hanging over the drop beneath.

It was frustrating not being able to make it down to the beach but wonderful just to be there, listening to the waterfall and the sea and staring up at the beautiful sheer edges of the chine, now fully visible in its winter state. The combination of the sounds and the physical exertion brought about a peaceful dreaminess and yet it was a strangely incomplete feeling because I am still experiencing a kind of spiritual crisis of belief. Normally, it is at such moments in nature that I feel most powerfully my connection to the Divine. At the moment, I am not even sure that the Divine exists – which is truly a shocking statement for me to make because I have never once felt this way in my life before – not even at my lowest points (maybe briefly once); whatever part of me that normally feels that connection is oddly very numb and I don’t fully understand why.

I have actually joked that maybe synthetic progesterone kills off the part of you that senses God/des in your life and being. It has been so strange how quickly these feelings have suddenly emerged. Trying to analyse these feelings at this point leaves me puzzled. I wonder whether I am just a little punch drunk from all the challenges of recent years and these past weeks have rather felt like the last straw. I have always tried to place the challenges and the loss in a spiritual context; I think a part of me is hacked off with doing this and frankly wants a break!

I am partly ashamed that I sound so whingeing and self-pitying and there is another more rational self that suspects that I need to find a more constructive way of dealing with this; that I have somehow not quite got the ‘technique’ of living perfected and that its all about changing my approach. The human, frail side of me wants to tell this rational side to ‘fuck off!!’. A more wise and compassionate side of me says that I need to have patience with my own frailty and confusion, to support and back myself through all of this. They are all grateful, however, to be having a break from the heavy bleeding that has dominated life of late. This is a blessing to be thankful for at least.

The man in my dream is right of course – I do need to do just as he says. Despite the spiritual doubts, I still feel sure that whatever is bubbling away on the inside will eventually surface and a greater clarity will come. It is an interesting place to be psychologically because, in many ways, I am being challenged to place faith in myself as never before. I have never been very good at this, a lack of confidence so often undermining my sense of self.-belief. Perhaps this is what this strange episode is all about – backing myself; acknowledging that I am good enough.

Stood suspended half-way down Luccombe Chine, unable to progress along the path, it occurred that my own strange suspension might force me to more closely examine where and who I am. The forces of nature moving powerfully and inexorable in the movement of earth and water, are ever present in Luccombe Chine, and despite the enormous upheaval and change of the place, I was able to stand and connect to the tremendous peace that is also there. This is all any of us can do when life’s changes stir us and leave us feeling uneasy or just plain tired. Life is both movement and peaceful stillness; we are all both propelled and centred. The trick amongst all this balancing and embracing of paradox is to be able to truly hear where it is that your soul is guiding you to…

Outside is form,

Inside is thought.

Deepest is the soul.   – Deng Ming-Dao


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