All my life I have been doing a “balancing act”, trying to hold my life together so that it would work as I thought it should. Trying to hold together my image of how the world should be. I became aware of how I do this the summer (1997) when I drew an image with various shapes balancing on top of each other.
The tension of holding and balancing, trying to keep the piece of my life in place, can only last for so long before it falls. The falling was not the catastrophe I thought it would be. The pieces of myself fell gently onto a black line. I realized that I don’t have to hold the world together, it will be okay.
I saw the world around me beginning to fade—disappear. At Bailey’s Harbor (1997) I saw in my mind the image of my grandmother’s house. The image began to fade as I looked at it. It vanished. It was gone, not real. In the spring of 1998 the world around me began to fade—vanish. My mentor, Evadne got sick from kidney cancer; my friend Chuck became ill with brain cancer and died six weeks later. Everything that I valued was disappearing. I realized that I had created my world through my associations with people and ideas, and all that I made was vanishing.
Even before these losses, I was shedding who I thought I was. This was happening in winter of 1997/1998. An image I called Bare is an example of this process. Its voice said:
This is me. What do I have to offer? Bare. I am bare. I am shedding. Who are you? Dead, fading. What will be? I am empty. Holding Nothing.
Then in February of 1998 I saw a flower in my chest. The pedals and center of the flower are clear and open. Attached to the center is a string, a line with a yellow half oval shape. The half oval floats away from the open center where it had been sitting. I am uncomfortable with it floating away from me. I image myself grabbing it and holding it like a teddy bear. I am comforting myself with the security of the world as I have known it and made it. I am afraid to let it go. I do not know what will be. I let it go and it floats away. Now I see the center of the flower and it is open and clear. I am open. I am clear. I depend on something that isn’t real, as A Course in Miracles states in the introduction: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God”.
The fear of letting go of the world I have made is very strong. Even knowing of the peace from my center, I panicked and went right into chaos when experiencing my world falling apart. During Chucks’ illness the image of snake was presented to me. The snake was going down into a hole, trying to dig down into the ground—a metaphor for how I was living. Digging, doing, to keep my world balanced, clinging to the world I had made. Desperately trying to re-make it, to re-create what I was loosing, in another form.
I attended the image of the snake and let it talk to me”
I am in a hole. I am stopped. I am surrounded. I am down in. Years—nothing is here. Nothing is there . . .
Later the image of overlapping lines on top of each other appeared. These lines faded before my eyes. I am vanishing.
Afraid, not knowing what would be, again I held myself up. A drawing of another flower shows this. The flower’s pedals were light, see through. The pedals held a black T shape in its center. I felt held by the pedals. A co-learner, Linda, noticed the lack of substance in the pedals, which were holding me. Her experience of the image was as if it was going to fall over at any moment. What was supporting me was unsubstantial, like the world I had depended on—not of any real substance and unable to hold me. I hold myself in fear without any support.
I did myself the same way in Atira II as a teacher trainer. Individually each person in the group became angry and disappeared. I tried to hold the group together. Evadne told me over and over and over again to “trust yourself”, to “be quiet and go to yourself”. I was too scared to trust responding from the openness from my Center, instead I tried to meet it with what I thought would “work”.
That year I was drawn to the writing of Sheldon Kopp, in particular the book called If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him. Kopp states that you cannot depend on a person for answers. Each person has to go through their own process, their own struggles, and find the answer for himself or herself. Each person comes to see that they cannot control things of the world and that the y struggle with embracing and opening to my Center is expressed in the following poem:
Impatient. Reaching. Wanting. Walking away from Center. Running. Going in circles.
STOP! You are not paying attention. Be still and quiet. Listen to yourself. Be silent and go to Self. Let God hold you.
I am afraid. I see nothing. No idea. I panic. I am stuck. Searching. More stuck. Cannot move. I am stopped, surrounded. Motionless. Going nowhere. In a brown hill. I am hidden.
Once you attend what is hidden, it cannot hide anymore.
I emerge from the darkness, holding myself stiff—looking. Nothing is there. I am nothing. Bare. There is nothing out there; the only place to go is to myself, or hide and die. Tears. I see thin lines on top of each other. My life. The lines vanish; they are fading before my eyes. I am vanishing, changing. I do not know where I am going. I am impermanate—imperfect. Transparent—see through. Moving to Center. Held in the white. I am held.
Remember the whit rose and let I hold you.
I never gave myself a chance to be.
You have so little faith in yourself—because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect Love is in you. So seek within, what you cannot find without (A Course in Miracles)
Shedding everything in my life I thought was important. This is me. Bare. I am Bare. I am shedding. Who are you? Dead. Fading. What will be? I am empty, holding nothing. I am open.
McNeil (1996) states that at each stage in the continuum we bond to what is feared (p17). Later on page 19 she states “What evolves (from going through the stages of the creativity continuum) is truth which can be embraced with Love where it is made available for final bonding. Shedding Illusions that hide our fear is for coming home to ourselves, to know and embrace the Love we are at our core. Bonding is for becoming in fullness, our Self waiting to be embraced—the experience of Grace, the ever-present fullness of Spirit”.
The illusions I embraced are that this world is supporting me. Through the years the light shone on little pieces of the illusion, making it available for bonding. Bonding Spirit does by showing us the illusions and fears we hold are not real. The illusions hide the fear we hold within. The fear is that we have forgotten our Center and that we are Love at our core. The final bonding is the realization of this.
I held myself up and worked to make my world. This is what I did to hide my fear. The fear was that I did not believe my center, Spirit, was there for me. I did not believe Spirit was real. What I was depending on was unreal, what could be more scary? Slowly, I saw pieces of my illusion. I saw how the world I created was not dependable and was on shaky ground. Slowly, I gain trust in my experience of coming from my Center. I am becoming in fullness, my Self waiting to be embraced—the experience of grace, the ever-present fullness of Spirit.
(1975). A course In Miracles. Mill valley, CA. Foundation for Inner Peace.
Kopp, Sheldon (1972). If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!. Toronto. Bantam Books.
McNeil, Evadne (1996). The Creativity Continuum. Baileys Harbor. WI: Atira Publications.