Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I Was So Much Older Then; I'm Younger Than That Now."

The second life, the resurrected one, looks on the surface to be somewhat similar to the first. And yet at its core things are fundamentally different. It is through the synthesis of the old personality structure with new wisdom that we are able to achieve full metamorphosis in this new capsule.

Now a year removed from my previous life (and I say this emphatically, coming as close to receiving a new body as possible while keeping my spirit intact) I am finally beginning to breathe a little, relax, and let go of the troubled past years that led to the demise of my first self. I've enjoyed many months of living in a now healthy physical body, one that now responds when I ask it to perform, one that is now growing strong in musculature and vitality. I've enjoyed many months of rest, taking the time to free myself of stressful obligations as my body and spirit recovered from last year's trauma. I've enjoyed the lightness of being that I now experience daily... I'm not sure if this is because I just found out that they took my gallbladder out with my old liver, in addition to my spleen at age six. But I feel lighter.

And where do I find myself now? Wiser, more cautious, more confident, more comfortable in my own skin. Better at listening and looking at the world around me. Quicker at acting when I need to act. And yet, I'm well aware that I'm still not quite here in the present moment. Not quite able to laugh so freely or to enjoy the world around me just yet. I'm happy enough, to be sure, but I feel removed from the people and life happening around me.

I recently went to a Shamanic Journey group on the suggestion of a friend, seeking answers. After the guided meditation I sat and listened as people shared stories of seeing wolves and eagles and shit talking to them. I certainly didn't see anything like that, so I simply shared my story... that I learned how to die last year, letting go of my attachment to this world and facing God without fear or consequence, naked and pure and ready to meet my death proudly. But I didn't die. And now, I'm having a hard time learning how to live again. It was suggested to me by the group leader that I may benefit from a "soul retrieval". In a sense, he explained, my soul left my body as I was dying, already preparing for the next phase as my body was shutting down with only hours left to live. When, at the last minute, I was saved, much of my soul came back into my body. But much of it remains, it seems, in the state between life and death. It certainly makes sense to me, and would explain much of why I feel so removed from the world still, as if I'm looking in from the outside.

Don't get me wrong... I'm very much present in the day-to-day, and am still committed to my cause of raising organ donor registration through my foundation, patspromise.org. I'm as active as I ever was, maybe more so with my new health, in civic and social matters. But I still can't help but feel as if I'm a ghost who is able to direct a body to and fro and make lips move... not fully seated in my vessel just yet.

As well, I find myself living alone for the first time in many, many years. I've tried to be as open and truthful on this blog about every aspect of my life as I could, and this is perhaps the hardest one to publicly talk about yet. So forgive me if I go into little detail other than to say it's been a very friendly, loving and amicable decision to begin our separate journeys. After many years of putting issues on hold as I grew sicker, we now both have the power and strength to continue along our paths.

I'm settling in after two weeks to a small bungalow in the Travis Heights neighborhood off of South Congress. I've brought along no tv (don't tell KVUE!), just musical instruments and books. I hope to spend my solitude writing, as I committed to last year when I lay recovering. I pledge to rediscover my humor and continue to improve my body, mind, and spirit in hopes that I can give something positive back to the world someday.

So, in a sense, I feel much like I've become a monk, spending long periods in solitude and utter silence and I get used to my new surroundings. Minus the beer, wine, and bald head.

Is this new life any easier than the one previous? Certainly anything but. In fact, I no longer have illness to hide behind as an excuse from participating in life's ups and downs. But for the first time in years, I have hope. And that's something new entirely.

The below song is a sampling from a recent indulgence... I've been spending my Sunday nights at the 9pm Compline Mass at St. Louis Church on Burnet. Held in a beautiful old candlelit chapel, a male chorus enters the impossible tall chamber and delivers a transcendent Gregorian chant for forty or so minutes. The attendee's only job is to meditate and pray. Like Yoga, this has become the best and most spiritually fulfilling part of my week. Traditionally, I've never been able to find much peace in within the walls of the church. But this experience is something else entirely, like a shot of straight illumination mainlined to the soul.

This week, on father's day, I was fortunate enough to have been joined by two friends, one of whom like me had lost her father a few years hence. A pretty tough cookie, this was my first time to see her actually break down and shed some tears during one of the more glorious songs, which actually made me feel validated for opening myself up and bringing them into this sacred space with me. I hope that soon I'll find the opportunity to do the same and let the tears flow to wash away these recent years of pain. One of my dearest friends said it best... that water is the only element that can change form, and that in this, tears are our way of shedding pain and letting it pass from liquid to vapor, like drops of rain in the summer sun.

1 comment:

  1. Pat, I'm so glad to have found your blog. I really appreciate your openness and honesty. So many things you say hit home with me, too. After my brother's suicide 2 years ago I've also experienced some of the things you spoke about: feeling removed from the people and life happening around you, becoming better at listening and looking at the world around you, and especially the parts about not feeling "whole" or as if you are merely a "ghost" directing your body to and fro and feeling as if you're not able to fully laugh or enjoy the world around you really hit home with me. While our situations are quite different I feel there are so many similarities each time I read another of your posts. You are often in my thoughts and I'm glad our paths have crossed!