Explorations of mind, paths, and life

A Different Realm (Written in Layers)

Posted on March 4, 2014 - Filed Under self reflect

I have had some huge transitions in the last 6 months, transitions filled with mobius shifting on so many levels that I have felt as if I have been holding my breath before the fall on a roller coaster ride. The acquisition of a new home, and the blessings around it, a kid off to college, a new car, and the rise and fall of different relationships evolving and enlightening me to myself… all in a different realm of my internal dialogue. Navigating all of it has required me to seek some clarity about who I am, what I need, and where I am going. It has drawn on me to look at my triggers, review my history, and masticate  the fragments of my self that have not always been clear or easy. As the new year approached, I had felt more determined and anxious to get clarity and set boundaries, and found that ignoring that inner voice was to trigger the digestive distress that has become part of my experience the last few years. And, as always, when I do not follow my “gut” it will eat at my insides until I have gotten the message. …(written on January 21st…)

InspirationAnd now February, and still more shifts and a wall. A wall that feels like a burden, a protection, and a facade. I am not sure what to make of it at all, but there is a definite theme rotating like a slide show on the surface. I watch the triggers float by, the protections dance and distract, and I am lounging, like a bored observer watching movies in the park, curious and unemotional. I feel very odd – unemotional – unattached.  WHAT is that? What is THAT? I keep asking myself, what IS it?

If I get quiet enough to listen I am suddenly hit by all my parts in a jumbled cacophony of distraction. Anger, mistrust, anxiety, abandonment, compliance, expectation, expectation of others, managers, “self-ishness,” and this quiet creature in utero who already knew she could never meet the expectations of world outside – left to over-compensate and give up her “self” in order to survive. I see her there, all constrained by that tensile wall – pushing and stretching. Constrained by the roles, the demands, the battle to be seen for who she is, and not for who others want her to be, want to see her as, or demand of her to become. Has she ever had a breath, a single breath in which her core attachments didn’t expect her to compensate for their own insecurities with HER energy?

I don’t know what any of it means. All I know is I keep wondering what is WRONG with me – and I know it is an absurd question. The early morning wake up to a fast sense of vibration that I can hear through the feathers of my pillows.  The midnight wake up and flashes of images that make no sense… The turbulence that is my gut… The question should be, what is that little committee nestled in my reactions, my breath, my feelings – what are they really trying to get me to understand? (…written in February)

And now March turns the corner. I have had a wonderfully stirring weekend among P3 family, I’ve spent time crying and laughing, and crying once again. I have spent time sitting silent in a room of chanting Buddhists, found camaraderie among an IFS (Internal Family Systems) group of learners, taken long sun-filled bike rides, nested deeply beneath the pillows and blankets of my bed, listened to music, painted.  I have grieved and struggled with one “love’s” decisions about her world, and approached my dad with a gentle gratitude for the ways in which I know I am “enough” in his universe (whether it is true or not).

Then today, I arrive, gleaming, to the Nude Nite venue, with artwork tucked lovingly under my arm. I approach, and state my name – hesitating on the “Dufner” that follows my name – feeling out (as I always do) the one inherited piece of my identity that keeps me tied to his universe. Changing it feels more a social/legal hassle, and yet I am reminded of him every time I say it, hear it, write it…

“Oh,” she says, “You are dropping off Gary’s work?”

The anxiety that has had me plugged into a socket for weeks now heaves from my heart like a boulder, and I look at her confused. “No,” I say, “I am here to deliver MY artwork.” My brain and heart are suddenly tangled.

“Ah, are you related?” she asks, a beautiful smile placing a gentle sort of energy on all of it.

We chat a bit about what “all this means” and I share with energy that outlines how much I miss him (“great, so you will get to connect with him here!” she says.)  How worried I feel that he is still so angry with me (“…and I know that is my perception, and I can enjoy this experience without being in that space,” I say.) How different and blessed my life is (“Oh, this is my second time being invited!”)  How eager I am to celebrate his artwork, (“..something I have loved since the day I met him.”)  and how intimidated I feel about his attendance (“… I’ve always loved how dynamic his work is, and I feel so intimidated as I just emerge into art again…”)  She encourages me, lets me know he is happy, how amazing his artwork is, how perfect this all is. “Make sure to dress up!” she tosses into the mix.

I AM FLOODED – I take in her eyes, ask her name again, thank her for her enthusiasm and easiness and hope for healing in this encounter – and I walk my flooded self to my car and drive away (my pass, my tickets, and my flooded little committee).

I cry half the way up on the 90 minute drive to work, trying hard to keep my makeup intact. I cry for the scared I feel. I cry for the friendship I miss. I cry for the “little fish” I feel in the “Big Pond” that has always been his footing in the world of art, music, exposure, training, and creation. I cry for the part of me that hates the disconnect – because there was no other way to get myself back. I cry for the part of me that was left behind with him. I cry for the journey I graciously, GRATEFULLY, take in my life right now – so different from what I had expected – and that gratitude is just as profound as the grief, the scared, the confused, the excited, the strength. I arrive to work and sink into the tasks that keep me steady…

I cry the last 30 minutes back home after work, drinking in how I have “lost” two of the most significant men in my life. I’ve been grieving Justin’s change of “place” as he moves into his own life (Oh, how wonderful that is!! and OH how I miss him). And now I am aware of all the art that has passed between Gary and I… (spending two Sundays shuffling through the salvage of my “memories” after the “flood.” – Good ol’ water heater explosion!) Not only art we created in a playful connection during our friendship, but the art we created for each other over the years… and his knowing me enough that at least I was always “safe” in his heart.  The photos, the children’s books, the messages tucked in little places among my books and music. I feel how sad saying goodbye to that has been, and all the ways in which the residual invades my ability to connect with others NOW. The fear of the weight of other’s needs. The anxiety over other’s expectations for me. The trembling in my core if I have to consider ANYONE more than myself right now. (Eager to bury myself into my nest…)

And some of those “return home” tears were for the flickers of support that I can feel and see in my friendships. The love that others carry for me, collectively so much bigger than I’ve been able to fathom. Encouragement floating along – and hands extended. And I realize, I do have an enormous family that has my back, that loves me as I take these baby step into my art and self-expression… as I move through MY LIFE. People who see me – and in some ways – are offering these shining, healing little pebbles of warmth and support, just by being witness to my growth…

“I think you have someone to hold your hand every night you’re there. We’ve got your back!”

“Thursday!  (I’ll be there) You’re strong and capable!”

“You are amazing Mama.. Stand strong and let your authenticity ooze from you! Love you!!”

“Strength of spirit…that is definitely what I think of when I think of you. Sending good thoughts your way.”

“I will be there Friday night, my love, RIGHT UP YOUR BUTT!! Or, you know, just by your side if that’s what you prefer!”

And, I feel loved… not so alone. I feel I can hold each hand along the way when I need to steady myself, when I need to feel safe, or just to remind me just how loved I am. All these little awarenesses. All those little committee members working so hard to keep me safe, and the ache of growing, learning, and showing myself unabashed! Grateful… Grateful… And there is nothing wrong at all… it is just as it needs to be.



One Response to “A Different Realm (Written in Layers)”

  1. Colleen Porter on March 6th, 2014 7:30 pm

    YOU are such an artist in every sense of the word! So amazingly talented in so many ways! The way you write, the way you speak, and of course the way you paint… It’s like music flowing beautifully, effortlessly out of you. One does not walk away from an encounter with you unscathed. On top of all this you are absolutely BEAUTIFUL inside and out and STRONG! God i wish i had a tenth of your strength! You will take this weekend and learn from it as you always do, you will come out even stronger and wiser but you will never be defeated. I hope you know how much I love you and just how much of an impact you have made in my life. <3