Out of the Rabbit Hole I Go

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The mind is a beautiful, complex and multi-faceted thing; it can transform the humdrum everyday ordinary world that we live in to a place of mystery and intrigue, wizards and warlocks, magicians and Merlin. Simply by picking up a book and delving into the words, our minds bring forth every color, character and conversation in such a way as to make us feel as if we are truly living in the story. This is one of the things I love about the mind and as you can imagine (having such a beautiful mind as you do) that with every action there exists an equal and opposite reaction (shout out to Newton) and with every rose there is a thorn (shout out to Poison).

For every magical, fantastical and amazing journey I travel in my mind, there is an equal and opposite journey, which is disturbing, dark and often in a barren desert of desolation, shades of black and slate. It is a forest where trees of self-loathing and doubt grow tall, reaching for the sky, stretching upwards, blocking out the sun of self-worth and self-esteem. It’s the ocean of hurt caused by living a life built on mistakes and bad choices; the riptide always pulling me under, telling me to surrender, to quit and just let go. That’s the only way out of the pain, it lies with the skill of the Devil himself. It pours salt in those wounds, and the mind delivers memories that come as lightning bolts to my brain, branding the memory, embedding it forever to remember as another loss, another failure, another broken heart. Sometimes I feel as though I’m just an ant on leaf in a roaring river of white water, being swept away, holding on for dear life to the fragile grip I have. The emotions make me feel it, the mind makes me believe it. So, I have often wondered how much control do I actually have over this maniacal mind? I have struggled with my emotions for my entire life (as most people with a pulse have) and while I don’t believe I will ever “master” my emotions, I believe I have a better understanding of why feeling them is so necessary. Not allowing the painful memories to be remembered sets you up to forget the lesson that made it so painful, which sets you up to make the same mistake again and again. Not feeling the bad feelings by self-medicating or denial leads to addiction and a loss of connection to reality, a state of constant effort to suppress, forget and wish it into oblivion. If it sounds exhausting, it’s because it is. The truth shall set you free, yes, but as they say…this may hurt a bit.

Ok – so ramble, ramble. Sorry I think I got a touch off path. What all this is about is what happens after I fall down the rabbit hole of these thoughts, these emotions and the resulting isolation, depression and exhaustion. It’s not as extensive as the aftermath of a really good (bad) manic episode, but it has its own challenges; reconnecting with those you l love and who love me, hoping they will still be around and don’t take the time away personally. Rebuilding the self-esteem, the picture of me I carry around in my mind and validating changes that I need to make. The things I need to do to make my life more of what I need it to be and in time, the legacy I leave behind when I go wherever I will go (shout out St. Peter, with any luck). Time to get out of the rabbit hole and back into the world; open the blinds, let the light in and try, try again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Scotland -Part III

The day after Christmas 2015 found me at the airport, excited, tired and ready to be on my way back to Scotland. I had arrived at the airport at an unreasonably early hour (per my request) and had thoughts of my previous two visits and wondered what this visit would bring. I’d been there all alone, with eyes wide and full of wonderment for my birthday in December 2014, met someone in July that multiplied the happiness, the pleasure of traveling and exploring, not only Scotland, but our personalities, our experiences, hopes and dreams, fears and flights of fancy. I didn’t think I could be happier than I was on my first visit, but the second visit changed all that. What would the third visit bring? Would it be even better or would I have raised my expectations so high that they couldn’t help but fall short? These questions swirled around in my mind as I walked the airport, burning nervous energy and trying to fill my mind with something other than those unanswerable questions.

Well, it’s now almost the end of January and I’ve been back about 3 weeks and I have to say, this time was such an incredible experience. I couldn’t have scripted a better visit, traveling and exploring again, but this time, with hours in the car, talking about nothing and everything at once; taking photos like a mad tourist while speeding down the highways and two-lane roads. Sometimes the only car as far as the eye could see, with endless stretches of gorgeous landscapes, skies full of strange clouds I’d never seen back at home; sunsets and sunrises so beautiful, it takes my breath away each and every day. Being so far away from everything and everyone I know, I found myself. I found the calm I’d always prayed for, the serenity I didn’t think existed and the ability to live fully in the moment, not looking back in regret and not looking forward with fear and anxiety. This couldn’t have been possible without the company I was keeping; I have been a solitary creature by choice most of my life but this was comfortable, effortless and I had the feeling that all was right with the world.

That being said, returning to reality is rarely effortless or comfortable and this time was no exception; the higher you are, the harder you fall. The dizzying heights I had occupied while in Scotland gave way to the deepest depths and dark days (and nights) while my spirit tried to break free of the shackles of everyday life and return to the freedom and wide-open spaces I’d flown; now seemingly a dream I had dreamt. Remembering the calm and trying to get that thought to translate to feeling isn’t the easiest or most natural thing for me to do; I am more prone to go worst case scenario and lock the memory away, for the pain of being away from such bliss is too much to delve into. But this is a new year and the time for change is always, so I am embracing my pain, along with the pleasure the memory holds. Bittersweet is a flavor we’re all familiar with and while it’s not something I’d want to taste at every meal, it’s one of the flavors of life, so it will make an appearance from time to time. Every piece of pain contains a lesson, something learned or experienced that will last far longer than the original discomfort that bore it. It’s easy to say and hard to remember when it happens, but it is a choice. I choose to take the bitter with the sweet, the pain with the pleasure and the heart break with the bliss.

I choose to get up and try again. I choose to belief this, too shall pass. I choose to believe that I will return to Scotland, hopefully again and again, until I am an old lady tottering along with a cane, telling my grandchildren about my time in Scotland over and over again, until they can tell the stories themselves, word for word.

 

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