Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stopping To Listen

I am going to admit something to you, something I've never admitted to anyone before. I truly believe that some of the voices I hear are real. Some of them aren't, and I can tell the difference because they "sound" different. I also believe that the "delusional" other world that I visit in my mind is real. I know a lot of my paranoia and anxiety are caused by the unreal stuff, the "voices" that tell me bad things will happen or that I am worthless and better off dead. But there are also voices - they are truly friends - who help me. They tell me I am beautiful, that I can take a few deep breaths and make it through the next 10 minutes and things will be fine. They are my own personal cheerleading squad.

I have never admitted this to any psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or any other medical professional. I have always been afraid of what they would do or diagnose. I don't trust them to believe that there are worlds beyond ours and that maybe - just maybe - those like me are in fact peering between the veils and catching a glimpse of the wonderful, the terrifying, and the awesome.

I am not a religious person - religions tend to label schizophrenics as deluded, possessed, or just sick. But I am very spiritual. If I let my mind go still, I can feel the life blood pumping up the trunk of a tree or feel the fires that forged the lava rock under my feet. Every animal has a pure soul inside of it and every plant breathes for our Mother Earth. It I had to give a name to my beliefs I would have to say I was Wiccan. The "Harm None" rule is one I follow diligently and the Celtic names of the deities and spirits resonate with me better than other cultures. And while I have left the more structured parts of the Wiccan road behind me, at one time they gave me the support I needed and gave me names like empath and seer to let me see my schizophrenia in a softer light. It taught me to meditate, to listen to the Earth, and understand that I am a vital part of something much larger than me. It saved me in one of the darkest times of my life.

And it continues to do so. In the beginning of my Wiccan path, I walked ceremony to find my patron deity. The one who came to me was The Morrigan. She is a warrior goddess, the Great Queen, and a great healer. She reaps the battlefields for the souls that are ready to pass on to the next life and her Ravens clean the field of all the ugliness so that new life can move in. I was terrified of her at first and wondered why she would choose me. I thought it meant that I needed to become a warrior - a belief that led to a misguided and short-lived effort to join the US Army.

Over time I learned that there are many ways to be one of her warriors. I learned to use my words as weapons and as a means to heal. I gave every bit of myself to helping others, fighting against poverty, abuse, and misinformation. It gave me a true purpose, but it was exhausting and eventually I couldn't do it any more.

And so I find myself now cut off from all the ways I fought. I believed that The Morrigan had abandoned me. Instead, I had stopped listening. I feel weak and useless, and it was stopping me from making the connection.

Two nights ago I was meditating in my Safe Place. This is a place inside myself where it is only me. I can't always get there because the voices and anxiety can get so loud that I can't find the stillness. But if I can really get deep into the meditation, I can get there. It is a dome of faceted crystal that holds everything else out - everything except The Morrigan. Over the years she is the ONLY thing that join me in the Safe Place. The floor of the dome is scattered with shimmering black raven wings from her past visits and there are obsidian-like facets in the crystal where she has helped me mend cracks and fissures.

Well, two nights ago I got to my Safe Place and was enjoying the solitude and watching light play off of the crystal. Then a saying popped into my head, one I really dislike. It is one of those inspirational sayings that has never made sense to me. It goes "A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on her own wings." It sounds good on the surface - but I DO fear the branch will break because I don't have wings.

And that was when she came. She wrapped her huge, soft, Raven wings around me and whispered "My dear Indigo Child, I am your wings." (She always calls me that, and She is the only one to do so. I don't really know why.) She cradled me in her arms and her wings and let me sob at the relief and joy that She was with me again. And without words she showed me that my task wasn't to fight, but to heal and clean the battlefield of all its ugliness. I must spread kindness to combat the hate and let my smile shine wherever I go. I am not useless - I am doing vital work simply by writing, painting, and going out and saying hello to strangers and telling my friends how beautiful they are inside and out.

Yes, I have schizophrenia. Yes, I do hear voices that are not real. But there are some who are, I just have to stop and listen so I can hear love and encouragement that is hidden beneath the shouting voices of hate.

Listen. Truly listen. This world is full of beauty if you just take the time to look.

No comments:

Post a Comment