“What do you think you are doing standing there with all that control, all that tameness? Do you call that dancing? Have you forgotten how to surrender, to collapse at my feet? Have you forgotten how beautiful it is to just let go?”
My answer is a plaintive yes. I don’t want to lose control. My grip on reality is already so fragile. If I collapse I might not get up again.
“If you continue to hold on to that thread you call ‘control’, you will fall harder, not deeper. You are yearning for deepness, for richness of spirit and life, longing for the drumbeat to take you to your deepest self, but instead of dancing your longing into the stars, into my eyes, you drown it out. You are drowning your sorrow instead of painting it; filling the holes, the deep caverns in your heart and soul with alcohol and rage instead with love and dance.”
This is all true. I’ve looked at myself from the outside seeing how I act and how far removed it is from the deep self that I was returning to. It reminds me of how every time that I have tried to grip tighter, to be more in control, the more I lost my grip on reality.
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,”
-W.B Yeats The Second Coming
I think what I didn’t realise about Shadow work and self- improvement is that it is not a straight line of progress. It wavers, it turns, it spins and ebbs, it curves in upon itself until it is at the point where it began. This can feel a lot like being beaten down. You are shredded again and again, until you are so raw, you feel like you cannot move anymore. You will feel like no “progress” has been made, as if you never did all the work, but all that rawness, all those freshly picked scabs say otherwise.
The blood is flowing from the centre, and from the centre I begin to spin.
There are no rules, just the beat of my heart, the drum, my feet, pulsing from my core.
“Bone by bone, hair by hair, Wild Woman comes back. Through night dreams, through events half understood and half remembered…” -Clarissa Pinkola Estes Women Who Run With the Wolves
I am looking at myself from the outside, and do not like the shell. It is a toxic, prickly, overwound shell. The core is a deep red, the flesh surrounding it is wounded, bruised and battered, mostly from my own self-beatings.
I spin and I spin, smelling the incense, dancing with the smoke. I pick off the shell, bit by bit. It is a slow, painful process. It burns, and sometimes the shell grows back even more jagged and bitter. But I dance as I pick it off. I have held on too long. When I am again asked what I am doing, I reply with my feet, with my hands, with the paint staining my fingers like blood and laugh “I am dancing”.