It is early March, 2015, and I have just returned home from an odyssey of sorts.
Over the last 2 years, I have been coming to terms with my life situation. It is strange indeed to come face to face with the idea that I was one of those people: you know, those people who had repressed memories of trauma resurface after years and even decades. I had read about them, and maybe even seen stories on TV. But I knew that I wasn’t one of them, or so I thought. I had to do some research about the subject, to read and listen to the stories of others who had had this experience. I needed some understanding so that I could place myself in the context that I unknowingly belonged.
Many other explorations took place. I considered the stories of men who had experienced sexual abuse as a young child. I looked at the legacy of a broken family and the impact on a child that is never, or rarely nurtured. I read books about the connections between unhealthy brain development and childhood trauma. To borrow a term from a counsellor, I found myself swimming in new “soup”, and I needed to know as much as I could about it.
What I needed most, however, was time. Time to think, time to be alone, time to feel, even when feeling hurt so damn much. To this end, I was able to arrange a three day work week and the benefits of this choice were immediate. However, as time passed and I travelled deeper, these same three days that were paying the bills became an intrusion. I felt squeezed once again. I needed more time to descend into the dark places where I intuitively knew I had to go. I couldn’t tell anyone why, but I knew this is what I had to do.
I put in notice at work (an extremely difficult decision) and my last day was December 31, 2014. The next day I was on the road and headed to the Baja Peninsula. I wanted to find a warm desert where I could sit down, shut up and let my wisdom rise. It became evident that spirit had other plans, however, as I changed my mind about 15 miles north of Tijuana, and headed east to the Sonoran desert in Arizona. I spent 6 days there, fasting for 3 of them, and then moved on. I was restless, seemingly looking for the “right” desert. I visited the Salton Sea (amazing!), and Slab City (crazy!). I even diverted to Los Angeles for a couple of days. As time passed, I started to settle and stop looking for distractions. Many more miles passed before I found myself in the Mojave desert, immediately north of Ludlow, California. I had found my spot.
I spent one night sleeping in my van, and then as planned, I set up a bedroll on the desert floor, left a 5 gallon container of water there and parked the van about 3/4 of a mile away. I then sat down, shut up and waited for my wisdom to rise. Modelled after a Vision Quest, I was going to fast for five days and four nights, allowing myself only water. I wanted to see if spirit would be with me without the use of a plant medicine.
I was not prepared for the power of this experience. It was amazing. I had many “conversations” with spirit, and received what I can only call “instructions” for several important areas of my life. The most important instruction, however, was to get back home to British Columbia soon, get on a plane and fly back to where I grew up in Ontario. I had to go and speak to a few key people in my life and let them know what my life had really been like. It became clear that I needed to be heard, whether what I had to say was accepted or not. I needed these people to know that I wasn’t the malcontent they always thought, that I wasn’t some half-success, that I wasn’t a lame-ass.
So, I flew to Ontario and did just that. My ex-wife and her husband listened with respect. It was important to me that she knew the “real” me, instead of the one who didn’t “make it” as her husband. More importantly, I hoped that this story would give her some deeper insight into her own grown children, the same ones who were raised by a man like me, a tormented and haunted man who didn’t always do a very good job. And then I told my 88 year-old mother in as gentle a way as I could. I made it clear to her that I was there so she could know the real me, the one who was actually 1,000 times stronger than she could have ever possibly imagined. The conversation with my mother was in two parts, and while some of it got a bit rocky, it turned out okay. After, I visited a very few key friends that I wanted to share this with. I also visited that barn next to where I grew up, the barn that I knew was haunted but not why.
I now sit in Victoria, living with a friend while I try and make some decisions about life. One of those decisions is this blog. Very few choices seem evident right now, and I intend on being very open to spirit. You see, for the very first time in my 62 years, I am going to make decisions that are free from the haunting. I have never done this before, but I am looking forward to it.