************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Retreat Part Four: Birth of the Rag Doll

(continued from THIS POST. To read about the retreat from the beginning, CLICK HERE.)

Journal Five 5-12-11

I hear my husband’s car pull up, outside… the car door opens… the jeep door opens and shuts… footsteps… the car door closes.

I could go  out and said something to him, but I keep to my silence.

Tires noisily kick up dirt and gravel. My phone buzzes with a text.

 “I put your bag in the car. love.”

I decide a texted thank you doesn’t count as breaking the silence.

If I’d had my things all along, I would have felt driven to immediately begin working with the things I’d packed, and I might not have fallen into this quiet state of mind so quickly. I also  might have missed out on playing in the creek and seeing the tiny fawn.

At the top of the cloth shopping bag is one of my most treasured things - a baby-sized hand-made quilt. My grandmother gave it to me when I was pregnant with my first child. It was the last time I saw Grandma, and we both knew it would be… she died a few months later.

I spread it across the bottom half of the bed where I will sleep tonight. I pull the stuffed tiger from the bag and put him next to the pillows. Then, I carefully remove the rag doll from the bag, straightening the collar on her plaid dress and her red yarn hair. Impulsively, I hug her for a moment, closing my eyes.

The rag doll…
The Rag Doll…

The Rag Doll has hidden in a dark corner for almost my entire life. She doesn’t talk and she thinks in pictures. The eight-year-old is the only one who can understand what she says… and it’s the eight-year-old who has brought her out of the corner and shown her to me.

She is the one who calls C “the Dancer.” The Rag Doll feels as if the Dancer accepts her exactly as she is. It’s a hard thing for me to accept the Rag Doll as C does. I know it’s what I need to do, but it doesn’t come easily and I’m finally beginning to understand why.

There are many reasons this little one had to stay hidden for so long. It hasn’t felt safe to her to come out, just as it hasn’t felt safe to me to simply accept this part of me. She holds the truth. She is the one who experienced the abuse, from the beginning, and then she would crawl off to her corner, holding tightly to the secrets so I didn’t have to live with them. Each time she was needed, she came back.

Acknowledging her, accepting her, means accepting the truth. I’ve looked at all the ugliness… I’ve seen it for what it is, and yet I’ve kept a clear glass wall up between me and that little girl who was hurt so long ago. Accepting the Rag doll means I have to know that it was me in that bedroom, so long ago.
It wasn’t her father.
It was mine.

To a child, ugly things that happen to her feel like her ugliness. I so didn’t want that to be me. I wanted to scorn her for her ugliness. I had to believe that she was the ugly one, the dirty one, the one who is unloved and unlovable… not me.
It couldn’t be me.
I fought it forever.
When a sliver of light first fell across the Rag Doll, last fall, I found many reasons not to see her.

She’s persistent. The longer I waited, the harder she was to ignore. The eight-year-old haunted me. She sent emails to C without my knowledge. She told C she wanted her to hold her hand, to hold her while she cried, and when that didn’t work (because I was having none of it) she asked C to brush her hair.
There was no way I was going to let that happen.
At appointments, I’ve found that the brush I keep in my car has somehow snuck into purse.
I was embarrassed and appalled.

At one point, C suggested that I buy a rag doll. I never got around to it. Then, C saw one at a second-hand shop. She gave it to me, saying she felt it was meant for me.

The eight-year-old fairly squealed with delight. She was so excited.

The Rag Doll part, inside me, looked in awe at the pretty dress and the ribbons on the doll’s shoes and in her hair.

I felt utter panic. While I was very touched that C had thought of me and brought me the gift, I was afraid to even touch the doll. Even when I got the doll home, I didn’t know what to do with her. I straightened her dress and arranged her on the rocking chair in my room, but I didn’t touch her again until my next appointment.

I’m starting to understand how important it is for me to accept the Rag Doll. I need her as much as she needs me. I brought her to my last appointment, which turned into a very emotional double-session. We finally brought the Rag Doll out of the corner. The eight-year-old held her hand and led her into the “healing circle”.

That was three days before this retreat. I felt intense relief after that session, but that night I had the same terrible dream twice, and woke up screaming. The dream was so hard to explain because there were no words, only pictures. Something was in my room. Something was covering my face, smothering me. I could see it, and when I recall it now it feels as if it was something like a mattress, but as big as the ceiling. I know that makes no sense, but since the dream was only in un-labeled images, my adult mind couldn’t grasp it. All I knew was the fear, and a thought something like, this time it’s real and an overwhelming dread of death.

(back to the journal)

I look through my CD case in search of the April Steele CDs. I want to imagine the Rag Doll as that perfect little one April describes in her “Imaginal Nurturing” CDs. The first track depicts a newborn baby meant to symbolize the core self. I can work my way through the other three tracks, which deal with a slightly older baby and toddler.

Start at the beginning.

T hen see a CD I didn’t know I had. I read the title: “A Place For You Here – A Loving Re-creation of Your Birth Journey,” By Cathy Chapman.

I don’t remember buying it, but it seems as if it was meant for this occasion. I lie on the bed, holding the rag doll.

While the meditation is really quite wonderful, Cathy’s voice and accent take a little getting used to.
I relax and gradually fall into her words.
The Rag Doll at conception
The Rag Doll growing, forming perfectly
The Rag Doll before she was broken and scarred
She is growing into a perfect little girl
She's almost ready to be born.

It’s me…
I'm right there, and it becomes very real. Cathy talks about a wonderful loving woman who catches the baby and brings her into the world. I feel the energy of this woman, I see her looking into the baby's eyes. I look back up into her eyes.

But then, there is a male voice on the CD. Cathy talks about loving male energy... I cry. The tears are unexpected and confusing. I don’t have words for this, just a kind of block in my mind which seems to mean no.

The meditation ends with a song sung by Shaina Noll and her husband. Waves of energy pulse through me, making the crying more and more intense every time I hear the male voice.

I want it to be true. I want to believe that this male energy surrounds the perfect little being I’m re-creating through this meditation… but it seems impossible. I think about my husband and how wonderful he was with our kids when they were born… but I can’t and don’t want to bring his energy in, here.
He is my husband, not my father, and there is nothing that will make it okay in my mind to transfer his loving presence then to this scenario now.

I cry for some time after the CD ends. I decide to listen to the first track of April Steele’s “I’m So Glad You’re Here”. I bring the perfect newborn image of the Rag Doll into the second meditation and I begin to feel better.

Still feeling shaky, I warmed my dinner and ate it. I felt drained, and looked around the room, trying to understand what I was meant to do next. My eyes fell on the prayer book I’d seen earlier on the piano. This isn’t the kind of thing I usually read, but I carried it outside and turned the pages.

I had a cigarette, catching a word here and a phrase there. Again and again, I tried to get back to “just being” but my mind continued to react to the impossible concept of positive male energy in relation to the Rag Doll.

Thunder in the distance pushed me back inside. I decided to pull out my markers again, now that I have some actual drawing paper to work on. I have no idea what image I’m going to come up with… but I have a feeling the Rag Doll knows.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.