Last night I had a vivid dream that I was laying in my childhood bed. The lights were dim and the room felt quiet, but there was a bustling around me. People I knew were interacting as they normally would. The atmosphere was not threatening. The bed I occupied turned into a warm bath and my body was completely submerged. I felt comfort. But then the moment came for me to rise up and out of the water and I began to wail. It was a loud siren of a howl that was filled with such despair and mourning. I kept screaming and moaning with tear-soaked cheeks…. it continued until I awoke.
This dream is the best description of what life feels like to me right now, minus the sobs and shrieks. I find myself coiled within my Self, repeating old feedback loops that don’t really *seem* to be relevant or useful anymore.
I feel bound up and immobile. The joy that life still kindly offers me does not have the same impact. Sometimes eating overwhelms me and all I want to do is sleep the day away. Panic attacks have begun to pop up at random times. People around me (even those that I wouldn’t consider close friends) notice that I am “not myself” and ask what is wrong, which leads to shame for not being able to hold up my wall with a smile. On top of everything, my mind scolds me for taking the wonderful life I have created for granted: “there’s nothing actually wrong,” it taunts. “You need to get it together.”
As a rational person, I understand that these sorts of things happen to most human beings. As a witch, I recognize that I have many tools at my disposal. I can do a tarot reading to see what’s actually going on energetically. I can do Kala to heal the parts of my Self that are in distress. I can use the skills that I have learned to willfully change my circumstances (MAGIC!)
The energy to do these things exists within me, but it’s caught up in the battle of just trying to stay above the surface. So while I do have options, I am not able to shift my situation into anything “useful.”
In the past, this would be the point where I curl into a ball and hide out under my duvet until I feel the storm pass or numb myself to a point where life feels tolerable. This time however, I managed to do one of the most radical, magical acts of self care to date:
I asked for help.
I asked a close friend to listen to me when I was in a lot of pain. It was this conversation that helped me to realize that it’s time to go back to therapy. I asked another good friend to refer me to a trusted therapist, which (two weeks in) has felt like exactly the right choice. We have a plan in place to work through what’s going on and her insight is a gift that I could not have given myself at this time.
It can be easy to let the Ego to get in the way when we have already learned so much from life and done a tremendous amount of personal Work. There was a point not too long ago that I would have perceived the act of asking someone outside of myself to help me with my emotional state as weakness. The Self-hater within me would aggressively ask: Can I really call myself an experienced witch if I am unable to take on the intense difficulties of life on my own? How can I be of service to the world if I can’t even handle my own shit?
A powerful witch is a channel for Universal energy, not a permanent storehouse. I still think back to my intention for 2016: “I surrender to the flow” and realize that I can surrender to the Universe, while also refusing to let what is happening steamroll my spirit into submission. I can choose to notice my experience, decide whether or not I want to feel it at it’s full potency and do my best to direct the energy where it needs to go. I can also thank the Gods for the resources I have around me that help me when they are able and willing to do so.
We don’t get to escape being a human through witchcraft, but we can use our heightened awareness to do our best to live a life we can enjoy. What if one way to do begin doing just that is to release the expectation that we have to do everything all on our own?