Monday, June 21, 2010

the retreat - Dec. '07

Journal 12-1-07:  Had a snatch of a dream of pulling over in a car and putting on the hazard lights and waving the car behind me to go around.  They were impatient with me, wanted me to keep moving forward and hurry up, but I needed to just pull over for a while.

Today I welcome this sadness (mild depression?) as a friend; not one to seek out and cling to, but one to recognize, reach out to, and walk with, because it helps me connect more deeply to myself and God.  It is familiar to me, and I am thankful for it.

I'm very thankful for the time I have to do this (inner) work and that this time is during advent.  Time to truly enjoy this season and hopefully a time of rebirth for myself as well.

(I'm afraid that being "well" means going back to a way of life and belief in which I feel trapped, a way that I don't agree with and which doesn't fit me.)  I think the resistance I have to being "healed" of anxiety and depression is also because I don't want to lose the depth, the insight they assist with.  I'm afraid that being well means being happy, bouncing along on the surface of life and losing the richness of an inner life.  Writing this out helps me see the holes in the argument.

I had to be the best SMD teacher out there - I didn't realize how critical that was to me until X came.  When I moved to Wichita, rumors like fire spread that I was some kind of superhero, "Kerri's coming, she's great...."  How do you know?  But I could not prove them wrong, could not let them see I was merely human.  I felt responsible for others' feelings/views about me, and I wanted desperately to be praised by others and to be seen as worthy of that praise.  And teaching was the only way, or the way I liked best, to do that.  So I dived into it, desperate to prove my worth.  Even though I could see the errors in that, even as I did it, the part of me that questioned this approach wasn't strong enough to stop the desperate part of me.  I only stopped when my body began to break down from the stress.

I was trapped (even as I sought to be free of old ways), and the fire of making myself do the work of teaching was a destructive one, not a refining one.  It burned my soul, my true self.

12-7-07:  Anxiety high the last few days....Fearful, too.

12-9-07:  Am really enjoying/appreciating the Holy Trinity icon I got B. for Christmas.  (M&D keep coming over unexpectedly to check on me.)  Sometimes we, myself included, say, "Are you alright?  I care for you," but we're also saying (without speaking it or even knowing it's there), "I want assurance," or "I want control - I want to know what's going on and to make this go away."  (I believe God would rather have us let go of all that and trust him.)

This a.m. as I was waking up I dreamed I was talking to someone, not sure about what, and a spider kept crawling on my arm.  I shook it off and turned back to the conversation, but the spider wasn't gone, wouldn't leave me alone, no matter how hard I brushed or shook.  I woke up to find it was actually Oliver's tail brushing me - I'd been flailing around and managed to get him with at least one glancing blow.  Poor thing had backed away from me some, but not enough to actually have to leave the soft comforter.  When I reached out to him, he quickly scooted backward, away from me, "No way, crazy woman!"

Dreamed I was living in an apartment....A woman showed up with her boyfriend and children and started moving their stuff in - cheap stuff.  I objected, but they kept bringing in more and more stuff; my stuff disappeared.  Another woman showed up...explained that the family had lost their home, had nowhere else to go....She tried to be a mediator between me and the 1st woman.  I said, "I don't care, I want them out of here, I never gave them permission to be here," etc. and I kept tossing their stuff back out the door.

12-10-07:  Went to the library to get on the internet and search for colleges and degrees in spirituality, formation, etc.  (Found one I liked, but the move, the $ required, it didn't seem right.)

12-11-07:  (am continuing to sift through my things, looking at everything now and considering whether to keep or get rid of it)  I want to simplify.  Quite a bit.  Have already made a pile of stuff to get rid of....Hard to know what to get rid of when I don't know what the next step is....A good rest/vacation still sounds nice.  Wouldn't mind loading my car with books, paper, and pens and going somewhere for a little while, but can't think of where.  Places I found on the internet don't seem right somehow.  There's something else.

12-13-07:  Read last four chapters of ----.  M. suggested it.  I don't like some aspects of that book, but it has good points, too.  It did help further root the knowledge in my heart that God really does love me, all of us, deeply.  And it helped me better understand that my shame and distress can stem from an idol of my own self-competence, of acting right, being a great teacher, etc.

J. called and we had a nice chat.  I appreciate her easy-goingness, acceptance, and love for me:  "I know that's who you are and I don't worry about it."

Had a good time at the library yesterday - more research on Ignatian retreats, schools - had to laugh at myself when I realized that a divinity/spirituality program that I liked and put on my mental "possibilities" list was actually a Catholic one geared toward men entering the priesthood.  (Also online, I) found a place in Concordia (KS) that does 8- and 30-day Ign. retreats and other things....Later I felt that the time at the library was well-spent - not sure specifically why.

Called Manna House in Concordia for more info. and made a tentative reservation for a 30-day Ignatian retreat.  Sister J (SJ) is sending info. and said if I do a 30-day retreat I have to be able to stand a lot of silence and be silent the whole time except for daily meetings with her.  I told her that shouldn't be a problem (understatement of the century).

Also saw info. today on trips to London for $499....I thought about renting a car there, then I pictured myself trying to drive on the left...

(Was also considering a number of other things related to my then-current lack of  income - moving, will I have to give up the dogs, etc.)

Don't worry about the $ that much...

Dreamed I was a visitor in a family's house.  The father was a cop.  A fellow cop went mad or was mad about something and broke in during the night when we were asleep and tried to kill everyone.  This could just be an extension of tv shows I've watched recently, but I think there's more to it.  To escape, I opened and cleared plastic and a screen off the bedroom window and crawled through (reminds me of Nouwen's comments on the rectangular window in the Holy Trinity icon, and of a dream I had years ago).  I ran for help.  The dad was in the house trying to get the guy.  Before the cops arrived, the mom had to keep dodging the intruder, which she did.  I thought how hard that must have been and how smart and strong she was to live with him in a sense, spend time in the same house with him and keep avoiding being killed by him.

Quote I like from audiobook I'm listening to (Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie):  "Miss Marple...began to deliver an old-maid-ish lecture comprising the most astounding statements in the most natural way in the world."

12-15-07:  I like what my advent book says about the people included in Matthew's geneology of Jesus - liars, cheaters, prostitutes, killers.  Also psalmists, people of faith, and some unknown to us.  God accomplishes his purpose with and through all of us, regardless of our "accomplishments."

12-17-07:  Good day shopping - searched high and low for some stuff M&D wanted to give B. and was successful.  How delightful it is when you find exactly what you were looking for after searching a bit for it.

12-18-07:  Writing my application for the retreat today.  Actually, it's taking me a while to get started.  I keep playing with everyone's Christmas presents.

12-22-07:  It was interesting to see the struggle I had to write my autobiography for the retreat.  Partially because it's hard to condense the info. into 1-2 pages, but also the distractions - I want to shop, I want to wrap presents, I'm suddenly very sleepy.  Eventually I stopped putting so much work into thinking and writing it out first and just sat down and wrote the thing.  I sense that it's fine and the timing was fine, too, though a few days later than I'd planned.

Had mild thunderstorm then snow, snow, snow!...6 1/2 inches - I have to force the back door open - fun!

I think about how neat it would be to write - and see - like Annie Dillard.  Then I think it would probably scare me to death.  How sad.  But it wouldn't have to.  Stop submitting yourself, abasing yourself, to (what you perceive as) others' ways of seeing and living.  Live as you are, were made to be, and don't obsess over it.  It's not my job, not even within my ability, to explain myself to people.

Several dreams lately of fear of intruders in the back yard and barricading myself in the house....  (Okay, if you're unfamiliar with dream work, the following may sound a bit weird.)  When I woke up I remembered I could've asked the guys breaking in why they were doing this - immediately an answer of sorts sprang to mind -  we were trying to break in through the door instead of a window because we want to enter your house through a door like all your other children (as relatives had in the dream).  They wanted to be validated, legitimized (?), have their true place in my house be recognized and acknowledged and be able to come and go like everyone else.  But I hadn't seen them as belonging - they wanted to hurt me, to kill me - they certainly tried in the fight to get in and they did hurt the dogs, but before things went that far?  My first thoughts are that these "thugs" represent a part of me I am not acknowledging and am trying to live without.  This is all old ground, but apparently the lesson still needs to be learned.

12-31-07:  Very sad yesterday for dreams lost - played DVD with Christmas Canon by TSO several times, over and over.  I broke down the first 3 or 4 times when the kids began singing, "We are waiting, we have not forgotten...."

(Later) After you mourn for what is past or what was never, will never be...after that, it is possible to look forward with hope.  We are waiting.  I have not forgotten.  Not to reclaim that which is over and gone and not meant to be again, but to discover, to live something new.

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