The map is not the territory

As something that happened to me this week that was, at once, subtle to the point of being almost a non-event yet also deeply profound, this account has just been added to the conclusion of my recent (very lengthy) post on the subject of self-healing but bears being repeated here as a stand-alone story for those who prefer blog entries to be short and pithy…

If you have even (bravely) dipped into that earlier post, you may have grasped that I had come to see my mercury poisoning as a symbol for something ‘heavy and stuck’ in my life…and no less so than each and every bewildering symptom or health issue that had ever presented to me…and no less again than every twist and turn of my life to date. I had come to realise – through the complex hotch-potch of  experiences that is fibromyalgia – that life really is just a mirror held up to us; a reflection back at us of those inner stuck-points, the burdens and blockages, the seeming impenetrables of our circumstances and the inherited distortions and encroachments upon the natural-born freedoms and limitlessness with which we show up into life.

Yet I had also reached the point of knowing – deeply knowing – that the map was not the territory; the symbols were not the real “stuff” I was working with here – nor was the mirror really me. The “me” that I had come to find, and to know all the better, as a result of this epic journey, was an essence of self that lies way beyond the illusory props of this physical saga and which continues to be there long after all the props have been cleared away, the lights turned down, the curtain dropped.

Through this journey, I had found myself.

When the time came – this week –  for the second mercury removal, I was conscious of a whole new optimism building up a head of steam, for all the four weeks since the first procedure had been anything but easy. When the dentist slipped on my protective glasses, these served to seal in that optimistic feeling for me: a different shade of lens to normal, these coloured the whole room deepest saffron yellow, only the highlights were in violet. Like my very experience of life as it has more recently come to be, it was like total immersion in my solar plexus yet with my highest aspect standing by as the “highlight” of my experience, ready to squeeze my hand and offer the broader perspective to all that I was experiencing in physicality.

As before, I had an audio ready to listen to while the work was being done but, this time, found myself drift off into my own revery. I became vividly aware of my heart as a torus, with the very life force of me flowing in and around and back in and around, in a self-generating, self-feeding momentum…only, as this life force grew to incorporate the whole of me and then return back to my heart, anything that felt blocked, or heavy, or greyed-out, anything that felt like plaque build-up from this or any other lifetime, was drawn into the neutral void of love and ultimate creativity and potential that is my heart space and was utterly transformed; came out as almost unimaginably bright white light that was then allowed to flood back into all the spaces of my body. Then the white glowing light that had built up around my torus-heart became like a motion blur or rapidly flapping wings and, as I asked to see more clearly what this was, it slowed down so that I could see it as a perfect blue butterfly which, in slow-motion, was opening and closing its wings with such rhythmic grace, like my very own beating heart.

This was true alchemy at work. What had seemed like a procedure to be dreaded the very first time I underwent it had been transformed into the most powerfully cathartic instrument of transformation this second time around as I used it as the very focal point of my own inner-work; something on which to concentrate my logical mind as “an event” or an excuse for healing that corresponded with all of the true healing taking place on the inside, at the energetic level. When I left the dentist’s office, this time, I wasn’t floored or even slightly tired; I felt elated, exuberant and full of love for everything and everyone. I felt utterly, utterly relaxed down to the minutest fiber of my being. I knew that some very profound work had been done this day and that I was now ready to let go of my story.

Before I set about writing that earlier post – and no less now that I have shared it – there was, and remains, a hesitancy, an uncertainty as to whether I really wanted to share this story at all and, if so, why; what good could it really do, would it only serve to tie the story even more firmly to my leg and was there any mission energy about it – was I trying to “rescue people” or suggest I was in possession of an understanding others lacked (heaven forbid) as a result of my own experience? No, not really. None of the story I ended up sharing is intended to serve as a medical resource or a guide to diagnosis or recovery (there are plenty of people offering those things); the very spirit of it is to provide encouragement and inspiration – perhaps a new perspective from which to regard what can seem to be the hopeless picture of chronic illness and so rewrite it as a bundle full of so many gifts just waiting to be unwrapped.

What I set out to write about was a recovery – and like any recovery, this is a process of sending out a search party for all the bits and pieces of a wreckage that may have been dispersed far and wide yet its quite amazing how much you can find when you try and, in my own case, I have returned with far more than I had ever realised I had lost.

This has also been a process of remembering – and as the very word “re-membering” suggests –  this has been a putting-back-together of what feels like the many members of the complex and diverse collective of experiences, gathered across many lifetimes and perspectives, that (I find) it turns out I am. Also a process of putting together all the little bits and pieces of me; the metaphorical (and not so metaphorical) arms and legs and other more obscure parts of physical me that had become disengaged from each other and so returning them to the cohesion and free-flowing communication that feels so much better and so much nearer to a healthy state of being.

I realise I have reached the point where I am REALLY starting to understand that “physical me” was always just so many symbols for something beyond the map of my life; helping me to work my way back towards an erstwhile elusive experience of “wholeness”, using that map of life-experiences to guide me there, and yet that map is not where it is at – you can’t put your car on the road of a map and drive along it, experiencing all the rolling hills and sweet-scented flower and expansive views, the long grasses blown in the wind and the riverside meadows that it symbolises. What lies beyond the map is where I suddenly find it is at and yet the map is what helps me to find my way there, to those deeper experiences, and it is the closely-knit collaboration of those two levels of perspective that makes this life experience so very unique and so very (very) wonderful. Life in physicality, as a human being on this madcap planet of ours, is the ultimate of all road-trips; which is exactly why we set all of this up for ourselves, including all of the potholes, the diversions and seeming dead-ends, and each and every twist and turn in the road.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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2 Responses to The map is not the territory

  1. I’m glad this was a positive experience for you Helen and hope you see some positive changes after the procedure.


    • Helen White says:

      Thanks Andrea, have been feeling strangely different (in a good way) all week, it has felt like a real milestone and am so energised where it comes to work so lets see 🙂


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