…like reading a book backwards

I’ve always relished the review process; it’s a primary trait of mine. I use it in my work as a particular skill set; reserved for the part when I hone and edit my way to all the best bits and make them into “a work of art” or something worth publishing. It’s why I always sense I love to put together the pristine set of photos more than I loved the experiences that led to me taking them; the homecoming more so than the travels. I like to harvest the fruit from the growth, the pearls from the mud, to curate a collection and put on a show, like a kind of glorious summary; having blown away all of the chaff from the palm of my hand. This thing, this resounding urge, runs like a thread the size of a fire hose through my life and my inclinations; a perpetual longing for completion, or closure…for neatness and tying-off.

Does it mean I also long for it “in life”; my own life? Does a part of me long for death from within every moment of life? It’s a question that bears asking from the point of view of a body whose myriad health issues has made life messy and challenging…constantly. I’m also cognizant of the fact that I know what it feels like to “do life review”; the kind that we are told by NDE survivors occurs on our death beds. I honestly feel like I remember the potency of this from other lifetimes, or must have experienced something close in mediatation or dream because such moments of unexpected review have been known to alter my trajectory in a single moment. It’s a well-known trait of the awakening consciousness to come to recall this feeling from countless other lifetimes and to realise that, this time, we can do it from within life…in order to reap the benefits of that overview from inside of life.  Its an evolutionary thing and more and more of us are doing it, encouraging it; as have I, to the best of my ability. That is, opening-up to the overview, the pulled-back, undramatised picture of what’s really going on at a higher level, learning from it in order to go more direct with the higher purpose of my life, avoiding unnecessary detours and distractions from soul intention if I can. Yet the experience of life still feels raw, feels messy, feels imperfect…from deep within it. So, is part of me still longing for that closure, the tidiness, the bit when I “get it” and conclude it, can make it all pristine and “nice”?

As I was pondering all this on my morning walk, a sharp pain brought me back to my temporal reality and I felt something intensely jagged in my left shoe; in fact, it felt like a shard of glass. Several attempts to remove the shoe and dust my foot off, to shake it out, didn’t resolve it and it was so painful a that I was acutely aware of its soreness all the way up the hill, trying not to apply more pressure. Wasn’t that just marvellous, the timely demonstration that the journey of life itself is often so much like this; imperfect, uncomfortable, such a slog, not what we wanted and, really, what was the point of all that pain? Surely, we would get it one day but right now…its just frustrating, such a lot of the time. When I reached the bench  at the top and could examine my foot more closely, it was the tiniest thing that had been causing me all this aggravation…a short hair like a needle from my own dog; I had to laugh… and yet my hypersensitivity to everyday touch sensations (I have a condition called allodynia that is commonly associated with the fibromyagia and chronic fatigue I have had for years) had blown it out of all proportion for me. How do you even navigate life when you are this sensitive, when you feel far too much as pain, more than other people seem to even notice (today’s example is the thin edge of a very long wedge), and when all you long for is the tidy conclusion, the pearl, the release?

Yet what that small pain did was bring me back to the moment, to the minutiae, to the things I otherwise miss…and I know that was what it was all about, really. I was “wide awake” all the way back up that hill and pain wasn’t all that I noticed. Pain brought me back to the experience of life, as it always does, and if I was more attentive…who knows, maybe pain wouldnt always be so necessary; a softer sensation would do. I know that, have known for quite some time but when do I get better at applying it? When will I put it into practice instead of looking, always, for the pristine, the resolution, the bit when it all falls tidily into place; looking back at the beautiful photos and making the retrospective story out of what I choose to keep but conveniently forgetting all the rest? When will I really-and-truly trust that life is “by design” and it is all perfect, it can never go off track and I will get to the experience of some sort of conclusion in the end; no rush? Like reading the end of a book first, I know this is backwards behaviour…and I never do that with a book, I always relish the unfolding of the plot, the more tangled the better, like the novel I couldn’t put down last week. Having the courage to do that in my own “plot”, trusting that there is a point, which I will certainly “see” in the end, if not sooner (and that I will get there in “right time”…quicker if I stop rejecting so much of “what is”), is something I know I need to give more attention to.  As a soverign creator of my own experience, I know I can sway this; that there are ways I can encourage more reasons to want to be here, fully in the experience of life, each and every moment. By recognising those times when I am truly present, when I’m more than happy to be here (for instance, I never long to rush time along when I spend time with my husband) I can create more of them; can invite the opportunity of them and focus deeply on them as they are happening, like actively cultivating my higher awareness skills to be fully present by coaxing myself back to the full range of sensations. By being “here” (not “there”) in more moments than not; by seeing more (or at least as much) with my eyes as I do with a camera, I might learn to stay “here” having the experience instead of collecting it all like booty to pour over later. By slowing down, playing a game called “wake up and notice all the details” my body might not need to flag them up in ways that feel so profoundly uncomfortable. By remembering I created all these experiences and that fear is unnecessary, even when the experiences I have are not always what I would have chosen with my conscious mind (and I still might want to tackle them by, say, working to heal symptoms), I can stay in curiosity and gain the benefit of the “bigger picture” far more quickly; which will appeal to my “desire to get somewhere conclusive” mentality right here and right now, within the experiences themselves…and, who knows, I migth even start to enjoy myself at least most of the time. These are thoughts I’ve had many times before but there’s also a new layer of recognition of their truth starting to emerge in me and I’m curious to see where it takes me on the moment-by-precious-moment unfolding of life.


Recommended reading 

Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends – Neale Donald Walsh

Dying to Be Me – Anita Moorjani

Five Steps to a Radically Different View of Reality – Story Waters (this article “happened” to come into my feed this morning right after posting my blog and is on a complimentary thread of exploration)

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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