On edge

Something happened to me at the weekend that flagged up the kind of extra-sensory skillset I have always had and in a way that felt timely and useful for this final month of an old decade. We were staying in an Airbnb in a house on a hill where the rear of the building dropped sharply down the length of a garden that must have been on a 45 degree angle, thus the rooms at the back were a good storey higher than at the front, with a balcony and a view across the city in the valley below. Yet, from the street, this appeared to be a perfectly normal, level, row of houses since they were close together so, when we first arrived, I gave little thought to the fact it was built on the edge of such a drop.

Staying in new places is always a sensory adventure for me and sleep issues can arise from anything ranging from the use of the kinds of detergents and air fresheners I avoid at home to the proximity of the wifi router, not to mention the “vibe” of the place and the people who live there. This place felt light and pleasant from the moment we arrived; homely and fresh, with such lovely hosts who made us so welcome that we immediately fell into animated conversation with them, like we had known each other for years before. We were only there briefly to drop our bags, before going out for the day, coming back after dark but I liked what I sensed about the place from the moment we stepped over the threshold. There were no immediate “problems’ with overly strong technology vibes near our room; these people weren’t TV watchers or users of any kind of smart-tec, so I felt easy as I went to bed on a mattress that was just right and a room that was clean and neutral smelling. Yet I couldn’t seem to sustain a deep sleep and it was a few hours before I really sank into a proper slumber

In fact, for hours in the night, I lay there drifting in and out of naps with the oddest sensation that the only part of me that was attached to the earth was my feet and ankles and that the rest of my body and head were levitating. The thing is, this feeling didn’t make itself clear to me in my exhausted state (we had had an non-stop day so I was particularly worn out); it was only in the morning, as my consciousness emerged through the same layers of awakening that often deliver insights into territories of “information” that my daytime awareness tends to miss, that I began to name the feelings that I was having…that I felt like I could feel the varying proximity of the rock strata under the house from my feet to my head and that this had given me a feeling of sleeping as though hanging head first over a cliff edge. It was such a distinct sensation, once I named it, that I had to laugh at how bizarre it was…because I realised, on checking the view from the landing, now it was daylight, that this was exactly as I sensed; I had had no idea the garden behind the house was on such a slope.

I realised, on the back of this, that I had experienced a similar thing just a few months ago, when we stayed on a hillside in Shropshire, only there the sensation was side-on. There, I had the constant sensation that I was rolling to the right, even though the bed was firm and the floor level; and this was the holiday where my pelvic floor and other ligaments became so soft that my back and hips gave way quite spectacularly, resulting in several weeks of difficulty and pain walking and standing. Playing that location back, pacing the steps to the garden in my head, I now realised that the hillside beneath our house there must have fallen away pretty much under my half of the bed; the front of the house was, as it were, built on stilts with a void area underneath. This innate ability to sense “void” is clearly a thing I have; an extrasensory thing beyond a need for vision to confirm or deny what I felt.

Its not unlike the strong feeling of dislike I have for beds and seating that are positioned with their backs to a stair well or other space, including windows; and the ability I have to sense a change in the neighbours who live in the house behind ours, which is a mere few feet away from my bed head. I also have a strong awareness, before checking, of which direction I am lying in when I go to new places and, since childhood, have always had to work this through in my mind before settling down. You could summarise all of this, I guess, as a manifestation of my strong connection to the earth and my awareness to it such that it is innate; an ability I have no doubt we all possessed countless generations ago but, as per my last post, the ability now has a feeling of “throw back” because how many people, dowsers aside, really pay attention to such details?

The feeling was so strong, last weekend, that while my husband went for his wash, I rearranged the bed to put pillows at the other end and faced the other way, still lying down. Immediately, I felt corrected….like I was the right way up now or, more precisely, as though I was lying on a summer river bank with a pleasant tilt that placed my head comfortably above my feet though, again, there was no actual tilt going on in the room; the feeling seemed to be a super-awareness of the strata beneath the foundations of the house. After ten minutes like this, I was no longer on edge or wondering how I would get through my day; in fact, my recovery was remarkably swift. I was no longer as triggered and ragged as I had felt in the night and was able to get out of bed feeling as refreshed as though I had slept all through; ready for more animated chat with our hosts over breakfast.

The thing is, yes, the house was built on a severe hillside and yet the house itself wasn’t tilted at all. I had no spirit level with me but I would wager that the room had no more slope in it than my own one does at home (though I have had a long-running saga of sensations to do with the strata beneath there, as shared before). Nor was I fully aware of the extent of the sheer drop behind the house at the time I went to bed. When we arrived, in all the hustle and bustle of introductions and chit-chat, I didn’t take in the way the garden fell away towards a level much lower than the height of the house. Nor did I realise this when we returned to sleep there as it was pitch dark, curtains drawn and the view from the landing obscured. It was only when I went to the bathroom, next morning, that I fully appreciated the slope beneath the house as I took in the amazing view…yet my body knew all along.

These are the kinds of alerts my body has always sent to me, for as long as I can recall. Whether in a literal (as in physical) sense or in more abstract ways, my sensations have tended to pre-warn me when I am coming up to some sort of cliff hanger. As a child, I would feel it coming for days or would wake to announce “everything changed in the night” and my mother would give me one of those quizzical looks she was so good at but I knew it, and sensed it, with every fibre of my being…there had been some sort of gear change in the very strata of life, even if my childish mentality lacked the words to explain what it was. A whole era of a particular “vibe” could pack up and leave, to be replaced by a completely different feeling in the space of a single day,  but no one would seem to know (or notice!) what I was talking about so I stopped expecting them to and kept it all to myself.

Such premonitions of cliff hanger, or reasons to feel on edge, have presented in all kinds of context through my life, in matters big and small, as though the differential between one scenario and another is something that my nervous system is particularly well-wired to pick-up on and announce; subtleties that pass other people by, detected by some sort of inbuilt comparison device that extends far beyond what is logical to the mind. At the mild end of the scale, I can feel on edge in a room full of people right before something “kicks off”; or when the weather is about to change; or a geomagnetic storm occurs. At other times, I have felt as though alerted to more momentous things; like my hair stands on end or I can’t settle right before, or simultaneous to, something that later turns up in the news. These feelings troubled me as a child and adolescent (especially in scenarios where I felt I was “meant” to alert other people) and then again as a young adult but never more so than over these last few years, as the feeling of some sort of precipice up ahead has loomed in the “viewfinder” of all my most obscure, a-typical, sensory data. And, yes, refining my awareness of this has fuelled my own awakening to my broader sensory skillset, ceasing such naive reliance on more obvious or typical data, since I have been left with no option but to pay attention for my own wellbeing.

That feeling of cliff hanger has only gathered momentum lately, as we approach 2020, and the synchronicity of learning about my Asperger’s has only encouraged me to learn the ropes of it, not to shout it down with denials and all the usual, neurotypical, rationality used to shut such obscure information down. Instead, calm curiosity is my way and it’s a fascinating journey into realms of awareness, as yet, barely touched upon…though I hope to explore them in the years ahead.

Yet a feeling of edge, of reaching a precipice, of being about to leap into the unknown, into territory unsupported by the familiar, is not always a “bad” feeling; that’s something else I have learned. A presumption of “badness” is a such a neurotypical thing since an edge suggests to those people that something lies beyond their control; which is not comfortable territory in NT land. Yes, the feeling of looming void is a hard feeling to sustain, I give you that (as it was during that night, when I felt like I was levitating over my bed, held only by the ankles, which was exhausting to my logic-driven body). At the end of a long run of such feelings, you can be left befuddled and weary from it all; this feeling of lost solidity, absent predictability, of void where familiar is expected to be… but that’s not the same as “bad” and I have had to learn the difference many times through this era of many changes. The thing to re-learn is that “new” is not the same as “scary”; “void” does not mean “death”.

What happened at the weekend was funny…and a reminder that the feeling of cliff hanger that I get, right now, might be just as real, but is not necessarily of warning of something “bad” (nor is that how I interpret it). Rather, the feeling I have is of extreme, quite inexplicable, lightness just over the horizon. I sense the worst of it has been in the lead-up; all the months and years that have gone on and on to get to us to to this, but the actual feeling I get, right now, is of taking a joyous leap…of reaching just what we have been waiting for, in good timing. When others sigh or grumble at “the news” and shrug about the new decade coming up, a feeling of real optimism rushes up in me as the counter poise to what they are saying which is, in most cases, pure assumption based on their collectively shared “its all bad news” point of view.

My senses, pretty trustworthy as they are, tell me otherwise and I’m relaxed…even oddly so, if you compare with what I “could” be getting worked up about. So am I deluded, have I lost the plot or am I finally learning to trust my innate senses over “spin” and “what seems”?

And I’m not alone. Many of us “just know” things that aren’t explicable by any typical means; the point is, do we listen to them or do we allow our thoughts to be swayed back into mainstream fear-mongering? Try combing back through any gut-feelings you have had lately, any instincts that bubbled into your awareness, however unfounded in “logic” and consider, where did they lead you, how did they turn out when you did (or didn’t) listen and how often do they occur? More often than they used to do?  Do you ever wonder why? Perhaps keep a note of them, give them some air time, push them to the front of the queue when information comes charging in at you from so many sources (many of them unreliable, weighted down as they are with expectations built on what happened “in the past”). Prioritise your own data sources…not such a radical thought! We’re now accelerating away from that past; are you willing and ready?

As for me, I’m ready to take the leap into the unknown that is the next decade since its not an unpleasant feeling of void that comes to greet me, for all there has always been a sense of void when I try to think past 2020; even way back when I imagined my future life as a child. Yet a void can be like a blank piece of paper just waiting to be drawn upon; exciting and fresh, and that’s what my sensations tell me about the new decade; so let’s not tip the same-old ink all over it as what came before. We’ve done the hard slog through the darkest before the dawn feeling but now, well….lets just rearrange our position a little and try experiencing it from a different angle.

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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3 Responses to On edge

  1. cathytea says:

    I have to sleep with my feet to the south! It’s the only way planetary energy runs with the currents of my body, rather than against it.


  2. Pingback: These decisive times: Coming to the edge, softly | spinning the light

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