Trauma work.

The dreams are like the cairns on the cloud covered tops of the White Mountains. I stumble through the fast moving mist, disoriented, pushing into the wind, terrified as the last marker, the pathway back, fades behind me. Now there is only forward. I cannot go back. I see that somehow, in the last year, this option has come off the table. To turn back is to embrace the numbness, to accept the flat, two dimensional world I had been living in. To move forward is to be rocketed into the fourth dimension.

Moving forward means moving through my places of trauma. It feels like going back, but it is really moving forward. If I had known when I first saw the partially covered North of Eden poster on the bulletin board outside of Climb High in Burlington that I would be doing trauma work, I am not sure I would have approached them. The words that jumped out at me from the colorful poster were “Archetypal Dreamwork”. Though I only had a vague understanding of what Archetypal meant, I immediately made a connection to the symbols and characters that appeared in my dreams. I was drawn to write down the web address out of a desire to understand what I knew to be something quite profound happening in my psyche and playing out in my dreams. I did not come to do trauma work. But, I knew there was something. In my very first session, I was confronted with trauma. I was shown pathology as something separate from me that could be removed. Through the Anima, I was shown the idea of a deeper healing. When I left that session, I knew what I have always known: that my demons must be confronted. The problem had always been that I didn’t know how. I had tried traditional therapy twice in my life. Once to save my relationship when I was hitting my bottom with alcohol & drugs; and then again when my anger came and wouldn’t abate. But I could never really work through trauma. I did a lot of work, but regarding trauma, I mostly couldn’t talk about it and there were somethings that I would not share with anyone. I could not delve into the feelings at all. I remember wanting to and wishing that the therapist would ask me about these issues or somehow press me or draw it out of me, but I was lost. Fear and pride has kept me isolated in my trauma.

When I am ready, the dreams return me to these places. They bring me to the places I must feel in order to move closer to my girl. My desire keeps me yearning.

Dream: I am driving in my car. I notice that my side view mirror isn’t working properly. I can’t see out of it. I open my window and mess with it. I see that the wind is causing the glass to distort somehow. I stop the car and open the door and lean out. As I am looking at the mirror glass a woman comes up to me and points behind me and tells me there has been an accident that I have caused because I had stopped and opened the door. I get out of my car and look back. I see a huge road grading machine and a man standing next to it. Then I see a truck that is flipped on its side and is smashed up. There are emergency vehicles and people working on the car. I start to walk back towards the crash, but I am afraid to see what the person in the truck looks like. I look back at my car and see that I didn’t pull fully off the road, but I think that I was far enough off the road. I feel like I must have stopped too quickly and opened my door too quickly and this is what caused the crash.

My work is to acknowledge that this terrible thing has happened. This accident and the burning room (see my posts of 10/14/11 - Dear God & 10/19/11 - Burning) are here in this place. I must feel my fear going back to it. If I can, I am to feel the pain of being the one who is hurt and to notice when the voice of pathology wants to tell me that I am to blame, that I have caused this terrible thing to happen.

I am terrified to see what has happened. I react by jumping away from this work with all manner of worldly reactions and distractions. But my desire is there. I look in the mirror because I want to know, even though I am scared to know. The mirror is broken so that I have to stop the car. I can no longer run. But there is the acute fear of the pain. When I am living in my places of trauma, I feel I can’t handle such stark contrast to the love, and so I can’t handle the love and am simply hurt and bereft, and just as often, angry. If I can stay with this fear long enough, perhaps it will move into something else. Despite the demon who wants me to believe that somehow I am to blame, I see that I am supported in my desire to move forward. The Animus is there waiting to clear the wreckage, to pave the way.

My icy fingers grip the stony cairn when at last I fall into the leeward side of each dream cycle. Do I sit for a moment? Do I collect myself and peer through the mist for the next marker in my journey? The next marker is the dream. Each dream leads me deeper or shows me some truth, some darkness or light. My faith is my guide; my therapist, Sue, stands with me. The Archetypes are there. I am not alone.

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