Friday, May 20, 11 freakin’ hours on the bus to Belo Horizonte
Yesterday evening I tried one of the self-love / connecting with the self exercises suggested by Teal Swan (it is the self-focused version of the same practice for connecting with another human being); you basically stare at yourself in the mirror, your “real” self being the voyager into your other’s self, your mirror-self consciousness. The idea is to project your consciousness un-forcefully into your mirrored self, through the pupils, while your mirror-self absorbs the you from the other side.
She talks about layers and walls, of going deeper and either sinking into, reflecting the exact feeling arising from your mirror-self, or projecting unconditional acceptance and love, depending on what intuitively is needed from the other side. The process ends only when the mirror-self decides it is over. Resistance walls should never be approached violently, because force shall only be met with more resistance. Instead, walls should be acknowledged and respected for their protective function and one should stay with the wall, in front of the wall for as long as needed.
The journey begins at the invitation of the mirror-self which, Teal says, takes the form of a softening of the features. For me it began almost immediately, as if the Other was impatient for being seen and recognised. I was met with a first layer of pain, the most recent, of the separation from P. Yet again, another failed attempt at opening the gates for deeper connection. Why him? Because he related to me beyond social and cultural layers, directly to my wild, genuine, raw, lavish, childish, intuitive side, to the Criatura, and saw its beauty. Tears began to flow immediately. For some mysterious reason, I could not focus on my left side, I was only attracted by my right pupil. The next layer was one of bitter resignation – with separation from others and the world as palpable, but ultimately something that I can cope with.
Let it burn, says the song; burn this house, burn in blue, says the other.
“What must die, dies. How does one make such decision? One knows. La Que Sabe knows. Ask within for her advice. She is the Mother of the Ages. Nothing surprises her. She has seen it all. For most women, to let die is not against their natures, it is only against their training. This can be reversed. We all know in los ovarios when it is time for life, when it is time for death. We might try to fool ourselves for various reasons, but we know. By the light of the fiery skull, we know.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes – Women Who Run with The Wolves.
Then I hit the first wall – my features started to morph into something grotesque – I could see the dark circles around my eyes darkening more, the wrinkles deepening; old age, the loss of physical beauty and attraction. I stayed there for a moment, awaiting permission; then I went further, like passing through thick dough of dead human flesh.
Burn my shadow away.
The next layer was another one of sadness, the sadness of physical frailty, of growing limits, of endings and dying – accompanied by more tears (yeah, I can be all waterworks at times). Then a state of calm installed, no thoughts, no emotions, motionless, waveless calm, followed by a first layer that was more uplifting – that of my playful, exuberant, mischievous even – self – the little rascal (I’ve already met my innocent self, my rascal self appeared for the first time), accompanied by a sense of infinite options, sweet possibilities, endless playgrounds.
And she’s free to fly… Women so weary, spread your unbroken wings.
It didn’t last too long, as it was followed by another layer of sadness, that of not being able to share my experiences, my awes, my enjoyment of the world with others, another form of disconnection. I might have mentioned somewhere else how I remembered the first time I felt an utter separation from the world and others – I was three and left alone on the kindergarten playground by kids who won’t choose me for either of their teams. This time another memory followed. After I was left alone, with an acute sensation of ego-self as something else from the rest of the world, I remember stuffing my nose into some ivy in bloom, into white bells with a sweet, almost nauseating scent, and having no one to share this discovery with. My mirror self started crying again so I stayed with its sadness, conveying compassionately that I am willing to share its discoveries when no one else will. Always, baby. Then I started seeing myself as infinitely beautiful in my own frailty, recognising this as one of the deep stages of connection with someone. Finally some solace.
I was more than an hour into the process, starting to get tired, but you’re not supposed to interrupt the process, as this can further traumatise the Other (your other self, which is your actual self, or the other person engaged in the exercise). So I stayed. My features became trippy once more. Then an interesting thing happened: I’ve met my sexual self or some sexual aspect of myself – the one that is aware of itself, its raw energy, unapologetically asking for what it wants. My mirror self wanted to be fucked. Not made love to, but fucked. I think this was another first. The denouement was approaching, but I was still not going to disengage without permission. Not following Teal to a tee. But at least I disengaged at a positive, uplifting level. So I asked for permission, promising to revisit soon and attend often, as often as possible, to the needs of my mirror-self, and all my selves.