Thursday, 31 March 2016

Shifting boundaries

One night, I, once again, dream of death; a repeating theme lately. I am waiting for several people to die, and they seem to take ages to do so.  Slowly, they slowly turn into brownish-grey mud beings. I stand aside, witnessing it, left desolate.
It reminds me of a sentence I once read, “Now, in the middle of the journey of my illness, I am left alone and defenceless.”(1)

A realisation pops up that the dying people are part of me; the old me, from whom I want to detach, release or transform. As I am not totally ready to do so, in the dream I feel an uncomfortable sense of guilt towards them, as if I am betraying them. Letting them die seems as if they were not good enough, as if the old me maybe was not good enough? I have to tell them that they were, at the time, but that now I no longer need what they stand for: qualities of my pre-illness past, like impatience, direct sharp communication, and the multi-tasking workaholism. Let those qualities serve other people now.

Time for some homework it seems, as I then dream I am being forced into a gloomy cellar to clean the incredible filthy steps descending before me; a horrible task I have been given to undertake. Finally, after finishing it, I discover an old squeaking door in the cellar, which brings in fresh air and light. What a relief!

My old organisational skills are well placed to open new doors, I think. I would like to invite and integrate a new me, new personalities, as a gift on this journey of illness. Dissimilar to the old me in many ways. Not only physically older, but also wiser, with more experience on the inner. This physical condition teaches me new boundaries to what I can do, and can no longer. At other times, it forces me even to give up all limits and borders, depending on the shifting sands of my energy. It teaches me compassion, patience and slowing down, in fact a lot of slowing down. Taking this in, I realise I now want to live with an evolved set of boundaries, whether I am ill or healthy.

(1) from  The Alchemy of Illness,1993, by Kat Duff
Blog 43,  © text and photo: Adriana Sjan Bijman, March 2016

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