Two years ago I felt like I was flying high. I felt loved, I felt happy, I felt like I was starting to learn how to use my own wings. The high point was a year and a half ago. I attended the Awesomism 12/12/12 event in Sedona Arizona and it was AMAZING. It was the first time since having kids that I had gone off on my own and done something. And I was with an amazing group of people who had been loving me and supporting me from afar for the previous year, maybe two if I count my time in the New Human Experience Project.
When people ask what Awesomism is my answer is usually that it is a look at the spiritual and brilliance side of autism. It is really hard for me to explain, and my brain frequently let me know how crazy it was, but I felt called to it nonetheless. My heart knew I needed to be there. And through the New Human Experience Project and the Awesomism level one certification process I came to know and love myself more than I ever had. The weird things that go tumbling around in my brain that I don't dare to say I was able to let out and have people say they they felt similar, or at least they were curious and interested instead of being horrified or angry or just plain thinking I was insane. I was able to find people who experienced the world in ways similar to how I experience it. I was able to see how there might be a gift hidden in the problems I have had being here on Earth. I was encouraged in my art and allowed to experiment and get feedback. My heart was expanding and glowing brighter and brighter.
And then I came home. And instead of staying ME I tried to squeeze myself back into the expectations and rules I had built around my life. At first I thought I was doing okay. I held onto some of the expansiveness that I had experienced. But as time went on I felt it less and less. Looking back now, I can see how the past year and a half has been about trying desperately to force myself into nearly the opposite of what I allowed myself to be in Sedona. I don't know why, really. Maybe after experiencing what I could be I freaked out. Maybe I decided that ME was incompatible with the day to day me that I have to be. Maybe this is just the other side of the cycle where I experience the opposite of what I felt then. Like the highs and lows of a roller coaster.
Whatever the reason, this time has been an attempt to be more practical, down to Earth, and "realistic". I took a Permaculture Design Course which was so incredibly awesome and it was something I have wanted to do for quite a long time. I was still feeling pretty expansive during the course! I learned some really important stuff that is actually helping me during this journey out of depression. I met some really fantastic people. But I didn't take into account the amount of physical energy and time it would take, and I totally didn't internalize the "make a long-term plan and do chunks of it at a time" that we discussed in the last weekend of the course. No, now that I had the certification I put all kinds of pressure on myself to transform the land and grow huge amounts of food and have it all done NOW. I was also looking to books more than my intuition when it came time to make decisions which, frankly, is not my strong suit in the first place and when decisions become a completely mental exercise I have even more trouble because I can mentally see so many sides and their benefits at the same time that I just can't choose one over the other. And I can see that during that time I moved the focus from growing my artwork and spiritual gifts to doing something practical and useful- growing food. I was downplaying the positives that could come from those less tangible areas and placing the emphasis on the physical. Which is important, don't get me wrong, but it didn't need to come at the expense of the creative and spiritual.
And so I moved into the summer pushing ahead with my plans and at the same time getting completely overwhelmed by the size of them and not knowing where to start which resulted in freezing. I grew very little last summer compared to the summer before when I was just having fun and enjoying it. I don't even think we got more eggs from the ducks, even though we had double the flock.
I didn't just switch from intuitive to mental with homestead planning either. I started to question and doubt and berate myself for making tons of decisions that I had made out of "what felt good" instead of "what has been proven to work". I started to criticize and reject and distance myself from the very things that had brought me such comfort and insight and JOY in the many years prior. All because they weren't things that had been proven in a study, or weren't accepted by the mainstream, or weren't scientific. I refused to let myself talk much about spiritual things or energy or anything else that might seem magical or might be called "made up" by others. I pushed myself to do the "right" thing, to conform to standards, and I judged myself by the rules made by others.
Which is very interesting. When I was first diagnosed with depression I was holding in and suppressing the pain from the abuse. I was trying to be a "good girl" and pretend nothing had happened. When I was heading into depression this time I was holding and suppressing the joy and everything that went along with what I had experienced when I allowed myself to expand into ME without limits or boundaries. I was trying to be realistic and pretend that crazy, "out there", non-scientifically approved ME didn't exist. (After all, no one can make a living as an artist, right?)
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to start an egg business. And then one of our birds got sick and I learned all about respiratory illnesses in poultry (they may not show symptoms but they'll always be carriers) and how the best course of action may be to just cull everyone. I freaked out. I was under so much stress, and I was driving all over the place and doing all kinds of things to try to force what I wanted to happen, what I thought needed to happen, which was to somehow make money from our little farm.
And then I got sick and ended up in the hospital. I had an ovarian cyst that ruptured that left me gasping on the gravel parking lot of a church afraid I was dying. In the ER they figured out what caused the pain but not why my blood pressure wouldn't go up and why I couldn't walk without support. So they kept me for a day until I could walk again and my blood pressure stabilized but they never did figure out why it had happened. I saw a doctor later that week who said I had adrenal fatigue, and thankfully the supplements he gave me did help somewhat. But for a long while I spent most of the day in bed and couldn't push myself to do even a quarter of the things I had been doing before.
Since I could barely do anything I had to figure out what I actually truly wanted to use my energy on and what I needed to let go of. It took awhile, but I learned how to do it somewhat. Just figuring out the most important things and making sure you dedicate time to them is a skill in itself! It was easier when my body would tell me on no uncertain terms that I would NOT be doing that thing I was going to try to push myself to do. Although I still wasn't allowing myself to create as much as my heart was directing, instead using my small amount of energy to do more "necessary" things like cook and do dishes. But I was doing the truly important things more than I had before.
And then slowly I physically got better and had more energy for things I had put on the "must do but don't yet have the energy for" list (mostly involving the birds and the land) without ever questioning why they were there in the first place. My body stopped quitting on me and let me take a spin being in charge. And I started adding things back in, maybe before I really should have. My overwhelm was at least at manageable levels, but I still felt like I was never getting ahead. The more I added, the more I felt a weight over me, but I pushed on, hoping that when this or that thing was accomplished things would shift. I kept adding more physical things, including making the bird food from scratch instead of buying a prepared bag of feed, sprouting for them (it was really cool and they did like it, but I did thankfully decide it was too much time for not enough benefit), and then the babies started hatching so I had to get a baby feed mixed also (which requires nightly grinding in a blender). We started on summer projects- making new garden beds and putting up more fencing and figuring out which plants to buy for a living hedge and planning for getting meat chickens. Again I found myself spinning my wheels and not making time for those important things. I kind of enjoyed what I was doing, and I was sure it was VERY important, and the thought of stopping made me feel sick with failure. Once I get this down, I thought, then I'll have time for that fun stuff.
And then the possibility of poultry illness has reared head again. And I started to freak out again and feel helpless and frantic and sick. It just all seemed so pointless and I felt so lost. Why did I even bother? Why did I even try? I looked and looked for answers outside of myself and got so frustrated when they did not appear. So, thankfully, writing right now has helped me look inside. And I see how this is another neon blinking cosmic 2 x 4 telling me that I am going the wrong direction. I am trying to force myself into what I'm not, or at least what I'm not right now. I'm refusing to allow the beautiful, joyful, carefree and magical parts of me out until I get the hang of this practical, REAL stuff. I'm devoting all of my time to trying to get it RIGHT. And that's just not the way I'm designed to live. (And I feel the need to remind myself here that creativity and art and spirituality and magic are just as real a need as food and money. And remember, you don't believe there is only one right way for, well, anything really). Growing food on a large scale is one of those things that I needed to let go of last fall when I got sick, I was just clinging so tightly to the rightness and the overall importance of it that I couldn't see that it's not on the most important list for me personally. I need to allow myself to go back to making decisions based on my intuition. I can still grow things, but only as my heart leads. And I need to reevaluate what I am doing again and ACTUALLY make time and space for those parts of ME I experienced in Sedona. And not think about them and decide it's a good idea but never take action. Actually DO them!
I'm starting to see some light again.