Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Everything I need to tell you

It was somewhere between sleep and my dreams.  That place where profound thoughts and the things that rest on the ocean floor of your mind come to the surface for that brief moment of time.  Perhaps 11pm maybe later. 

The ocean is a deep black like crude oil, a reflection of the midnight sky. It dances though. Small ripples make the starlight flicker across its surface, giving away the water from the sky.

As I lay there, those sea monsters brake the surface, ducking and diving, never really showing their heads, just their long black bodies and the spikes along their snake like spines. They tease me, brush past me and splash behind me.

I wondered why they were there. They only come when something is wrong.  And as I wake myself from my drowning, I come to know there is indeed something troubling me.
In the silence of my empty space, somewhere between this world and mine, I searched for the source of my trouble.

‘What’s wrong?’
“It hurts’?
‘In my chest’
As I explored this troubling feeling, that voice told me, ‘just say it, and they will go away.’
‘Say what’
‘Say everything you ever needed to say’

I can’t explain the sense of knowing that washed over me in that moment. I took a breath and disappeared. Floating away in my ocean and I fell asleep.

The next morning, when I woke, barely having climbed from my dreams, I found my notepad and at the top, I wrote something that was so profound, that my eyes became blurry with tears before I could finish.

At the top of my page I’d written “everything I need to tell you’.  What followed was a list of simple dot points. One-liners to myself. Some were statements, others admissions and some were fears.  Some were directed at myself, others were directed at the rest of the world.  The only thing they had in common were they were all brutally true.

As I wrote, all I knew was I needed to be totally honest and I just wrote them all down, no matter how silly, or weird.  

There were some that made me cry.  There were some that made me smile.  Then those that particularly made me anxious and perhaps some I cannot mention.

I’d had a very honest, perhaps confronting conversation with myself. I’d bombed that ocean with a light that exposed all my fears, things I needed to accept, things I needed to let go.

I’d like to tell you that this honest conversation and acknowledgement solved all my problems, but it didn't. If anything it perhaps just brought everything to the surface. A little like fishing with dynamite. All the fish come floating to the top…

What I can say though is that there was a sense of relief in the acknowledgement, some ability to grasp certain worries, and reign in some of those fears.

The ocean of my dreams is plentiful with the serpents of my fears. And those serpents grow and multiply in an ocean left not fished.

Some of those serpents might live to see another day. Slip through the net of hesitation and anxiety but I’ll keep on trying, and the more I try, the better fisherman I will become.

The thing is we all have a million things that swim around in our own private oceans between sleep and our dreams.  The only way I know how to harness them is to confront them, call them out, pull them out of the ocean, pin them to a specimen board –every single one of them. Big, small, those with gnashing teeth and spikes, and even the goldfish looking ones.

Sometimes I need to drain that ocean or at least pull those monsters out.  I need transparency and an acknowledgement of what actually is swimming around in there.

That ocean is mine alone, my serpents and goldfish. Of course I share my worries and perhaps some of the serpents with others, but those are the ones that are easy to catch – they float around the surface like fat slow gropers, just begging to be caught. It’s the bottom dwellers, the ones that come in the dark that I might only catch when I cast a net of honesty and bait it with the shattered remnants of hesitation, excuses and fear.

‘Everything I needed to tell you’ was a conversation I needed to have, and one I will continue to work on having more often with myself.

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.” - ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I will strive to be master of my ocean and all that lies within its depths. Embracing the heart of my ocean. Poseidon, all conquering in my dreams.

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