Absolution

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I want to write something today but I’m not sure how or even what. It’s been a long time since I tried turning thought into entity, perfectionism and performance anxiety are getting in the way and I’m scared of saying the wrong thing or things that are insignificant so I say nothing at all. It’s a circumstance that has been stagnating for weeks, gradually building up so that at first I was not even all that aware of it; awareness only setting in once the damage was constant, a permanent switch. But if I am honest, and I try to be whenever I can, it’s been even longer than that: months.

When I look back on the past year, scrutinising and evaluating my achievements, what I have and have not done, it becomes obvious to me: there are many blanks. Two years ago, and for many years before that, I wrote and wrote. Nothing could stop me – not travelling or season or circumstance or environment, not sickness or health. And then there was the big that we shall call the ‘Big Bang’, the thing that changed everything, and since then the parts of my brain that created simply don’t work. I might get a poem or a piece of prose from time to time, but mostly it’s just non-fictional writing: analysis, exploration, education; nothing to write home about. I hate that: it’s like someone reached in when I was absent and hacked off a limb, rendering my writing arm useless, stealing pieces of my brain, removing the most authentic and valuable parts of me. I feel deprived, deceived, disillusioned and desperate. Disappointed too. And I don’t understand why.

Do I no longer have something significant to say?

Have I lost the ability to step into and walk through alternate worlds?

Am I no longer an ‘innocent’ or ‘good enough’ to be granted gifts?

And where do these thoughts come from, these doubts, these questions about my worth and my integrity?

I have always believed it is that inner naïve part, the small child that never grew up, that inspires me: for only she still has access to those other land- and timescapes, those other worlds. And while I might still wholeheartedly believe in them and indeed visit them very often in my dreams, I no longer know how to put what I see into words: the letters that complimented the pictures have gone.

I think, if I’m honest, it has a lot to do with this.

Writing is all about ownership – fessing up, revealing and holding fast
to core truths.

And I am avoiding doing this. There are things I want to say, things I need to clear, baggage I am tired of dragging because I have been dragging it for many years, that need to be aired. Only I am scared of sharing what is most personal to me and what might, if I let it, cause a storm, cutting me off and alienating me from more than I had accounted for or am prepared to lose. So I sit and stare and attempt to write and what is hidden behind remains concealed.

Do other people have this problem or is it just me?

And when relating to those that do: how long does it last?

I am impatient and eager for it to pass. I want to move on and beyond it. I want my limb back, even if it is now maimed and disfigured and not at all the same as it once was. I don’t care. I accept. I can’t continue without it. And there are so many other parts that no longer work. Or work, but differently, in a way that is visible and seen, that tells me there is a bone here, an organ there, a ligament, a muscle, etc. Their presence, their being there, is externally heard and felt. And there is pain. I am carrying a crucifix. If I can bear all of this, then surely I can bear that.

So before I conclude, I guess I will just add this, sending it out to whoever is listening, whoever relates or cares, whoever might have the power within their hands and with their prayers to change my reality.

I have had enough. I am ready to continue, moving forwards towards a ‘something’ instead of stagnating beside a ‘not at all’. Healing is going to take time, and perhaps I never will: some do, some don’t. I am learning to accept this. Take off the brakes. Release the wheels. Let me be. Trust me to choose and decide. So what if I crash, so what if I fall off and scratch things I would rather keep unscathed, so what if the direction I choose isn’t the one you had planned: I’m okay with that. After all, I’ve been choosing the wrong direction just fine up until now and I’m alive, I’m standing.

And if you cannot trust me or don’t deem it wise… Guide me and lead me instead. I am good at taking orders and following lists. What I’m not good at is staying still. There is a restlessness that won’t vacate, a voice that won’t silence, pain that longs for me to lie flat, and it is dominating my life.

Oh Father,

Please forgive me. I am human. I have fouled up. I have made a mess completely and I have sinned.

Grant me your forgiveness and a clean slate. Make me like a babe again and this time I will devote my life to service in your name.

I will not let you down. I will not disappoint. I will take your light and shine it brightly throughout the world.

Amen.

All I want for Christmas is a new beginning and absolution from what came before, confirming by its very existence the existence of a higher power and the possibility of salvation. I have to believe that there is something greater, that life is about more than this, that what has happened and come before will not break and prohibit what ought, by rights, come now.

~

If this article has stirred things up for you or made you realise there are things in your life you would like to resolve, please feel free to visit my sister site to see how we might work together in the future.

Or, to book an appointment directly, see my booking page.

Rebecca Atherton is an integrative therapist. She offers transpersonal counselling and psychotherapy mixed with energy and alternative healing. To find out more about her and the work she does, visit lemonrosepetals.

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A lawnmower in the grass

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This morning it smells of cut grass and summer
and there’s a wetness in the air.

On my legs, my tights stick
and already my jumper is too hot.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Growing from the centre

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Growing from the centre, spreading out; opening tired arms, reaching out… I begin to evolve; returning – slowly, surely, bit by timid bit – to my maker, to the one who conceived the thought and (albeit thousands of years ago), made my forebears who then lead lives that in a very protracted ‘meandering-around-the-fields kind of way’ (a bit like my writing) eventually led to me.

But who is that voice that’s calling? And why now? Why not before, when I first had need of it? 

Was it necessary to be so beaten, so tattered and torn, so tangled and tormented, bereft? Did I need to lose it all before I could from the ground, the grey grit of the tired bedraggled pavement, start crawling back?

~

Praying, meditating, practicing yoga; spending quiet time, alone time, time with me: I pick up the pieces, attempting to reassemble the puzzle that – whole, complete – amounts to an entirety of something I am only now coming to know.

I try to remember that God loves me and that Jesus died for my sins. I try to remember too that other people have suffered, suffer, are suffering still, and that we are all battling similar things.

Only it’s easy to forget and then feel miserable, or perhaps act out, speaking from the lonely part, the child that has since we began been neglected.

~

Reading self-help books; studying religion, spirituality, philosophy, metaphysics… I move, crossing a landscape of boulders that was ‘once upon a time long ago’ green and vibrant.

Planting seeds; tending to the garden, praying to the moon and dancing for the sun: colour arrives and I thrive, rising up from the ashes of pain and shame to walk with grace and confidence.

And I try to have fun and to remember how to play, taking advice from children and the tiny inside me, the ‘me’ that I am only now really learning to see and accept. Fimo unicorns dance across tabletops, origami doves gather around lamps, felttip rainbows remind me to be kind to myself when all around me I’m staring at clouds. Having allowed what has been forbidden to surface, it won’t now be shut back down.

I was afraid that perhaps I wasn’t being mature enough. 

I was also afraid that I had gone mad, losing my soul down a rabbit hole that, once entered, did not permit one to turn back. 

Now I see that the answer is simple, that I have instead been forced to rewind, returning to parts that never grew, reconnecting with parts that were rejected.

Listening to her, seeing her, for the first time; looking with complete awareness, judgement-free: I slowly heal what was allowed to self-destruct. It is painful and slow. Strange how this journey began as one thing, as a new career path, as an evolution of ego – albeit with a good heart – and then turned into something else entirely that has, in new and nefarious ways, challenged me.

~

Walking in the light, I see that God had other plans and that, really, when it’s all peeled back, there is only ever one path, one way, and it is love. 

Love makes us happy. 

Love brings us peace. 

Love enables us to forgive and thereby to finally heal. 

Love enables us to reach out and touch and begin to restore, transforming hate and anger, cynicism and judgement, depression and pain. Little by little, the world begins to change. 

It is a journey of a thousand miles. And, like all of you, each day I take another step. 

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Multiple layers

imageIt’s so cold outside, I might actually catch hyperthermia. Walking, my whole body has gone into shock. Where is the beautiful sunshine of earlier, the brilliant blue sky overhead? I had such a lovely walk this morning, but, somehow, as the day darkened into evening and the light disappeared, the warmth evaporated too, and now it’s nothing short of unbearable. Even in multiple layers; coat, hat, scarf and gloves: I am shivering. And my shoulders have risen so high, they are competing with my neck.

Hiding out in a cafe, I am waiting for the feeling in my fingers to come back, drinking hot tea to fast-track the warming. I have had a good day though, a reward for persevering with a weekly group. There was a large table: full; new people and old, people I knew and people I did not. I talked a lot. I made a friend. I felt at home… It’s such a change to be able to find things to attend, compared to the isolation of Mallorca, and the novelty of that is still to wear off.

However, group aside, I am drifting: my ability to write comes and goes, and with it my sense of wellbeing. Why is my whole sense of self; my identity, my smile, so tightly wrapped around something I can never hold?

As I try to figure out how to get through each day, how to get the most out of everything – being here, the chances, the opportunities… my boat pitches and I feel sick.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Growing the things that have shrunk

imageFinding a quiet place to sit and work is a challenge. London is always full, especially in the center. Walking from cafe to cafe, I spend longer than I would like, waste hours I would rather not lose, attempting to repair what has come apart. And as each day unravels, giving and taking, making and breaking, I become increasingly aware that I am trapped.

Closing my eyes and rewinding; going backwards in order to stop and process before turning around and attempting to go forwards again: I sense I ought to be travelling; ingesting new sensations and experiences, growing the things that have shrunk.

But I don’t know how to get there or where it is I ought to want to go, and every time I experiment with a different route, pick a different path or take an alternate turning, I end up returning to the place where I began.

Attending meditation classes at a local centre; sitting and listening and attempting to do: something, anything, etc… I am learning. But is it enough?

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Things that go bump

imageOk, so this was supposed to have been finished days ago and written well in advance of that. And it was supposed to have had an article, poem or story accompanying it. It was also supposed to have been lighthearted and fun, the rhythm of the needles, feel of the yarn, inner guide (I guess my muse) calling the shots. But, somehow, time got the better of me (as it so often does) and the days, initially extensive, got swallowed up by demands.

Still, in amongst the clearing, cleaning, throwing, folding and packing, my fingers managed to steal fragmented moments, drawing on the rejects from minutes and hours. Taking advantage of these in-between times (mostly while waiting: in the car, in line at the supermarket, for doctor’s and vet’s appointments, etc.) I even broke a cardinal rule, knitting and stitching through farewell coffees and last lunches with friends.The result (as seen above) is a piece that could have been better and should be complete. But I’m not done yet. I thoroughly anticipate my hate melting away to make room for love, my edges softening, for I have learned that with creativity, or creativity as it pertains to me, it is necessary to keep working, trusting and believing that the path travelled is the one intended, the one drawn in the future by powers I can’t ever hope to fathom or expect to see.

• see finished piece (coming soon)
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Spilt Milk and Tomato Ketchup

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The anger burnt her tongue
and her stomach churned violently.
Her mind disengaged.

He used to love her more than his ipad,
pay her more attention than his phone,
but she had given up on that.

Their keys were cracked, faded;
their screen was smudged and scratched;
their battery redundant.

If he were Pinocchio,
he could have planted trees with his lies;
there would have been hope.

As it was, there was nothing for it,
save stepping off and diving.
But could she swim?

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Learn more about my work and the inspiration that guides it
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