Inside Zone Zero
From Talkingmail 6, Summer 1994
Red, yellow, purple, blue. Sweet summer flower colors. Yeah, well these are the colors of my skin as the birds chirp outside our bedroom window. That's a plant of a different color, isn't it? I'll call it poison ivy: That's the plant I unwittingly chose two weeks ago as my current teacher. Like a zen master she sits comfortably back there on that hill, smiling at me as I wriggle & burn up from the inside out with a fever & a fervor to match any lusty young lover half my age.
I know about seven year cycles, but all numbers are magical, you just gotta find yours. Anu - a crazed sproutarian Pakistani numerologist travelling the midwest in the middle of winter via bicycle - was the first visitor ever at Dreamtime, & I'm grateful he gave me mine: 11, 7, & 4. After years of testing the magic, I've come to rely on 11 but haven't taken it too seriously till now. I did a minor ritual last October commemorating the 10th anniversary of my train accident; now I understand why I felt so nonchalant & removed during it: 10 is somebody else's number! This year it all comes full circle. The accident was in '83; it's now '94, 11 years later, & I've just turned 38. I was born in '56, on the 29th of May. Even as I write, it is June 29th, the time is 2:18. Add each set of digits up &....("I'll shut up now.")
"How'd you get hit by a train?" is the standard question. The time for a circumstantial answer has passed: the accident lies embedded in my personal mythology, so I'll talk of the storyline in terms of its symbols:
A young turtle makes its way slowly down a set of railroad tracks. The tracks split; she wavers, uncertain which way she came from, which way she was going. She hesitates at the crossroads and .....shhhhhk....suddenly she is half naked, exposed on her carapace; her hard shell has disappeared & the wind blows harder & fiercer. The turtle awakes 11 years later, 11 years wiser, & begins to put together the pieces of wisdom she has acquired along her floundering yet fascinating journey forward.
In my article "Taking Off from Zone Zero" [DT Talkingmail #5; Winter '94], I discuss some ways in which we can learn from illness. The lesson continues for me on a daily basis, with the help of a host of teachers: books, plants, animals, numbers, people, experiences. In Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan explains that "The simplest kind of guidance comes every day, and many times a day in the form of discomfort...that attending to the discomfort you feel puts you back into balance & therefore health.....Ask yourself 'Where is the discomfort in my body/life? How long have I known about it? What is it saying to me? What have I done about it?' If you answer these questions honestly, you will find how much you disregard the best tool you have to keep yourself healthy, happy and wise. Any discomfort anywhere in your body/life is a direct message to you about how you are out of alignment with your true self." This is probably the best description of what I referred to in my last article as a Zone Zero example of the permaculture principle The Problem is the Solution.
For being such an artsy fartsy creative type of person I really live my life in quite a mundane fashion. I put myself under constant obligation to "take care of things" & these I keep track of in lists on my clipboard. I typically save creative work, yoga, sex, reading, fun, & relaxing for the end of the day, by which time my energy has usually waned significantly. My poor Miekal has been gently pointing this out to me for years, he second only to my self in being cheated out of what Liz really is by me, Liz Was. Liz Is quite voluptuous, vibrant, & vivacious, but she often saves her va va for The Other. If this Other lived in deepest fantasy, I might have been able to make use of him in/for our relationship. But instead, the Other is usually just a veneer of desire fleeting in my libido-brain, rarely much deeper than my teenaged romantic yearnings. It's always there, tempting me to distraction like a mosquito bite. After so many years I have scratched it so hard it's started to bleed. The half hope that everything will eventully work itself out now reveals itself as a comforting lie while the discomfort of the moment comes forward to propel me towards change.
My dreams are usually mundane too: rehearsing daily routines, being late for appointments, falling in love. This gives me discomfort, but I realize it's because my dreams reflect my waking priorities, & when I spend my daily time doing art, meditating, following my mythic realities, my dreams will get more interesting as well. This brings me to two things. One: the dreams I 've had recently that aren't so mundane, & how they provide me great guidance. And two, the fact that if I don't ease myself out of the position of main administrator, treasurer, secretary, & control freak of Dreamtime Village pretty soon, & rediscover the Liz that was reborn when I met Miekal at the age of 25, my marraige & my inner life will become terminally ill. Both we & I derive from & thrive best in dreamtime (note the uncapitalized "d"), the place where money, obligation, reason, corporations, clocks, & worry don't exist.
O my goddess! I just remembered an experience I had last October! Before going to sleep I massaged Miekal. He'd been taking down the barn in LaFarge and his back hurt a lot. He stopped me midstream and asked, "Show me on my back where your back hurts." I began massaging him in those places. It worked. Of course, I realized, years after my train accident, he has my back troubles, and I have his stomach troubles. As I massaged I felt myself pulling out something at that small of the back area. I kept envisioning EGG (also earlier, during sex) & imaging pulling an egg out of that place in his back. I thought that's a good way to think of healing -- the thing you're taking out is the start of something new, a fresh body, a new beginning -- and I pictured Miekal's back (and mine) as pure and strong again.....While I pulled out the egg, the number 38 came into my head very strongly. It was dull and gray and invincible. The fact that it appeared seemed strong and positive; the number itself a bit ominous. First thing the next morning I went to the neighbor's farm to buy milk for my daily gotu kola chi. While I waited for her to fill my jug in the machine-noisy milk room I greeted and petted the nearest cow in the barn. Hanging from the cow's ear was the bright orange number 38.
Orange is my color. I don't necessarily wear it very often, but in all its flashy hotness, I recognize it as a me. Standing in a gallery in Bisbee Arizona this winter, still reeling from an extreme attack of swirling deja vu vibe on the drive down the pass into that town, staring with Zon at a wall full of assemblaged crucified dolls, Miekal kept telling me to look behind me. A very large painting hung there waiting for me, an orange female figure lying on a bed with turtles.
Why we'd gravitated towards Bisbee: The only time I've ever consulted a Ouija board was on the 1st anniversary of my train accident. In reference to healing myself, I was told to go to a woman doctor in Bisbee Arizona. The initial reason I'd consulted the board was to find out who "Anne Sykes" was, since her name came to me in a dream state while in the hospital following the accident.
Like a seven year old, I've insisted over the years to myself & to others that I could have all my cakes & eat them too. But what power is there in that? Only fat & confusion. Seventy-four tracks emerging from one switch point, & a dizzy turtle stranded upside down, lolling from side to side, trying just to stand up. I decided this month: IT'S TIME TO GROW UP. My mother is ready to let me finally; she watched me suffer as the herbs weren't alleviating the poison ivy (which it turns out had developed into a secondary infection); she held compassion but reserved any attempts to force me to see a doctor. And she admitted she'd wrongly sheltered me from death & disease, I never even knew till this week that my dad had gone wacko for 2 weeks, straight out of his mind in the hospital when I was old enough to understand but no one ever told me.........I'd already realized during our EarthMamas workshop this month that the one thing, perhaps the only thing my generous loving patient mom had deprived me of throughout my childhood was INTENSITY. She'd suffered all her life & tried her damnedest to keep me from any such thing. So she reared a sunshiny optimist who at the ripe mid-age of 38 is finally realizing how rich & valuable is the dark. Ironically, by spoiling me a bit, she also raised a little hedonist: I like stimulation, & I tend to chose friends & situations who question me, whose darkness challenges me, or who otherwise get my juices flowing. I even married one.
One night this April, I read Barbara Brennan's chapter on guidance while Janell massaged my feet. I dozed off at the end of the article & received a vision right then & there. I was pulling out of my torso a "stitch" - a long thick metal rod kinked at the bottom where it entered my gut. Voices urged me to keep it in while others cheered me on. They told me the putrid pus-like white goo stuck on the rod was "the prey". I kept pulling this thing out slowly, steadily, carefully: the most painful & bravest thing I'd ever done. I understood first thing in the morning: the "stitch" bridged my root chakra & my heart chakra, literally connecting the break made where the train hit me. The accident happened at a time when I was concretizing an inner split with Miekal. I continued to fight him, creating an imaginary war between us that existed only insde of myself. Now I know I must learn how to use my power chakra, -- the one in the middle, between sex & the heart -- as a peace maker, not a warrior.
Synchronicity sings to me, that's obvious. I take synchronous occurences as signs or guideposts if you will, that I am "on the right track" (yes - see railroad tracks, wavering turtles, even vertebrae in a row). Synchrons (to use a word previously coined by Malok & others) are the timeless & immaterial places where mystery & meaning meet. To me, they are rays of light in a dark tunnel. They make me feel funny in a joyous sort of way. "Uncanny," "eerie," "weird," we all say about synchronicity. Until we begin to come across it so often we get almost nonchalant about it & simply smirk quietly to ourselves.
Surreality, a cousin to synchronicity, guides me as well. When life's events feel fictional, I know something's going on that I should pay special attention to, as if I'm being led in an intended direction. When I get around to telling the "whole story from the beginning" of how we ended up here in West Lima, I always explain that the minute we walked into the restaurant in Dodgeville, WI, & saw Stephen Freer for the first time, with his funny black hat, shining eyes, thick black hair, shirt not quite tucked in, dishing up potato salad at the buffet table amidst a host of rural americans, I felt like we were in a movie. (Stephen's the person who donated most of the Dreamtime real estate to Xexoxial Endarchy.) Almost 4 years later, with a zillion stories to tell, the feeling hasn't quite left, but I have to work at retaining it, & that's what this rebalancing of my daily priorities is about. I always get swamped by worry about money, matter, & people's feelings, & forget to keep touch with the surreality of dreamtime.
Enter sickness to help me feel surreal again. "Out of sorts" with my illness, I couldn't sleep one night due to the unbearable itching not of the poison ivy but of a rash & hives caused by the secondary infection. It was the last night I tried using herbs to cure myself. Before turning out the lights, I prepared & ingested a complex concoction of herbal tinctures. A few hours later, I finally dozed off for just a few minutes, but was wakened by a disturbing image of a glass dropper tilted & full, ready to sqeeze out another dose of trouble for me. I'd actually pulled myself out of bed earlier that evening for a meeting, so DT's difficulties (financial, interpersonal,etc.) were close at hand. I dozed off again but was awakened by the same feeling & accompanying image. I knew this was going to continue all night so I determined, even in my altered state, to make use of it somehow. I decided that everytime it came I'd say to myself: "Dreamtime Village has a life of its own. Dreamtime Village can take care of itself. Miekal, Liz & Zon have a life of their own. Miekal, Liz & Zon can take care of themselves." Even as I first said it to myself, I despised the methodical, monotonous manner I felt it had to be spoken in, but it was a task I knew I had to complete. I did it many times over, trancelike & painstakingly through the night. In my haze I began to see a progression towards clarity: The dropper image became progressively fainter, & the accompanying feeling became clearer & lighter, until finally I fell asleep.
I'm beginning to see how my self-identity has road-blocked the path of my personal growth. We all do this to ourselves, & to those closest to us as well: We expect that we'll be as we have always been, sticking ourselves smack in our own vicious circles, forgetting how arbitrarily those original contructs of the self might have been formed. We cling to the familiar with every moment, comfortable only with the self we think we are, uneasy with the possibility of something else, a someone more we could be. I have a weird fear of fantasy, especially involving myself. I say "I'm a lousy actress" but that probably means "I am uncomfortable with the other me's that may exist." I'm scared of the potency of the unknown & future Liz, I'd rather stay the same old Liz. But luckily for my personal evolution, stagnancy has always made me uncomfortable. So finally I quake, suspicious of my "self" : Let this be STEP ONE again & again!
To be continued next issue;
Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George