There’s a low fire

Posted by Erin on 27th February 2011 in Erin's Thoughts

This Island captures the best of me…

and sets it in contrast with my angst.

And in the middle all this work gets done to clear and sweep the debris of restrictions and fear out of the way.

I am still usually scared, but my body can withstand it. I can show up. I can try it out and shudder with disgust for the mistakes and then just move on.

I can walk to my edges where the pressure and heat push on me until my edges sharpen and glisten in the dark.

I can sit in the space of my home created by 40 foot ceilings and windows that go all the way up and nothing gets in the way and just breath and remember to not try to so hard all the time. And learn, in my hollow bones, what balance really is – not the idea of a static state – but the truth that it is a constant motion.

All the different pieces of my puzzle falling into some place on this island. I came here ready to start a practice…as a therapist. with real clients. and that was where I halted for a while. I had to wait for furniture. Then I just had to wait. I felt ready and not ready. I finally stepped out and put out a good word and gave it a start. Actually sitting with someone, taking them in and offering my skills in return isn’t the hard part. But all my feelings around it were so confusing and uncomfortable to me. Incomprehensible. I made a website to promote myself more widely and to practice expressing what I do. I tweaked it, shared it, changed it, took it down, changed it, shared it, and took it down again. None of it making the reason my skin crawled when I thought about it come any more clear to me.

My processing was relentless and fierce – I saw my own therapist, and I talked endlessly with my husband. And then, as is often the case with things you work really hard for, when it came it was this small, obvious thing – like realizing your greatest treasure was the ordinary rock you idly picked up one day on a walk.

It’s clear from feedback through my schooling, my other students and the random assortment of clients I’ve had that i’m pretty good at being a therapist. From my own undulating contemplations about it most of what makes me good ( maybe better than the average person at the same experience level as me) comes to me naturally – I do it without much thought or reconfiguring of my personality. If we go out to lunch or if you pay me $200 dollars and come to my office there isn’t that much of a difference. And most of the spiritual adeptness and intellectual agility were things I had before formally studying counseling techniques.

And I’ve been confused by the fact that none of that adds up to feeling great or comfortable in any way with full-on offering of my services in this way. Not because it wont be healing and useful and not because I don’t enjoy it, but because when I *think* about it, and make an *effort* I find myself short of what I intended. I don’t want to be ‘good’ or even ‘better than average’. I want to be my best. And i’m not – yet. but I need the room to practice and learn and strive for that – not just the time it will take stretching into the future – but the time it takes each day. And the question isn’t how to let more people know what I do, but how to have more energy and stamina to strive for my best with the people who already know.

I have never been comfortable with quantity. Expansion for the sake of it as a measure of success doesn’t appeal to me. I prefer the intensity of focus on the quality. It shows up all over my life (not being comfortable socializing with more than one person at at time, feeling uncomfortable when organizations or activities i’m a part of shift their focus onto expansion) but I prefer to bring that intensity into my life when the rest of me is calm and sturdy – otherwise it’s like inviting a tornado into your living room for tea. not fun. and pointless.

My body wants to climb swathes of silky, stretchy fabric. Because I have two bodies. A strong, glorious impressive body. It is agile, and erotic so courageous and powerful, full of pleasure and the capacity for ecstasy. It does wondrous things and pulses to the beat of ‘Yes, I can’. I also have a weak body. It is twisted and restricted and has made me feel humiliated and disgusting. It has a thin and reedy energy that vibrates at the same frequency of a whine but barely ever makes a sound. And I am confused by my two bodies, by where I am in the midst of them. I have always been confused by them and I have never found a way to talk about it. So I climb. My body flies just like dreams do.

This island invited me to other scary and thrilling places in me. Acting, in particular, is a place that has had allure for me but that I felt less sure I could do. I hold onto my sense of my self identity so seriously, so strenuously that it’s hard to be frivolous. Hard to be misunderstood. Hard to even pin myself down with a choice or an offering because the idea it wont match the complete and total truth of who I am is unbearable. So I go to these acting workshops and confront it. Give myself a little room to be someone else, to make a clear choice and watch it fail or succeed. As I’m pretending, playing and tapping into the emotions that show up – each time I find something about me that is very real and very true and hardly as timid or afraid of being misrepresented as I thought. I am braver and bolder.

This island has also taught me how badly I need to write and express in order to have that calmness – the balance that gives my intensity context and purpose. I have ventured into the glorious mysterious realms of ghost writing and learned that credit and acknowledgment isn’t what I want or need – just time with the words, to taste them and roll them around in my mind, feeling their textures and temperatures and moving them around until they feel just right. I need to do it for myself, I love to do it for other people.

When I sink into this part of me I take a break from striving for perfection. It’s a way of resting that restores me and gives a structure to how I spend my time that eases the low-grade panic that tinges the edges of a day spent unsure of what to do but feeling like there’s no time to do nothing and therefore everything will somehow fall apart. Unreasonable, yes. Which means you can’t reason with a feeling like that. You can placate it though.

So I came back to this home, which I have loved and left many times since I started it. But that I have never felt embarassed by or restricted in.

And I make new offerings with it – I will write for you, I will sing for you – if you ask me to.

And I stoke the low fire that is in me. Burning for perfection. Burning for expression. Burning to know you and have you know me.

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