Feeling like you have to hurl is at least feeling something
I suppose I could sum up the feel of this post by telling you that I spent a good deal of my drive from Portland to Post Falls last weekend singing this a capella:
If you couldn’t tell already, this is a follow-up to this post from December.
Without getting into too many details, suffice to say that I got my heart curb-stomped and I’m still dealing with the emotional, psychological and physiological blowback of the experience. My dreams the last few nights have been intense, though my memories of them fade quickly when I wake, which has been happening a few times a night the past few days. Of course, just the fact that I’m dreaming, or at least remembering that I’ve dreamed, is mostly a step up. I’d lost even that for a few years outside a few random occasions, and time will tell if the return of my dreams is permanent. Right this moment I’m a little hungry, but I’m too nauseous to eat. That could be the broken heart, but my appetite was around for most of the week and the nausea didn’t start until yesterday, which tells me it might be a side-effect of another event.
Yesterday I was meditating, trying to get to the bottom of my emotional turmoil and the myriad other issues I’m working through at the moment, when I became aware of… something… in my lower torso, centered around the area of my belly-button. There was a sickness there, a knot or blockage of some sort, that I could feel through whatever sense it is I’m using when I focus my conscious attentions on my body’s inner-workings. Gently poking at that sensation made me feel ill, almost like I was about to throw up, and my brain went into panic mode–not because I might deposit my breakfast on the floor in front of my friend’s fireplace, but because something in my subconscious seemed terrified of addressing that knot. So I did what I generally do when I encounter something I’m afraid of for no discernible reason: I told myself to get the fuck over it and charged head-first into the problem. (For those wondering, I’d recommend this strategy about 50% of the time. The problem is there’s not often any way to tell which side of the 50% you’re on until after the fact. Fear has an annoying habit of short-circuiting your rational thought processes.)
I’m not sure if I can explain what I did (at least not now, though I was acting with a preternatural surety at the time, as if I’d downloaded instructions on what to do from the collective unconscious), but the results arrived almost instantaneously once I’d consciously committed to resolving the situation–once, in retrospect, I instructed (or perhaps “freed” is a better word) my will to work its, um, self on my body. The knot swiftly untangled itself, but it was a bit like undoing a kink in a hose when the faucet is turned on full blast, and I wasn’t prepared for the physical and emotional deluge that threatened to drown me a half-second later. I leaned back in my chair, dizzier than a hamster in a wheel going through the spin cycle in a washing machine, and nauseous enough to projectile vomit everything in my system from my lower intestine up. Seeing as I was a childhood epileptic, I wondered for a moment if I was about to have a seizure for the first time in twenty-odd years, but my consciousness stayed in my body this time.
(Yes, materialist though I am, I can still vividly recall out-of-body experiences occurring when I had seizures; in particular, I remember standing over myself and watching from a third-party point of view as a nurse tried to calm my mother when I had a seizure on a train. It’s one of those odd experiences I still don’t have a proper explanation for years later, one of those things that’s happened in my life that makes me agree with Aleister Crowley when he writes:
“Explain this happening!
It must have a natural cause!
It must have a supernatural cause!
Let these two asses be set to grind corn.”
Or to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke’s third law, what seems like magic and superstition to us in the present may simply be a failing of our scientific understanding to possibly be corrected in the future. And as I’ve said before, I suspect time and space interact with consciousness in ways we’re yet to understand. But now I’ve really digressed.)
On top of that, I had the brain shivers. The brain shivers have been a recurring part of my life since I was young and often accompany major emotional, psychological or (I’ve noticed more and more, though it’s hard to say yet whether it’s just confirmation bias or not) empathic and psychic phenomena. I rode it out, processing the experience instead of running away from it like a part of my mind demanded; you could compare the process to telepathically wrestling a ghost made out of rotten Jell-O–or perhaps channeling tainted saidin. When it was over, I was still nauseous. Hell, I’m still nauseous even now, a day later; I ate maybe a quarter bowl of cereal for breakfast, maybe a third a bowl of soup for lunch, and now I’m picking at my dinner. But on the plus side, I felt like I’d just had an emotional enema.
There was a popping noise starting in my ears that seemed to echo through the space of my brainpan, the room seemed brighter, and I was suddenly aware of the odor and taste of the air. My breathing steadied into a natural rhythm unlike the shallow, hurried breathing I’ve grown accustomed to, and though every breath in made me fear I was about to empty my stomach, I forced myself to continue that smooth respiration, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Tension melted from my body for a while, and I felt a lapse of the constant fight-or-flight instinct that’s ruled me so often these past few years. There was a slight ache in my back for a few moments but, and excuse me the crude but completely accurate simile, it felt a bit like the near-pleasant ache of one’s anus after a long-delayed super-shit. And above all, there was mental clarity, a renewed sense of focus and determination. I felt a bit more like “me” again.
The question is… what did I do? One explanation I’ve been pointed toward is that I somehow opened (or re-opened) my third chakra, my Manipura. I don’t necessarily buy into the idea of energy flowing through the body and collecting in certain locations; my bullshit meter tends to go off whenever someone starts using the word “energy” outside its scientific definition. I do, however, tend to suspect that some of these old occult ideas have some basis in real physiological phenomena; something was wrong, and now it’s not. One could suggest this was a mere psychological malady–but of course, everything that’s psychological is also physiological, and to address something happening “in the mind” is still to ultimately address something physical. If there’s not yet language in medical science to explain what happened, I’ll gladly use magickal language until and unless something better comes along.
I’m not really sure where I go from here with regard to the issue that led me to this experience. Or perhaps more to the point, I have a pretty good idea of where I go, and I’ll walk that path with my shoulders square and my eyes forward, but today it’s still breaking my heart anew every hour. Losing people you love is horrible, and though losing them to the random ravages of death is its own pain (as I learned last April), losing them to poor decisions, harsh words and just straight-up bad timing seems worse in its own way. I’m in a lot of pain right now; there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. And it’s around 50% my own damn fault. But I’ve been healing the past few months, becoming the man I always wanted to be, and I’m stronger than I was even four months ago when I chose to walk this path in earnest. If this is the path of enlightenment, it’s not one for the weak… but then it’s exactly my weaknesses that I’m out to kill, and as far as that goes, I’ve already left a few bodies in the street behind me.
In coda, for a couple of friends I might never see again: