Dismantling Walls


 12 February 2014

Sometimes going forward
means going backward
slowly dismantling the walls
you have built up
memory by memory
hidden in the past

sometimes living in the today
starts with going back
to repurpose the sticks
and stones of your life
from prison walls
into monuments of hope


The image first presented itself in a dream, or better a serious of nights waking at 4:00 in the morning. That became my witching hour, unrest bubbling up from the cauldron within. Each waking met blankness as images of the dreams eluded me. I only knew that there were dreams trying to speak because of the troubled spirit I had on waking that did not directly correlate to anything in the day before.

So I sat in wait hiding behind my spirit trees, watching for glimpses of waking images to help me find out what was going on within.

The night came when I saw her, the little girl back against the wall, defiant fear a neon sign of “Go Away!” flashing in her eyes. I couldn’t have reached her if I tried. A huge wall of debris mounded between us unstable and significant enough to make approach in that moment impossible.

In another dream, I chose to walk toward that wall. The little girl ran to the wall and began throwing things sharp and hard until my dream-self retreated again.

This went on for several nights, each time I tried to approach her she would drive me away. I needed to do something new.

The next night when 4:00 neared and my dream-self entered that dream, she chose a new approach. She had noticed something earlier. With each thing thrown, the wall of debris was shrinking a little bit more and the girl was at the side of the mound instead of back plastered to the wall behind her.

This time, my dream self chose not to duck or retreat. She chose to stand and catch the things that were thrown. Each was an icon of memories, old scripts and events that the little girl had collected to say she was a pariah, a misfit, a leper. She had pushed them into that pile keeping others away that might have added one more word to that pile. In doing so, this hurting inner child had made a space where she could live untouched, a fortress of protection. Having been there so long, she did not recognize it as a prison.

The early morning hour came when my dream-self knew what to do. I think she knew as well, that it would be time before the little girl could be truly reached. So she called up a friend, a character in a story, who she had written as distant from herself in an island outside of this dimension. I didn’t know it, at first as the dream image began, but my dream-self was ready.

This time, as she approached, the little girl began hurling more objects and my dream-self caught them. I didn’t wake though, this time. Instead, my dream-self stopped and looked at what was in her hands. The memory held in the icon flooded into her. It hurt deeply but she paused before jerking me into wakefulness. Was this something that was worth keeping? Was it a wound worth revisiting? With the fluidity of dreams she tossed it aside into a bottomless garbage bin.

The next was hurled, this too went into the bin.

The third had a different appearance and a warmth. Looking closely she saw one of the happy memories that had been indiscrimanantly pushed away to form the mounding façade of protection. This she placed to the other side in the pile of things to keep.

It is then she called out to Shahara, the keeper of the island arising from story. “Shahara! I can’t reach you either. Are you on that side of the wall with her. Can you help her, please? She is so lonely, so lost and I have pushed her away so long. Please, Shahara, help her. The silhouette of my story’s protagonist stood in the new doorway on her side of the wall as I awoke.

There was one more dream in this series of nights. I saw Shahara holding and rocking a baby and I knew the baby was the little girl. She was being given the nurturing that my distancing had kept from her for so long. It began a new leg in the journey of my life, one in which the place of story became the center of a personal mythology teaching me to welcome and love those parts of me that I had shunned for their brokenness. I was learning to love myself in a new way – a way I hoped would someday teach me how to love others in a healthier more accepting way.

morning ghost
15 November 2008

 You haunt me hurling memories
to hide your face I wake
troubled until I remember You
don’t want me to see the pain
You hide I catch each memory
red and sore from too many
years of letting it hurt
I look at it acknowledge
the pain reject
the shame reject the blame
and throw away one more barrier
between You and me I move
one step closer and feel
You quaking step back
give You room
to catch your breath because
I know with each new memory
You hurl at me there is one less
barrier between us and I
am that much closer to
knowing You to set You free
it is too much for me
alone and so I call the One
who teaches me love to stand
with me as I find and free
the part of me holding what You
hold in your little hands curled
protectively in the fortress of
lesser pains that have protected
me from knowing You
from accepting You
for so long.


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