compassion · love · maturity · self-care

Savage Love

This morning, I couldn’t get quiet in meditation, tried a
variety of different techniques and styles, and then decided, fuck it, I’ll
just do a journey. A “journey” is a shamanic journey, and how I do them at home
is via a tape of drumming on my ipod that I listen to. I’ve mentioned some
about this here before, and believe what you will or won’t, but it’s one of the
surest ways I find to get in touch with whatever’s going on, and to find
clarity and, potentially, resolution. 
NOTE: I feel that describing a journey is much like the way some people tell others about their dreams – they’re fascinating to the dreamer, not so much to the listener, so feel free to read on or not. 
I usually shy away from doing journeys at home (as opposed to when I
do them in a group), because they are so powerful for me, and usually provide a
level of information that is hard to sit with when I’m by myself.
It was none too different this morning.
Back in January, when I was on the women’s retreat up in
Napa, we were talking a bit about how people get to the various places of these
shamanic “worlds,” and I mentioned that every time I go to the “lower world,”
as I go down, I pass through this room that’s like the indoor penguin enclosure
at the zoo. I usually just walk right through to the exit door, and on down to
the lower world, but I was curious as to what that room was about, if it was
just a “silly” fluke of my brain or what.
I’d never really looked around the space, having been told early that I was
supposed to be getting to a place in nature and if we hit a man-made environment to just keep going. This space has always been there during my journeys; it’s a dark
room/hallway, with that eerie blue lighting that happens in those enclosures
as it lights up the exhibits and penguin habitats and water.
It was suggested in January that I take a look at the nature
of the space, that maybe it is trying to tell me something. And, if you’re with
me so far, your suspension of disbelief will be needed further. …
So, today, in the journey, I head down, and when I get to
this room, I stop and pause. I walk through and go out another door, but I
just walk into a whole mess of large leafy plants, and I’m pretty sure this
isn’t the “right” way. So I walk back inside.
Then I walk up to one of the two exhibits, lit behind its glass, to see what’s inside. It’s not penguins. Perched on the craggy,
bird-shit stained fake rocks that you normally see, is a woman, naked, and
hunched over herself. Her head over her bent knees.
At this point, I call up one, then two of my teachers/guides, cuz I’m starting
to get a little anxious, and I ask them who she is. This dirty, matted hair
naked woman is Love. She is the part of me that is love.
I ask what I should do, and it’s indicated that I go and
approach her, so the glass in the exhibit between me and her disappears, and I
walk through, and up onto the stained rocks, and crouch down to approach her.
She looks up at me. Her eyes are wild, fearful, non-linguistic, but meaningful
nonetheless. She ticks and jerks, like we imagine cave-people did, like savages
did. Moving without grace, and in non-self aware spurts.
I ask her what she needs. She “says” she’s cold. I put this
enormous fur coat around her I’d gotten previously (like a prize in a video
game I can now cash in). It’s warm, and filled with love and calm. I give her
some pajamas.
— She throws herself on me, supplicant with gratitude, but
this strong, muscular woman is crushing me with herself. With her love. Her
thanks are out of proportion with the gesture. And she wants to hold on to me
with such force.
She, is Savage Love.
I ply her off of me, and don’t know what to do, where to go,
if I should leave. Instead, I take her to this safe place I have, this desert –
the cave of the penguin exhibit fades and we both find ourselves in the wide,
open, dry, sunlit desert.
I don’t really know what to do with her – this force that is
too big, doesn’t know her own strength, and once is shown affection wants to
consume the giver, to keep it.
I bring in my little 5 year old self who likes to hang out
in this desert, drawing at a picnic table. I sit my primitive, wild self down with
her to draw, and she makes a whooping and hollering mess of stabbing the
crayons onto the page. The 5 year old self tries to tell her no, that she’s
doing it wrong, and messing with her space, and quickly, she has had enough, and
gets up to go to the sandbox, an elsewhere safe place.
Savage Love is furious, rampant in her rage at this
rejection, at being chastised and rejected. She is dangerous.
I call on someone else, a woman who represents adulthood to
me, who isn’t me, but surely, as these all are, is of course me.
She comes in, and holds the untamed woman. Like a mother
calming a child. The differences between a toddler and a savage aren’t much.
And that’s when I realize that’s ultimately what this woman is. She’s an adult
in form, but in her manner, reaction, and action, she’s very like a small child
– you give me something nice, I want it all and more, and I don’t care or know
if it’s crushing you or more than you can give. If you reject me or chastise
me, I’m enraged and destructive.
This part of me does not know or have boundaries. She
doesn’t have language, or common sense. She has been in a sealed glass cage for
nearly a lifetime – of course she doesn’t have “people skills.”
And, to get “real” for a moment, I resonate with these
reactions and actions she portrays as I consider my own actions in
situations of love. If you show me affection, I will drape myself over you, and
become dependent upon you. If you put up a boundary or behave in a way I
perceive as rejection, I will shove you away and cause as massive chaos as I
can doing it.
As you can imagine, today’s journey has caused a great deal of
self-reflection, but is bringing about a great deal of self-compassion. This
part of myself has not grown up and has remained in reactionary patterns of
behavior that in the end cause isolation and solitude.
When I had to leave, which, by the way, I was considering
the entire time during my interaction with her – how can I get away from her –
which is interesting… well, I left her with the adult woman comforting her,
calming her. She was calm. And she will learn.
But, on the way out, reluctantly, I took a look in the
second penguin-like exhibit, to see who or what was in that one.
It was Depression.
And I backed away, knowing that would need a whole ‘nother
day of work.  

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