Monday, 14 February 2011

The Red Lotus

I had the urge to create a PMDD Mandala.
The lotus flower is rich in symbolism, and is often used in Mandalas.

The lotus flower starts it's life deep down in the murky mud at the bottom of a lake.  Through sheer determination and lust for life, the lotus grows a stem to the water's surface, where it produces the most beautiful flower.
The lotus flower will open and close with the sun.  While it is closed, it is reserving heat and precious energy, ready to bloom again the next day.  It represents the struggle of life, the beautiful bloom at the end of a long hard journey.

I have often felt that the periods of down time and bad days are a time when the world has to stop, our focus is drawn inwards.  We heal, we work out our 'stuff', we re-energise.  A lady with PMDD would be forgiven for hating the bad times, for all the set backs it causes and all the old memories re-lived, but maybe it helps to see this time as a way to rest and learn from the thought's we have.  This is all easier said then done, but whats the alternative?  Live in constant fear, in anger and frustration?  Like the mandala, we need to find a centre.  A place where we can find a calm.

Only today, I have had a day of barely speaking to anyone.  I am due on any day now.  I can feel it getting close, and I draw within, I hardly speak (which if you know the 'good' me, you know thats not right!).  I sat in silence for hours today.  Writing, reading, thinking..  I had a long hot bath and then a rest and snooze in bed.  I had kept calm all day.  But I'd been alone.  The kids get home from school and within minutes I'd began screaming and yelling.  I start feeling anxious and stressed.  I want to cry.
The anger builds up because I want to be alone.  I want to keep that calm, cos if I don't it's like a spinning top losing it's centre.  I lock myself away in the kitchen, I provide food, drink and allow the eldest to go out - the more she is away from me at this time the better... and that's not because I don't love her.  I just want... need, to be alone.

The lotus flower is special to various religions.  In Egypt it is said the Sun rose out of a lotus flower.  In Buddhism, a red lotus represents the heart--its purity, original nature, compassion, passion and love.  Red also relates to our menstrual blood, our anger, rage and pain.  In Hinduism, the lotus also means non-attachment.
Non-attachment means being able to release an attachment to an outcome.  For instance, you say you will meet a friend for a cuppa, but you wake up that morning and are feeling terrible.  The PMDD has thrown the mother of all moods, or headache, or cramps (insert any other symptom here that stops you from being able to leave the house) and you realise you aren't going to be able to go.  If you are attached to the idea of that  meeting and it doesn't happen, you will feel bad, guilty, stressed.  You may feel like your friend will never speak to you again (another attachment), you may feel like you are rubbish, that you upset everyone around you, everyone must hate you, or maybe you are just really gutted, you never get to go out, you never get to meet up with people... spiraling out of control till your day becomes unbearable.
If you can release those thoughts and the attachments you give to outcomes (and remember you are not in a great head space to be giving positive thoughts) then you can stop all the stressing.  So your day didn't go to plan, so you feel awful, SO WHAT?  Use that day to look after yourself, to listen to the good voices within, to create, to rest, sleep, bake, draw... anything that just involves you and your Goddess of God.  Don't sweat the small stuff, just change your day.

Many things in life are paradoxes. One can be totally devoted to someone and yet be non-attached. Now there is a difference between non-attachment and detachment. Detachment is to exclude oneself from all activities of life and just to be far away, to become reclusive. To be non-attached is to be able to partake of every activity of the mind and body and spirit and yet be above it all. Now, when ones goes into detachment, it could be a form of escape, where one does not face up to the responsibilities.

The lunar phases around the lotus represent the eternal cycle of PMDD we are locked in.  The Moon represents the feminine, the unknown, the unconscious.  It cycles every month, just like us, and goes from dark to light.

We need to try and use our cycle to our benefit, even if that benefit is small.  Even if you just stop beating yourself up on the bad days, and just accept this is part of your flow, look after yourself and stay calm.  Everything in life goes through cycles, ours just happen to be monthly and difficult.

The Stone Child

The Stone Child – An Inuit Story
Told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

There was an orphan that was so lonely and so hungry that no one wanted to be near him.  His mouth was open all the time and his teeth were always showing and tears were always running down from his eyes, and he was so wild with hunger that they had to tie him in the entrance to one of the skin houses so he’d not try to eat the hunters on their way to the seal hunt; that’s how hungry he was.

They would, on occasion, leave him some rancid reindeer meat or maybe some spoiled intestines to eat, but, as we know, it was more than hunger that was gnawing at him.  Those deep needs that not even the person themselves understands.  So everyday he stretched his chain a little bit and a little bit more, until he could get near a stone that was more or less the same size as himself.  You see, his mother and father had died one night, and their bodies had been dragged off by bears, and all that had been left behind by them was this one particular stone.  So he wrapped both his arms and his legs around that rock and he wouldn’t let go of it.  And, of course, his people thought he was crazier than ever, and on their way home from the hunt, with animal carcasses slung over their shoulders, they would jeer at him, and they would say, “Analuk has taken a stone for a wife, ha ha.  It’s good for you to have a wife who is a stone, for then you cannot use your hunger and eat her.”  And they went on their way. 

But the boy was so lonely and so hungry that he really had reached the end of his feeling for life.  And even though he had that terrible loneliness and that gnawing hunger, he kept his body wrapped around that stone, and because the stone began to take the heat from his flesh, the boy began to die.  The stone took the heat from his hands, and then it took the heat from his thighs, and it even took the heat from his chin where he rested it on top of the stone. 

And just as the boy was living his last breath, the hunters of his village came by again on their way home from the hunt, and again they called him down, and they said, “You crazy boy!  You are nesting with that stone like it is an egg.  We should call you Bird Boy, you good-for-nothing creature.”  And because the boy was near death, his feelings were hurt more than he could ever say, and great icy tears began to roll down his face and across his parka, and his cold, cold tears hit the hot, hot stone with a sizzle and a hiss and a crack, and it broke the stone right in two.

And inside was the most perfect little female the boy could ever want.  “Come,” she said, “I am here now, and you are an orphan no more.”  And she gave him a bow and arrows and a harpoon she had brought with her, and the boy and the girl made their house and had babies.  And, if they are not yet dead, they are in that land where the snow is violet and the night sky is black.  They are there, living still.

"The original abandonment, the original abuse, the original horror has some reason and meaning in it. It is not senseless. It is not like being run down like a dog on the highway. Its meaning most often is the development of tremendous strength, tremendous power, tremendous intuition. And I will tell you frankly that most of the people who are the greatest healers living on the face of this earth are unmothered children. One of the great gifts of the unmothered child - and also the healer, and the writer and the musician and all those in the arts who live so close with their ear against the heartbeat of the archetypal unconscious - one of their strongest aspects is intuition."

"Be proud of your scars. They have everything to do with your strength, and what you've endured. They're a treasure map to the deep self."

(Quotes and transcript from the CD -  Available HERE)

Thats me... the Stone Child.  The feeling of not belonging, of not being needed, or being dismissed and dumped is all too powerful at the moment.  I've been lost in a painting for over 5 days now, but the pain, the old feelings that recent events have dredged up are trying to tip me over the edge.  The internal battling of rational and irrational is tiring me out.  Trouble is, the irrational isn't actually irrational.  It's normal when you have grown up an umothered child.

I have warmed, I have love in my life, but that connection to parents feels like it is forever lost.  At the centre It still feels like stone.  It still feels like a huge burden to bear.  A burden that my gorgeous partner helps me to carry, with his patience and understanding, whether he realises it or not.  It's our 2 year anniversary today, and he has helped me heal myself.  He has helped me learn how to accept love and what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.  I have never felt so secure with someone ever before.  I am still healing, and maybe I will never feel like I'm free of the heavy stones I carry, but I'm in love, and I am loved, and that gives me the strength to keep on going, regardless of the weight of my past.

Happy Valentines  xx

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