The lifelessness of each new day – I am surprised by what little seems to stimulate me now. The solace I find are at these keys; any time I can spend here, purging my thoughts and emotions here, it is time well-spent, and seemingly one of the only measures, practices, getting me through time as is slowly passes. Life after Ayahuasca; life after discarding years of trauma, self-doubt, pain, and darkness – but I never imagined, I had no idea, it would be this hard.
What is hard is not the fact that I’ve let go of so much, but rather, what to do with all this free space within me now. What I set out to do was empty this space, intentionally – I very much went with the intention to heal from trauma, with the intention to open my heart, and do that she did, do that, I did. Yet now, what remains? Social media is flat, meaningless almost, like, why do I spend my time there? What value is it adding, really? Television, the usual shows I binge-watch, hell, even The Office… I am realizing now how many hours I’ve wasted mindlessly staring at the screens we’ve grown so accustomed to, and I have several times felt like smashing my phone with a hammer if it means I will find something else worthwhile to do with my time. Alas, nothing drastic, and perhaps someone might need to reach me for something real, so I know I cannot just burn it all to the ground.
This is called integration, this is called the “real work” after Ayahuasca did hers in that Maloka in Costa Rica. As much as I was learning, paying attention to Todd and Joselyn, as much as I heard Scott and others whom have taken this journey before me – I “heard” them, yes, but I could not have understood it, not until coming back home. The real work, indeed, waits here – in the same house I left behind for the coast, with the same people I call my family; my children, my animals, my husband – the dishes, the floors needing swept… It is all the same, yet I am different. Completely emptied out. So, what do I do with that now?
I have established a new conversation with God, but one I did not expect. One filled with questions, asking for direction, asking for truth – the kind of truth that will center me on a firm foundation. As much as I want to hear my answers, He seems rather silent, though I feel he is patiently awaiting my surrender to patience. I know I need to be patient, with myself, with this healing, but truthfully that is very hard for me now, because this emptiness is growing more vast with each new day, and I desperately feel like I need to fill it, yet nothing sticks. Nothing interests me. At least, not the same as it used to.
Perhaps what I am being shown, then, is not that I need to hurry and fill this intentionally created void, but rather sit in wait, sit in observance of it. Observe how it feels to be emptied, when I spent all those years feeling way too full of shit I did not want. That is an uneasy feeling, and observing it, well… No simple task. My mind is trying to be distracted, hell maybe even writing is a “distraction” from observance, but I need something, and writing has always been that “something” – I just need to accept that at least I have this. So, I wait. Uneasy, emptied. . . For what?
Before Soltara, oh I would say a few weeks prior, I broke down sobbing – I remember feeling so overwhelmed with everything, so out of sorts with the monotony of my life. I felt uncomfortable with my roles: Housewife, Mother, part-time office manager. All the things I was doing that supposedly defined my hours, defined my place in this life. I was overwhelmed that no matter how many times I wash the dishes, or pick up the toys, the work never ends, and it is a thankless job, most of the time. I was frustrated with John, thinking his life at least has more color than my own experience, because he constantly travels for work, his meals are prepped and paid for by someone else, and he gets to spend his nights in peace and quiet in a hotel on someone else’s dime. He has value, where he is called, he is wanted and needed in his job, whereas, there I was, stuck in the mire of the same exact day, like Groundhog Day; everything on repeat, and no way out. I was feeling down on myself about what work I do get to do outside of the house, distracted, making mistakes, feeling like the value I provide was not worth my time, because I couldn’t see how it helped that I did any work at all.
These feelings – all of it – all of that is relatively the same. I have the same overwhelmed moments with the children and with running a home, the same frustrations that my husband at the very least gets to have some dynamic change in his routines, traveling here or there, the same self-doubt about my role at my job, wondering if it really matters that I do it at all, or if the mistakes I make just cause more trouble than I’m worth. Though it is all the same, however, my view is somehow changed, shifted slightly. While I am able now to see the value in my title Mother, my duties as wife, and my work outside the home, I still find that I am lacking something fundamentally important that would make this all seem… better somehow. Something shifted, and I have lost where I alone find joy, where I find meaning.
It is not that these things lost meaning, though their weight as “burdens” has lessened greatly and I am thankful for that, but rather that I am just not excited about all of it like I was. I am dulled, now, somehow, less stimulated, and more prone to wonder – what the hell is all this for, really? What is the purpose, my purpose? I am a mother to four beautiful children, a wife to a great man, and sometimes provide work for a beautiful Midwife whom I adore, fascinated by her work, offering help when I can. I am all those things – but is that… It? Is that my life? Is that what I am called to?
What this emptiness has done, I think, is provide space to examine all of this, clearly. More clearly. Without the burden of my emotional attachments, perhaps – or if anything, without the self-judgment I usually assign to myself when I question, at all, my “role” in this sphere. What this dullness has done is bring me to a space where I am once again searching for something, and this time, instead of trying to find that solely in the regular titles I call my own, I am seeking it from deep within, from the foundational place, from the part of me existentially driven to find meaning worth my time, something that will leave a mark – something I can say is “mine” and that it is “mine” because I alone choose it. Yes, I chose to be his wife, yes I chose to stay home and raise my children, yes I chose to work only once a week and otherwise “work” as a housemaid, and everything that entails. But I chose all of this a long time ago, when I had no motivation, no drive, to do what would suit me as an individual. I chose these things because they came, and when good things come (when you realize you’re pregnant and desperately want to be a mother – when you find “the guy” and finally feel seen and wanted) you say, “yes”. I am grateful I said yes to these people, my children, my husband, but I know now – I see it now – and this is the brutal truth… I said yes because that is “just what you do”. You say yes, when life gives you these things, but I never stopped to think how it would change the course of my life, not really.
Now, this might read like I regret it. Not for a moment. My children. Not for a moment. Nor am I dissatisfied with where I’ve found myself now.
It is deeper than that, and if I’ve misrepresented myself in any way, I would be happy to clarify – but one thing fundamental about me, is that, when I write, I just… WRITE. And whatever comes out, comes out, and I never stop to censor myself, not for anyone. So, take it as it comes, I guess.
… I am just stopping now. Stopping to ask: What do I have, for me? What do I do, for myself? What drives me? What motivates me? What provides purpose beyond the things I’ve chosen for my life? My children provide purpose, they provide meaning, and I love them beyond words can explain. My husband is a great man, and he loves me intentionally, he loves me, deeply, and I am grateful for that. I chose this, but I also chose, most recently, to do something big entirely for myself. For me, for my history, for my heart, for my mind, for my spirit.
I decided, I chose that, for myself. And other than the MDMA MAPS protocol I did also this year, I haven’t chosen purely “for myself”, probably ever… Not like this. I chose to do Ayahuasca because I needed this shift, but it’s left me with more questions than answers, and this deep desire to find what was meant for me, and me alone, as an individual, as a woman, as this person with this story – this heart, this mind. What is for me?
I realize we are taught, specifically in the parenting realm, that once we have kids, it is entirely and only selfish to consider “yourself” first. We are taught that we put our children first, always. We are taught that the partnership of marriage means you need to be equals and always consider them when you choose anything. We are taught that being a stay-at-home-mom (which is 98% of what I am, since I only ever work like 4 hours a week) means we do the work of keeping the home, and we aren’t to complain, because this is the ordained path for choosing to have children and raise them, first and always first. It comes first, all of these things, and to even think about deviating from that, to even question my place in my choice to tackle these institutions – well, how selfish can I be? How ungrateful? The list of adjectives critics give to “put me back in my place” could be quite long, I think… I was never meant to question what I chose, and stoically instead trudge it out, say nothing, and stand behind what I intentionally built here, in my marriage, in my home, in my motherhood. Say nothing, do the work, and keep your head down, “You chose this, Christina”.
I have, oh goodness, hopefully 50 or 60 years left, maybe? I smoked for some of my life, so maybe less. I do not always take care of my body, so maybe less. I fucking love fried food and Burger King, so maybe less.
I am a mother, I am a wife… But is that it?
I am grateful that now I am examining this, more clearly. I am grateful that I have the balls, pardon my politically incorrect phrase, to even say aloud, to myself – to write it here – “is this it?” Because, truthfully, honestly – I think I was emptied, I think I was meant to be carved out, so that I could examine what would fill that space. So that I could take some great time of deep introspection, fellowship with God, time away where I stepped back and said, “wait a minute – hold on – what am I doing with my life?”
Maybe I won’t get the answers right away. Maybe they will come in subtle ways, like I mentioned the desire to smash my phone and stay the hell away from social media. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow and have the desire to rip all my kitchen cabinets off the walls and rebuild them from scratch because I can learn from YouTube tutorials. Maybe I will be called to finish my Midwifery training and finally get to deliver those babies at home to their adoring parents. Maybe I will use this desire, this passion for writing, and find the motivation I’ve been lacking to finish that book I started writing 14 years ago. Maybe I won’t know – for a long time, and will need to sit in this emptiness, and remain in this stagnant place, but be happy that at least I’ve inquired more for myself than I had before.
Maybe this is all just part of integration, and this emptiness will slowly creep out, and I’ll find I am back to my old ways, just doing life without a single question at all, and that will feel exactly right.
Maybe it is okay NOT TO KNOW. Maybe I really do just need to be fucking patient and not rush this.
What I know for sure is that I am hollowed, and in so many ways, I am eternally grateful for that.
I am observing, and questioning, and sitting in wait – and I believe whatever inspiration I need, it will come, it will manifest, so long as I remain opened, waiting to be filled with something that will inspire me, something that will provide new meaning to the 35 years I’ve spent on this Earth.
I chose this. Marriage. Parenthood.
I chose this. Holding onto my pain, wallowing in my sadness, believing I could never change.
I chose this. Healing from traditional therapy, MDMA protocol treatment, Ayahuasca ceremonies.
I chose this. Right now, to sit and write, when I could have cleaned the clothes strewn across my floor, and I chose not to feel bad that I am putting that off, because I knew something more important had to come from this work, right now.
I chose this. To be honest. To be raw, and pour out my heart, and say the things that are hard to say.
I chose this.
Now I am choosing patience, as hard as it is, and simply observe this emptiness. To observe what it feels like, the slight anxiety in my chest, the sly laughter that I could be this bold and say the shit nobody says.
Authenticity, cut open wide. Ready for whatever is coming.
I have no fucking clue what it is. I just know I am open to it, open to change, open to healing, open to being the best mother, the best wife I can be – and I am open to understanding that I am not “there” yet. I am open to realizing that I have a lot of work to do, but right now, it is time to rest. To truly… Rest. To just… Be.
Recently I wrote a poem and it was about this old love I used to know. It came out of nowhere. It just… flowed. I poured my heart to him, and I realize he may never see it, but I hope he does, because that was the first time, the only time, I chose – for myself, entirely. And I’ve craved that autonomy since, but since we parted, I only ever got “what is”. It ceased to work like that, again, after us. I have no idea where it came from, the words I wrote for him, from inside me somewhere. As I read over it, once it was finished, I just smiled. I chose him, the way I choose these words, and this space here, to write, is all I have left “for me”. I am just trying to recover that, any way I know how. I am grateful I am free to try, and my husband understands what I mean when I explain that, indeed, I have to try.
I know that I am a lot of things, to a lot of people, but in that moment, I was pure inspiration. I was purely just letting my love flow, and it created something beautiful. If I had my way, the thing I would fill myself with would be these words, and they would come from me easily, they would come from me honestly. It is not easy to write, to share it, and be that vulnerable, but in this space, I am most free – to express, to feel, even the hard things, the things I worry others might read and judge me for. But when I write, there is no judgment, for myself – I am most “me” here, and today, even right now, I am proud that the gift I was given by God are thousands and thousands of words.
Maybe the thing that is coming is thousands more, and I will wake up tomorrow and just know, the thing I need to do “for me” is write, and take it seriously, and devote my time – whatever free time I have – to that…
I will wait, and see what comes.
No expectations. Just… Patience. However hard that may be.
What is meant for me is waiting. To be discovered. This emptiness cannot remain forever, right? Or, maybe writing that is in itself a form of expectation. Just, Be. Just be… Observe it, and let it come. Love. Life. Words. A new path… A new appreciation for what is, and a kindling of all that could be.
Patience here, in the emptiness, is key.