Fear of pain

It’s funny how we think we have read something in a book, in a blog, something that touches us, and when we go back to read it again it’s just not there. Maybe there are some words that vaguely resemble what we remembered, but the clear idea we had in our minds is not there, not like that. It was projected by our unconscious. He (She) knows better, doesn’t he?

An idea had been floating on my mind for the last few months, like a green smoke coming out of an imaginary cigarette. Persistent, moving slowly around the room, staying with me. I just didn’t know how to solve it. I stumbled upon this topic in a couple of blogs or maybe I thought I did… I wanted to know what I was afraid of.

Fear has been my lifelong companion. So many times I have wondered how it would be to live without fear. I didn’t even remember what I was (am) afraid of…

I looked. I looked and waited. I waited.

After thinking and dreaming about it, I came to the conclusion that what I was afraid of was pain, suffering. I came across this poem in a beautiful blog. I’m not sure I can say I found it; it rather found me:

[…] It doesn’t interest me
what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain mine or your own
without moving to hide it
…or fade it
…or fix it.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation (full version in this beautiful blog)

No, of course not. No, I haven’t touched the centre of my own sorrow. I have hidden from it. I cannot sit with my pain, let alone yours. I would try to fix it or at least avoid it. I would walk away for it. Hide it. Forget it.

But we never forget. Never. Our unconscious remembers. He takes notes and archives the memory. An amalgamation of images, smells, noises, colours, topped with a nice ribbon of emotions.

I built a wall to avoid suffering. I probably begun doing this when I was a child. It worked. But only a few days ago, when I was writing about the Tin Man in Oz and my unconscious kept bombarding me with all these projections, did I realise the vastness of my mistake. That wall I built did work. It separated me from the pain, which I no longer felt. But it separated me from other emotions too. I realised that accepting, feeling my pain instead of hiding from it, was my door out. Maybe if I could accept my pain, I would be able to accept… life instilling my lungs.

I have to dismount all the walls, the barriers, the ramparts I built to avoid suffering. What will happen next? I guess I will feel free for an instant. And then? Naked, vulnerable. And yet… there is a strange power in that vulnerability. There is no fear.

I will not hide anymore. If pain comes, when pain comes, I will sit with it under the willow, while we both, my pain and I, look at the lake at just cry. Just cry. I will not fade it or fix it. I will just be and let it be.

I cannot love another human being if I don’t love myself first. I cannot feel someone else’s pain if I don’t feel mine first. I cannot empathise. I can reach no one and no one can reach me. Isolation. Locked up, hiding from pain. I was wrong all along… all along… I need this pain, just as I need the darkness to see the stars.

Behind a neurosis there is so often concealed all the natural and necessary suffering the patient has been unwilling to bear.

Carl G. Jung, Practice of Psychotherapy

And the following week, for a few days I would wake up with this song in my mind. My unconscious is quite stubborn and he just insists until I take care of things or at least listen.

There’s a place in my heart
For every man on earth
Still i feel, i feel like i am shrinking

There’s a hole in my soul
Growing out of control
And i don’t know, i don’t know
How to mend it

You don’t want to suffer
(Don’t let anyone enter)
You don’t want to suffer
So howl to the window
Wipe off the dew
(And bend your claws)
Cry like you mean it
Just don’t pull out the tube

Stop looking for the tender hearts
(You’ll find nothing)
(Don’t push the button)

I want you to stay
I want you to go
Be mine forever or so

Our souls disabled
You want to rip out the cable but
False is the feeling of surfacing in safe mode

Bless the bleeder

(Stop (Don’t push the button), Susanne Sundfør)

Yes, bless the bleeder.