Thursday, August 16, 2018

Deep-Wreck Diving on the Inner Self

I am always working on myself in my quest to live whole-heartedly. That takes a lot of courage and even extends into my other work. Every time I work on a painting or do a writing and show it to others, it’s an act of bravery. It’s setting myself up for comments – sometimes negative, although for the most part, people are nice.

But I love what I do! It takes courage to put myself out there and not hide from people. What I do is MY way of paying it forward. If someone enjoys reading what I wrote or even gets inspiration of a little self-awareness, that is all for the good. If people enjoy my photos or paintings, then I am helping to spread beauty. Of course, if anyone buys a painting, I am so very grateful!

My inner work recently involves changing how I think. It’s important to think positively and stop any negative thinking. Yes, I will admit that I return to a topic and/or will repeat what I’ve said before. Repetition is a teaching tool. I often need to repeatedly remind myself of things, and sometimes I need to hear/read something more than once (or a dozen times, ha ha) before it totally sinks in.

I love treasure hunts and I'm finding more of that type of analogy in things I do. Writing a poem when the ending often surprises me by going in a direction I didn't expect. The self-work definitely is a treasure hunt. I search through the muck for the gold because too often the past has filled us with muck. On one hand, this way of thinking makes the self-work interesting and fun. It's also a treasure hunt when I do a painting because the journey to the finished piece throws out nuggets of learning.

And here's a continuation of that analogy: I'm re-reading some books on deep-wreck diving like to the Andrea Doria or Empress of Ireland. (Something I would NEVER do for real, but it’s so fascinating!) Deep-wreck diving is far more advanced and dangerous than just scuba diving. What the divers go through from breathing apparatus and air mixture; then slipping down over 200 feet into sometimes total darkness except for whatever type of light they can carry; of not being able to see more than a few feet in front of them; of getting inside the wreck with jagged pieces of metal and dangling cables and wires that can ensnare them; to any movement (including their air bubbles) dislodging tons of silt to cover them making even less visibility.

Often the wreck settles on the bottom at angles, so ceilings are walls and floors might be ceilings or decks have collapsed onto others creating impossible obstacles. There’s the possibility of finding human bones and realizing that these wrecks are often graveyards. Then there are the dangers of the air mixtures which can cause narcosis or oxygen toxicity. Excitement and fear exacerbate the problems by causing the diver to breathe harder which depletes the air supply quicker. A diver can get lost penetrating the depths of wreck and never find a way out.

Then the diver sees a glint of something shiny, reaches in the muck, and pulls out a brass bell or a gold-rimmed piece of china ...

Doing inner self-work can be similar to deep-wreck diving with that deep, inner self being the wreck. How many years has the wreck been down there? How many decades of silt has accumulated and what kinds of things are growing on it? What kind of bodies are buried there. What obstacles are there to get around, get caught on?

It’s an emotional dive, for sure. For some, it’s a simple exercise in exploration. For others, it’s the opening of a whole new world. Sometimes a stirred-up memory can be like sharp, jagged metal ripping a hole in the skin. Other times, as the darkness presses in, claustrophobia sets off intense fear. What about the monster hiding around the corner? Is it that one that hunted you as a kid?

My favorite poet is David Whyte. He likened inner work as going down into the well and digging through the muck. (Your own personal well inside you.) That's been my favorite analogy for years because it IS like going way down into my inner well, deep within my abdomen which can feel like a bottomless pit at times. And now with this deep-wreck diving analogy, I can see myself swimming down dark corridors filled with dangerous obstacles and sometimes feeling I'm never going to get out and I'm going to drown in my own stuff.

But then my hand reaches into the gooey silt and I pull out treasure! That makes it all worthwhile. I’ve gained a better understanding of myself. I’ve learned. Another step in the journey to whole-heartedness.

As with deep-wreck diving and doing inner work, there are men and women willing to take those risks. WE take those risks whenever we go down (or back to our younger years).

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