I am about 3 weeks late on a deadline. I am never late with deadlines (except for a notable exception because I can’t seem to operate Google Calendar). But this one requires going deeply into something, something I just don’t want to touch.
But I have to.
It calls to me, whispers to me at night just as I’m drifting into sleep and makes my eyes snap open as if on springs and my heart suddenly pound. I push it away with safe thoughts, good thoughts, and push my leaping heart back into my chest. It wriggles, fishlike, for a moment, then lays still, obediently pushing blood into my arteries again. I can breathe. The moment is gone.
The other day I was meditating and felt guided to have a hot bath. Bath preparations were narrated by my inner voice: insistent, encouraging. The water in the bath, I understood, was me. The essence of me. I was to immerse myself in … me.
I undressed and got in the water. Hot. Stillness. Yes, this was me.
Inner screams. Panic. ME?? I am immersed in MYSELF??! It felt like bathing in acid; I could feel the inner awfulness burning, burning, searing my skin, destroying me.
I wanted nothing more than to get out of that bath. Immediately. But I couldn’t move.
The inner voice still spoke to me. I listened. I breathed in my fear, breathed it in and felt it, loved it. I felt my panic subside. I could love this water, this me. I could love it.
My body relaxed. The voice continued.
The project that has this deadline is like the water in the bath. It requires me to look deeply at things I’d rather not see. Things that are painful to think about, let alone become immersed enough in to write about. But who am I, anyway? I am my story. I am the stories I tell. And if I don’t look deeply, if I don’t touch the burning acid inside, then my stories lie deeply hidden, burning a hole deep within me. Touching the burning acid, then, is the only way to set it free. It’s the only way not to burn up inside, becoming an empty hole surrounding a pool of fire.