Snakes and Ladders

walking homeHere we go again then.

There is a pattern emerging and it’s not the pretty pattern I planned.  That pattern consisted of decorative weekly blogs sharing current thoughts, events, musings and learnings; of successes, questions, happy times, great quotes and blue skies.

The pattern that is actually emerging from the woven threads of life is much different.  It is of the painful side of life, the dark thoughts, the cloudy emotions, misjudged conversations, chaotic communication, aching disappointments and the harsh realities of day-to-day life.  Day-to-day life which involves trying to maintain self awareness and work quietly toward self realisation whilst juggling work, health and other commitments in an attempt to create the best possible life and most comfortable emotional conditions.

Despite numerous good intentions and a fair amount of encouragement from others, my last blog remains the sharing of a previous dark but ultimately revealing time.  The plan was to follow it with posts detailing all the good things that have happened since in an attempt to motivate, inspire and generally ‘spread a little happiness’.  Publishing five books, the joy the animals bring at my ‘Tiny Holding’, the magic of my bees, inspirational meetings with the most wonderful people, motivational revelations, heart-warming relationships, sharing magical moments – all gently reminding myself and others of the wonderment of life and all it offers.

It seems that’s not my mission according to the universe.

Maybe it is simply that my time spent ‘searching in the dark’ coincides with shite weather confining me to my desk and a stabbing need to offload or maybe, as it became apparent after my last blog, it is in order to offer a little reassurance to others who are also trying to find the light in their own darkness.

As before, I am nervously aware that it will all be perceived as navel-gazing or self-indulgent purging but then I realise that I don’t actually care.  You don’t have to read it. The critics will, of course, also be fighting their own inner conflicts in their preferred way and may not want to be reminded of them right now.  I also recall the courageous, honest emails and replies I had from people sharing their own fears and battles and am inspired to continue. And yes of course I realise I am very fortunate to have a lovely dry and warm home at a time when many others don’t.

I have read numerous analogies, which liken learning about oneself and what motivates us (or not) is like peeling layers from an onion but I think it is more like the game of Snakes and Ladders.

Rumi said, “From the moment you come into this world a ladder is put before you that you may transcend it.”

He didn’t mention the snakes but Buddha did, “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”

So, there are the ladders, some steeper and more rickety than others and there are the snakes, some longer and more slippery than others.  And then there is the darkness.  Negotiating snakes and ladders in the light is tricky enough – in the darkness, it becomes a real test.

And often you don’t know you are on your way down until you are, well, on your way down.  In the light you have the luxury of predicting or even being aware of your imminent descent.  In the dark, that isn’t the case.

This time it was daring to unzip my emotional jacket as I took a well-earned breather atop a ladder that caught me out.  I dared to be vulnerable, to open up when I really would have preferred not to.  I trusted.  Unzipped that emotional body warmer and trusted that it was safe to do so.

Far from being safe, I was unprotected.  Sensitivity was at an all time high and certain incidents seemed to hit even harder than usual.  I was particularly upset to learn of a diver in Norway abusing a beautiful lake by harvesting Sea Urchins to supply the latest ‘delicacy’ for ‘the rich’.  FFS.  It actually hurt. What is the matter with people?  And that is just one example of shabby behaviour I find more and more distressing.

And it seems that I was not only more vulnerable to other people’s ‘stuff’, be it consumeristic or just plain clumsy, but also from some of my own demons which were hanging around waiting for an opportunity to strike again.  Completely unexpected, completely confusing and completely destructive.

And a long slide back down the snakes of self-blame and the repair and salvage of another unpleasant situation.   I remember these snakes from the last slide.  I have been here before and unless I learn from the slide, I will be here again.

But I have also climbed the ladders before and I will climb them again.  This time with greater agility and more confidence, energised by a greater awareness.  With more skills amassed to enable me to move forward with more grace and wisdom. And gratitude.  Gratitude for these hard times which teach so much. And which hopefully will inspire and reassure others to keep climbing.

As Thomas Huxley said, “The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.

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