(Part 3 – Head or Heart – can be read here)
“But without logic, and without you telling me how things are, how do I know what’s going on?”
10th January 2002
It was so lovely to get that long email from you over Christmas. It felt like a sense of normality returning, hearing you talk about presents, travel and work. I had to smile about how my mind had been running away with itself, imagining the worse, when a deeper part of me knew you were just busy and not able to get in touch. It has buoyed me up, knowing that we’re still okay too – that you still love me and that the connection is still there on both sides. In the absence of communication, the mind can start to create all kinds of scenarios, trying to prove its supremacy over the heart and emotions by its use of logic. There’s never been anything logical about any of this so I don’t know why I keep falling back into the realm of logic. I should know better by now.
But without logic, and without you telling me how things are for you, how do I know what’s going on? Maybe it shouldn’t matter but I’ve always been like this. I’ve always been better able to deal with life when I know what’s going on, even if it’s bad news. I find the unknown pulls at me much more than the known. And not knowing what was going on with you was pulling my attention hugely away from my life here, something I really don’t like. I’d been finding it increasingly difficult to keep my full attention on my work, my daughter, even my study, with the constant nagging concern at the back of my mind. I’d been trying to reconnect with my old love of Zen as a way of staying present, but even that wasn’t doing much for me.
Once your long email arrived, though, I found my balance again and life has been good over Christmas, even if it has been quiet. Perhaps I’m blessed by not being a Christian so I have no big expectations of the festive season. It’s just a time of magic in the depth of winter without the stress that I seem some around me experiencing. I had a quiet evening on my own, once my daughter had gone back to her father. Time to sit and think about how it must be for you, seeing your family once more after months of separation.
And now we’re into another new year. Who would have thought, this time last year, what big changes a year could bring! Would we both have continued with our relationship had we known where it would lead? Or were those changes going to happen eventually regardless of any relationship between you and I? I think they probably were – that this connection was just a catalyst to bring them about a bit quicker. Looking back a year is also making me look forward a year – wondering where we might both be in a year’s time and if there’s anything we should be doing to prepare for it.
With all the quiet time I’ve been having over the holidays I’ve been experimenting – like I said I would – with trying to tune into you. It’s been really interesting and has almost become a daily thing for me to do now before I go to sleep. It’s my way of trying to feel close to you, in the absence of a more direct connection. It’s all a bit strange, still, and I’m not sure how much of what I’m feeling is real and how much is my imagination.
What I do is sit down cross-legged, or even lie down on the floor, and try to quieten my mind. It works best if I’ve just been doing yoga because my mind is already quiet then. I close my eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Then I kind of listen, as if I’m trying to pick up some kind of psychic voice mail from you. Okay, this really does sound weird as I try to explain it! Just stick with me.
On the basis that all information is out there, somewhere, in some shape or form – part of the super-conscious as Jung would have it – I’m assuming that everything I want to know about you must be out there somewhere too. And if it’s out there then maybe, if I listen carefully enough, I can pick it up. That’s basically what I’ve been trying to do.
What’s really interesting is that when I go into listening mode, my mind goes completely still. I’m not really listening with my ears – it’s more like I’m listening with my whole body. But my mind goes quiet as if it’s waiting to receive some audible message that it can process – it pays attention because it doesn’t want to miss anything, like listening in class or listening to the radio.
Most of the time I don’t really pick up anything about you. What I seem to discover is other stuff – emotions start to come up and I feel sad, or angry, or even happy for no apparent reason, and then they seem to just go again as if they’re being released through my body as I pay attention to them. Sometimes, though, I do get a distinct image of you or a sense of how you’re feeling. When that happens it’s almost as if I’m going into a state that’s a bit like sleep only I’m aware of what’s happening – a kind of trance, I guess. My body gets very relaxed and my breathing slows right down, and then I get an image of you doing something or being somewhere, and, along with the image, I feel a wave of emotion which seems to be coming from you. Strangely, it seems as if I can release this emotion through my body in the same way that I’m releasing my own. I’ve no way of knowing, without your confirmation, if it’s having any effect on you – whether you feel any lighter after I do this.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that I can start to clear away some of the heavier emotions I’m feeling during the day in the same way. You know how those various songs and pieces of music can really put us through the emotional wringer at times, bringing up that dreadful sadness and longing that we both have been carrying? Now, when they come at me unexpectedly during the day (like, in a shop or from a passing car), if I find somewhere quiet to sit for a few moments, I can let the emotion well up in my body as I do when I sit at night, and it just seems to clear right through me rather than hanging around for hours as it used to. Amazing!
All of this is making me particularly sensitive to my body. I’m really getting a sense of how emotion feels in different places within me, starting to get a first-hand understanding of why the ancient Chinese used to associate the organs with various emotions. I dread to think what I’ve been accumulating in my liver and gall-bladder all these years! It’s as if our bodies have these places where we store unwanted baggage – like the spare room or attic in a house. Whenever we push away, or can’t deal with, an emotion, we stick it in our personal ‘attic’ – whatever organ seems most relevant or perhaps it’s whichever is weakest.
All this is by way of distracting me from the main issue, though. I still lie awake at night with this longing to love you more directly. Suppressing emotions like anger and sadness kind of makes sense in that we usually don’t want to feel them anyway. But what about love? What do you do with unexpressed love, given the fact that you can’t just release it – it doesn’t just ’go away’? It seems the more I manage to ditch the sadness, the more I’m feeling love – but I don’t know what to do with it.
The only way I’ve found of dealing with it is to just simply pretend that you’re here. Strange and all as it sounds, if I pretend that you’re here my whole day seems different. After all, I wouldn’t be seeing you most of the time, would I? I’d be at work and so would you, or at the gym, or whatever. So I just talk to you in my head as if I was giving you a quick call to see how you’re day is going, and I find I’m more peaceful in work and more able to share myself with those who need me. I don’t understand how it works, but it’s making things easier so I guess it has to be a good thing. Maybe I’m just using my mind to play tricks on itself rather than have it continually trying to trip me up with its fears! The only tricky bit comes at night when I slip under the duvet and there’s no-one else there in my big, comfortable, double bed. I imagine what it’d be like to stroke your cheek or wrap myself round you, and sometimes that’s a comfort – but other times it just drives me to distraction. It’s hard to replace real, tangible, physical connection with the thought of it.
Anyway! Let’s not go there right now. Pushing those thoughts aside, and knowing that you still feel for me as you did before all the changes happened, I have an offer to make. How would you like me to visit for a few days next month? I think I can probably make it if you’re ready. I didn’t want to drop in on you too early but it’ll be coming up on nearly half a year since we’ve left our marriages by then, and it feels right to meet up now – as two independent people who are free to create something more if they want to. You have to be completely honest with me, though, and tell me if it feels okay for you or not. I don’t want to push you.
Just let me know how you feel and take care of yourself. Oh, and happy new year – although I already sent you that through my attempts at telepathy a few weeks ago.
All my love.
(The Blog Novel of the Letters unfolds here weekly during the autumn and winter. If you’d like to be alerted as they are published, please just ‘follow’ my blog).