I Want It As Much As You Do

January 18, 2013 at 12:15 am (Death and Dying, Living, The Panniculectomy) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I get the gentle reminders, the emails, the comments in conversation. I hear them and I feel kinda guilty. I sit in front of my keyboard, the ragged notes hastily jotted down in the ICU by my side, and I try to describe the experience I had in the Underworld on December 28th.

Part of the problem is that I’m still remembering, bits and pieces hit me at the oddest times. I’ll be drifting off in thought and then another memory, in full technicolor, will hit me, one that I haven’t had before. I try to write it all down, try to make it fit into clunky, odd looking words, for myself if for nothing else.

The first challenge, I recently figured out with help from my friend Hugh (a wonderful writer and poet in his own right) is that there is no narrative to my experience. I cannot draw a timeline in which things happened in a precise order. I can try to force the images, the blocks, the pieces of patchwork into some sort of made up fictional narrative, but it doesn’t seem to want to be locked down like that. How does one tell a story without the sense of linear time?

Secondly, as I’ve said before, parts of it are deeply personal. It would take me more paragraphs to explain some of the symbols and images I saw, because you don’t live in my head, know my entire life story, or have the same reaction to certain archetypes/images/thoughts/feelings as I. It don’t know if the story wants to be weighed down in lots of explanations and footnotes, because it loses something in the process.

I don’t feel ready. One of the bigger messages I got is that this is a year of contemplation, and it may be that I’m supposed to go over these notes, try to recreate all the little scenes and memories over a much longer period of time. I am pretty certain some things that I remember will only make sense once I’ve had a chance to go a little further in this journey, like when an author drops a seemingly random piece of information about a character in chapter 2, never mentions it again, and yet it’s that tiny little factoid that solves the whole plot. In some ways, part of me is still down there, sitting on a rock having a big think, hoping that if I give it more time to marinate, it will make better sense to me.

I feel like I owe you a story, something, some piece of wisdom that came from my experience. So here’s something I feel like I can talk about, but ask me any questions and I’m likely to crumble.

Everything is a choice, she whispers. So many people, especially those ‘spirit worker’ friends of yours, makes everything in their life out to be an absolute, it must be this way, the Gods told me so. They speak of it as though this life was thrust upon them and now they’re just following orders. You can always say no. You can always walk away. At any point in time, if you are doing something, anything, and someone asks you why you are doing it, you should be able to tell them about your choice. Not all choices are fabulous and wonderful; sometimes the right or best choice is the drudgery and the discomfort. But it’s still a choice, still something that you made a conscious decision to do. Every single day, you choose to go to work, because you think if you don’t you’ll lose your job and go broke and be homeless and eventually die of starvation. You create this future in your head where the only right answer is the one you’ve chosen, and every other option ends in ruin. But how do you know that if you take today off, you might just run into someone at the Starbucks who’s looking for a new such-and-so, making twice as much money as you’re making now, in a part of the country you’ve always dreamed of living in?

Don’t get me wrong; there are wrong choices. Or at least, choices that have outcomes that are uncomfortable, and steer you away from your Purpose. But even if you’re going to make a wrong choice, you need to do it with an open heart, knowing that part of being alive is that you have complete autonomy over what your body does and does not do. You might have to make accommodations for things like disability and disease, but if you want to sleep 18 hours a day, you can make that choice. If you never want to see the sun again, you can get a graveyard shift job and only shop at 24 hour grocery stores at 4am. Nothing about your life is written in stone – not even what the Gods want you to do. We understand that you always have the right to say no, to choose something else, and then it’s our job to meddle and push and try to convince you to make a different choice, but there are plenty of people we approach for one reason or another who just ignore us, convince themselves we’re just a manifestation of mental illness, or purposefully choose to do something else because who wants to be in truck with an Invisible thing that might tell you what to eat, what to wear, what job to take…it feels like you’re surrendering that choice when you take on the yoke of working for us, but even in that we know, and honor, and are appreciative of, the choices you make that benefit us.

People say they can’t meditate, and you know the truth – it’s more that they cannot find a way to choose to meditate. It’s not like it’s a terribly difficult skill, and it’s easy to get better over time, but it means making that choice, every day, to set aside time to do it. People do this about prayer, about going to rituals, about celebrating their faith – they think that spirituality is a frivolous task, only to be undertaken by force, habit, or boredom. The reason we keep reaching out to people like you, Del, is because you can be living proof that choosing a life that puts spirituality at the top of the priority chain can still be a full and enjoyable life. So when you get together with your friends and gripe about what the Gods ask you to do, you’re working against this very simple Purpose.

This transitioned into talk about my friend Jon, who factored heavily into my experience with Hel, and I’m not ready to talk about that yet.

I want to share it with you. And I will. Over time. In pieces. As I get to better understand them, and glean what needs to be shared from what should remain personal. I am honored that you’re interested in what happened, that you don’t just dismiss the idea that something significant happened to me that day, but I need more time to write it out.



  1. Elizabeth said,

    Another deity once told me that I’d come a long way for the sake of love. That, too, was a choice, one that I’ve never regretted making, no matter how much it has hurt at times. You know what I mean.

    It’s funny that you posted this today; I had a very significant, very disturbing interaction with Himself this afternoon in which I was offered a choice, too, but I’ll talk to you about that on the phone or email. I’ll just say that I think I chose the right thing, and it’s clear to me that during your time in Hela’s land, you chose rightly — for you — as well. 🙂

  2. Rebecca said,

    Once upon a time, I asked Astarte/Venus for a favor for a friend. When I didn’t get an answer I was upset and said “but what about all I’ve done and endured and given up to be true to what you asked of me!?” and her reply was, literally, “Bitch, don’t pretend you didn’t do all that for YOU.” And she was right. Ah well.

    The cranky atheist in me still thinks this all sounds true.

  3. Fala said,

    I will admit some curiosity about what occurred, but something I’ve learned (partly in thanks to you) is that everything comes in its own time. I can be as curious as I damn well like – and so can everyone else – but our curiosity does not dictate your timeline. So take your time. It will come when it comes. The rest of us can learn a little patience. 🙂

    And I *love* what you could share. It really is a choice, every day. Thank you for choosing the path you have, and for sharing it with us. ❤

  4. Raven said,

    Thank you for sharing what you can, when you can. Take all the time you need, and only share what you want to. This was your journey, and your choices… though the message above is one we can all embrace.

  5. Heather S said,

    You’re recovering from a major surgery and you don’t actually owe anyone the sum of your interactions with Them. And sometimes you just have to sit with something for a while to process it before you can share any of it with anyone else. That’s okay too. Get some rest and talk about if/when you’re ready.

  6. Divine Twin Diversions said,

    I would not ask you to reveal what you’ve learned before you are ready. Of course I’m curious. But there is no rush. Take your time. Honestly I just smile a little bit when I see your posts as it reminds me that you’re still here. That is enough. 🙂

  7. EVCelt said,

    Glad I could help. A poem just came out of this, in case you’re interested:

  8. Tirani said,

    Thank you for sharing what you can now. And thank you for the timely reminder about choices. I am facing many, and remembering that my will is my own, and that nothing can be truly forced upon me by anyone but myself is important. I look forward to hearing more, when you are ready.

  9. ironwoodhearth said,

    Choice. Loki has been ON MY ASS about choice for the last couple of weeks. He seems to think choice is easy and understanding it is easy but I struggle.

    Found you just today. Both blogs. Adding you to my reader. You sound like my kind of people! Thank you for all the sharing.

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