By Rebecca Fahey
Oh what joy to have the rug pulled out from under me! It looks like the rug, “my” rug, was the magic carpet constructed by a child’s need. I’m learning to appreciate and celebrate the child’s ability to construct such a tool.
How interesting it is to now notice this magic carpet. I’m sure when it was ‘constructed’ it was large, protecting, and seemingly solid. Now in the light of this moment it appears small, creates barriers and is of no solidity. Where can I step that it doesn’t dissolve? Like a ghost from the past, it feels so familiar but just doesn’t fit anymore. What once felt like comfort now feels like a buffer keeping me separate and apart from all I hold dear, from actually living life. On the one hand, I’ve just noticed this magic carpet. On the other hand, there is a deep recognizing that this has been carrying me for a very long time.
Like a band-aid being ripped off, I went from not noticing I lived within the boundaries of that magic carpet to suddenly feeling like a lone piece of driftwood floating aimlessly upon the ocean waves.
What pulled out that rug? I guess the catalyst was a brain injury that left me for several months in a state of separation from…. well, my brain. The details about what happens with a brain injury can be read many places. What I’m interested in right now is how the mind reacts and interacts with the sudden lack of control and the loss of its constructed and well cared for coping skills that it simply took for granted as personality or the “I”. But wow, what an experience to watch the mind racing about trying to pick up the pieces and reconstruct what only dissolves when seen for the magic carpet it was.
For weeks, or was it months… time and detail of time have not come back on line for this brain yet…so for ever how long it was, there was a strong fear of what I had labeled “my feral mind.” The ‘I’ that had always been so familiar, for better or worse, had become wild and without boundaries. It was unpredictable and raw, and it scared the hell out of me. I noticed strange ways of relating to the world and people – a lack of censorship, a lack of inhibition, intuition and instinct calling the shots. I avoided leaving my house for fear that I would not know how to be, how to ‘act’ like I belonged to the human race.
Notes written in January during the experience, before I added fear and the thoughts that I no longer knew ‘how to be’, the beginning of noticing the way the mind was relating, had this to say:
‘I feel like I’ve become something feral.
Wild and uncontrolled,
Moving with an inner current.
Unable to connect with the external rules and norms of society.
This wild is not vicious but rather moved by intense love, feeling connection with the wild and uncontrolled in other beings.
I feel completely incapable to suppress the heart’s movement and no desire to do so.’
The simple noticing turned into ‘something’s wrong’. Terrifying. And then, maybe not.
There was a sliver at first of, “What if this isn’t ‘bad?’ What if this is a natural movement following causes and conditions?” And with those questions came a sudden and swift answer in the form of a twist of the view, like a camera finding focus. Ah, there is fear because something is different! Well to be fair, everything is different, but not really, just the perception and relation to perception and what was thought of as ‘I’ is different. This mind could still be labeled ‘feral’ or it can just be seen for what it is, a non solid, reflecting agent of perception. So what is there to fear? I was sure I could construct things to fear and reapply the feral label but now there didn’t seem to be a good reason to do so. There was ease in stepping off that magic carpet.
So, thank you rug and coping skills. You had a purpose to serve, but you aren’t the right fit in this moment. It’s very likely more magic carpets and coping skills will be constructed, but perhaps they can be known for what they are and not mistaken as solid, as permanent ‘I’, just aspects of a view of the time, subject to change and dissolve. It feels appropriate to thank them for their service and allow them to move on, neither rejecting nor attaching to them. That is of course, the view of this moment.