|Fire started on the first try. My friend & I are awesome. ;-)|
and those who have abused. As the prayers for peace, healing & forgiveness were spoken, my mind went to another place momentarily.
Memories of standing over the grave of the man that altered the world as I knew it were so clear. I remember seeing the messages left by his loved ones, expressing how wonderful he was & how they'd miss him. Reconciling that with the sadistic sociopath who had preyed on young girls for years, was difficult. Part of me always understood that he had probably become that way from things that had happened to him, as that is usually the case.
Another sweat, that one a healing ceremony for me, came to mind. I had been going through a lot of personal issues & it was causing PTSD symptoms in levels that I had never experienced prior. The flash backs were so real, with full auditory & even olfactory integration...actually reliving experiences. I was suddenly remembering details that I had not previously had conscious memory of. Body memories were seriously interfering with my sex life; with any sort of physical intimacy, actually, as I couldn't even stand to be touched by others without feeling anxiety. In short, it was beginning to interfere with my ability to function & I needed help.
The stories & confessions that were shared inside the lodge that day will remain there, & with me, forever. The experience, though, was transformative.
Thinking back, juxtaposing that sweat a few years ago with the one I was in at that moment, I realized how different I am now. Something happened over that time that I couldn't have anticipated. Along with healing and maturity, I gained more empathy & lost the compulsion to judge people (as opposed to their actions). I've become less willing to settle & less afraid to be alone. I have learned that no one is responsible for my happiness, other than me. Perhaps that is how I've reached the point where I largely ignore the expectations and rules that have been externally imposed in attempts to define individuals and relationships. Nobody, & nothing, is perfect. As long as it all averages out to more good than bad, & the cost-benefit analysis balances out, we're doing pretty well overall.
I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life, such as the women in both of the ceremonies mentioned, that help me become a better person every day. I'm happy with who I've become & hope that I can continue to grow & evolve in positive ways...and, hopefully, that will allow me to help others and contribute to their lives, as well.
Time changes things...perhaps nothing as much as who we are...