January 20, 2019

Navigating the Asylum

Painting by Patty Bromberg
This past fall while talking with a friend, they paused a minute and observed, "You've been navigating the asylum."

"That's such a perfect description," I said.

I've been wanting to write about it ever since.

But where to begin?

Another friend sent me a link to the New York Times, where people can submit intimate stories. It got me thinking- what would I title my story if I ever sent one in, anonymously?

Perhaps I would title it The Year of the Lie.

I thought of this title because part of navigating the asylum for me was so complex and private that only a handful of very close people knew what I was going through.

For months and months I'd see friends, who I have known for decades, who had no idea what I was navigating in my life (besides my mom who had EXTREME PARANOIA FROM ALZHEIMER'S and two other family members who were very ill). It was a relief to at least let some of the pressure out of bubble that I was living in, by sharing this with them.

During those days, I felt like an impostor.

And for me, it had to be that way, because I needed privacy around myself, while I figured my way through it. Like an emotional obstacle.

Plus, the more people who knew, the more people I felt I needed to keep updated on the situation when they touched based, out of concern.

So many times I'd awake in the middle of the night and think, "What the FUCK has happened to my life?"

My sister said that I was in the BARDO, a Buddhist term for a transitional state between death & rebirth.

I was a woman, alone on a boat out at sea, where a storm had rolled in and I tossed and turned in the churning waves, whilst trying to find my footing & balance.

I had to take my sail down in an effort to survive the storm. I had to go down in the galley and shut the hatch tightly overhead and sit and wait out the harsh winds.

I had to be alone, and sit in the darkness and be patient with all the things the storm churned up and taught me about who I am and what I needed next in my life.

Finally it was time to share MY STORY.

In time I found a direction out of the storm and as the days and months have carried on, the storm has settled. I've poked my head up out of the hatch and come back up on deck. Things are calming in my life and calm is what I crave and where I want to be.

Lately, with new insight and information, I am looking at life through a new lens. Still unsure where it is all going to land, I will say this- that spiritually and energetically- navigating the asylum has been perhaps one, big, great gift.

More to follow in time.

Stay warm, and let's keep loving people and taking care of ourselves,
as sometimes it's the only thing we can do.