Rebirth I


 

This song haunted me for weeks, day in and day out, about six months ago. I pasted it here so I could easily listen to it, whenever I wanted to do so. I have no idea how many times I did just that. Music has been a very important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Since very early childhood, if I heard a song that I liked, I could sing it, pitch perfect after listening to it two or three times. I had what might be called ‘an ear’ for it.

This song bothered me, because I both liked and didn’t like it. I liked it’s simplicity and the imagery within the words. Stark, but clear. Waiting for the sun to rise, to end the darkness is a universal that everyone can understand. The urge to dream of the sweeter things is, yet again, another universal concept easily understood. And the tiredness of living day to day, hoping for and yet, seeing few if any changes.

But, then comes the second verse. Simply a repeat of the first one. That sort of hit me sideways. No expansion on the original lines, just a repeat. I wanted more and was, at first disappointed. Because the music also changed, expanded and became a sort of surreal cacophony that was almost jarring. Edgy, if you will. So, I just sat with the song, let it take me wherever it would and finally realized why it was haunting me. Because it is about life itself and how so many of us human creatures actually experience that phenomenon.

Early in April, I turned 74. It was a silent sort of shock, to my whole system. When I turned 70, I wrote one sentence that day. “I don’t know how to be 70.” Now, here I am at 74 and I still don’t know how to be this number of years. I mean, that means I am an old person. A really old person. Someone who is living and breathing on The Edge of The Dark. And yes, my eyes are tired, as is most of the rest of what might be defined as my system.

And yet, over the past few days, I have realized that I have a deep desire to write about something I consider very important. I want to write about ‘rebirth’. My writing has always been personal. In other words, stemming from my own personal experiences. Just the thought of rebirth, at my age, sends my thoughts screaming into that darkness, never to be seen again.

Yet, here I am, trying to do just that. To be honest, I am making no promises for ordered thought, let alone coherency. So we shall begin at the beginning. What the heck is rebirth? What does it mean? Is it even possible? If it is, how does one go about doing such a thing? And more important, perhaps, why would one seek to do that?

I can only tell you of my own experiences. I was twenty-seven years old, married with two children. I’d been reading a book that a friend had given me and I found myself doing something I hadn’t done in years. I prayed. And when I stopped, my insides sort of lit up and I felt joy for the first time. It felt like Spring, Sunshine, and bubbles all rolled into one and now dancing through my entire system. All I could do was laugh out loud and hug myself.

The next morning, not having spoken about what had happened to anyone, and in the spur of the moment, my husband, two kids, and myself got in the car to take a ride West to visit my sister, who had recently moved to a different and unknown town. As we drove away from home, I reached out and turned on the radio. It was John Denver with these words: “He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year, going home to a place he’d never been before. He’d left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again, you might say he’d found the key to every door.”

That was my first experience with synchronicity, as well as my first lesson concerning Joy and Rebirth. My second lesson was far from the same. In Native American cultures there is a shamanic ritual known as the cycle of “Life/Death/Rebirth”. In it, the initiate must dig his own grave, lie down in it (the covering having been closed off by a blanket), and wait through three days and nights, of total darkness to be given a vision that would explain his purpose.  That almost sounds easy in comparison.

It was more than ten years later. We were living in a farm house, out in the county. Now there were four children, two in their teens, two almost ten years younger. Having been raised in a strict Catholic family, I was struggling with the concept of divorce. My husband had finally admitted to being an alcoholic, had sought rehabilitation, but his need to control me and every aspect of our lives hadn’t been diminished. I had been in our bedroom, with the door closed, trying to find a way through our current situation. I finally roused myself enough to leave the bedroom and walk as far as the dining room where I sat in a chair with my back against the wall.

Only to realize that my husband, in only his skivvies, was sitting in the rocking chair next to the fireplace, haranguing all four of our children who had been ordered to sit on the floor in front of him. All four of them were crying. Obviously in a state of cold rage, the man was shaking his finger and pointing at them, as he said, “No one, not one of you will move, until at least one of you agrees with me, and says out loud,  that your mother has never been here for you, has never really loved you, because she is utterly selfish and incapable of loving anyone.”

I had put the divorce on hold. I had filed, after he came home drunk at two in the morning and beaten the shit out of me, and six cops had arrived (called by my son), to escort him out of the house. One of those police officer’s had remained behind and while sitting across from me, had very calmly and quietly asked me a question: “Do you know that no one, not your father, husband, son, or a friend has the right to do this to you?” I clearly heard and understood his question, perhaps for the first time in my life.

My husband had taken himself to a rehab center, where he’d stayed for a two month period. He’d started attending AA meetings and would go to them regularly. I had given almost twenty years to the marriage and decided that I at least owed all of us the opportunity to see if this incredible change might work. He did stay sober, but his cold rage toward my person never left.

It would take many more years to fully understand that rage, but eventually I did come to realize that it had very little to do with me. It was a carry over from his childhood and something he’d never worked through, and more than likely never would. As I sat in that chair and heard his words to our children, my decision was obvious. I stood up and clearly stated, “I’m done now.” Then left the room and took the divorce off hold.

Which meant that I was something new. Born again as a single woman, mother of four children, a second year college student with a long journey in front of me alone. What I’m trying to say here is that ‘rebirth’ comes in all kinds of ways. Yes, it can be spiritual, like my first one, but it can also happen on other levels, psychological, physical, mental, or emotional. And just like an unborn child, finally ready to arrive, we are swept up by timing and circumstances beyond our control and shoved into a whole new world and state of being.

Which brings me to why I feel a need to write about rebirth. The Pandemic and its restrictions, have drastically altered our lives in so many ways, and on so many different levels. What are you feeling in this moment? Does it mirror the you that you were before it all began? Are you experiencing wide mood swings, or just one that is darker with angry inner or outer bursts of desires that have little or nothing to do with who you were when it all began? Are you constantly exhausted and for no real reason? Do you even have a Normal to go back to, should it end next week, month, or year? And last question, for now, what would Normal look like now and how would it make you feel?

This is only the first of what I foresee as a series of essays concerning the subject of Rebirth. If you’d like to respond to this first article, the comment section below is there for just that purpose.

Elizabeth Crawford 5/25/2020

 

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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5 Responses to Rebirth I

  1. Sherry Marr says:

    I am not at all surprised to learn that awakening happened to us both at the age of twenty-seven. It was years more before my life made sense, but that was the year I came alive and began my journey. The scene you describe, the definitive moment when you were done, is so well described. I remember that clarity also. The other thought I have is that people can become sober, but remain what they call dry drunks, and they keep that rage, and that blaming of everyone else. Unless they truly and honestly do the work of healing, which it sounds like he had little desire to do. Sigh. What a journey, my friend, we both have made. And KEPT our sense of humour, thankfully.

    Sherry, I have waited to respond to these comments because I needed time to allow the reality of what I wrote here to sink in. I’m also fairly certain that you and the others will understand. I agree that twenty-seven seems to be a pivotal age. Perhaps, because we finally stop playing at being adults, and actually become that? As for the ‘dry drunk’ symptom, I agree. Although he remained sober and an active member of AA, he never made amends to me. Instead, he rewrote our history, telling our kids that yes, he had a drinking problem but had dealt with it. Then told them that I was the real alcoholic in the marriage and would never be okay. The abuse never really stopped. Yes, it has been quite a Journey, and I am grateful for the most part. The healing process continues and always will. And the ability to laugh is a sign that the healing process is actually working. Thank you for your thoughtful words.

    Elizabeth

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  2. catterel says:

    There seems to be something about the age of twenty-seven – it’s often been a crucial point, death or rebirth or simply drastic change. I only realized. looking back, that it was my last chance and I missed it.

    Thank you for responding Catterel. I’m sorry for whatever happened to you back there, at twenty-seven. I do know that we all have missed chances in our Journey. I had one about two months ago. I spent several weeks beating myself up for it, and then realized that was wasted energy and certainly wasn’t helping me to thrive in this place where I actually exist. Life is never easy and that might be the only reality. I would rather go to bed at night, knowing I’ve done my best, rather than slapping myself in the head for something I can not undo. There are no guarantees, and one day at a time is more than sufficient for me. And, I find, is often too much to handle without making mistakes.

    Elizabeth

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  3. Your essay sent me reeling back in time Elizabeth. I think we all have our defining moments, that change us forever. I don’t think we ever stop going through this cycle of life/death/rebirth. Thank you for the reminder, this is a powerful piece.

    Thanks Linda. Actually my essay sent me reeling as well. It isn’t what I had in mind when I began. But that’s how it most often goes for this writer. I have a vague plan and then in the course of putting down the words, it all goes dancing off to some new music. And, all I can do is follow the lead. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the cycle continues until we stop breathing. As far as defining moments, I’ve had my fair share but know that there are still a few ahead of me. That is what life, and truly living it, is all about. As long as we are breathing, we simply aren’t done yet.

    Elizabeth

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  4. KT Workman says:

    I also don’t know how to be my number of years. When I was younger, I thought it would come to me, that I’d slip comfortably into old age like I had other times of my life. But I don’t know that old woman in the mirror, she is not me. I still have my thick red hair and slim body. Or I feel as if I should.
    I try not to think about it…that only brings wishes that I had done so many things differently.

    Oh Kathy, each of these responses has me nodding my head, crying a bit, and also laughing. When I moved to this apartment, six years ago, I forgot to remove the full length mirror hanging on my bedroom door in that other place. Didn’t realize it until a few months later. And never replaced it with a new one. That was a choice I made, good or bad. Due to a severe spinal condition, I am losing height, and I was never even close to tall to begin with. The fact that I am truly a Hermit takes that necessity out of the equation. Whatever occurs, everyone just gets me. The me that I am now, in this moment. I find that far easier in the long run, even though I fully understand and agree with every single word you wrote above, lol.

    Elizabeth

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  5. This is such a soul-searching piece. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions. Not always easy. I was married to a “controller “ for two years, and lived with an a suspicious alcoholic for a year. My mother always said I looked for men to reform. If I did, it never worked out. Meditation is a sort of rebirth for me.

    Yes, it is soul searching, I guess. It’s what happens when I write. It comes from keeping a daily journal for almost forty years. I’m sorry you had those experiences. Sorrier that your Mom made you feel responsible for them. My Mother went in a different direction. She accepted my divorce, but constantly told me that I was still young enough to find a man to take care of me. And I would always respond with, “Can’t find what you aren’t looking for.” What I meant was that I was old enough to have left all the fairy-tales behind me. And I certainly didn’t trust myself enough not to make the wrong choice again.

    I totally agree with you about meditation. Writing is a form of active meditation. Any creative activity is just that. The more we engage in it, the quicker we slip into that state of mindfulness. A whole world of possibilities is simply awaiting our discovery. I will always wonder why many do not choose to enter it.

    Elizabeth

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