By Kelsey Voysey. A personal account by a fellow traveler
The alarm goes off. Morning. 6am. The routine is always the same. Either roll over and go back to sleep, the world of dreams more comfortable than my consciousness; or pick up my phone and scroll mindlessly. Numb. Anything to keep my mind occupied – those little bits of synthetically created dopamine staving off the pain of being alone with my thoughts, my body, my being. Wait… wait… fifteen minutes passes, forty-five minutes, an hour and a half. Time passes quickly but I don’t remember what I’ve been reading, watching, doing. It doesn’t matter. It is only a distraction from myself. I prefer to be numb. The truth is I don’t remember how to be any other way.
I drag myself out of bed at the last minute. Shower, hair, face. No time for food. No time for myself. No time to think. Stress – I’m late again. I’m late every day. This is the way I prepare myself. My nervous system primed for another day at work. Activated, dysregulated. In fight or flight for the foreseeable future. I flee often – calling in sick more often than I should, spending my breaks sitting in parking lots on my phone – desperate to be numb for any amount of time I can spare. But mostly I fight. Nothing is a problem that cannot be solved. Everything is my responsibility. It doesn’t have to be this way – this is not my job, but I’ve fallen into this role to protect myself. In this role I don’t have time to think of myself, my experience. I am mindless, bodiless. I am a force of stress, anxiety, and judgement.
They tell me I’m good at what I do. I don’t think that’s possible. I do this job because the shadow of a long-forgotten value tells me that I cared once. But now I lose clients and I only feel numb. I think there’s sadness down there somewhere, if only I could remember how to feel it. Sometimes I worry that it will all come forth at once like a tidal wave and drown me.
The end of the workday arrives. Fifteen minutes home, twenty if I take the long way. I don’t remember the drive, it’s a miracle I make it home each day. I feel the anxious, activated energy seep from me. By the time I pull into the driveway there is only exhaustion. Intrusive thoughts from the workdays of the past week, month, year flood my brain. It’s painfully overwhelming. I’m too tired for this. I reach for my synthetic dopamine. Numb, I need to be numb. I don’t even have the energy to leave my car.
The hours pass. I have no energy for the love of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I remember what love feels like. I drag myself through the evening, numb. I rely on the screens, the fantasy around me. Keeping me just comfortable enough to come back for more. I have nothing left for myself. No motivation to feed myself, care for myself, care for my family. I tell myself this is normal. It’s just a bad day. Tomorrow will be different.
Finally it is time to sleep. I scroll through my phone until I am too exhausted to keep my eyes open. I cannot allow myself a moment of awareness, a moment of thought. It is too painful. I crave feeling numb.
The final journey.
The medicine is strong. I’ve been journeying for a while. This world of knowing, of guidance, of experience. Colours, shapes, images, messages. I move fast at first – too fast. Incomplete messages and flashes of images I don’t have time to comprehend. I ride the current, allowing the medicine to take me where it will.
And then I feel it. A distant thought, a soft memory. My intention. What I’m here for. What I need to heal.
I know it’s time. It feels like now or never.
I’m not strong enough to do this by myself. I focus every particle of my being to lift my hand skyward – a request: come with me on this journey. I feel warmth encircle my hand. A presence grounded in kindness, hope, strength, and knowing. I am not alone.
I am ready. I let myself sink. Down, down, down into myself. I watch the journey into the darkness and all I see is emptiness. I am empty. I am numb. I sink farther, farther. Hopelessness drains into me, out from me. Is this all I am? Is this what I have come here for, to learn I am truly empty?
When I feel I can stand the pain no longer, I stop sinking. A soft glow emanates from the shadows. A small seed of beautiful purple light illuminates the darkness of my being.
The message comes to me at once. Not a voice, but a knowing building inside myself. I am not blocked; but I have given myself away. In the moments I have conformed to expectations, in the moments I have failed to set boundaries, in the moments I have refused to experience my emotions, in the moments I have decided to quiet myself instead of speak: I have given myself away. There is almost nothing left. Almost.
This light is precious. This light is me. This light is everything. I sit in awe of myself. I am still here. Despite everything, I am still here.
The second message comes similarly to the first, from deep in my heart: this is my work. This is my world. Nurture this light. Cherish this light. Grow this light and propagate so that I am filled with light in every cell, every thought, every beat of my heart. This is my healing journey.
The image fades but the message remains. I find my way back to the surface, guided by the grounded presence that has supported my sacred journey.
I am here. I am enough.
Relief, joy, gratitude, awe, and belonging surge into my heart as I return to this community that has saved my life. Eight months is far too long, and I revel in the company of those who saw my heart and held me as worthy from the moment they met me. These are the people I bare my soul to, those who love me. I love them deeply in return.
I share laughter and hugs with those who have come to share this sacred space. This community is strong, and the container we set for our healing is stronger. My heart is open as I receive the medicine.
My journey is gentle. It is filled with love and understanding. It is exactly what I need.
I see my parents, and my six year old self weeps at the sudden understanding. I explore my fear and learn that my journey to release will be long. I experience interconnectedness and I see the universe in all of her beauty and unrepentant glory.
Then something tugs at me gently, persistently. Inviting me down within myself, I sink without hesitation. I know this space, I have been here before. I journey into my heart and I am immediately met with a beautiful, brilliant purple light. It shines into every corner of my being, filling me up and illuminating my darkest wounds and crevices. My light pulses with love, with courage, with vitality, with life. My heart is so full I feel I am bursting open and filling our sacred container with purple love.
I have found my way home.