“you are under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”
Borderland bracelet 2015
In my inner world there is a neat and organized village. It is clean, relatively quiet and aesthetically pleasing. The people there are handsome, friendly and go about their everyday lives with purpose and positive energy, although there might be a sense of something missing or not being quite right. Behind the village is a broad stream with a single bridge crossing it. The bridge is guarded by an old man with an equally old wolf at his side. They both look work and tired but are firmly keeping watch over the bridge so that no-one enters from the other side.
On the other side of the bridge is my inner backcountry. It is a wilderness full of ragged cliffs, deep forest groves and swamps. There are caves in the cliffs and burrows in the forests and swamps where strange and scary creatures reside. They are unpleasant, ugly, loud, smelly, angry, obnoxious and generally not very sociable. Some of them haven’t seen daylight in many years.
Lately I have become increasingly interested in visiting my inner back-country and its inhabitants. I have found that the scary beings there are often only scary and angry at the first encounter. They have been made wrong for so long that there is a lot old wounding and scars that needs to be seen before they really trust that they might be welcome.
I have realized that I live within quite a limited horizontal spectrum, based on internalized judgement of what proper behavior means. Even though I have for many years been fighting a battle against conformity and done many attempts to change my material reality into something that suits me better than the 8-16 work life, social distancing and pathologic over consumption that seems to be normal these days, I have actually not allowed more of myself to come through. I have (rather successfully) transformed my outer material conditions, but my inner landscape is largely the same.
The village for me is an inner representation of my conscious self and the guardians at the bridge are my trauma or nervous system responses to perceived danger. The back-country is my subconscious and all the unintegrated parts of myself. What I notice as I start to traverse this back-country is that there is a lot of fear and under that a lot of shame, but also that when I dare to bring these parts of myself into connection they are actually welcome and often appreciated. And even that they have been sorely missed by some of the people close to me.
This movement into my inner unknown is connected to feeling my body more. Since starting on the Manuvision school of Body Therapy this sense of being in touch with more parts (ways of being) myself has become more apparent. For me it makes sense that as I become less tense in my body, I am also able to be “wider” and more multi-faceted in my expression.
A key question for me in recent years has been “Am I really allowed to live like this” which has mostly concerned the framing of my life and my love life and now it seems like a new question is opening up “Am I really allowed to be like this” which is more connected to how I behave and act in the world.