Q is for Quiet.
Quiet is that intangible thing that took me a great many years to embrace and appreciate.
A younger me hated stillness, the silence of being by oneself.
I would go to great lengths to avoid being by myself, much prefering the noise and chatter of being surrounded by action and people.
As I grew older, nothing much changed on that front, until solitude was enforced upon me.
I have written before about my struggle with chronic pain, it was an awful time for me.
Yet, as I emerge from the other end of that hell, having gained some perspective, I can see how something so drastically transformitive needed to happen.
Previously, I had lived a life that was unsustainable.
Too many drugs, drinks and late nights were just an everyday thing for me.
I loved people, needed to be surrounded by them, even better if this was in the setting of a wild party.
Chronic pain put an end to all that.
I went from being a wild and free party girl, to a tortured, depressed, pain wracked mess.
I blamed everyone and everything.
I hated, with a vengence, what I had become.
At the worst stage, I was bedridden, in constant severe pain, and dangerously depressed.
Out of the many friends I had had, only two of them bothered to even give me a call at intervals.
I could see no way out of the mess my life had become, and I was sincerely ready to end my life, what was left of it anyway.
It wasn’t until my doctor referred me to the pain clinic, that things began to improve, though only marginally.
First thing, pain relief.
Opiates have been the only thing that have helped me to get on top of my pain, and though addiction is the trade off, this way is better for me.
I wasn’t entirely pain free, but the pain was no longer all consuming.
When one of the pain doctors tried to talk to me about managing my pain with my mind, I was really pissed off.
It wasn’t until much later that I understood.
He wasn’t suggesting that the pain wasn’t real, but that my attitude to that pain, could make all the difference to my quality of life.
I wish then that I had gave some thought as to what he was trying to say to me.
But, at that point, drugs were all that had even remotely helped me, and that was all I wanted, narcotic bliss.
Back home again, at least now I had some mobility, even if it wasn’t much.
Not being able to take care of your own basic needs is very demeaning and humiliating, so at least now I could do those things.
But now, I found that my nemesis was the deafening quiet that engulfed me.
I was alone all the time.
My Husband worked, my Daughter went to school, I sat at home, alone, all day.
My sleep patterns were a mess, so I was also sitting up for the majority of the night, as usual, alone.
It was at this time that my depression worsened, until I had a complete break down.
The constant silence drove me mad, literally.
I had nothing to focus my mind on, no hobbies, no parties, no friends, no job, I was so desperately alone and lonely.
Worst of all, I hated my own company.
I hated myself and all that I had become, which was everything I had spent my life fighting against.
This was the point I hit my bottom.
If it hadn’t have been for my husband, being so vigilant, I likely would have committed suicide at this point.
I had even convinced myself that I would be doing my family, my daughter, a favor, better that she not have to watch me wilt and waste away like I was.
Then, at the worst of all possible times, my dog, Sid, died.
I had had her for ten years, but she left me suddenly.
Left me with no companionship at all.
Her death rocked me to my core.
My daughter had then decided she wanted her own dog.
We ended up adopting a little white Staffy, who was having a hard time trying to find a fur-ever home.
He came to us, and my life was never the same again.
I love this dog, Leo, like my own flesh and blood child.
It was this dog that saved me, pulled me up and out of the black pit I was entombed in.
It is very difficult to be depressed, with those little brown eyes looking at you.
He at least got me up and outside, in the sunlight and fresh air.
From there, things improved.
Yet, quiet, peace and stillness still frightened me.
Until one day, when I found an old pack of tarot cards, that had been given to me years ago, in the back of a drawer.
I took them out and flicking through them, they kindled something in me that they hadn’t before.
I felt no particular connection to this deck, but felt the urge to find one that I did connect with.
I found the Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot.
This deck is more of an artdeck, a display of the author’s art, than a ‘proper’ deck.
Only the Major Arcana cards are illustrated.
But this was perfect for me at the time, as I became determined to learn the meanings of these cards so I could put them to use.
I have since moved on to other decks, but I keep that deck in a beautiful, ornate box.
It is still so very special to me, as it changed my life.
It was through my Tarot studies that I Iearnt the art of meditation, and this opened so many doors for me, not just physically, but spiritually as well.
Meditation helped me to quiet my mind, control the negative spiral of my thoughts.
But it also helped me to relax and to sleep, getting my sleeping habits back to more workable hours.
A good night’s sleep certainly brightens one’s perspective!
It was around this time that I had the urge to construct an altar, something I had not had for many years.
I found the perfect table and set it up in my room.
At first it was more of an elemental altar, then I added God and Goddess, but it still didn’t feel quite right.
Then, Hekate came sweeping into my life.
Hekate taught me to heal myself, to heal my mind, to remarkable result.
But she also taught me to value stillness, quiet and solitude.
Quiet is something that I am thankful for these days.
In the solitude of my days, the peace of my nights, I use this time to meditate, to read my cards, to write, to journey, to let my visions grow and take form.
I have a daily meditative practice and work my growing Shamanistic skills often.
In this quiet, that is now like an old friend, I have sought the root of my pain problems and found many ways around it.
I still have pain, but have many skills to cope with it.
Amazingly, I have even began to walk two kilometers a day.
This amazes me, every day, as I set out on my route, and I give my thanks to my Goddess as I pass by the crossroads.
In quiet and solitude, I have opened my mind, my hidden abilities, my creativity, I have begun the lifetimes work of ‘Know Thyself”.
I have learnt to accept what happened to me as a positive thing, it has changed my life for the better.
I am, for the first time in my life, genuinely happy.
I have lost many ‘friends’ and so-called ‘family, but this too, is a good thing.
I now know who my real friends are.
They may not be many, but I know they will be there through good and bad times.
Best of all, I no longer need people to be happy.
I am most content being alone.
In the quiet of my life, I have found my happiness, my purpose, my destiny, my ‘will’.
Chronic Pain is an awful thing, but in perspective I can see the purpose it has served.
If you struggle with it at present, listen to those wise doctors who try to tell you that the ‘pain is in your head’.
He is not trying to belittle you and trivialize what you are going through, he is trying to give you a key, a key that unlocks the mysteries of the mind, the soul, and the healing powers that you hold within yourself.