Our farm is a healing place for me, where early summer is a time of green and blooming and potential. My neighbors are the birds, snakes, rain, sun, wind and the moon. I’m learning their languages.
I've got my little vintage camper set up by the pond, and am using it for a 'mini retreat'. (Hey, if you need to get away, hit me up. Really.) Our chickens are an endless source of entertainment and eggs, and the cows on the pasture pass by slowly and methodically like clouds. The rhythms here have put my spirit at peace.
The storm that shook my soul has passed. Last month my daughter got Covid a few days before she was scheduled to be vaccinated. It caused her to spin into a mania and lose the ability to sleep for over a week. The result was psychosis and time in a mental hospital and several ER visits. The worst part of the experience was probably modern medicine’s well-intentioned but inept attempt to ‘cure’ her. No one knows why many of the drugs they use to treat severe mental illness work. Or the long-term repercussions of side effects. They just throw what they can at a problem until something seems to work. These drugs can be compared to blood-letting and lobotomies a few hundred years ago; archaic and brutal.
None of the doctors or nurses paid any attention to what was going on in her mind, a journey into a sometimes terrifying, lonely place. They didn’t listen to her, hold her hand, or acknowledge her soul. They gave her pills and ‘group therapy’ sessions. There is a spiritual component to psychosis that western doctors completely ignore. They don’t entertain the idea that perhaps it is part of the process of the mind integrating and rearranging itself in what ultimately has potential for growth. People who experience mental breaks in our culture have no spiritual guides, no one to accompany them and gently lead them back. Doctors are trained to put a band-aid on the symptoms and ignore deeper causes.
Her dad had flown to California from Colorado and was taking care of her the best that he could. But she continued to descend, and early in the morning that she entered the darkest place, I felt the earth tremble underneath me. I packed my bags, drove five hours to Denver, flew to Sacramento, and drove a few more hours to the ER where I finally found her. Twelve hours after the earth had shaken me out of bed. I held her and told her that it was time to come back, and walked out the door with her hand in mine. I lovingly and firmly led her back into reality. She slept all night for the first time since all of this had started. The mania was subsiding, but the drugs were wreaking havoc on her body and mind. Our next challenge was to get her back to Colorado where family and friends could nurture her. We rented a car and drove back because she was too fragile to handle airports and airplanes. Under the guidance of an integrative psychiatrist she gradually weaned off of medication. (I love Boulder, where you can find people trained in traditional medicine AND holistic practices.) She gets better and better every day. Back to her normal self, but changed. She has a great deal of work to do processing the trauma of her physical experience, and the implications of the emotional and spiritual gifts that she bears.
It took me several weeks to process my own experience. We both entered the underworld. For her, it was to commune with her spirits. For me, it was to retrieve her.
I couldn’t draw or paint during that time. I had nothing to say, it was all tied up too tightly inside of me. After sleeping and dreaming and spending time listening to nature whispering to me, I did my first painting. The creative dam has broken, and I’m back in the studio painting again.
Artist, homesteader, teacher and adventurer. Turning over every literal and figurative rock that I can find, living curiously and creatively outside of the conventions of the common world.
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