While focusing inward it’s impossible to fully separate the inside from the outside. Transforming ourselves and the way we think and act means understanding the relationship between us and the world around us.
During these meditations and thought journeys we find ourselves often faced with polarities. Understand that there is nothing inherently positive or negative in a moral sense in either part of a dichotomy, nor binding. Think of how a boundary between the inside and outside is meant to be crossed, a binary is meant to meld in the middle. These philosophies will be helpful in organizing your inventory of self after pushing yourself through the pain of digging within and washing out your psyche.
An exercise I often work through in acceptance and commitment therapy is a matrix of intent, looking at a two point axis where the upper right corner focuses on who or what matters to me, the upper left is for what external actions align with these values or shows up for those that matter to me. On the bottom left is internal thoughts and feelings that get in the way of those actions, and on the right what actions move away from your values and good intentions.
In the center of this matrix is the phrase I love so much, ‘noticing with kindness and curiosity.’ These exercises aren’t to create shame but to build awareness and an ability to choose from the past, choose what we do in the future.
The ouroboros consumes itself but as quoted in the Book of Lambspring, ‘this surely is a great miracle and without any deception that in a venomous dragon there should be the Great Medicine’. The dragon in question is eating its own tail. By accepting and ‘swallowing the facts’ in our last few processes, we can begin to create our medicine.
What makes you feel bad? What shames and originations of shame do you need to let go of? What actions do you wish to abstain from? Equally important, what makes you feel good? What makes you feel fulfilled, accomplished, satisfied? Though fully letting go and adopting these practices is still just out of reach, by declaring our truths we begin to paint the blueprint of our future self from the content of our past self. Everything we want is already here.
If it seems as though all our good intentions aren’t compatible, don’t worry. We are just preparing for the next phase of ‘Solve et Coagula’ in which we begin to bring everything together. Trust in the cycle of the operations and know that while some things make sense now, there’s still plenty to learn. Trust in the circular flow of time to take you where you need to go. All truth will not be made available so early on in a twelve step process.
In calcination we began to learn to destroy without truly destroying, serving the purpose of mining the ore within us. In dissolution we learnt to start to accept our emotions and let them teach, lead, and heal us.
In Separation we consider the balance between mercury and sulfur, the spirit and soul, the life force and personal signature. What drives us, we look to the mind and how we want to steer it.
What ways does your mind already serve you? What are you learning to appreciate about yourself? As we refine these things the redundant and hindering parts of ourselves will become nothing but learning tools we will be free to easily discard after they’ve served their purpose, which is bringing us to the true you.
Thank your sadness, your trauma, thank them for making you the wonderful, important, strong person you are today. No matter where you are in your recovery the inherent truths of the soul are still true, you are special. You are alive. Throughout your life you have been learning to live and these struggles have been helping to teach you.
I’ve lost count of my suicide attempts over the course of the last two decades, but today I’m alive and I will force myself to thrive. I’ve followed many cycles of solve coagula and have not made it to the very end, but I’m no longer suicidal and know how to cure suicidal impulses within myself born of dismantled thought patterns. Intrusive thoughts are remnants, their originations have been purged. I have done this by taking myself apart and putting myself back together.
If you feel you’re ready to put yourself back together, we’ll continue on this series with Conjunction.