The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

12/13/15

8:32AM PST

6:32AM HST

Authenticity

 

A simple observation; this is the first time in Hawaii that I do not have Eileen. I suppose I am feeling sad both about this and also I am working through material from January 2015, which is the beginning of my leaving her. 

 

I have begun to become immersed in this book called Sybil Exposed. The author certainly has an ax to grind about, from what I can tell, the falsities of the story. But presently as I read what I am fascinated by what is the connection between Shirley Mason (Sybil) and her psychiatrist (Cornelia Wilbur.) It is electric and it reminds me, in terms of strength and chemistry, of my connection with Eileen. 

 

At this juncture this book seems to be the right choice for it informs me—mostly of the importance of how a therapeutic mess can become its own very considerable mess and to not understate or underestimate this. 

 

It gives me a bit of confidence and wings to focus on the dynamic now—to stop berating myself in trying to find deeper meaning. Deeper will come on its own. For now I feel validated by this book for the intensity of connection between client and therapist is on full display.

 

12/14/15

7:43AM PST

5:43AM HST

Authenticity

 

I woke in the middle of the night and could not sleep. Got up and rested on the couch, cooled off, and proceeded to feel pretty shitty around missing Eileen. The sadness feels piercing, like a knife stabbing at me and I ask myself: will this ever end?

 

I am sure that these feelings are coming out more as I am swimming in volume nine, revisiting the war that went on between Eileen and me before I left her. 

 

I keep in mind the mantra I woke to several nights ago; to find truth but to make sure to take my own side. But oh I loved her.  And love seems without sides to take.  

As I swim inside the work, as I face volume nine and its three hundred pages, I see that Eileen was hanging on—trying to. And I was trying desperately to escape. Argument after argument occurred. But beneath the arguing I was grieving up an unconscious storm in having to leave someone I loved so much who loved me. 

 

I can feel myself then, feel myself now, sliced in two. 

 

And I find myself wanting to reach out so badly. 

 

A

S, arms around you. May I help you to understand?

 

S

Yes. 

 

A

You are healing—missing Eileen is part of this—part of containing it all. She loved you—and your writing—which sent her—and you—into a dream state. This is one reason why you wrote so much—the volume was partially about love. 

 

Would you like Monkey to add that to the list of what the volume means?

 

S

Okay.

 

MLG
Volume so far is about…

 

  1. Content
  2. Chaos
  3. Dependency
  4. Performance/Art 
  5. Escape
  6. Love

 

S

Thanks, Monkey. 

 

B

She loved us enormously. But with enormous imperfection.

 

S

I had to leave, right?

 

B

Oh indeed, S. It became obvious.

 

A

The pain of saving self never exactly leaves self. 

 

S

I guess not. 

 

A

The expectation should not be that we will live with an acute constant dose of this pain but rather it will be like waves that come and go in our surf, sometimes with more frequency than others. But we ride these waves and as we do we see that the waves do not dissipate entirely but that our experience riding them is helpful in gaining confidence that we can hold on. 

 

S

Are these the moments when it’s helpful to write pretend letters to Eileen?

 

A

Breathing. Crying. Letter writing. Swimming. Talking to Pete. Going to therapy with Teresa. All these things and anything else we find helpful. Including conversations inside with your team of experts.

 

MLG
Grin. 

 

S

Oh E…I miss you sometimes. Or, truthfully, much more than just sometimes. We had a deep, other-worldly connection that seemed beyond my reach, behind some sort of therapy wall that was both false and true. 

 

Were we meant to be something other? And did the therapy get in the way? Or was the therapy the cause of the other-worldly connection? 

 

Which came first? And which got in the way?

 

A

Hard questions. 

 

S

Will I ever find my answers? Will this ever stop hurting?

 

A

Breathe in…and out. You can hear the surf in the darkness as we type. The sun has not yet risen but soon it will be that moment where we can see light and darkness at once. 

 

S

I’m waiting, A. 

 

A

Remember our first trip to the Big Island in 2013, coincident with the beginning of our Sandbox meditation. We held Eileen in our heart, the sand for her E-box that we made in our hands. We shared our Sandbox writing with her, the beginnings of our hunt for self in words. With her beside us we let go, an allowance on the page that continues to this day. 

 

S

I remember. How I was loved. How I was special. And now… how much it hurts to come to terms with her absence. I had to leave to survive. But oh A, how it hurts. How it hurts. How it hurts. 

 

A

In…out…in…out. Breathe. 

 

S

The tears, A, they will never stop. 

 

A

We never want to stop our tears. They bring us health…and clarity. They remind us that we are…human…human…human. 

 

S

Oh how I miss E. Oh how I miss E. Oh how I miss E. 

 

A

Yes.

 

S

I want to look at how I edited Hawaii 2013. 

 

A

Monkey, please go grab the final entry. 

 

MLG


12/18/13

Authenticity

 

It is the last morning on the Big Island and I learn here that you cannot leave a roaring meditation back at home; it swims with dolphins, it hikes alongside ironwood trees and follows me in my sleep. I wake this morning knowing though that I have hidden it all, the triggering I feel inside when I smell certain flowers, the tiny girls, the grains and shards, who come to me. Pete says how much he enjoys just being with me and I realize … I’ve not been very present at all. 

 

Throughout the night Monkey is screeching and crashing. He discovers the therapist living under a frozen pond so he starts skating on the ice. He removes his skates and begins jumping hard, making all sorts of racket. He hauls out a drill and starts going at the pond, struggling and sweating with all his might to break through. He wants in, he wants a relationship with her. 

 

She’s been reading the Sandbox all week and emailing me but I fear down to my tree roots I will wind up a fish flailing, caught in a net of dependency, unable to ever escape. The familiar chaos ignites inside, this clash and battle of things I hold in opposition wrestling for control. Will it all ever fit comfortably? Will I ever find my peace?

 

I look up through the palm trees and towards the ocean; the sun has risen but the moon too hangs full in the sky. Night and day, I see, can nap together in the same hammock. I grasp this this moment inside and hold it tight.

 

A

What has changed? What has stayed the same? Have we grown?

 

S

Eileen is gone, the dependency upon her replaced with waves of grief that, like now, seem to threaten to drown me.  I wait, in Hawaii, in this morning in darkness, just as I did in this entry two years ago, for the moment where night and day nap together in the same hammock. 

 

A

It is hard to contain both truths; the deep love we felt as well as the deep dysfunction we feared. Ultimately, fear trumped love?

 

S

I think so, A. I forced myself out of the bed I made of words with her. I found fault. I found anger. I attacked her. I found out quickly that I could provoke her with the E-doll so I did that too. 

 

A

You did everything you needed to do. And she was unable to hold you, contain you, heal you. Instead she reacted. And battled you. And…when she did…you had your answer.

 

S

I think so, A. 

 

A

Same with your mom. You tried. You did. But something deep inside gave up and protected self by leaving. The pain of loving someone so deeply but needing also to leave this person to survive…just like night and day napping together…very hard work to hold such different truths inside.  

 

S

Oh A, how it hurts. How it hurts. How it hurts. 

 

A

Tears. 

 

S

Without her I am no longer special. My volume, my now…

 

MLG

…5281 pages…

 

S

…just an endless tome that I tell myself gives me a purpose.

 

A

Do not disparage our volume for it is a force of nature, our force, and I can promise you, no one in all the land has a Sandbox with such weight, a process with such conviction, words that flow from us day or night.

 

S

I am reading this story of Shirley Mason (Sybil) and her psychiatrist (Cornelia Wilbur) and I know it’s all a mixed bag including a diatribe on the author’s part around false memory. But what slams me in the gut is the relationship between psychiatrist and patient—the intense, loving, dysfunctional enmeshment. 

 

I watched the movie, Sybil, in August, submerged in bed, I remember. Pete was gone, the temperatures were soaring and I was healing from an ear infection. I remember watching the final scene, Dr. Wilbur in a voice-over describing how they ended the therapy and how Sybil went on to live, essentially, integrated and happily-ever-after. 

 

And I sat wondering how could this dependency ever resolve between these two? How could Sybil, who was allowed to rest her head in this doctor’s lap countless number of times, the doctor stroking her hair in the middle of a gorgeous park they’d traveled to for a session, how…how…how could each ever say goodbye to one another?

 

And the answer is…they couldn’t. And they didn’t. 

 

Shirley Mason moved in with Dr. Wilbur to care-take her until her death. Seven years after Dr. Wilbur’s death, Shirley Mason died. 

 

Although at times I hate this “Sybil Exposed” book there are parts of if that resonate loudly with me as someone dissociated and also someone extremely enmeshed in a therapeutic dynamic. I too, just like Shirley Mason, was very deeply dependent and transfixed by this type of connection. 

 

But I also can consider that it is this perspective of another similar dynamic that allows me, to a degree, to observe the strength it took on my end to hoist myself up and out.

 

A

Our victory in leaving remains pyrrhic but not entirely so; we begin to recognize our strength. We had to get out, S. Our path truly could have been one that you feared, our identity ripening into full-time patient trapped in a confusing, all- encompassing version of love and dependency, a dynamic that would never bring us to higher ground, to this very morning, to feeling and understanding both the pain of loss and its necessity to survive. 

 

S

Thank you, A. Gratitude for having you as my mantra and my beloved Part both. 

 

A

My pleasure. My honor. My role.