I’m relaxing in the bright sunshiny essence of summer, listening to birds and a wisp of a breeze awaiting the appearance of Bambi and Flower. From here it’s a reach for me to imagine my flare of irritation and frustration fueled by the feeling of resentment, to the point of putting myself in a ditch surrounded by black dogs. How can that be? Kind, gentle, sweet me smoldering all turned upside down? Well, I wasn’t paying attention and sometimes I nose dive into the ditch to learn.
Since joining “the club” 38 years ago my Imagined Map of Reality (IMOR)
has heavily tested my amateur cartographer skills, as I rewrite my avenues, boulevards and dark alleys seeking consciously to altering this map, and we all have one, to really reflect and serve my purpose of who I now want to be and what keeps me safe and well.
After my SCI I focused on how hard my life was without the use of my legs and I resented anyone walking. One morning I said “self. I don’t want to do this any more, I want to let this go,” so I did, well most of it. I do feel that flinch of resentment now and then but it wasn’t the feeling that caused my crash it was my emotional reaction to the feeling that got me wrestling with my black dogs, again.
How I understand our IMOR is that it’s not necessarily based on reality. The map is based on our minds interpretation of reality and put in place, mostly unconsciously, by the early age of 5. We structure this map with what we deemed safe or not safe routes for us based on our core beliefs in our IMOR, which are pretty much created by survival reactions to our experiences at that young age. If our world feels unsafe our map can be ridged, with only a few alternate highways to get to our destinations. The safer we feel the more options and flexibility we have on our map. As we grow our map should change.
Some indigenous tribes use the term “black dogs” when referring to the “shadow” emotions and beliefs, the one’s we don’t rejoice in, are embarrassed to have or ashamed of. I like the term “black dog” when voicing my shadow emotions attached to any of my core beliefs, it feel playful and embracing when I call them black dogs, usually we wrestle a bit rather than me push them down, hiding them. I can feel the feeling without acting out when I play with my dogs.
OK, So, what happened that my wheel fell off, me in the ditch? I could smell something burnt, was it behind this door, no or this door, oh the water heater door smells burnt. Odd? My first thought “Man I have to get on the floor, augh it’s so awkward for ME.” My black dog, resentment jumped at me, here was my chance to take the detour carefully laid out on my map.
At this point I could have stopped to feel the feeling with a pause and a breath it would have been a very different experience. I would have been able put my black dog on a leash until it was time to play. The clues were there, I didn’t see the detour sign because I wasn’t paying attention. I always have a choice to change my map. I also didn’t see I was being set up for a perfect life lesson scenario.
I like maps, the one’s I can hold in my hands and the one’s I hold in my mind. What’s on my map is the direction I’m taking, the very heart of my journey. When I’m not paying attention to the detour signs on my map like irritation and frustration than I’ll end up on a hot, dusty, rocky dead end road of resentment continuing to drive in circles, getting nowhere. I want to go somewhere on a smooth stretch of highway with the top down, my black dogs ears flapping in the wind with smiles on our faces and our eyes peeled for signs.
Black is the badge of hell, the hue of dungeons and the school of night. King of Navarre, Shakespeare’s Love's Labour's Lost.
Watch out for the detours, blessings to All, In Joy, Candace
© 2013 Candace Cable
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