This morning I woke at an unreasonable hour – five a.m. Now that’s not actually unreasonable but I had only gotten to sleep two hours before. I was definitely wide awake and very annoyed that I was. I knew I needed more sleep and I knew that getting up to putz about the flat at that hour would only lead to me napping much later in the afternoon. So I did the next best thing to sleep and traveled.
Let me get into a little explanation right now. I travel all the time but recently I’ve been having trouble getting over there and staying over there. I know it’s because I have a lot of things on my mind right now, most of them stressful, and many of them actually out of my control. My mental state directly affects my condition to travel. And I’m absolutely terrible at understanding my physical needs. I don’t take the time to sit back and think “You know what? This is unusual. I should do something about it.” An example would be the times I was hospitalized for stress in college – I wasn’t even aware that I was stressed out. I just don’t acknowledge that sort of thing until I know and can recognize the personal tale-tell signs of it in myself.
A+B = C
I knew I was stressed. The issue with that is, besides inconvenience, there wasn’t anything I could directly do to solve the issue. Take steps to solve the problems, yes; but nothing direct. It was a weight on my mind. Doing little physical things help. Cleaning the kitchen, clearing off counters, sweeping the floor. All that helps. (No! really it does! That’s stuff that gets pushed aside in stressful situations. Taking care of it while trying to work out the more serious issues really helps. Trust me on this one.) But it wasn’t enough.
As the sun began to rise this morning I fetched a small jar of my mugwort salve and a bottle of water. I usually go light when applying the salve to myself as I don’t usually need the push – I do it so I can stay there longer or fall asleep afterwards. But today I applied about a teaspoon (which, again, for me is a lot) to my wrists, inside elbows, collarbone, throat, and forehead. Thus applied, I laid back, pulled the blankets up on myself, and dove into my own head.
Anyone seen the BBC’s Sherlock? In the show Sherlock speaks about forgetting things not important to him and at other times about his ‘Mind Palace’. When I heard those lines I didn’t think anything of it. I only later found out that his methods of organizing his thoughts and forgetting things that seem important to others but weren’t to himself as unusual. (I think this is about the time where some of my readers begin to understand just how strangely my brain works.)
The year 2000 was an important year for me. The summer was excellent, full of friends, exploring of powers, and just plain good times. It was the year I entered high school and lived in an huge and extremely haunted and paranormally active condo community. It had it’s terrible times too. That year was the year I was attacked by a spirit that ended with me at home nursing a broken finger and permanently stunted fingernail growth. I fell in love that year, only to have it unrequited. It was a setup for some of the best and worst times in my life after all.
It was also the year I started doing mental organization. I had just turned fifteen, woke each morning at dawn to have ham and cheese grilled sandwiches, then threw myself into the world to wander about the condo community’s grounds. Some of those mornings found me sitting on the small bridge near the acres of unused wildland, lost in my own brain, reorganizing it.
Shadow work is, as the community currently uses it, the mental exploration of the darker sides of yourself. It comes from Jung and the psychological field of study. It’s been adopted into the New Age world and spread from there.
What I do is similar but not the same. I’m not talking to my darker side. I’m not even airing out those dark cupboards. I, instead, go into my brain where those to-do lists reside and reorganize my thoughts. Things That Need Doing are organized into groups. I’ll line them up in order of importance and pin down the ones that keep wiggling away. Really Important Thoughts get their own area and are starred to remind me just how bloody important they are. Shit I Want To Do But Not Right Now gets tossed in a bottomless box and those thoughts will be released once I finish the Things That Need Doing. A mental cleaning is done. I’ll scrub down the inside of this Mind Room as I do so the darkness of the room and the gray of the walls shift and change. Light begins to fill up inside and the walls are a flux of colors, gently undulating.
I found the trap door that leads to the Other Side and dusted it off. It’s almost always open, with a big ring pull that’s polish has been worn away by time and usage. The windows in the Mind Room show me different aspects of the Other Side. I can access the Other Side through these windows as well and most of the time I just simply defenestrate myself than go for the trapdoor. Faster that way, for sure. Much of the time I leave these windows half open so I can be on the Other Side and not as I wish. But not all the windows show my Forest and Seaside from There. Some of those windows have memories playing out beyond the glass. If I open those windows I can remember that event as clear as day (the latches on these windows are faulty though and memories always leak in unbidden, huge and clear as the time I first experienced them to the point where I can be physically shocked motionless at Sudden Memories flooding me, getting me lost in FEELS. (I’m under the assumption that many people remember things at random but aren’t as deeply affected as me. This may be due to how little memories I actually have of the past. Memory loss is a bitch.) Other windows show the future. I don’t look at them often but I leave the mottled glass windows open a crack. Once I clear out the Things That Need Doing and the Shit I Want To Do But Not Right Now piles I’ll open it up a bit more.
Next it’s time to shake up and reassess some other things. There’s another trap door that leads to my Heart. Inside there is tall and huge but very dark. My Heart’s mental image is the size of my Mind-Self, maybe a little smaller but I talk to it. We clear out some of the darkness and connect the String of Courage to it. This should give me the courage to talk to someone I like and to use my heart a little more freely. With the Heart a little bigger, brighter, and happier, I climbed back up to open the trap door in the ceiling where my Imagination lives. Imagination has no form but I berate the air enough so Imagination flows down into the main Mind Room. It attached to the wall, a living thing, golden and glowing. To keep it from running away, I attach Strings of Courage to it too. My final act is to find Motivation. Motivation is a very tiny thing in my head, often curled into a ball and hides under boxes and piles of Things That Need Doing. I kick it out, dust it off, shake it a few times, tell Imagination to watch over it, and put it in the center of the room with a few of the Strings of Courage tied to it. As I stand there admiring my work, Curiosity peaks in. Curiosity lives in a ceiling trap door like Imagination but is less lazy. I shoo it away for now but Curiosity will come back all on its own.
There’s still more work to do, of course. I haven’t touched any of the other aspects of myself but that’s for another day and another time. The Mind Room is always in movement, nothing rigidly defined. I could make it so, if I wanted, use shelves instead of boxes and index things so I don’t get lost but I like the chaos of it all. Pleased, I fling open the trap door to the Other Side and drop in.
I personally find mentally reorganizing my brain incredibly useful, especially in relation to witchcraft. Much of my thoughts can be linked to witchcraft and if the lines of communication between the heart, brain, and courage are working correctly, then any love or attraction spells I’d do for myself will work better. Because I link my thoughts through Courage and not through some other thing like Morality, Decency, or Doubt, I tend to do brave but sometimes stupid things first and worry about the Doubts, Morality, or Decency afterwards.
Again, that’s just how I wire my brain up. Loosely described. There’s a ton more to it. Logic, for example, didn’t make a showing and Logic is always there. Skepticism too. It can be a scary place in your own mind and a lot of work. Very complication. I tend to face scary things head on, so I don’t mind it. After I organized everything I slept for something like ten hours. Crashed very hard and didn’t wake up until after five in the evening. My brain’s less buzzing now but it gently reminds me to do Things That Need To Be Done every so often. Pleasant. My Heart’s ready to be brave and check for messages from potential dates and Imagination is ready to go (I think that’s obvious from the showy language but it’s as close as I can describe to the inside of my brain.)
My mental reorganization of my Mind Room (really, a series of chambers from one great room) is similar in the aspect to Shadow Work in that it’s the diving into my own mind to clear out the rubbish or get the mind organized in a fashion that’s better for my current needs. Does anyone else attempt something similar? Or would you consider this shadow work? Is anyone curious to try it themselves?