Doodle Progression: Rocks, driftwood, birchbark and feathers
The next major nonverbal communication/hieroglyphics after the doodling that contributed to my healing was playing with rocks, driftwood, birchbark and feathers - but especially rocks. As I look back now, I realize that it was just another form of doodling... This time the great need to express my unconscious experience had moved from the 2 dimensional and into the 3 dimensional world! Perhaps this is a clue to my healing process... but then this didn't start happening till the last half of our stay in Hancock...
We had been transferredDoodle Progression: Rocks, driftwood, birchbark and feathers to Hancock in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, way up in the Keewanaw Peninsula that juts out into Lake Superior. It was a university town embedded in the most amazing natural setting of hills, forests and shoreline - and covered with rocks of all kinds! And for a nature loving girl who had lived most her life in metropolitan areas of big cities, it was heaven!
We were there for 11 years and for much of it, I was in pretty bad shape. On top of all my ongoing inner struggles and fragmentation, I was entering, unprepared, into the experience of the empty nest. Our daughter was on her own and our son had stayed downstate (with my full support) to finish his last two years of high school - 10 hours away... I didn't realize what a shock that would be for me and I slipped into such a deep depression the Drs. decided to give me electroshock treatments. I guess it worked temporarily because my husband said that when I got out of the hospital the uncontrollable sobbing had stopped and that I didn't even remember being depressed! But then... after having my brain fried, I didn't remember much of anything... I have no memory of what I felt, but for a while, Gene said, I smiled!
During that first half of our stay in Hancock, I was tried on all kinds of psychiatric medications to keep me out of DID hospitals (including one in Baltimore, Maryland) and from killing myself. The effect of the heavy duty meds was to deaden me to the point of not being able to get off the couch! It was horrible, but what else could they do. At least I was deeply committed to going weekly to therapy - 2 hours drive away! And at that point, I couldn't drive myself because there was no telling what might happen or where I might end up! Kudos for my dear husband who drove and stayed with me through it all!
Somehow in the midst of all the craziness, I found my way to the shores of Lake Superior and reconnected with my love of nature. The sand and sea, the rocks and driftwood, the birch bark and feathers, they all called to me and became my close friends. Especially the rocks! Each beach had a different variety and they were all so beautiful, so lovely to hold. I didn’t know what kind they were, nor did I care. It was the colors and shapes that took my breath away. Each held a mystery, leaving me in awe to wonder why the black rocks had red circles in them or why the green ones were so rare. To me, they were precious gems and I felt absolutely amazed that I could take my pick. Sitting in their midst, I felt so rich, so blessed!
Before long I was obsessively hand picking specific pebbles and rocks, driftwood, birchbark and feathers to take home. First I filled my pockets, then bags and buckets, and finally, on occasion, I brought a sled for the larger ones! Of course I felt guilty removing the objects from their natural habitat. So first I spoke aloud my desire to mother nature and asked permission to remove the objects and then I expressed my deep gratitude. I felt my motives were understood and had been blessed. However, if for any reason a rock fell out of my hand, I would assume it did not want to go and I left it.
Why did I feel such a driving need to collect them? I don't know. Seeing how I was dissociated, I experienced myself as in a dream, disconnected from the world and perhaps because they were of nature, physical expressions of God, they helped me to ground myself in the physical world. And they were "safe," they needed nothing from me. But for whatever the reason, I took them home and used them to decorate, and - to create... Once again, as with the pen and pencil, I "doodled" my unconscious experience automatically - without knowing where it was going or why.
The following are not the greatest pictures, but at least I thought to take a few and record this particular creation.
|This was in the corner of the back wall and beneath a little table. This area under the table with its driftwood and feathers reminded me of a funeral pyre. Plus there is a driftwood "creature" (Egore) guarding the front.|
|This is the top of the table with a resin angel that I had, surrounded by a variety of candles and candle holders. Above is a feather painting our son had given his dad.|
|This is a combination of pictures showing that area up closer.|
|This picture was taken at another time and shows the whole thing.|
OK. I'm done for now! I'll just have to finish my descriptions for this another time.