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Weekend Collar

I've worn my collar this weekend -- at His request.

While I would have once been able to go on and on about the significance of the neck ornament (hereand here among other places), I don't really know what it means for either of us at this point.

I do know that wearing it feels good to me, and I know that seeing me wear if makes Him smile.

That seems like enough for right now.



Reintegrating -- Part 1

A soul retrieval brings back parts of your essence that have fled at some point in your life as a result of trauma or loss.  The shaman tracks down the parts and convinces them to return "home."  Once that has occurred, the real work begins:  how can these returned parts of the self be reintegrated into the life being lived in the present?

I have three "returned" parts of my soul, my essence.  Each of them brings something that I've, apparently, been missing.  They have gifts to give me, and wisdom to share.

I just need to make them welcome; nurture them; provide the safe place for all of us to live and learn together -- and find our way to some healthier and happier life...









So.  Forgive me for dwelling on my (non-physical) parts and pieces.  Forgive me for sounding unsure and uncertain.  Forgive me for filling these pages with angst-y fussing about all this weird, unexplainable, unfathomable, shamanic stuff.  I can't help it.  "They" are in there; inside of me.  I can feel them; hear them -- and I don't know what to think or feel about having us all trying to live here together.

For me right now, the easiest one to be with is the little one.  She is three.  The shaman called her Suzy.  Suzy.  That's what my Dad called me.  No one else.  Only Dad.  The shaman said that, when she found her, she was hiding behind a big rock.  She was very timid and very shy.  She'd been very wounded, and was "tender."  I didn't really expect her.  I figured that the part that would come back to me would be the even younger child who had been so dreadfully abused by my mother -- age two.  When I "talked" with her after the retrieval, I asked her what I could do for her.  She told me she just wanted to be wanted.  That went straight into my heart and lodged there.  I've kept hearing those words over and over for the last week or so...  She is not the hurt and angry baby.  She is the little girl who lost her beloved Daddy; her protector.  It was the year that I was three that my father was promoted at his work.  He'd been a lineman for the phone company; climbing poles and stringing phone line.  It was regular work, and it paid well for a guy with just a high school education.  That year, when I was three, my Dad was promoted to PBX installer and repairman.  He went to work installing and maintaining the big phone exchange systems in Denver's downtown office buildings -- and he quit being home most nights.  With the promotion came an unbelievable number of overtime hours.  Before he could get home from work most evenings, they would call the house and tell my mother that he was needed back to troubleshoot some problem or another.  She'd meet him at the front door with a packed lunch -- and send him off into the night.  By the time he'd get home, I'd be long in bed.  The abuse that was so much a part of the story before I turned two was replaced by a deep sense of abandonment by the one person who had offered some sort of safety.

So, I imagine that Suzy just wants to be cared for, wanted, assured that she matters.  She is curious and she brings a sense of wonder and simple joy.  I love having her back and I want to make things good for us together.  It shouldn't be hard.  She is sweet and lovely and trusting.  I can wrap her up, sit with her on my lap, walk with her hand in mine -- and I can feel the softening of my heart when that happens.  I know it is weird, but it is also true.

At least that one is relatively easy.  The other two?  More complicated.



Making my Case (Owning my Failure) for the Last Time

I am, unwillingly, at the end of the part of my life during which I called myself His slave.  Actions of mine changed our lives forever, and ended the possibility for me to ever again live as "His," in that sense.  He will not have it, and I cannot blame Him.  I understand it is my doing, and I accept that I cannot do anything to change any of it.  There is no going backward.  In this, as in all other things in life, forward is the only direction.

We remain.  Lovers.  Partners.  Joined, inextricably, through all of it.  We are at the beginning of something entirely new, and I do hope and believe that it will turn out to be good.  The ending of my slavery is not an ending of all; only that one seminal bit of my own life...

And still, I cannot seem to stop arguing my own case in my head.  It is as if I am forever standing before the seat of judgement.  I have, to this point remained voiceless, and have not spoken out on my own behalf.

I lived my life in service to Him for all the years we had together before everything crashed.  From morning until night, each and every day, my focus was on Him.  What He wanted, what He chose, what He needed -- that was what I worked to make a reality.  I supported Him.  I honored Him.  I followed the path He set for us.  

Hind sight is always very clear, isn't it?  Not very helpful, but unerringly clear.  I know, now, that at some point, the path we followed turned toward addiction and codependency.  I am sure I knew we were on dangerous ground, and like a coward, I remained mostly silent.  On the rare occasion when I would choose to confront the problems besetting us, I quickly lost my courage in the force of His predictable anger.  Those who would declare that I failed as a slave would be correct if they would point to my devastating cowardice.

The final, cataclysmic choices that I made when all had fallen into crisis were, I believe, only the final, inevitable playing out of my failing.

I fell into the great fallacy of the "perfect BDSM slave."  I gave away my power when I should have held it available for the "exchange" we so desired.  Each time I silenced my own inner knowing, I gave away the thing that He most valued.  Each time I watched Him act to destroy Himself, I betrayed the trust that was the foundation of who we hoped to be together.  I laid before Him my weakness when I should have served Him with my strength and my courage. 

A slave ought not to be a doormat or a robot.  A master deserves the fullness a slave can give:  heart and power and intellect -- all dedicated to His service.  I talked myself out of that giving, exchanging it instead for a sense of being "loved" and "liked" by Him.  I made myself willing to let Him be harmed rather than accept that He might be angry with me.  

It was only at the end, when I saw the devastation that loomed for us all, that I remembered what I had promised:  to serve Him with my whole being.  In the end, I believe I saved Him, and saved all of us.  Finally, I acted, as I ought to have done years earlier.  There was huge cost to that; for Him, for me, for us all -- but I will forever believe that, in choosing to return to courage and power, I behaved as a slave ought to have done.  

It is now over.  We have survived, and turned to a new way.  He does not want my slavery anymore, and so it is.  Something new will grow in that place in our lives.  What I leave here is the marker of my story for any who might follow this path.



I Cannot Explain Any of This

Where to even begin?  There are things that cannot be explained; at least not by me.  I sit and just shake my head and try to figure out how to make sense of what is not sensible inside of the reality that we generally understand.

People involved with this shamanic practice that we've stumbled into, speak of non-ordinary reality.  Yep.  That.  For sure.  There is nothing ordinary about what is happening to me; to us.  So, if what I write here has that "I don't know that I believe any of this, but don't know how else to explain it," sound, you will understand where it comes from.

 Any event that causes shock could cause soul loss. And what might cause soul loss in one person might not cause soul loss in another... 

   It is important to understand that soul loss is a good thing that happens to us. It is how we survive pain. If I was going to be in a head on car collision the last place that I would want to be at the point of impact is in my body. My psyche could not endure that kind of pain. So our psyches have this brilliant self protect mechanism where a part of our essence or soul leaves the body so that we do not feel the full impact of the pain.
   In psychology we call this disassociation. But in psychology we don’t talk about what disassociates and where that part goes. In shamanism we understand that a piece of the soul leaves the body and goes to a territory in what shamans call non ordinary reality where it waits until someone intervenes in the spiritual realms and facilitates its return.  

~~Sandra Ingerman~~

I have completed the "formal" process of my soul retrieval -- two sessions with the shaman.  The first session, on May 3rd, lasted about an hour and a half.  There were really two main parts to it:  something called an extraction (removing and repairing blockages and injuries), and then the actual journey to retrieve essences of my "soul" that had left me somewhere along the way.  There was a bit of simple ritual to it all:  prayers to the four directions, rattling and chanting and whistling, drumming, the ringing of bells, and some fairly limited degree of actual physical touches by the shaman.  I didn't notice a lot -- some odd imagery of amber colored ribbons rippling from my left arm through my body and out the other side, and a very clear image of tiny, baby fingertips reaching out.  None of it was so intense that it was jarring or even really very notable.  It just was.

The shaman told me that she'd found three "parts" or "essences" and had convinced them to return to me.  One was a little girl, about three years old, who was "very shy," and very wounded in a very tender part.  She appeared with a very small, little cat, that was a comfort to her.  That little one needed "healing," before she was returned to me.  Then there was a young woman, about 24 years old, who had "left" at the point when I decided to put my own wants and desires aside to stay in my marriage -- because I had two small children to raise.  That part of myself had understood that there was no place for her, given that choice, and so had separated from me.  Lastly, a part of me that left when I had the hysterectomy, the part that just could not bear the loss of yet another part of my emotional life, was also returned.  They were gathered up from wherever they had fled to, convinced to come back and be here with me, blown back into me, and sealed in place.  I had the sense that there was something different, a sense of almost quivery, shaky fullness, but I wasn't too sure what it really portended.

During the next two and a half weeks, I had "homework" to do.  It seems that it is not unusual for a shaman to promise recovered soul parts that they will be given gifts or treats or rewards in return for their agreement to "rejoin" the life they'd abandoned.  I promised to read a bedtime story to the little girl -- one that I remembered my father reading to me.  I promised to spend time reading my old, old copy of Kahil Gibran's Prophet with that young woman -- it was one thing that I remember clinging to through all those dry, dreary, sad years.  And, I promised to share a piece of blueberry pie with my hysterectomy self -- something purely sensual and sweet just for the two of us.

I did all of those things:

  • I read "Little Red Riding Hood" with my little girl.  It was a week night at about 8:00 in the evening.  I finished the story, and found myself feeling an overwhelming sense of sleepiness.  I think I was sound asleep within five minutes of finishing that "bedtime story."  
  • Another night, I ran a warm bath; added some bubble bath, and settled in to read "The Prophet."  I could hear myself resonating to the rhythms and patterns of the words.  It was an interlude out of time.  
  • Then, last Sunday, I got around to that blueberry pie promise.  I'd thought, in the beginning, that I'd just go to a restaurant somewhere and order a slice of blueberry pie -- but it is not the season.  I couldn't find anyplace to get a piece of blueberry pie.  So, I bought some blueberries and made it for myself.  It was not without resistance however.  I was furious, angry, teary and depressed all day long.  In my head, I could hear that part of me shrieking, "I don't want any damned old pie.  I want my parts back!  I want my femaleness back!"  It was an awful day -- really miserable.  I did, however, manage to get the pie done and eating it seemed, oddly, to settle all that fussiness.  I slept well and I had a good week.  Interestingly, I felt like my week was calmer, easier, happier.  I seemed to just go with whatever came at me -- nothing felt stressful or negative.  

Thursday was my second session -- a follow up intended to seal the retrieval and settle the reintegration in place.  I expected it to be pretty non-consequential, a sort of perfunctory check in that would amount to a "how's it going" conversation.  It was way more than I expected.  Having done all of the requisite chanting and rattling and praying to the four corners, the shaman called out each of my newly returned essences.  We talked.  They described what gifts they brought to me, and I had the opportunity to ask them questions.  It was the strangest experience I have ever had.  It was intensely emotional.  I cried, and shook, and laughed, and hyperventilated.  An hour and a half later, I left her house and headed home.  I was completely spent.

And I went right on, doing what I do.  I have just not been willing to look at any of this too closely.  It seems so "out there" that I have been afraid that I was imagining things; making things up; psyching myself.  The skeptic in my keeps whispering that, "probably this is really nothing, and it will end up to be a matter of wasting $125.00."

Except --

This morning He and I got ready to play.  I have wanted to play for a couple of weeks now.  Really wanted it.

SM play has been a tricky thing for us for a very long time.  Well before "the troubles," I'd lost my capacity to really "get into" sadomasochistic play.  In those months leading up to the hysterectomy, I'd been physically miserable, and then afterwards, I'd been so devastated by the surgical after effects, that I'd never really recovered.  For years, I've toughed it out through sessions, gritting my teeth, clutching a pillow, trying not to scream or flail or run.  I've gotten into my head and counted my breaths, and chanted my little mantras, just trying to do what I could to meet my "obligations."  There's been very little, in all of that, of pleasure or delight for Him or me.

We got started today in the usual way, with me over our old spanking pillow on the bed.  He started off pretty easily with some hand spanking and a light little leather paddle, and I was getting myself into my usual breathe and count routine.  But then, the oddest thing happened.  I began to notice a heat rising in my gut.  I started to notice a throbbing in my sex -- and, even more wondrous, I was wet!  Me!  Wet!  Suddenly, the blows He was raining down on me weren't awful; weren't a challenge; weren't something to be endured.  This morning, in a twinkling, I stopped worrying about staying in place through the pain, and started worrying about staying in place through the rocking orgasm.  Oh yeah.  Welcome home parts and pieces!

So, I don't know.  I can't explain any of it.  Not going to even try.  Just too happy to try to analyze stuff.




We are so in between in terms of our relationship to our Blog and so much in our life/lives.

Let me give you highlights:

I am today 482 days sober and can no longer imagine life on any other terms.  I am enjoying life in an alternative consciousness: sobriety.  When one has been pretty much drunk and or stoned since one was a mid teenager then sobriety is a whole new exciting disorienting way to view the universe.....exciting, new, fun and good.  Not only am I sober, but today, I am also grateful that I am sober, if not for the means of intervention that were used to get me here, but that is minor compared to the fact I am sober.

For the most part I do not think about my sobriety, or about drinking.  My life has become remarkably non-alcoholcentric.  I think about all the major and minor aspects of my/our daily life/lives.  Alcohol rarely if ever gets onto the menu of my consciousness since my probation was terminated in early March.  Until then the requirement that I attend two weekly AA meetings and a weekly aftercare support group, kept me focusing on alcohol.  For me the best thing that ever occurred to facilitate my recovery has been the freedom to quit AA.

We are all moving forward, t in her recovery from the loss of her mom, and sue down to the completion of yet one more school year and struggling to figure out what our relationship is evolving to become in the aftermath of the last two years, and I as I now have begun to collect pension and social security and am officially retired and ergo, I suppose, "really" old.

We have, all three of us, undergone shamanic soul retrievals in the last month.  My initial process of retrieval and aftermath session are completed.  Sue has her aftermath session this week and t just had her retrieval last week.  It is not useful to share too much by way of details about this until the initial processes are completed, but we will no doubt come to write more about it when the time is full.  I can say that for me it has made spirituality become real.  This has never occurred before in my life.  It is ironinc that after sitting through weekly AA meetings ending in the Lords Prayer  for a year and a half I found serendipitously (if serendipity exists apart from syncronicity) a link to what is likely to become my spiritual exploration.  Suddenly things that have always seemed silly and "woo woo" are seminal to my reality.  We are, all three of us, planning to attend an educational weekend exploring shamanic journeying in August.

Oh yes and in a rather mundane but I suppose quite serious front too, one month from tomorrow I will undergo a total knee replacement surgery.

There is so much to write about all this, but too, I need to await more distance in terms of space from our soul retrieval reintegration, and just in trying to sort out what and who it is we now are.

That lends itself to our ambiguity about this Blog.  This Blog has been our life line and our link to friends and our forum to exorcise demons, and our chronicle, and a thousand other purposes for seven years.  Who we were when we began, and in particular who I was then, is dead and is in the process of recreation.  We love going back and reading here and can so relate to the angst we shared here.  Often, as we reread it, it has the ring of some former life or a very poignant cinematic representation of our history.  It is not us in the present.

Sue has questioned if it is possible to continue to append our on-going reality onto this blog forum, or if perhaps we should draw a line here and decree this stage of our existence complete, and, just as we did with our beriatric surgery Blog, The Herons Transforming, create a new sister Blog which can chronicle our lives' progression forward from here.  I don't know which we will do.

I know we will go forward.  I am certain our future will continue to involve shamanic spirituality, and BDSM, and power exchange, and polyamory, and love, and struggle, and honesty.  I am certain too that those same elements were woven together to create the tapestry that is reflected here previous to this is likely not much like what is to come.....but we shall see.

I know that there appears to me, and to us, to be aspects of the earlier chapters of both BDSM and ployamory dynamics that we lived through that today seem immature and unsophisticated, even as we know how engrossingly they enthralled us at the time.  I know our direction forward now is not nearly so definite as it was when my vision of the future was what was important to us all.  My vision is not so much the driving force nor is it clear.

So if we seem "in between" you are reading us accurately.  We will come through this phase and I am sure this summer, whether in additions to this Blog or a new one (this one will remain here to be seen in either case), we will become more expressive once again and I hope more interesting.

Thank you so much for the friendship so many here have so careingly and loyally given us as they have supported us on our journey.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you've imagined.


A New Stage

It may be time to come to grips with the reality of time and age.  He is 63.  I am 57.  We have bodies that creak and and joints that hurt.  We have to pay attention to what we eat and when we exercise and how much time we sleep.  Some nights, maybe even most nights, we eat dinner, clean up the dishes, and then sit down, side by side on the couch, and sleep through whatever it is that is on the television.

In just a month, we will take note of the 10th anniversary of my arrival here to live with Tom and T; a full decade!  When I came here, I was on the upward learning curve of my BDSM orientation.  It may not be the case for everyone in the lifestyle, but for me, there have been stages to my growth within this sexual/erotic orientation.  The beginning places go way, way back into the years of my childhood and early adolescence; years when I dreamed and fantasized about control imposed from outside myself; years when I felt myself abandoned, unwanted, and unloved.  In those early years, my imaginings were about "belonging" to someone.  The frightened, lonely child that I was wanted only to be taken in, held close, and to know, finally, where "home" might be.

Getting started in the BDSM lifestyle was like landing in some magical wonderland.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  Every new experience made me eager for the next one.  I was like a sponge, soaking up all the sensations and adventures that were arrayed in front of me.  There was so much to see and do and feel and learn...

I wasn't as devil-may-care as some newcomers to the life are.  I explored, in those early days, with my husband at my side -- and having him there provided me with a margin of safety, and a buffer against the full "meat market" onslaught that sometimes washes over new, inexperienced, female submissives.  He kept me pretty safe.  Early on, I remember wondering about the spiral that I perceived ahead of me.  "What," I wondered, "would happen if I kept following the path of more intense, and more risky BDSM experience?  How far could I go along that path, and how would I know when I'd reached the end of the road?"  Even then, I had a vague uneasiness about the potential for reaching a point that was beyond my capacity to encompass it -- a point where what I craved tipped over into the realm of dangerous and crazy.

Then, I met Tom, and came to live here.  We were both hungry, ravenous, for the sensations that arose from sadomasochistic play.  We wrapped up in each other and we explored the boundaries and the edges of intimate power exchange.  We didn't discuss and we didn't negotiate.  We just went after it.  I reveled in the opportunity to finally fulfill the fantasies that had been held so close for so long.  He, I think, found His own joy in being partnered with someone who could match His own appetites.  It was a fierce and breathless time.  There was nothing subtle about what we did together; nothing gentle; nothing tender.  We devoured one another; demanding more and more and more from each other and from one another -- until, inevitably, the day came when there was nothing left to give.  I still feel that I hit the wall first; that it was me who ran out of runway.  I was the one who didn't have enough masochist to keep up with His sadist.  

Things happened.  Life happened.  Things changed, and over time, I was working to "meet my commitments; struggling to live up to the standards I'd set for myself as His "slave."  There was less and less joy in all of that.  It became work and sadness and bitterness.  And still we kept at it.  At some point, we found ourselves on a rocket that we couldn't get off of.  I think maybe He was more fulfilled in that part of the relationship than I was, but in retrospect, I wonder if that is true.  It might well be that He was as caught as I was.  We'd entered into the dance, and however miserable we were, we couldn't seem to stop.

And then everything crashed.  There was nothing quiet about our crashing.  Like so much of our lives, that was played here for all to see.  For good or bad, I was the initiator of that final, horrible break with what had gone before.  Whatever I intended, the changes that ensued, and the responses of "the system" broke the unspoken contract that had existed between He and I.  He was clear:  I'd acted in ways that completely abrogated my role as slave.  I'd broken our deal.  Through all the long months of treatment and aftercare, He experienced life as being out of His control, and as that was the truth for Him, there was no place for me to resume my accustomed "place" as His slave or His submissive.  I wanted things to resume their normal shape:  D/s and sadomasochism but without the addiction -- and that simplistic longing was impossible for a wide variety of reasons.

So, I engaged in therapy.  He engaged in therapy.  We lived side by side.  We loved, still, tenaciously but often with a sense of desperation.  There were days, many, many days, when the best we could do was exchange the forlorn assurances that we loved one another.  Dark days.

Now, today, with soul retrievals done, and reintegration of the retrieved soul fragments progressing, things feel softer, sweeter, gentler.  Nothing is as it was, and for all of the struggle of the last months, we are happy with what is.

I don't know the shape of our lifestyle expression going forward.  I know the toys still all occupy their accustomed place.  I know we still fall into SM play, switching back and forth, often laughing with delight as we enjoy the sensations that we can evoke with each other.  I know He is not "dominant" in the sense of issuing orders, making rules, and meting out punishments -- but then that never was the stuff of our days.  He still has, when He chooses to, a voice and a tone and an inflection that demands obedience -- and generally when He makes that sound, things go exactly as they would have before "the troubles."  I know that I have no list of chores, and yet I continue to do the things that I have always done for Him and for us -- the things that work to make life run smoothly and easily.  It is the same -- only different.

When I underwent a hysterectomy, seven years ago, my life changed radically in ways I never anticipated.  The aftermath of the surgery left me "sexually unresponsive," and I feared I might live out my days without the joy of sexual pleasures that I'd taken for granted before surgery.  I spent many, many angry and bitter months -- blaming the surgeon and hating my life.  And then, slowly and softly, I began to learn my way to something that was undeniably different, but good in a way that my more easy, youthful sexiness never knew.   I've learned, over the last seven years, to follow hidden and secret pathways to my body's sexual triggers.  I've learned that I am no less sexual than I was even as I need to be more attentive and more deliberate and more invested in my own joy.  I've learned that when I manage to "take advantage" of Him, and find my way to my own  ecstasy -- rudely paying no attention at all to "His needs," things work out for both of us -- and we arrive together at the point of release, flushed, breathless, and completely amazed.  That's not the juicy, throbbing sex of my earlier life, but it is somehow more wondrous precisely because it is so elusive.

Maybe what we've come to now, is a kind of power-based relationship that is more subtle and more sweet than what we once enjoyed.  Maybe what we will be doing now is the work of defining how to balance power between us -- without leaving either of us "powerless" or without a voice.  Maybe we will learn to play with the energies we can harness and use them to meet our desires in some more flexible way than we knew previously.  What we have now doesn't fit in any sort of box.  It has no easy label, and clearly the mainstream BDSM community would reject our (and especially my) use of any of the commonly used labels.  I'm not interested in engaging in some sort of campaign to restore myself to "true" slave-hood.  If that part of my life is gone, then it is.  So be it.  What lies ahead is completely mysterious to me.  This should be an interesting journey.



Coming Home

Strange goings on here in our world.  Fair warning.  I am not at all sure that I can talk about the new opening places in our lives -- and not sound just crazy.  But...  It feels like it is time to start trying to tell the story.  It feels like the story wants to be told.

A big, even giant, unanswered question for us, as we have traversed these last months, has been the role and place of "spirituality" in the healing we've sought.  The traditional, mainstream religiosity that is the proffered answer in the "recovery industry," just does not work for us.  There are such deeply rooted lies at the heart of traditional religious belief that it is impossible to know that truth and buy into the mythology.  Having it thrust upon us -- upon me -- has left me feeling stripped of all belief in anything, flat and devoid of light and liveliness.  Increasingly, I've felt sad, mournful, despondent, and dead inside -- even as the life and love we share has seemed to be getting better and better.  I am self-aware enough that I knew my internal world and my external reality were out of sync with one another, but knowing that made no difference.  I simply could not make myself FEEL the kind of sweetness that matched what I could see in the life we are currently living.

A little over a month ago, He became interested in a healing methodology/practice of Shamanism called "soul retrieval."  It captured His imagination, and resonated deep in His being.  Very quickly, He did the research, found a local shaman, and made arrangements to have a "soul retrieval."  I was skeptical -- and that too was odd, because I am the one, over the years, who has delved into the more esoteric spiritual practices.  But, I've always journeyed out to the edges with people that I knew well -- and trusted.  He was going to open Himself up to someone He'd never met -- someone He'd found online.  The whole business made my stomach do flip flops.  

He did have a soul retrieval.  It was fine, for all my worrying.  In fact, it was remarkable and amazing and has made a huge shift in our reality.  I'll not speak to the specifics.  It isn't mine, after all.  His soul retrieval, though, did set the stage for me to follow the same route.  My sense of disconnection, my sense of being flat and dead inside, all are classically symptomatic of "soul loss."  I was reluctant and not entirely convinced that buying into the whole odd, weird, crazy-seeming business made any sense at all.  And it does require a "buy in."  Shaman's may spend their time hobnobbing with the spirits, but when they act as conduits to and from that realm, they charge for the service.

Still, I have felt stuck; unable to move forward into our lives together -- and with no "back there" to go back to.  What was is gone forever, and what is becoming seemed incomprehensible to me.  I've been treading water; trying to just be content with a life that seemed pretty pale and unappealing.  So, at His urging (yes, He still "urges" quite definitively), I called the shaman.  She did not answer her phone, and I left a message:  "Hello.  I am interested in working with you to do a soul retrieval. Here's my number.  Please call me."  

I didn't hear anything, and so in a couple of days, I called again.  Still no answer.  Another message; this time sounding desperate and pleading.  Sheesh!  What was I doing?  When I didn't hear again, I began to imagine that maybe the shaman's spirit guides had declared me to be too much of a mess to even talk to.  What can you do when the spirits don't like you?  Yup.  That was me.  So bad that the shaman lady wouldn't even call me on the phone.  If you have read me for any amount of time, you will recognize this pattern.  I'm pretty quick to believe that I am unworthy of being liked/loved.

And then she called.  She'd been out of town.  Was still out of town, in fact (but I'd sounded so desperate I guess), but she would be back on Thursday and would call me then.  In the end, she and I finally spoke, and I arranged to go have my "soul retrieval" yesterday, May 3.  

During a soul retrieval, a shaman journeys into the non-ordinary reality and, with the help of spirit guides and protectors, finds soul parts that have fled as a result of various traumas throughout one's life.  Finding them, the shaman convinces them to return to the person and reintegrate with the whole person.  Having parts of your essence restored to you works to heal the hurts that resulted in their loss -- or something like that.  I don't pretend to really understand all of this.  But...

Today?  I am different.  I am lighter.  I am happier than I have been in -- I don't even know how long.  There is nothing major that I can identify.  All I know is that my "spirit" feels whole.  The continual fuss that I've been caught up in; the sense of being "nothing" since I am no longer "slave" or "submissive;" the worry in my mind about our evolving relationship... is all gone.  Today, it seems so simple and so obvious.  We will become what we will become together, and that feels like it can be happy and good.  I feel happy and good.  

It doesn't make any sense.  Really.  Whatever this reality is, it isn't the day-to-day stuff that I am familiar with.  I don't have words for any of it.  I just know that something happened, and today my life is better.  That's good enough for me right now.