I wake this morning feeling refreshed. I stand instead of returning to my sitting posture and begin to prepare for a Journey. I look across the water and see the self-loather, still sleeping. I quickly pull on a pair of jeans under my dress. Then, I turn my back to him and replace my dress with a t-shirt. When I turn back, he is sitting on his blanket. He is not looking at me. He is distracted by his exhaustion.
He’s not tired. He slept well, as I did. Still, he has released a lot and is now deep into the feeling one feels after finally letting go of an enormous burden. It is the reflective exhaustion of finally accepting how tired he has been all along. When he released the weight of what he held, he finally permitted himself to feel the burden he was not acknowledging. He is distracted by his thoughts right now, by the things he is finally accepting, and he is not interested in me. I still sense anger from him, but it is now a kind of brooding anger, the way my mind always pictured Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. He is still a generally unpleasant person to be around, but the rages have stopped, at least those outside of his mind. I believe the personal reflections of self-torture continue, but I believe he is no longer projecting them to anyone else.
After watching him for a moment, I continue getting dressed. I pull my hair back into a tight ponytail. Then, I sit and put on my moccasins. After gathering my bag and all the items from my circle, I add the poncho to my sack and put on IEOs sweater.
Looking around the cave, I take one final opportunity to make sure I feel complete here. I do. So, I ask, “Is it appropriate for me to fill my water flask from the pool?”
I fill one for me and one for the self-loather while KaeDunfte walks over to the man and tells him to rise. The man rises and then follows the Wizard to the place where the tunnel begins. He suddenly looks terrified, but he will do whatever the Wizard instructs. I can see the wounded child in this man. He obeys orders like a two-year-old, but unlike a typical child, he expects the Wizard to strike out at him, like an abusive father. This is what makes him so dangerous to women. He understands respect as fear, and his fear shows the respect he holds for the Wizard. He would have never felt he had gained my respect until I feared him. This was the cause of the rage. I never did fear him. Treating him with my definition of respect would never penetrate. To him, the only way to respect is to fear. I understand this concept as I have never understood it before, and I know it will help me in my own life. For this, I am thankful.
The Wizard watches me like he can read these thoughts, and he laughs out loud. He knows I understand what we are doing. I smile in response and gather the man’s belongings before falling in line behind the two men. The Stag travels with me.
As we enter the corridor, KaeDunfte directs me to travel down the tunnel. So, it will be me leading our way down the path. There is an audible groan from the self-loather. It is clear; everything the Wizard does will be a push against his truth. I pass them and begin my trek deeper into the core of my being.
I am suddenly filled with laughter, as I understand we will be able to close this passageway after we have helped this man to the other side. Permanently separating myself from this consciousness will have a significant impact on my life. Perhaps, I can use this opportunity to close many of the passages created in this mountain, rabbit holes that never served me. When we finish our work, we will have helped him, and I will not leap from this mountain. I will travel down a clear path forged of confidence on my way to a new kind of freedom. As I walk away, the monolith will fall. It will collapse under the weight of its burdens, liberating me from the exhaustion of it. The agony of self-loathing will be mine no more.
It is heartbreaking the way this opportunity for healing has come to be. I would have carried this mountain with pride if I could have prevented the tremendous loss felt by Monica and her family. This world needs people like Amber more than it ever has, and no matter how much of my self-loathing I heal, I don’t think I will ever feel I could bring light to such a darkened planet in the way she did. I think I would do anything to reverse the loss of her. If it weren’t for my children, I would give myself up for her. She was a true gift to this planet, a rare kind of blessing that was transformational, just by existing.