New Year's Eve brought a new sense of peace and Certainty that I was moving on. A vision of the future. On New Year's Day I continued with removing my past - I had a pile of less emotive documents which I proceeded to shred, I tidied up the spare room to place it in to some kind of working order, I started to see the wood for the trees.
And then I picked up the only two photographs of my step-father and decided that they had to go, so I burned them. Quite vindictively. As you do.
And I felt on top of the world. Goodbye past. Hello New Me. I felt exultant. I was going to walk in to Shabbat on Saturday morning, see my teacher and say "You know what, maybe I didn't miss Chanukah after all" with a broad beam on my face.
Oh how pride comes before a fall.
I woke on Saturday morning feeling a little offset, and took the train in to London. With delays from the weather, I arrived late, halfway through the lecture that my teacher was delivering. And from there everything just started to fold. I felt a sudden rising panic and didn't want to be in the room, didn't want to talk to anyone, couldn't look my teacher in the eye. My hands started to shake when the Torah was being read. I started to lose focus. Where did this come from? Get. A. Grip.
I clawed my way through the rest of Saturday wondering where all of the peace had gone and hanging on to thought that Sunday was a new day. And it was a new day, but my peace had not returned. I had a strange force of energy bubbling up through my spine, out in to my hands. I can't explain it, but it wasn't pleasant. And I couldn't seem to hold on to a rational thought for love nor money.
Midnight on Sunday found me pacing round the kitchen, hands violently shaking, mind racing, with a panic of certain insanity. This isn't normal - what's going on? What is happening to me? By 2am the rush was over and I felt calmer - tomorrow I can get a grip.
Except that I couldn't, because the energy was still there - my whole body was shaking. I had emailed my teacher earlier in the week to ask for a meeting, but instead he sent a text asking "So, what's up this week?"
What's up? What's up? I think I'm losing my mind - that's what's up! Not knowing what else to do, I replied with "Have some really strange energy going on. Starting to lose control and maybe losing my mind. Sounds dramatic but no other way to put it". I pressed send and then cringed at the thought of being seen to be either barking mad, or possessed. We arranged a meeting for Wednesday and eventually with a constant distraction of music and TV, the shaking started to calm down. By Tuesday I felt as though I had just woken from a very bad dream, but things had started to settle.
All of the way through Chanukah, I meditated on the symbols for Letting Go, to the point where I was wishing "However this happens, at whatever cost, I don't care how, just help me let go". What I was looking for was the ability to have a good cry to get everything out of my system, and then move on. That's what I thought would happen - that no matter what the situation or surroundings that my buttons would be pushed, I would have a good sob and feel much better for it.
Yeah, well, I do like to feel that I have all of the answers. It seemed logical to me at the time. I guess I need to be careful what I wish for, because I couldn't have predicted what I think was actually a nervous breakdown.
The meetings with my teacher never go as I expect, but the meeting on Wednesday was a landmark event in my life. I finally identified my pain, and that pain is Guilt. Guilt that I somehow encouraged my step-father to abuse me, guilt that I could have done more to prevent things from happening, guilt that prevented me from asking for help, guilt that isolated me from other people.
I have carried this guilt in to the present day. I lost contact with people because I hadn't found work and didn't know how I was going to find work. I've got myself in a to stupid financial mess which I don't like to admit to anyone. I've isolated myself to the point that even all of the trivial problems that I have appear overwhelming.
As the days since the meeting have passed, I have been caught between good days and bad - still unable to take this information and spring in to action, feeling yet more guilt that I cannot just 'pull myself together' despite my financial situation being no better than it was and shutting down as the only means of switching off my head.
At the same time there is another story unfolding. Maybe this is all a part of my path. Maybe in order to support other people through this level of fear, I had to really feel it myself first. Maybe my transformation needs to be this dramatic for my business to be a success, in that I will be able to show people that every situation is reversible, no matter how dire it feels at the time.
The process of burning my history backfired because I wasn't ready to let go - but as a result of two days of violent shaking I have an awe of the energy I am trying to tap in to - a new found Certainty of the power of the Universe, the existence of the Light.
This has all led to a greater understanding of myself - finally I am in a place from where I can move forwards, painful though it may be. Hope springs eternal.
I have a feeling that Chanukah worked after all.