In today’s installment, we are encouraged to select one of our monster stories, and write it down in detail. You may have already started this, the way Thalia’s utterly despicable experience in first grade came to mind for her.
It needn’t be overly long, but make it as specific as you can remember. Julia advises, “Do jot down whatever details come back to you – the room you were in, the way people looked at you, the way you felt, what your parent said or didn’t say when you told them about it. Include whatever rankles you about the incident: ‘And then I remember she gave me this real fakey smile and patted my head…’ ”
Seen now as adults with some distance and experience behind us, some of these memories are outrageous. Go ahead. Feel that rage. Feel the grief, if that’s what is triggered. Allow those feelings to come right up, because they are the stirrings of your POWER. The adversities imposed on us by our monsters can give us the traction that will launch us towards even more brilliant future fulfillment!
One exercise that works wonders, even for those of us who are not visual artists, is to sketch, paint, sculpt, or even make a collage of your old monster. Or you could draw a picture of what happened on the worst particular day. Then cartoon TRASH it! At least draw a big fat X over it!
I have included the Queen of Clouds (Swords) from the Osho Zen Tarot twice in this discussion, because in my readings, she comes up all the time for creatives in recovery. She is such a powerful image of the bitter, idealism-busting cynic whose judging attitude can shame us and poison our dreams.
(In all fairness, I really don’t think of the Queen of Swords in the Tarot as being at all as horrifying as this deck portrays her. Some of my best friends are Queens of Swords, and I am frequently irritated with the whole Clouds suit in that deck. But that’s a whole other subject!).
Another technique that Julia recommends for putting these monsters in their place, is to write a letter to the editor or the President, or some other Important Personage on your behalf. Then, mail it to yourself. She tells us, with obvious relish, “It is great fun to write this letter in the voice of your wounded artist child: ‘To whom it may concern: Sister Ann Rita is a jerk and has pig eyes and I can too spell!’
Or write a venomous, brilliant diatribe addressing your monster directly. Be Ambrose Bierce, Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker rolled into one. Say everything you could not say at the time because you were small, powerless, mortified, vulnerable, or devastated. Now, in hindsight, with your magic powers of adulthood, discernment and understanding, you can see how ruinous their words and actions were. So go crazy!
But do NOT actually mail it or send it anywhere! Except here, where we will cheer for you, if you’d like. You might also create a special ritual and set it on fire (safely, please). Now that we are in the Waning Moon, the timing is very good for this sort of work.
Allowing your grief and anger to awaken will help to cleanse the lingering, silent poisons that may still be in your system. Let your tears wash you clean. Let yourself be angry – anger can be a friend who shows us where our boundaries have been violated, and energizes us to take action.
Once you’ve been working with your Hall of Shame monsters, and told them all off in no uncertain terms, breathe deep your new freedom. Do something especially good for yourself.
Then, it’s time to shift gears. We’ll be doing some more time-traveling tomorrow!