We must all make personal decisions that are right for us, but we must also challenge our selves to go beyond our limitations. We must ask ourselves: What is the possibility that I may be getting this wrong, that I am not seeing something? What am I missing? We must all take personal responsibility for our lives, for how we interpret our experiences, and how we ultimately decide to view and live in the world.
During my three-year long intensive recapitulation, I learned how to question not only the reality that I was encountering from my past, but also how I was going to interpret it this time around. Could I really trust that what came to greet me out of old forgotten memories had really happened? How could I embrace the truth of what I was learning about my childhood? How could I take it all in and move on to a new interpretation of what it meant when what I was reliving was often so devastatingly overwhelming that some days I could not even get out of bed?
I learned how to question everything. This was the only way I was going to get through the recapitulation of traumatic events from my childhood that had held me so tightly in their embrace for decades, though I had little or no inkling of this fact. I knew little about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the tentacles of trauma that infiltrate every aspect of a person’s life until finally faced. For the most part, I felt that I was not really living life as I sensed it could be lived, but I did not know why until I elected to take the recapitulation journey. When I began to allow old memories to surface I had to face old judgments, prejudices of self and others, truths and lies that were incredibly uncomfortable to confront, disassemble and release myself from.
The entire time I worked through this recapitulation process I also disassembled the world as I knew it, the outer world as well as the inner world—one could not hold up without the other. As I deconstructed the old self, I found that I could not live in the same world that the old self had constructed. Recapitulation meant a total disintegration of the self I had been. So, as a result, who I thought I was and how I viewed the world all changed as I plodded along, chipping away, day by day, at what I thought was reality.
Some days I would wake up in such pain that I immediately wanted to seek medical advice, but at the same time I knew there was nothing in the conventional medical world that would help the somatic experiences that my body was telling me I had to go through. There were times when I did indeed need to go to the doctor, like the time I had Lyme disease and could not walk or think properly. There were other times when what was buried inside produced real physical symptoms that needed attention, though I knew they originated from something deep inside me looking for a way out, like the time I had skin cancer. I knew it was not related to sun exposure, but to the unknown stuff that was putrefying inside me, needing release. I had to learn to distinguish between these issues by questioning the reality of my situation and determine how to address them, taking full responsibility for my choices along the way.
As I faced some very painful memories, I had to learn how to let myself be taken into other worlds, knowing that I had the power within to face the truth that those worlds were indeed as much reality as the everyday world that was looking more and more unreal to me. As I recapitulated, I learned, by taking one incremental step at a time, how to be an observer as well as a participant in those alternate realities. In strengthening my inner conviction to complete the task my body was laying out for me, calling me to, I found that I had within me more than enough personal power to face the challenges presented and change the way I experienced everything.
I learned to question everything too; from the physical symptoms I was experiencing to the way I thought. I let myself learn, through the process of recapitulation, to perceive reality differently—reality being all the conventions I had been taught and adhered to, all the beliefs and ideas that kept the world in order. I allowed myself to blow apart everything that held me together. In the end it was my salvation. It not only changed the way I viewed the world, but it changed the way I viewed my place in it.
What am I really here for? What is it that I must do in this lifetime? I knew I was not here for a selfish reason, that to be eternally depressed and self-absorbed was not going to cut it in the long run. I knew that I was no longer going to be able to hide, to isolate myself in a private world of make-believe. I faced the deepest kind of isolation and make-believe during my recapitulation process and found that they no longer granted me anything of substance, though at one time they had been the backbone of my entire existence.
In constantly questioning the true meaning of my life throughout the recapitulation process, I learned that the main thing I was being asked to do was to break down, literally. I had to deconstruct my entire being, inside and outside, into tiny pieces that I then had to sift through before finding the proper way to reconstruct those pieces into new pictures. As I broke down the past, I also learned how to break down the present and, in so doing, be open to a new kind of future.
I know that all of this may sound very esoteric and impossible to do in the context of a very busy life, with all that we must encounter each day to simply survive, but it is not that difficult if one is committed to change. From personal experience, I can say that the recapitulation process is one of total reevaluation of self and world, leading to the ability to take full responsibility for both. It means taking on the challenge to committing to change with a conviction that defies all other methods.
Perhaps the most helpful part of the entire recapitulation experience, a simple statement that not only anchored me as I entered the darkest and most complicated issues of self and world, was this one: Question reality. Chuck said this to me on more than one occasion.
One day it came up in our conversation as the most meaningful of statements and the next day I was driving behind a car that had an enormous bumper sticker plastered across its fender saying the same thing in large letters: QUESTION REALITY. I could not ignore that it was exactly the right message. In continually questioning reality, I was able to not only face my darkest moments but re-envision them in the context of a new world, a world that I was totally in alignment with, having allowed it to form out of my deepest inner process.
I wish for all people to have a new world vision, but it can only happen by facing the world that we have constructed. This is what we are facing now as a nation and as a global world, but most importantly, personally. We are facing the reality we have created, trusted, and believed in. But now we must re-envision it. It is time to see it for what it is: a reality of exploitation, distrust, greed, selfishness, with little regard for human, animal and natural life. Are we really so heartless?
How can we re-envision a just and right world for all? In questioning reality as it now stands, breaking down the rules and dogmas we have lived by, facing the truth that we are all responsible for everything that has happened and is happening by our adherence to old ideas, tactics, and habits, we can begin to change.
We must all change. This, I believe, is the only way for us to evolve. But even change must be radically different from the means of change as enacted in the past. It is not enough to reinsert new rules that uphold an old order. It is time to face the chaos. Only in facing the chaos within will we be able to face the chaos without. If we don’t do that we will simply reassemble what we have already discovered does not work. We must indeed question everything about ourselves; about the worlds we live in, and ask ourselves to face the truth of the existence we have constructed.
Why am I really here? Personally, I continue to face that question each day as I read, write, meditate, and break through the conventions that arise. The old world will never give up on me; it will continue to pose its side of the story. But I must face it and ask: Are you the reality I wish to live in? The answer that always comes up is a resounding: No.
Still questioning everything,