Love and grief. Two words that, for many years, were difficult for me to differentiate. It was only in one of my latest therapy sessions that I understood that for my younger self, those words fell almost under the same meaning and feeling. Simply because, for my inner child, it became “normal” to feel so much pain while feeling so much love.
Back then, I remember feeling deeply stuck in this kind of limbo. Since I couldn’t make sense of feeling so much pain, but also so much love for someone that I did not even know, at least not physically. Therefore, my mind and feelings were confused, full of questions, and the lack of answers was just excruciating to my soul. So, I turned that pain into a secret. And there I stayed, all alone.
That kind of loneliness that spiders must feel. Especially the Black Widow type. A fact I find very interesting to relate to, since I myself am arachnophobic. But comparing myself with a Black Widow spider, while being extremely terrified of them, sounds odd but also very arousing and awakening.
It all occurred to me in one of my therapy sessions while sharing about a dream I had.
In this dream, I was traveling around, but not sure where to. I was just between airports, train, and bus stations. And at one of these train stations, I decided to take a shower before jumping on the next train. The whole place was kind of dirty and full of loud people. But I went inside the bathroom anyway, and as I began to take a shower, I got really annoyed by the fact that the water wasn’t really coming out of the showerhead properly. So, I decided to take a closer look at it, and to my surprise, the water was just coming out from the sides of the showerhead, which looked just like – guess what? – a spider. I felt a sense of fear, but mostly I was just annoyed by the fact that I couldn’t take a proper shower. And by relying on that feeling, I thought, “Well, I just need to get inside this bloody thing and clean it, so I can finally enjoy my shower.” So, that’s what I did; I started by detaching the showerhead from the rest of it, and by doing that, all kinds of disgusting things started to come out of it. Long black hair covered in drained water, pieces of random and unidentified stuff, and suddenly, a constantly dirty yellowish liquid just started to come out of the showerhead, making the whole experience even more disgusting. It simply looked like just a huge amount of puke was coming from inside that thing. I remember waking up but still very much in that dream, almost like I was half in that dream and half lying in my bed, but in both ‘realities’, I was feeling sick, like physically sick. However, in both experiences, I felt I needed to go through that unpleasant feeling and situation. So, I tried my best to stay there so I could clean that shower. But, unfortunately, suddenly I was fully awake.
By sharing this dream with Lorena (my therapist), we were both very intrigued and curious to understand the deep meanings behind that dream. After a few attempts, the analogy with a Black Widow and their spider’s web just came to me, and we were both very much involved in that idea.
I began by pointing out how I always thought of spiders as solitary creatures, and we also spoke about how that dream and the fact that the showerhead looked just like one to me could be related to the fact that I felt lonely growing up. Feeling trapped and stuck in my own spider’s web in a way, with all my emotions blocking my soul. Just like the hair was blocking the water from running free. I mentioned that when I think about spiders, it’s always one that looks like a Black Widow. This is another very interesting fact, since, as Lorena pointed out, my mum became a widow when I was inside her womb, but let’s talk about this at another time.
I decided to face my fear and did a little bit of searching to understand more about Black Widows and how they interact with the rest of the world. And fun fact, they are indeed a very solitary type of creature. They live alone and away from other spiders of the same species. Also, their legs are coated with an oily substance that prevents them from getting caught in their own web, and a fact that I found very interesting is that Black Widows much prefer dark secluded areas to live in.
Well, I never thought I would say or even think about this, but I can very much relate to a spider now, especially the Black Widow type. How surprisingly amazing life can be, am I right? Anyway, back to when I was just a kid, the feeling of being all alone and kind of trapped in a cobweb speaks deeply into my core. Since I very much felt like no one would really understand the type of pain I was in and see how lonely it was for me to be tangled in that web. It also felt almost like it was dangerous to others and especially to me if anyone attempted to come even closer to that web I made and involved myself in. Mainly because I was kind of ashamed and embarrassed by all these emotions that, back then, I did not have the knowledge to name, so the feeling of not being understood or seen just made perfect sense to me at that time. But just like in that dream, I have been finding ways to clean and finally allowing the water to run through that showerhead, so I can have my well-deserved shower.
Is definitely not a simple or even an easy ‘task’ to do, but with an open heart, I feel I’m slowly allowing myself to finally join that solitary Black Widow inside myself and remind her of the fact that her legs are coated with this special oil that prevents her from getting stuck in her own web.
Therapy is playing a huge part in this process, and it just turns into the perfect combo when I allow time to sit and meditate on my own. Also, allowing someone who deeply cares and can see my pain to enter this tangled and dark cobweb I still feel very much trapped in definitely helps to feel less lonely and less unseen. And I have been finding that by doing that and during my meditation practices, I can really connect with my inner child or, to keep the analogy going, Black Widow.
Also, connecting with that part of myself has brought into the light the crevices where I was living in. And by allowing light to shine upon my pain, I have been enabling myself to connect with my beloved dad. And by doing that, I can finally see that I’ve never been alone. He was always there with me, even when I couldn’t see or didn’t ask for it. As Lorena beautifully said in one of our sessions, “He waited for you. Your dad waited for you. This is love. Love waits.” And those words felt just like having ice cream on a very hot day. And I could just feel that Black Widow of mine untangling herself even more from her web.
As mentioned before, part of this healing and cleaning process is done by simply sitting down with my legs crossed and my eyes closed, and allowing myself to just be with my own breath for as far as I need to. And believe it or not, I can also relate this ‘ritual’ with spiders. As I’ve learned that spiders can spend up to 60 minutes making their web, and even though a spider’s web is extremely strong, they don’t last long, as wind or rain can damage them. So some spiders build new webs every day. Just like I do in my practices. If you meditate, you probably know that we need to keep bringing our attention to our breath during our practices, simply because, just like wind or rain can disturb a cobweb, our thoughts can distract us from being present in the present moment. So, just like spiders, I’ve learned that it’s okay to start over and build new homes every day.
Since mentioning how important and crucial meditation has been in this journey, I would like to share a recent and wonderful experience I had.
It was a Friday evening. I sat down to meditate before going to bed, like I always do. Hands-on mudra-cosmo position, legs crossed, and eyes closed. And before starting my journey, I like to say the following words: “I’m fully present in the here and now. I’m here without any expectations, so show me or take me to whatever you want me to experience today. I’m here with my open mind and heart, to observe anything you think I’m prepared to see.”
I spent the initial few minutes just making sure that all my attention was on following my in and out breath, which prevents my mind from getting attached to any thoughts that are just there to try to destroy my ‘spider’s web’. But suddenly, a natural urge feeling of moving and repositioning my hands on my chest just came to me, so I decided to obey that sensation. And just by simply doing that, my journey started, and I, once again, began to untangle emotions and allow light to shine upon the darkness that my Black Widow called home.
And to my surprise, my dad was there. Patiently and lovingly waiting for me. I then initiated a conversation with him. I started by asking him, once more, to help me go through the grief I have been carrying for far too long. And suddenly, I became quite anxious and couldn’t avoid the sadness and the tears that came with it. I then began to beg him to not leave or forget about me when I finally get over that pain. It was when I understood that those words were actually coming from my younger self, that was trapped in her emotions. So I decided to let her speak and express whatever she was feeling, and she began to talk: “Dad, I’m afraid that this pain is the only thing that keeps us connected. But I do understand that I need to let this go, I’m ready for this. But I’m still very much scared and can’t help but think that I will lose you again. So I need you to promise me that the love I feel for you will be enough to keep you alive inside me. Inside my heart. Because this pain I’ve been carrying is excruciating, and I know it’s time to let it go, so please help me, and all I’ve to ask is that you don’t leave us, after it’s all gone.” She then stopped for a few seconds to catch her breath and to wipe the tears from her tiny eyes, just so she could continue with her request: “I also need you to please forgive me for pushing you away when I could feel you wanted to connect with me. I was so afraid and did not know how to handle the situation, but I feel guilty about that still, which is another type of pain. So please, forgive me for that.”
And it was right here, after these words, I felt the urge to give her a warm hug and say the following words: “I forgive you for that, it’s okay. I gotcha you, you don’t need to feel guilty anymore, I’m here with and for you.” I also felt that my dad joined us in that hug and I can swear I could hear him saying “I’m also here”.
After that hug, and after settling the tears a little bit, my dad started to talk with me, with us. And his words were felt and ‘translated’ by my heartbeats. Stay here with me, as I try to explain better what I mean by that. You know how your intuition voice works, right? Great, so my dad’s words were just like that intuition voice we all have in us, but that voice was also making my heart beat in a different rhythm each time I felt/heard his lovely words. It was an amazing and unique sensation. I could feel each of his words beating and jumping out of my chest, in a very lovely but kind of anxious way, which it felt, to me, that he was just so full of joy to be finally there talking with me, that his words were just jumping out of him, faster than he could control it.
The ‘conversation’ between us was basically him saying that everything would be okay and that he was also okay. He then said that he was waiting for me to be ready so we could ‘sit together and talk’. He also said that he understood and respected my wishes when younger. But he was always looking after me, even when he needed to keep his “presence” hidden. He couldn’t help but keep saying that he has so much love for me and always will. I then expressed my gratitude for everything he has done for me and for respecting my wishes when I was younger. I told him that I always felt connected to him and that I love him with all my heart.
At some point in this conversation, he revealed to me something very funny and lovely at the same time. He said that it was actually him who ‘added’ Lorena in that Google search I did almost 2 years ago. He used my great sense of humor and my intuition voice to communicate with me and to make me give her a call. Okay, let me explain why I think this is funny. So, one of the main reasons I decided to contact Lorena was simply that she also has curly hair, just like my father and me. So when I saw her picture on her website, my first thought was: “Oh! Her hair is curly. She’s the one.” It was very funny, but also profoundly beautiful to know that it was him that chose Lorena to be part of my journey. Also, I was astonished by the fact that my dad and I share such a wonderful, powerful, and unique connection.
By the end of that incredible experience, my inner child was once more in agony. She asked him again to not go away and forget about us after we finally heal our hearts. And I felt immediately my heart beating faster than before but with a tender rhythm in it. My dad then gave us a warm and gracious hug and whispered in my ears while touching my heart: “I will always be here.”
After that experience, I felt a very genuine and pure sense of peace, like I’m finally understanding that I no longer need to feel tangled and stuck in that web of emotions. I can now put to the test those oily legs that prevent me from getting caught in my own spider’s web and can begin to clean that showerhead, and when the time comes, finally appreciate that warm and cleansing shower I’ve been waiting for.