Growing Pains

      The string that holds my soul to my body aches. The joints in my feet are constantly perturbing my mood. My spirit is inside out and there is an ominous worry that makes its way into my mind. My Doctor, who is also my mother and financial guardian- tells me that these are only growing pains. She is a Jungian Psychoanalyst, and she tells me that she sees many cases such as this from men and women in their mid-thirties. They are people who have a tendency to long for more than they have and feel much more accomplished than their reality might demonstrate, my mother tells me. They are individuals who are dreamers, and so far their dreams have not come to fruition so they must start to think of other ways to support themselves, she also told me. So far this sounded like me.

My growing pains began when I realized I may have to go back to school. I have always considered myself an artist but this imagination has not turned a profit. I have earned less than a $1,000 from my art and am now faced with a mid-life crisis. What am I going to do now? I am signed up and ready to attend a graduate program which will miraculously turn me into a psychotherapist. But it hurts. My eyes are heavy and my arms feel longer than normal. I have been stricken with constant headaches and a chronic cough will not leave me alone. I have never imagined myself a professional, let alone a Therapist- but there needs to be money in the bank and I am weary of my art being able to provide for my future family.

Madness is a disease that will keep your families stomach full and a warm roof over your head, the admissions counselor to the Psychology program told me. There is no shortage of psychological ailments to treat, you will be a rich man in no time. I can see it in your eyes, he said as we shook hands and I left his office. I returned home with palpitations and a pain in my side. What could he see in my eyes, I kept thinking. I was angry and decided to sit down and write this entry with the hopes that it might make some sense to a stranger out there who can relate to my pain. I am overcome by the world and the way I had imagined myself in it (writer, artist) seems to be changing into something else. It hurts.

I took a shower this morning and felt a painful knot in my stomach. I have been burping a lot lately which makes me think that I may be suffering from an ulcer. My worst fear other than death, is being ordinary. I have done every thing that I can to avoid the trappings of the ordinary. Now that I may be becoming a Therapist and a family man the trappings of ordinarinesses are seeming closer. I feel anxious and have to remind myself to stay present. I am currently enrolled in a stress reduction mindfulness course that is helping me to just this. Stay with the breath, when the mind starts chattering away, just bring your attention back to the inhalation and exhalation.

This morning I went for psychoanalysis with my mom. She has a nice leather couch that I lay down upon and the smell of redwood trees fills her small office in the Berkeley hills. I talked about my deepest fears- one being my inability to make money doing something that I love. I talked about how unhappy the prospect that I may never be successful at my chosen craft makes me. I shivered and felt my heart beating from my stomach. My mother told me that Apocalypse means to reveal what is hidden. It is a kind of renewal. She made me aware of the personal Apocalypse that I was going through and how the growing pains that I was feeling were symptoms of this Apocalypse. Be patient, allow the renewal to take place and stop judging, she said. Humans are supposed to be joyful.

I returned home this afternoon with a perpetual burp. The string that holds my soul to my body still aches. Today I will sit in meditation for a few hours and try not to worry about rent, what I am going to do for money, or my health. I will just sit still and inhale and exhale. This is it. All of my attention will go into being present in the moment. This usually relieves the headaches, palpitations, chest pain, back ache, ulcer, and feet aches. I have no idea how long these growing pains are going to last but I am getting close to forty and it is my hope that they are resolved by then.

2 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. Ahha! “My Doctor, who is also my mother and financial guardian- tells me that these are only growing pains. She is a Jungian Psychoanalyst..” This explains a great deal. I have a friend whose father is his psychiatrist and financial guardian and he displays many of the same symptoms. Perhaps it is a syndrome,

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