“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”
I used to love that saying, but didn’t really know why. Now I do. I am a proud EDGE DWELLER nowadays, learning how to also live in mainstream civilisation without losing my “edge.”
When I use the term EDGE DWELLER for me it brings up visuals of the beautiful birdlife and plant life that not only survives but thrives on the highest cliff faces in remote parts of the world that are inaccessible to most human beings, or Mainstreamers as I like to respectfully call them.
Ah, the quiet, the solitude, the sacred peace that is found in these dangerously beautiful edges of the universe.
As a recovering drug addict, alcoholic and survivor of sexual and domestic violence as a little girl, I found great refuge and relief in mastering the survival skills to become an EDGE DWELLER. I emotionally ran away from mainstream life to live on my own private cliff face where no-one could reach me.
It saved my life.
Addicts, alcoholics and survivors of heart trauma often become, in my observations, emotional EDGE DWELLERS. We find emotional safety in the places that Mainstreamers would only visit from time to time, but retreat wisely as soon as they see the dangers in sustaining this lifestyle to their physical and mental health.
Mainstreamers are those who already have installed within their behavioural programming the capacity to moderate, self-care and live a balanced life most of the time.
EDGE DWELLERS do not innately share these skills. They often don’t come from emotional environments where elders have this information to pass on. Alternatively they may well have loving and supportive elders, but somewhere in their history has been an emotional trauma that they are nursing that is so painful their capacity to learn how to live is impaired. They are stuck in shame, pain and survival mode and long to escape from the human race, and Mainstreamers as they see them as the cause of their wound.
Coming in from the edge and coming out of the cold and thawing my heart out so it can enjoy the warmth of human heart contact has been a gradual process. Sometimes it is two steps forward and three steps back … back to the edge so I can catch my breath, calm myself and recharge.
Without drugs and alcohol I had to learn new ways to self-soothe and disengage from the rat race without disconnecting my heart. The art of meditation, writing and praying to Mother Nature and Father Time are the new skills I use. I no longer hide on the edge with drugs and alcohol, but absolutely understand those that do.
I sat with a client the other day in the waiting room of a male therapist’s office. I have been holding this beautiful young woman’s hand as she survived as an EDGE DWELLER around four years now. Just recently she has been losing her balance and has felt ready to make a move off of her once safe ledge. Her wounding was done brutally by male elders all throughout her life. She, like I, would require a safe male elder as the emotional antibiotic to cure her of her wounds. As a fellow EDGE DWELLER I explained I could only ever take her so far on this recovery journey, and offer her a limited amount of comfort and support. I have spent the past four years reminding her that when she felt safe and ready I would be there to hold her hand and introduce her to a safe male therapist so she can continue her healing journey at a deeper level, and eventually integrate at her pace with safe Mainstreamers.
Until us EDGE DWELLERS feel safe and supported we will not emotionally move. For those of us that have been forced to do way too many things against our will that were distressing in our lives, we must move slowly at our own pace, and on our own terms. As she sat in her first session with a safe male therapist she was shaking.
“I feel like a deer caught in the headlights” she said as she reached for my hand. Just sitting with her was a privilege. What a brave act of courage it took her to trust a Mainstream male elder, when all of her past history is full of trauma and abuse at the hands of male elders.
“The headlights are from a vehicle of support that can transport you to a safer place,” I said to her as gently as I could as her terror was palpable and her lifestyle on the ledge was no longer a safe place for her to stay any more.
As a formerly exclusive EDGE DWELLER I am now privileged to be able to experience the best of both worlds. I can join the Mainstreamers and observe and appreciate their rituals and bonding behaviours. But my native heart lives with the Edge Dwellers.
For those of you still living on the edge, please remember, when and if you are ever ready to come in from the cold rest assured you won’t lose your beautiful, sacred, safe place. It will always be there for you to retreat to, but you will able to come and go as you please. As EDGE DWELLERS detox their fears isolation is replaced with healthy solitude.
Bill W., a wise, wise man and a self-confessed recovering EDGE DWELLER once said …
“Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™