Then, highlight of the whole trip for me, the thing that was best, was Thursday just after noon was my hook suspension.
I left lunch early to take time to myself away from everyone and focus, to meditate and prepare. I sat on a bench in the sun for a while with my eyes closed and put myself into a mild state, talked to myself about what I wanted out of it, how I ideally wanted it to be and to go and for people to act, how I would accept it in that reality would likely not match up to my preference and how to be okay with that, to take this and however it went as how it should be and as a new turn in my life. I thought about how to accept this and feel it as something that was to be with Chael and now was purely mine, a major life experience in this new life on my own. How I was nervous, wanted it a certain way, what it would mean, and to try to accept that it would not be perfectly ideal for me.
I’m using the word “accept” a lot, but that is because it is the exact word for what I was working to do.
So then I went up to the upper dungeon and was still early and went nearby to sit in the shade next to some of the tenting and under a tree in the shade where I was alone. I could hear the sounds of Camp… distant voices, lawn mower, the wind in the trees. I meditated more and put myself a bit further into my mind and stillness and simply looked at the detail of the grass. I centered myself and was ready.
Whittney showed up and things began. Deltas started showing up when the hooks were being put in. Maggie assisted. They started left to right, four hooks across my back as I lay face down on the table. They hurt but were not unbearable. A sharp pain and pressure and then burn, I yelled “motherfuck” and “goddammit” during the insertions and slammed my fist against the table for one. But once in they did not hurt. I could feel them in kind of a muscle-ache way, but comfortably, sort of like after a hard workout where you know you did something but when laying still you’re fine.
I was had to sit up and the ones were put in my upper arms, just barely to the outside of each bicep. These again hurt intensely but once in were fine. Noticeable but fine.
Once all was ready they hooked me up to the frame and I started the process of putting my weight on. It hurt. A lot at times. My arms were the worst due to the dead weight of them hanging whereas my back was supported by my feet.
Maggie and Whittney talked me through bending my knees and rocking on my feet bit by bit, putting more weight on the hooks. I also flexed my back and worked my shoulders now and then to feel them and shift the tension around, working the ache out of spots. Lowering myself more and more was very difficult and for a bit I worried I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I decided it was unacceptable. I was gonna make it, this was too important.
I kept my eyes closed most of it as I kept bending knees and rocking feet.
Through most of this, starting just after the hooks were put in an area about the size of a quarter or half-dollar on the front right side of my jaw was tingly-numb. I remember noting it and thinking how odd that was a few times.
The pain and endorphins got enough that at one point I checked out. I “came to” as I noticed a chair behind my knees and being lowered to it with Maggie in front of me helping, she had been by me talking to me through it from the start and did so to the end. I didn’t faint or black out during this, rather I started dreaming like I do when I go deep in meditation when still or when doing my long-distance walks. I simply disconnected from outside of my head for a while.
Once back and steady I was able to get back up and proceed again with bending and rocking. Bit by bit we worked me up to the balls of my fit, the pads of my toes. I was told over and over by Whittney, Maggie, and Nimmy that the weight was now entirely on the hooks and the rest was mental. By this point my body was largely comfortable and I only had an occasional ache in my back during some moments.
I had them bring me up onto my very tippy-toes as mental preparation for lifting my feet; I needed that little bit more lift before I was ready to pull them up fully.
Then I did and for a moment it stung as I shifted and they pulled me up quickly.
And I hung.
During all of this I kept myself in the right headspace for me, what I had prepared and thought about ahead. That acceptance I spoke of, that I urged myself for. I accepted the words others said, the personalities involved in the others, the way things felt, who I was inside through the process.
I was, as expected, very quiet from the point of sitting on that bench in the beginning. I was in my own head for it where I needed to be.
I knew my Deltas were largely there out of my peripheral vision. I sensed them and had a knowledge of them there but I only glanced at a couple during it, I largely kept my eyes on the grass or my eyes closed. I wanted them there and it was very important to me that they were, but I needed to be separate from them. This was largely something I did alone and wanted it that way, despite the loving help of the wonderful people involved… suspension crew, Deltas, passing observers. I needed and wanted them but also had to work through this experience by myself in a lot of ways. It was a mix of desires and applications of others.
I hung and I looked at the grass as I did when I’d been sitting on the ground, I looked out over the trees, I thought over things and how I felt about recent life and moving forward, kept my mind still and empty at times and largely and just took in being alive and there. Again, the presence of others, the wind, the trees and grass, the mental and physical sensation of being above the ground, the sunshine, the sounds of Camp.
At one point as I expected and wanted, the pain of recent things came through me and I didn’t know if I’d cry. I avoided it by nature and habit and then gave myself permission to let whatever happened happen. My face and heart worked and I felt it, I started to crumble. I recognized it and and dealt with it and let it be while also noting the pleasant things around me, of the fact that I was doing this alone and without Chael, that this was mine; and then I moved past it. I became calm again and silent inside and just watched the world and myself, acknowledging in a very present but also detached way.
I loved it. I felt at peace for a while up there. Not well, not not-sick, but at peace. I didn’t want to come down. I felt guilty for staying up and pushed it aside. These people were supporting me, I needed this, I loved this, and I was going to let myself experience it.
After a while, I was ready to come down. My lower back at a spot in my spine I have issues with and had messed up a tad a couple days before slowly started to ache and I knew after a bit of it that I needed to get back on my feet rather than let it increase. It was time to close this up, so they lowered me.
Touching my feet back on the ground felt strongly for a moment of rough grass and cool ground against my toes and then my weight was back on my legs. The sore point of my back gave a sharp pain and I felt my body settle back into my hips. Nimmy made a comment about the feeling of being back on the ground again and I mentally agreed and made a comment about it.
While up I laughed some at comments, made a few myself, it was good.
Mostly I was just me: quiet, still, and watching myself in my head and heart and the world around me. Looking across the way at the trees was beautiful.
They unhooked me from the rig and I bled some, it was nice. I told folks I appreciated them being there and went back to upper to have the hooks removed. The process had recharged my spoons and I felt as I do after a good scene: clear headed, in a good mood, and ready to move forward with my day. But lighter in spirit than is normal for me.
Removing the hooks was not bad at all. Whittney worked the flesh around to settle tissue. It didn’t really hurt, again it felt like sore muscles after a good workout. One stung hard for a second but in the same way. Nothing terrible at all, nothing beyond what a normal massage can feel like.
Cleaned, bandaged, and done I talked with those who came back to watch and spend time with me. It was lovely. Hugs and then the day went on.
I have healing holes in me that I wish would scar but think that if they do it will be minor. I know how to worry the wounds to increase the likelyhood but they are simply healing so fast and well that I doubt there will be much at all. My arms are bruised around them and a bit of my back, too. It looks pretty. I am very happy with it and feel loved by the support my loved-ones and all the others gave me.
It was the highlight of my Camp and an amazing moment in my life. I look forward to the pictures and I was told there is video.
I got to keep the hooks; I do not know what I will be doing with them. They are important, though, and will be somewhere.
Thank you to everyone who was there and who had kinds words later. I cannot say how, I don’t know what word I want to use… special isn’t it, important again would be right.
I don’t really know what else to say, really. Thank you, to family, friends, and god/spirit/the universe.