I am still processing love
a father’s story offering a truth
different from the one I was raised on
I am still processing trust
and the belief in words
I am learning how to weave
a new history and to embrace
the parts that are broken
Time teaches not all things
will come back together
Union is a splitting of cells
that collapse into life
fumbling to find a self
I hold my belief in threads
my hands weaving something new
I can’t tell you about endings
the story is still being written
each line bends through me
working its way to the heart
This poem was inspired by a conversation I had with my birthfather yesterday while we spoke about the stories inside and around my memoir, A Girl Named Truth. “In the photograph,” he told me, “I look young, but I think you can see that I’m not disappointed that you were a girl. I’m really sorry about your middle name. It’s not that I still wanted you to be a boy. I chose it because it is Gaelic and I thought it had to do with the earth, and you’re a Virgo.”
The heron returned today, passing overhead with silent wings as I walked home the forest. It’s been a tough day for me. Even though it’s a day of celebration –May Day and my husband’s birthday — my heart is heavy with loss. I wonder, how many times you can experience the loss of someone still living? My dear friend, whom I mentioned in yesterday’s post, wrote this of loss,”Sometimes I think that people actually die several times for us: figuratively, and then they are reborn to us because of something we think they need to be, but then they have their own lives, and they die again.”
In my journey to inner truth I have experienced the figurative death of people I love, only to allow them to be born again into my life. Perhaps I am a slow learner, but the truth is, I have a hard time letting go. There is a desperate desire that lives inside of me for my children to have the childhood I did not. Easter, and other recent events, have been a harsh reminder that am allowing not only myself, but my children (more indirectly) to be victims of abuse.
Oh, but the heart wears a heavy cloak when loss is an act of self-preservation. I have friends who have suffered the early loss of parents, and although I am deeply sorry for them, there is the part of me that envies the love that they were able to share — a love that lingers full even after death. I am 40 yrs. old and still searching for that parental love, in vain.
Last night my dreams found me by the sea, inside a house atop a hill. I wanted to buy this second home, but when I went up the stairs I was confronted with the energy of malevolent spirits. I was literally lifted off my feet from the fierce repulsion of the haunting inhabitants. Yet, after I managed to make it safely down the stairs again, holding onto the banister, I went up one more time. A sucker, it would appear, for punishment.
It was clear I was not going to exorcise the demons in that house, so I finally left, relinquishing my hope for a beautiful home by the sea. Today, I gave up on my desire for the full, accepting love I never had in childhood. I knew the writing of and eventual publication of my truths would not be received without trepidation, but I had hoped for redemption. I had hoped for acknowledgment and regret. I had hoped for understanding. I had hoped for love.
Today I was labeled as a narcissist for writing a memoir. Few people, I believe, write their stories in an act of self-idolation. I wrote my memoir to heal my voice and my body. I had, in essence, no choice. I was suffocating in my silence, I was trapped in a legacy of fear. It was never my intention to vilify or harm others, or to undermine their truths when I finally let my words speak my own long-buried truths. The knowledge that I am not alone, that my struggle for voice, truth and love is universal, drives my desire to share my individual story in the hope that it will spark the truth hidden inside others.
I knew this act, which took much courage and resolve, would lead to rejection. I would, inevitably, be rejected by countless agents and publishers who would consider the manuscript not marketable enough, and I would, likely, be rejected once more by some of the individuals who appear as characters. I have paid a high price for my speaking my truth, yet I have made a personal vow not to be silenced again.
I can empathize with the individual who hurts another because they hurt inside. I have angered and hurt others as a result of the wounds I suffered inside. I therefore understand that the person who harms does so because s/he is suffering, unable to love the self, and thus unable to fully love another unconditionally, but I do not understand the soul’s refusal to self-assess, to deny continually the opportunity to heal. To maim, in particular, one’s child, over and over again by one’s actions (or lack-there-of), well, it bleeds the heart.
Lie down and close your eyes. Take three deep belly breaths and relax into the space your are in. Now, through your mind’s eye, go inside your body. What do you feel? What do you remember?
If you have an ache or pain, whether it is chronic or acute, what is it telling you? You are relaxed and lying down, yet your body may hold a pain from the past.
Our bodies hold onto our aches and our pains until we are ready to heal them, or release them. Sometimes we hold them for many lifetimes. Do you have a birthmark or unexplainable scar or blemish on your skin that you’ve had all of your life? Chances are your body has retained this imprint from a traumatic past life that has yet to be healed.
My friend Karen Kubicko writes about birthmarks on her blog, and shows us that when we heal the trapped emotions that result from a past life trauma, our body responds by releasing the imprint, or birthmark left-over. Denise Linn also explores this concept in your book Past Lives, Present Miracles.
Even if you don’t believe in past lives, or are not yet ready to explore them for yourself, you can heal the trapped fears in your body from this lifetime. We heal when we are ready to release a fear, and often our bodies will tell us when we are ready by expressing discomfort or pain.
As some of my readers know, I began to heal my body of memories out of shear desperation. For two long and painful years, I endured the side-effects of IBS. No doctor could tell me the cause or the cure, I had to go within to heal a belly that had trapped fear for as long as I could remember.
When I wrote my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, I started peeling away the memories hidden within my body. My earliest memory, I discovered, was created when I was two-yrs. old. Sitting on my Grammy’s sofa with my sister and cousin, listening to my parents fight outside the window, I discovered the pounding beat of fear that pushes the heart towards bursting, yet stills the body into silence.
The memories came back to me over the course of the next two years and, as I wrote, I began to heal. I discovered patterns. Oh, so many patterns! As I wrote my story, I realized I had often taken on the role of the silent victim who hides her voice. We attract what we hold inside, and I held a lot of fear in the form of guilt, low self-worth, and being afraid to speak my truth. I trapped my fears in my stomach and in my throat. I trapped them in my neck and in my shoulders. They’re still coming to the surface to be healed.
I healed my IBS symptoms overnight, after I made the deep, soul-level decision that I would listen to my heart and become a writer. Yet, the IBS itself was a form of healing the memories trapped inside my body. For those two, exhausting years, my body worked to shed the fear and anger I had held dormant inside of me. My body, you could say, had literally reached its carry capacity. It had to heal, or succumb to a worse fate.
These layers inside of me go back to many past lives which, like my present life memories, have a way of surfacing when I’m ready to face them and heal them. When I decided to work on my throat chakra, where my body trapped my “voice,” and as a result, developed thyroid disease, past-life memories began to emerge. At the same time, I met my guide Eagle.
The first image that came to me occurred while I was meditating outside beside my swimming pool about four years ago. I saw an image of a young man bound and suffering in a darkened room. Deep within my cells, the memory that this man was me surfaced. Then Eagle appeared, full of power and urgency, with an over-large orange beak moving silent words at the base of my throat. The pattern of repressed truth and victimhood, I realized through that mediation, was carried over from past lifetimes. It was time to speak. It was time to heal.
Just as our fears can come in many forms, so too can the way they imprint upon our bodies. Quite often there are patterns to the way they nestle inside the folds of our tissues. A silenced voice can results in thyroid cancer or disease, trapped anger and fear frequently takes the form of the vaguely diagnosed ailment of IBS, Crohn’s disease, or other intestinal ailments. Allowing others to disempower us can result in chronic lower back pain, while upper back, shoulder and neck pain can be a side-effect of the tendency to take on too much stress (much of which is not ours to take on).
When you explore those places within you that are calling for healing, see if you can find out what fears are trapped there. Allow your mind to be open to recalling the memories associated with those fears, whether they are from this life, or a life that has already passed.
Healing can also occur through many forms. It can happen when you reclaim the power that you have too freely given away, allowing yourself to pursue a passion that always resided inside of you, but were afraid to express. It can occur by going back to the source of the pain and shifting the energy there from fear to light. Sometimes an energy healer (through the various modalities they work with), can help you release and shift this energy to light, but you can often do this yourself. Going into that memory and flooding it with the light of love and forgiveness can heal the trapped pain, as well as changing the circumstances of the actual memory.
Both Karen and Denise speak to these ideas in their books/blogs, but I will give you an example of how you can work with this approach. My fears often surface during the night in the form of dreams. Lately, I’ve been using them as tools for healing. Sometimes, when I am “aware” enough, I enter the dream while I am still in it, and heal the energy around it. I switch from a victim to an empowered character within the actual dream, for example. If I am unable to do this while the dream is occurring, I do it when I wake from it. In my “imagination” I go back inside the dream and change the events and the outcomes, shifting the energy from fear to empowerment and love. Sometimes, I don’t just change my character, but those affecting me. I make them amicable and friendly, if they are hostile, and I shower the scene with love.
If you are interested in this form of healing, I urge you to explore the writings of Denise and Karen, who have both done extensive work and exploration into past lives. You may find that the more you do to heal your trapped fears, the more this healing extends to others. I am recalling an example from Denise Linn, who tells the story of a woman who healed her son’s speech impediment after revisiting and healing a past life they shared together. It’s a beautiful act of self love to heal your body’s fears, and often that healing, whether we are aware of it or not, extends to others. The energy that moves through us is, after all, shared with everyone else.
Three days ago, on the 6th of January, I had an impulse to cleanse so I grabbed a pad of paper and a pencil and wrote each fear as it rushed to the front of my brain. With each rush of words, I ripped the paper, allowing each item its separate place. I stopped, I believe, at nine. Nine fears my soul asked for release as I begin this New Year in the quest for the balance of inner harmony and fearless creation.
2014 is a year of balance. When you look at the cycle of life reflected in Tarot, the number 14 typically symbolizes balance, or temperance as seen in the images below taken from the decks in the order below:
Universal Waite, Winged Spirit, Goddess and Thoth Tarot.
When you look at these 4 cards, you see different, yet similar representations of balance being sought. In the first card, from the Waite deck, an angel stands in human form, somewhat precariously balanced between the elements of water and earth. S/he holds two cups, representing the emotional and creative element of water, defying the force of gravity as s/he pours the blue water of truth between the two without a drop falling. I see this card as not only a balance of emotions, but also the peace that comes from finding and accepting one’s soul’s truths. It’s a gentle, yet powerful fulfillment. You can hardly miss those mighty red-orange wings lifted, ready for flight.
In the second card, from the Winged Tarot, a less serene image of balance is depicted. Here we see more of the temperance aspect of card 14. The angel-like figure in this card literally pours her emotions in the form of water onto her face, catching them, again without spilling them over, in the cup below. She is literally cleansing her face as she dances, almost impossibly balanced like the previous card, in the air.
When you turn to the 3rd card I have shown, from the Goddess Tarot deck, Yemana, the goddess of the sea/water, is seen emerging from the waves with sheets of the element falling from her hands. In the final card, from the Thoth deck, we see a figure of duality with two heads performing alchemy with the elements of water and fire/wands. A more active rendition of creating balance.
Back to my impulse to cleanse three days ago. I had a fire raging in my wood stove. It was, after all, a cold winter day. I took each ripped fear, and one by one, tossed them into the orange flames. I called upon the fire dragons and salamanders, asking them to burn away that which I no longer need, and watched as my pieces of paper were quickly consumed. All, except one, which partially transformed, becoming a curl of gray, stuck stubbornly to the top of a log with one word still etched firmly on its surface. “Guilt.” (Unfortunately this did not show up in the photo.)
This is what remained, that emotion that comes after rage, bursts of anger and words we later regret after our fire is spent. It’s the charred remains of the fire element inside of us, and, I have found, it’s not so easily released. It’s no secret I have my share of lingering guilt. Some of it still carried over from childhood when I absorbed guilt from pain that was not mine to take on.
There’s the more freshly layered guilt too, that comes from motherhood and the seeking to find a strong, balanced voice that is not laced with fear (i.e. anger) in those moments of trial. Healing a silenced voice, I have found, is not easy. Fear tends to linger, and so does its aftermath, guilt.
We have just emerged out of the year 2013. The year of Death or Transformation in Tarot. I have placed the corresponding Tarot cards for 13 over the 14 cards in the figure below. Take a moment to note the symbolism.
What was the year 2013 like for you? I know for many, including myself, the last year or so has marked a stage of transformation. A calling to shed the aspects of self that are holding us back from living our true selves. Death, in this sense, is about ridding ourselves of the burdens we have too long carried within us. Note the skeletal figures in four of the cards, which are labeled “Death.” Look beyond their grim forms. In the first card, we see the promise of rebirth in the form of the family kneeling in supplication below Death armored upon the white horse. The promise of new beginnings is just beyond those sun-filled gates in the background.
In the second card, Death appears as the Grim Reaper, yet look inside his tattered cloaks. This is where the angels reside. Here is the true, divine self, wrapped, yet emerging, from the wrappings of Death. In the last card, from the Thoth deck, the struggle is more forced and active (as it was in Thoth card for Temperance or “Art.”) Here we see the active struggle to get rid of the old and start anew.
The act of transformation is literally seen in the Goddess deck with Ukemochi, who is rebirthed from death into a fertile supply of life. She is the symbol of life transformed from death. She represents what many of us are feeling inside of us right now.
What new life will you call forth this year? What fears have you already shed? What still lingers within, stubbornly seeking transformation? What will you do to let it go? How will you find temperance and balance this year. What will you create from your soul’s truth?
Often, when I am feeling lost, confused or in need of direction, Spirit takes me back to school. I call it night school. In that often blatant, but still cryptic manner that Spirit has, I return to the scene of my high school, college or graduate schools while I sleep, yet the characters and events are exaggerated, twisted, and labyrinthian in nature, like an M.C. Escher painting. Usually, it’s not a very pleasant experience. Who doesn’t feel, at least at times, lost and over-whelmed when they’re at school, especially in the school of dreams?
Spirit though, has a way of hammering a point home until you get it. Two nights ago, I found myself back at Brown University, only it was vastly different from the Brown I knew for only a year. The campus had changed into a congested city of buildings hugged by the sea, and I found myself following my husband (who had not attended Brown with me). I was losing track of him as he wandered through the city on his way to class, and suddenly I was alone, by the wild ocean, with only his black cell phone. Naturally, the phone did not work, and I found myself panicking as I punched in numbers to no avail. I was lost and bewildered, unable to find my own way to where, I was not sure.
Instead of exploring all of the symbolism in this particular dream, let me take you to last night, where I again returned to school. This time I was at Bowdoin, where my husband and I completed our undergraduate education together. Bowdoin, when I attended the school many years ago, was a place of mixed blessings for me. My husband took full advantage of his time at Bowdoin, and found the rigors of the education and social environment fulfilling. I, on the other hand, found it hard to adjust to an environment I found to be, in many ways, a repeat of high school, only here everyone was an over-achiever. I couldn’t find my place in the sea of cliques.
It was no surprise that the Bowdoin of my dream last night was an exaggerated scene of what I had experienced years ago, there were even characters from high school. Here I was in a crowded cafeteria of sorts, filled with tables and people figuring out their schedules and where they needed to go. In my personal confusion, I was trying to follow their examples. A confident and sure friend was going one way, my husband another. I tried to follow him to an early biology class, but I was late, twice.
The dream changed, and I was in a metaphysical store. A woman was making miso soup. I told her I loved miso soup. I could smell it. I could taste it in my mouth. The colors in this scene were vivid and more real than life. I was wearing a natural face devoid of make-up, and a peach-colored shirt. The walls were hung with hand-bags, just out of reach, and in the center of each was the rounded form of a globe. At the counter 3 or 4 women poured over a map. I approached them, looked over their shoulders, and watched their scenes unfold. The map came to life, characters interacted in scenes, which the women understood clearly, yet I struggled to make sense of.
Suddenly, in this room, my senses were becoming dull and tired. My face swollen, and my eyes heavy, as though I was taking on energy that was not mine, and in the process, draining my own. When I woke, this lyric from Fleetwood Mac started playing on repeat inside my head, You can go your own way. Go your own way. You can go your own way…or was it find your own way?
Both versions, it seems, I needed. I thought of The Fool card in the Rider Tarot deck, blithely skipping along his own path, unhampered by the potential of danger ahead. I thought of the 2 of Wands, depicting a traveler holding the world in his palm, and I thought of the dreams I had just left.
That map on the counter was not mine, nor were those paths I was trying to follow at the revisited school(s). The world held inside that wall of handbags, which had seemed just out of reach, was waiting for me to reach up and grab it. To find my own way. I thought of Goddard College, the literal school in this life in which I found home. When I dream of Goddard, I dream of paths in nature, I dream of mysteries waiting to be found. At Goddard, I found my own way, through the gentle, nudging guidance of its faculty, my peers, and its wonderful connection to Spirit. I found home among a place where everyone was going his or her own way. There was no path of convention to follow. Instead, success was measured by the mostly personal barometer of finding and embarking on the creative journey of the soul.
I graduated from Goddard nearly 3 years ago. My environment, and the characters within it have changed, and I have been challenged by their individual lessons. There have been paths I have been tempted to follow, like the path of martial arts, which led me to the painful (yes, it is often painful when we uncover our truths and shed the weight we no longer want to carry) truth that it was not the path intended for my spirit. I have had to let go of judgement too, realizing that a path (martial arts was one) may be right for my husband and others at this stage of their journeys, even though it is not right for me.
There has been that struggle to find connection to others, along with the courage to travel my own path. Even though I am on my soul’s journey with my writing and healing work, I have sometimes struggled to stay true to my own voice and trust that my individual path will unfold it its own unique way. It seems to be the quest of humanity, to find that balance between connection and individual truth. How many of us have tried to follow a path of “conformity,” while forsaking our soul’s truth? We can too easily forget that we are all here to do something unique, perhaps radically, or only slightly different, from someone else, yet none-the-less, a purpose that is only ours. This is why we are here, to blend our own voice of truth to that universal breath we all share. This is how we balance the world, this is how we balance ourselves.
I am a writer and and a spiritual/energy healer, I have a path that is not, by nature conventional. I often find myself in places where I feel more alone than connected, yet when I fall to the temptation of conformity, I am quickly reminded that I am on the wrong path. I doubt I am alone in this feeling. How many of these people around me are trying to follow a path of conformity that doesn’t make them feel blissfully happy and free? I think, sadly, too many.
It is indisputable that the world, and its inhabitants, struggles in a battle for balance. We are striving for destinations that are not our own, we are walking paths of conformity that cause crowding and strife, and we are, in this sea of masses, often left with a feeling of loss.
When I opened the curtain of my bedroom window this morning, I saw the blue feathers of truth worn by a jay, flying into the evergreens. When I opened the door to my house to step outside, 3 crows flew in front of me, calling out to me in that loud, unmistakable voice of magic. Later, as I walked the dogs, those 3 crows became 4, and I was reminded that to follow the magic of individual creation does not mean we must leave those we love behind. That, in fact, each path will merge and mingle in the mysterious song of harmony when sung in the vibration of truth.
Following up on my earlier post today, “Teach Your Children Well,” I wanted to share these two scenes from my memoir manuscript. After talking with my daughter and son about how our words can hurt others and have a lasting impression, I shared these stories with them for the first time. It was an emotional afternoon, but also a healing one. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help instill the importance of kindness and empathy.
From A Girl Named Truth (for “Sally” and “Timmy”):
There were some things I could not hide, like the food I brought for lunch in grade school when we were still vegetarians. In the cafeteria I would look around the table and watch my friends with their saran-wrapped sandwiches made with bread that reminded me of clouds, all soft, white and full of air. Between those perfect slices of bleached wheat, circles of pink baloney, or squares of pink ham floated atop squares of orange cheese. How I wanted to sink my teeth into those sandwiches!
Instead, I would open my lunchbox and pull out my waxed-paper bundle. My friends, in turn, would watch while I unwrapped thick slabs of my mother’s homemade bread. Peeking through the edges of the uneven slices, stems of alfa sprouts curled into tiny green fists.
One day, while I sat with my friends at the cafeteria table, one of them pointed at my sandwich, while wrinkling her nose. “What are those?” she asked, her fingers almost touching the sprouts that looked like they were struggling to grow out of a bed of bread.
“Sprouts,” I mumbled.
“Sprouts? What are sprouts?”
With the question, my face grew hot, as though I was suddenly standing, against my will, too close to an open fire.
“I don’t know,” I whispered looking down at my lunch, wishing by some grace of the universe, that it would disappear. “They’re kind-of like lettuce, only smaller.”
“Well they look like grass. What are you, a cow?”
The rest of the table erupted into giggles and a chant began, “Alethea’s a cow, Alethea’s a cow!”
The fire in my face flamed, while my eyes watered to quench it. My stomach, in turn, had closed to the prospect of taking another bite.
I never threw those sandwiches away. Instead I wrapped their nibbled forms back into their waxed paper packages and handed them shamefully to my mother at the end of the day. She, in turn, would shake her head and ask, “Alethea, why didn’t you eat more of your lunch?”
One spring day, when I was in the first grade, I made my first and only trip to the principal’s office. My victim was Timmy, a chubby boy with light blond hair and blue eyes hidden behind thick glasses. Timmy didn’t have any friends, and that day on the playground he sat, as usual, by himself on a bench while the rest of the school played around him.
I began recess on the swing-set with my best friend of the day, Stacy. As we soared over the ground, we giggled and made faces of disgust, pointing our fingers at Timmy, who studied the brown dirt beside his feet.
When we grew bored and hopped off the swings, Stacy whispered into my ear, “I dare you to go over to Timmy and tell him he’s fat.”
I hesitated, “Only if you go with me.”
So, together Stacy and I ran past Timmy, while crying out in nervous giggles, “Timmy, you’re fat! Timmy, why are you so fat?”
Timmy never lifted his gaze from the ground, and although he acted as though he hadn’t heard us, there was no way he could have missed our words. Even the teacher on playground duty, whom we had failed to notice, caught our words as they skipped through the air.
“Alethea and Stacy,” she called after us, “Please come with me to the principal’s office.”
While I sat with Stacy on the bench outside the office, my stomach churred with guilt and fear. Tears spilled from the corners of my eyes as I contemplated the reprimand that awaited us. I had never before been sent to the principal’s office and all pervious reprimands at school had been for talking in class and passing notes. I felt awful for myself, and deep within my belly, I felt bad for Timmy, who was more like me than I wanted to admit.
I never teased Timmy again for being fat, instead I mostly watched, with the mixed pang of relief and guilt, when a child who wasn’t me suffered the ridicule of being different. I couldn’t, though, resist teasing Sally. It seemed no one could.
No one really liked Sally or wanted to be around her. Sally’s hair often looked unwashed and hung in stringy strands down her back. Sally wore glasses, and without them her eyes crossed. Most days, Sally looked like she needed a bath.
When we played tag, Sally was the one with cooties, and my friends and I would run away whenever she came near. If she touched us, we would have to shower under the hemlock tress until we were cleansed of her germs with an invisible cootie-wash. The boys, in turn, loved to chase Sally with their homemade spitball guns, constructed out of lunchroom straws. Their ammunition was saliva soaked wads of paper, which they would shoot with their breath, hoping to land the dripping pulp on the skin, or even better, the glasses of Sally.
“Got her,” the victorious boy would yell. My friends and I giggled nervously, while we peered over at Sally and the goo that covered the glass over her eye in dripping humiliation.
We stared and waited for Sally to wipe away the trail of slime as it slid down the side of her cheek. Sally, though, never cried. Instead, she held tight her emotions like a seasoned soldier. It took me several years, after I had myself become a victim of almost unbearable humiliation, for me to truly regret my part in Sally’s torment. Only then did I seek her friendship, which although was never close, lasted until we graduated high school and went our separate ways.
Last night, before bed, my son asked me, “Mom, do souls ever die?” Had he asked me this question six years ago, I may have given him a different answer. My own journey of spirit in this lifetime began with a childhood of doubt, and the silencing of my inner voice. Many of us begin our lives (in this incarnation) this way. Few, I suspect, have had the gifts of nurtured guidance from our caregivers, for our world has yet to fully embrace the untethered spirit.
I was born into an unhappy marriage between two young, hippie parents. The hippie lifestyle outlasted the marriage, but it was not a free, loving lifestyle. My “spiritual” edification was early and short-lived. When I was two, my mother fled with me and my sister to live on a series of Hare Krishna compounds for 6 months. Other than the comic books my mother kept, and a few other relics, nothing remains of this early life. It was a mode of escape and of hiding, a journey based on fear and not the quest to find spirit.
When I was growing up, my mother and step-father shunned organized religion, and I had almost no knowledge of biblical stories, or other religious texts. Mine was an agnostic household at best, tending toward atheism. Yet, I do recall my mother speaking about the possibility of reincarnation – a “concept” I secretly embraced, as it felt “true” to my soul.
When I prayed, I prayed silently to an unknown, untouchable God inside the muffled walls of my mind. My prayers were desperate and laced with my childhood fears of death and loss. When I thought of death, and my body and “mind” disappearing forever, my heart would leap into my throat.
This way of living went on for many years, well past the time I left my childhood home, despite the nudging of my spirit, which wanted to be heard. A spirit that struggled for the full-bodied voice of Truth. Despite fear’s best attempts to close my third eye, I was an empathic child with psychic gifts. Everywhere I went, I felt the imprint of energy. Unfortunately, I absorbed fear and and pain more than anything else.
My parents labeled me as a “moody,” “overly-sensitive” child, not realizing that I was an empath, and was absorbing and feeling their own fears, as well as the fear-energy that permeated my environment. This is not to say that I didn’t feel love and joy too, I did, and often I shared in the joy of others. Somedays, I would find my mind open to this energy. While sitting in my classroom, there were moments when I connected with a classmate’s inner joy. These were blissful, unexplainable moments for me, as my cells hummed with unexpected joy.
And, I had dreams. Prophetic visions that played out in the ensuing days that I learned to doubt. When I left home, the voice of spirit called louder, urging me to leave the path of ego I was following. In the summer before I began graduate school for a doctoral degree in the biochemical sciences, I was plagued with these visits, which I found terrifying at the time. As I drifted off to sleep, many a night (or day), I would wake suddenly to a loud voice, calling my name into the hollow of my ear. This desperate call to be heard went unheeded, I followed the path of ego for one more year.
It was a miserable year, of which I’ve written about to some degree in other posts. Had I not taken this path, though, I would not have learned its lessons. I would not, perhaps, have known how much it contrasted with my inner truth.
Yet, still I was lost. That 5-year-old girl who secretly knew she was born to write and help the world with her gifts, was still hidden in the cage of fear. It took, in fact, motherhood and IBS to bring her out into the light.
When we have our own children, we are given an opportunity to see a new perspective that extends beyond the limited view we may be used to. We also see the world through our children’s eyes. Again, the nudge of spirit came back to me with urgency.
Before my daughter was born, I knew she would be one of my big teachers in this life. About six months before her birth, she appeared to me while I slept. I saw her full round face, framed with the same brown hair as mine. My blue eyes were mirrored back at me, their shape larger and more pronounced.
My daughter learned verbal language early, and by the time she was two she was asking me some tough questions. While her father was at work, she would peer into my eyes, “If daddy is a doctor, what are you?” she would ask. “But, what are you?” she persisted when I told her I was her mommy.
Her words lingered and probed the recesses of my mind. What was I? Her questions dug under the detritus of fear.
By then, I had both of my children, who are less than a year-and-a-half apart in age. My life was consumed by the joys and stresses of motherhood, and it was laced with holes. I could not deny that I was, in many ways, miserably unfulfilled. Yes, I had always yearned for the time I would be a mother, but this was not a role that completed me. There were huge, undeniable gaps.
Still, I ignored them. After all, I had young children to raise, a busy, working husband, and the idea in my head that I would not let anyone else be the primary care-giver to my son and daughter.
Welcome in a new night-time messenger, this time in the form of IBS, which began suddenly and in painful earnest. Let me take a moment to talk about IBS and how it relates to fear and empathic tendencies. When we spend a great deal of our time feeling and absorbing energy from our surroundings, this energy often gets trapped inside of us, lingering and growing into a dark mass of fear that blocks our inner-light, and creates an energetic imbalance inside of us. The result is often a disease or dis-ease of some sort.
I was a child plagued by stomach ailments, so it should have been no surprise that I developed IBS (a common dis-ease of empaths). My mother (who is in the medical profession) was the first person to suggest this was what was causing my adult ailments – episodes of such intense intestinal discomfort, that I would be up for 3-5 hours during nights when it flared.
I shunned this diagnosis, which I found both embarrassing and unsatisfactory in its inability to be medically “cured.” Two years passed, during which I made trips to doctor’s offices, tried various antacids, had tubes shoved down my throat and blood tests, and passed many a day feeling completely depleted of energy, which made me unable to properly care for my children.
Then, on Mother’s Day of 2008, I had my last episode. You can read the story someday in my memoir (when it’s published), but for now, let’s just say, I had had enough. I was ready to heal. Healing from a dis-ease such as IBS, or any energetic imbalance, comes from a deep-soul-level desire for health. The mind, body and soul must sync in this desire and embrace the truth that we each, inside of us, hold the capacity to be healthy and balanced – that, in fact, this is our natural, steady-state. For more on this, you might want to read Deepak Chopra’s book Quantum Healing.
I may have not known, intellectually, why I was ready and able to heal then, but I knew I had made that determined choice. A change inside of me had occurred – I had decided to heal, and in the process, to finally, heed the desperate, loud calling of my inner voice.
Within a matter of weeks, I was looking at graduate schools with creative writing programs. And, painfully, for it was a struggle, I began to write – really write. That voice that was so deeply buried was starting to emerge. At the turn of the New Year, I packed my suitcase with a week’s worth of clothing, snacks and various other necessities, left my two young children in the primary care of their father, and headed two hours north to a small town in Vermont.
Goddard College, was, in so many ways, the doorway to my voice. Here, for the first time, I was in an environment that felt like home. I quickly found 5 soul-sisters, and a setting where my spiritual and creative voice could sing without fear. Those two years, filled with the challenges of balancing motherhood and being a full-time, low-residency student, were the happiest, to-date, years of my life. There was no turning back. I had embarked, finally, with eager and unwavering feet, along the path of my soul’s truth.
When we find the bliss of our soul’s truth, how can we turn back? I can’t say that after I left Goddard, and the structure of regular deadlines, which “forced” me to write, that I have maintained a steady forward trek. Everyday life has a way of taking over when we let it. Now, though, I stop to listen, take inventory, and find a way to get back on the path.
When I look back at what where I have been in the last five years, I can hardly say I’ve been sitting still, or going “back-wards.” I have not only written many lines, I have nurtured and grown my spiritual calling and path. To help heal others, I have learned, we must heal ourselves. This isn’t to say that we have to be completely “healed” of fears, for this takes most of us many lifetimes, but we need to have an understanding and acceptance of the fears that have a tendency to make a home inside us, and we need to work at healing and letting them go.
Along with Goddard, and the many individuals and gifts I encountered by being there, I have met, and continue to meet wonderful healers, teachers and fellow soul-travelers. This part of my journey began with conversations with a friend, whom I met while our daughters were in preschool together, and gradually grew to include various energy healers, gifted intuitives/psychics and teachers of spirit, and soul-travelers who have merged into my life. When we open ourselves up to our spirit’s truth, doors open to the teachers and companions we need and seek. The world, suddenly, becomes unbounded and filled with the magic of discovery and joy. There is no looking back, except for remembering how far we have come, and the lessons we learned to get here.
May you, if you have not, find your own way to travel your soul’s truth, for it is the only, “true” path, to bliss.
While I form the narrative of a young adult novel, I find myself pondering the muse in its varied, colorful forms. Realizing, as I do, that the muse extends to life itself. Let me first take you back to the night. In the realm of dreams we set the scene for our days. During sleep our mind strays to far-off places, playing with scenes like a mad artist. Or, at least mine does.
I’m not going to dwell on the metaphysics of dreams in this blog (I’ve dabbled in this area in previous posts), I simply want to relate how one’s dreams set the stage for one’s day. When we wake in the morning we carry the residue of our dreams like a sticky syrup, which never fully washes away. Because of our dreams we start our days feeling grumpy, groggy, out-of-sorts, content or in a state of eager joy, ready to embrace the day’s gifts.
Here is where our day begins, with the sap of the dream-muse. Sometimes it’s delightfully sweet and we savor its taste for as long as we can, and sometimes it’s bitter and bothersome. I spend many a morning wishing I had experienced more joy in my dreams, yet some mornings I have greater success removing their sticky residue. On these days I remember that I am, after all, the writer of my own script.
Which, brings me back to writing. So, I’m writing my first Y/A novel, and I have found I am not a writer who works by scripting, in advance, the entire plot, from beginning, to middle, to end. I didn’t even do this with my memoir. Writing, for me, is an adventure of trust. It’s about taking the risk of not knowing what will come next, yet trusting that the next will appear at some point. On a good day, on a day when I open myself up to the muse of life (and writing), I find what I am looking for and what I need. The muse is always waiting to be let in when I quiet my mind and open the door.
Yet, the muse is not always what we might expect, or think we want. We writers know how it can take us to unexpected places, some of which are quite shocking and uncomfortable. Our muses can lead us to our darkest secrets, or the darkest secrets of our characters. And, they can also lead us to limitless joy or help us find the next leg in our journey or narrative. So, while it behooves us to allow the muse to enter into our minds and into our daily activities, it also behooves us to remember who writes the final draft.
Perhaps we’re not quite ready to look under that boulder we’ve stubbornly placed in our path for so long, perhaps we only want to nudge it a couple of inches. Or, likewise, perhaps we don’t want our characters to morph into unruly and wild creatures who will scare readers away. Then, we simply take the reins back, draw in the slack and tighten our grips a little. The muse, after all, knows no limits. It’s free and without restraint. When we allow it to ramble it can skip and dance us all over the place.
I’ll confess there are days when I want to follow the muse deep into the forest (both literal and metaphoric) until I lose myself in its mysteries, but there’s always the mundane (joys) of life waiting to be attended to. There are meals to cook, children to feed, clothes to be washed. And, there’s that idea of a book tame enough to be shared.
When the number 5 comes into my life, whether in dreams, a memory, or as a number that appears throughout a particular day, I think of self-empowerment, independence and the “free soul” (as Denise Linn refers to the number in her book, The Hidden Power of Dreams). When I think of the number 5, the color blue comes to mind: the color of the throat chakra, self-expresison and inner truth.
The number 5, of course, also represents a physical age. When we are 5, we are, ideally, just coming into the expression of our independence and personal truths. By the age of 5, most of us are able to feed ourselves, tie our own shoes, go to school, and express our minds with clarity and conviction. A 5 yr. old child is still close enough to the world of spirit to remember, to believe and to see.
When one wishes to heal and reclaim his or her Inner Truth, it is often beneficial, if not essential, to reclaim the inner child. I have found that the age of 5 is a good place to start. There have been many events, and numbers in the form of ages, that have been essential to my own life journey, and for the healing of my inner truth, but I can think of none more important than 5. Let me share a snapshot of this child who still lives inside of me.
Picture, if you will, a pretty little girl with deep blue eyes and wavy hair the color of ripened wheat resting past her shoulders. She has the round cheeks of a baby and a dimple on her chin, and, sometimes, she has a smile that lights up her face. The little girl, Alethea, has just moved to Henniker, NH with her mother, older sister, and a man who is trying to replace the father she has left behind in Oregon.
Alethea loves playing with her dolls and her two cats. She loves her best friend in kindergarten with the soft brown eyes and curls, her sister and her mother, but she’s not sure she loves her new father. Alethea misses her small white house in Portland with its TV and indoor toilet. She misses her friends and her grandparents, but she knows she is not supposed to miss the father they left behind.
The little girl knows inside her heart that fairies play under the clusters of star flowers, but she has already forgotten how to see them. The magic of her world is fading quickly, being replaced by fear, secrets and doubt. By the time she turns 6, Alethea forgets she has her own voice.
This 5 year old child, in many ways, shaped the woman I became. She is the little girl I see when I need to heal my inner child. The more I heal, the more radiant she becomes. Now, instead of a small child hovering inside the shadows of doubt and fear, I see a magnificent little girl full of joy and love. She sparkles with possiblity. She sings with the clear voice of her truth.
Reclaiming the “free soul,” is a journey of many steps. Sometimes when one aspect is healed, another appears to take its place, reaching with desperate hands for light. Healing can come in many forms. Writing is one of them. If you want to learn who you are, a good place to start is by rediscovering who you were at 5. Write down everything your remember. Write what you loved. Write what you feared. Write your sorrows. Your joys. Write what you believed in. Write your truth.