The Wounded Healer

The tag on my tea yesterday read “Be Heard,” but let’s start back at that mountain from two nights ago. Part of me hoped I was done releasing, at least for awhile, after I woke on the morning of the March 11th. I had, after all, opened a door to let out the trapped energy of  fear. Naturally, when you go through a doorway (note the significance that this dream occurred early in the morning on the 11th), you need to deal with what’s inside. We never know quite what we’ll meet, or how long it will take to go through what we find.

So begins the journey that started with a single crow, perhaps the largest one I have ever seen, perched high in its glossy black cloak atop a bare tree as though waiting for me to pass by on my morning walk. The crow calls us to enter the darkness we hold inside, and through doing so create light from the shadows. It is a messenger of magic and the divine feminine energies that reside in all of us. There was one crow, I knew the job was mine alone.

Then the robin appeared beneath my apple tree, pecking the frozen ground to pull a treasure from the snow. The single crow, followed by the single robin, a messenger of spring, renewal and the birth, or rebirth, of one’s truth with its sky-blue eggs, told me this new phase was only just beginning.

I won’t deny that I had been feeling it. For the past few days I have literally felt as though I were pregnant. My lower abdomen felt achy and crampy, as women’s bellies often do in the early stages of pregnancy as the womb begins to adjust to new life. My lower chakras were, and still are, adjusting to that freed-up energy from two mornings ago. In fact, my entire body felt achy and tired.

The next night, after I dreamed of the mountain, I experienced a night of fitful sleep. I can’t tell you where I went in most of my dreams, my only memory of the first half of the night was waking to the message, healing, healing being played over and over inside my mind each time I woke before falling back into a restless slumber.

One dream, occurring again in the early hours of the morning, stayed with me. I was at Bowdoin, where I went to college. It’s perhaps worth noting that I last, physically, returned to Bowdoin for a reunion in the summer of 2011 (a doorway year). Right before, and during the time of the reunion, I came down with walking pneumonia and was quite ill, fatigued and feverish while I was back on campus with my family and the two friends I had stayed in touch with.

Can it be a coincidence that I dreamt of Bowdoin on the night of the 11th/12th? In my dream I was searching for comfort and peace, a space to freely express my truth, much like I had during my college years. I found myself in a dormitory with cluttered and dirty carpets, beyond which was a long room with a pristine polished wooden floor and organized, uncluttered furniture, but I needed to find a way to clean up the space I was in in order to get there. I walked into a large kitchen, like I had the night before on the mountain, only this time the cook opened an oven to reveal a large, pink, roasting pig. I was hungry, but this meal was not being cooked for me. Something was holding me back from partaking in the succulent feast that was being prepared.

Yesterday morning brought more fatigue and that strange pregnant feeling in my lower abdomen. I chose an Echinacea tea, and as I sat down to sip it, read the words “Be Heard” on the end of the string resting against my mug. Now, to be fair, Spirit had been trying to prepare me for this healing and release phase for quite some time. For weeks the repetition of signs kept appearing in various forms.

In her book The Hidden Power of Dreams, Denise Linn writes about learning to pay attention to messages that come in sets of threes, in particular. I had been seeing the number 3 for days, and had recently done 3 tarot readings for fellow healers/lightworkers that were eerily similar. Each querent, it became revealed, was, or had recently been dealing with, trapped fears in their lower 3 chakras. There was energy calling for, or being released in all cases. Denise Linn also tells her readers that the wounded healer draws to her what needs to be healed within herself, thus by healing this energy in others, she also heals herself. I have found this to be true in my own healing practice.

Now I’ll take you to last night. Although I was tired, I had trouble falling asleep. Perhaps it was the selenite crystal I had moved from the vanity beside the window and activated for dream healing before I went to bed. It had been a bold experiment. I had never before activated a selenite for dream work and placed it beside my bed.

I fell asleep sometime between midnight and 1:00 p.m., when I woke abruptly with my dream-voice calling for help, and filled with desperate fright. The dream began on the side of a road near my house. I was walking up a hill on my way home with my two dogs on leash beside me. Several construction/plow trucks were passing by on the left side of the road, I was on the right (the logical side of our bodies).  To prevent my dogs from attacking the trucks, I pulled the 3 of us over an embankment. Suddenly, I was struggling to hold on to the dogs, which were both orange in my dream, and the earth, so as not to fall down the steep ravine below.

Before I jump ahead to where I next found myself, let me draw your attention, as I did mine, to the time during which this dream occurred. Linn states in her book that the hours of 11 p.m to 1 a.m. are the gallbladder time according to the ancient Chinese clock. It is a time where we deal with unresolved, outwardly directed anger and test our courage.

After dangling from that cliff with my two, “loyal” dogs, I found myself home, inside what I knew to be my house (it appeared differently in the dream) with my family. I looked out the window and saw fire trucks and media vans pulling up the hill beside my home (again on the right side of me), and noticed a large white barn that was about to catch fire from my burning neighbor’s house.

I turned into rescue-mode and began gathering clothes, which are often symbolic of our outward appearances/coverings that hide our true selves, and blankets to bring over to help out. (Years ago I witnessed a fire in a neighboring apartment building and gathered clothing, etc. to donate). My husband went outside to investigate and I told my children to start getting ready for bed. Suddenly, our house turned into a Red Cross van (an overt symbol for healing, and since a vehicle often represents our bodies, this could be interrupted as a call for self-healing) and I could not get “upstairs” to my children, because there was no longer an upstairs, but a small, unreachable set of windows above me.

I began to panic, and looked out a lower window where I saw my husband on the hillside axing what I knew to be the remains of our house, which was what had actually burned. He was standing before a large pile in the shape of a teepee (I lived in a tepee for several months as a child), containing the  stacked remains of what we owned, encased in some of my shirts. One shirt, which was purple and stiff like it had been starched, stood out in particular. In her book Linn notes that an ax can be symbolic of the “fear of loss” and “cutting away that which isn’t needed.”

As I watched my husband, I could feel his devastation and anger. He was, like most people in our dreams, symbolic of my own shadowed fear. In the middle of the pile I knew was my old white computer, which contained all my work and writing. My manuscript, not yet published, was lost in the middle.

Along with the fear of losing my belongings and my creative work, I was now worried about our pets that I knew must have perished. I was filled with grief and helpless frustration. Yet, next to my husband, and the rubble of our house, there was a new, unfinished house wrapped extensively with plastic that was our new, unfinished home. Still, I was ravaged by my grief brought on by this fire, and woke to my struggle to express my emotions at 1 a.m. My body was feverish, my stomach upset, and the side of my big toe on my right foot was aching, an area associated with the throat and the thyroid. The word “mother” popped into my head.

It took me a long time to get back to sleep in those early morning hours as I thought about my dream and what it meant for me, trying to shed the fears it brought up as I did so. The sleep that came after was deep and restorative, I can’t tell you where I went, I don’t remember, but I woke without aches.

Again, I hoped I was done with the healing and release, but Spirit wasn’t quite finished with me. As if to make sure I’d gotten the message, the first part of my dream played out in the morning in slightly different form. I gathered up the dogs, as I always do on school days, and walked with my children and husband down the driveway to await the bus. I only made it half-way. Rosy, my orange-and-white dog, decided to lunge suddenly at a small animal, likely a cat or squirrel, pulling me in the process over an embankment of snow beside the driveway. I fell backwards and landed, not too graciously, on my right hand. It was a painful experience, to say the least.

Can you guess what I broke? My right, middle finger. The finger that holds our fire energy, which we house in our lower chakras. Message received!

The Mountain

It started with a clogged drain. I was cleaning the bathrooms in my house yesterday and pulled up the plastic plug that collects hair in the shower of the master bathroom. The shower is as old as the house, its narrow walls are an avocado green and its milky glass doors bordered in gold. It’s one of the few fixtures in our home we have not changed since we moved in 6 and 1/2 years ago.

The shower drain was not clogged enough to stop the flow of water, in fact it had shown no previous signs of being clogged. Yet, my eye was drawn to a black mass of residue that clung to the side of the pipe and I pulled it free in one satisfying handful. I thought the job was accomplished, but it wasn’t. As I turned on the water and started cleaning the residue from the floor of the shower, I discovered the water was collecting in a pool. By unclogging a pipe that had been allowing the flow of water before, I had somehow managed to create another clog. There was something in there, older, deeper, that needed to be released.

Now let me take you to the mountain I climbed in my dreams last night. Actually, I wasn’t climbing the mountain, I was riding up it with my husband on a chairlift. It was near the close of the day and we decided to take this lift up to the summit that we had never before noticed. The chairlift was all the way over on the far left-side of the mountain and it let to a lodge where you could spend the night.

This was something we were considering, as we were riding up the lift. Whether to spend the night in one of the pod-like rooms that we were fairly rapidly approaching as we ascended the mountain. Then I noticed the lift beside us with people we knew who were making their way up the mountain too, only faster. I found myself envying their speed. Why was their lift going faster than ours?

We arrived at the summit to spectacular views. The view was unimpeded, the only clouds, wispy and light high in a clear blue sky. We could see for miles, the undulating terrain spread around us like a feast of the eyes. To get onto the ground, it seemed we had to de-board from a large ship that was suddenly nestled tightly in the middle of a pond at the mountain peak. We were inside, along with several other passengers and the boat kept turning and bumping into the walls of the earth that held the pond.

Although I was still held inside the boat, I was given a view of the brow of the boat. It was solid, high and strong. The metal structure was painted white and there was a section that jutted out slightly in the shape of a triangle pointed downward. As I watched this close-up image that I clearly needed to see, the triangular structure opened like a plank, and I knew this was how we were going to get out of the boat.

I found myself on the top of the mountain, now inside a beautiful kitchen where delicious meals were being prepared for the travelers. For some time, I stood and watched, taking in my surroundings with all of my senses. Then, suddenly, I felt the urge to eliminate the waste held inside my bowels. I ran down the stairs where I knew the bathroom to be held, and as I ran I found that I was wearing only a white nightshirt. A long white cord descended from beneath the cloth and I pulled it, releasing a plug in the form of a tampon partially covered with old blood. Now I had that to get rid of, as well as the feces that were ready to be released.

As I was entering the basement room, I knew already what I would find. Of coursemore open stalls without doors, like in most of my dreams, I said to myself. Here was the turning point. The moment when I decided I had had enough. I searched the wall and found a container for the tampon and shut it inside. I looked at the floor that was now devoid of toilets and decided I would eliminate the waste I was holding inside of me and find a way to deal with it afterward. I was not going to let fear win, no matter what tricks it decided to deal out.

So I manifested a drain inside of my dream, which opened into the floor, waiting for me to wash my waste away. It snapped shut, and the job was done. I had found a way to be free of what I no longer needed. I had changed the circumstances of a legacy of feeling trapped and helpless, which has for many years manifested into infuriating bathroom dreams.

As I usually do, when I woke I returned to the scenes of my dream and started exploring their messages. I believe, as Denise Linn states in her book The Hidden Power of Dreams (incidentally I had just read this passage earlier in the day), that “Every day, in every way, the universe is trying to tell you something, just as your dreams are attempting to give you messages during the night.” (pg. 166)

Linn points out that we’re given these messages in the form of various symbols until we accept them. The clogged shower drain, I knew before I went to sleep, had not been coincidental. I could feel the sluggish energy from the old fears that were clogging my first and second chakras. This is where we often hold many of our deepest, oldest fears, as well as our creative and sexual energies. I knew I was being called to work through and release, to free the plugs, so to speak, that were holding me back.

Back to the mountain, that majestic symbol of spiritual transformation, at least when one is traveling up, which I was. I couldn’t over-look the other chairlift though, which was bringing people I knew faster to the summit. I couldn’t overlook the fear that I often feel like I’m not “getting there” fast enough. I’m an impatient soul, after all.

The voyage, which really wasn’t so long, was worth it. The summit so high, opened to glorious views. First I had to find my way out of the trapped waters of emotion and creation. I needed to find a way off that large ship that kept bumping into the walls of earth, so I could get to that beautiful kitchen where alchemy was being created in the form of cooking.

Spirit showed me the door, which blatantly revealed itself in the form of the upside-down triangle, symbolic of female genitalia and the sacred feminine wisdom of creation we house within our second chakra. The triangle opened, and I was free. Well, sort-of, I still needed to pull and release those two clogs that were trapping the free-flow of life-force energy inside of me. They were old, tired plugs, long stuck, and it was clearly time to let them go.

The only thing holding us back from living our complete, creative, sensuous divine selves, is the fear we trap inside of us. We can learn, as Denise Linn talks about in her book, and as I demonstrated last night, to work with our dreams to release these fears. My dream-self made the decision to step inside that fear and actively release it. I became an active participant in my own dream and changed the ending I was tired of having. I freed the fear that wanted to stay inside.

The Number 5

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.

Free Bird, Fly

The lyrics of Lynyrd Skynyrd filtered through my dream ruminations as I walked the dogs  earlier this morning. Often, spirit spends me messages through songs. They are a blunt, yet kind reminders of the crux of my present state.

Last night I dreamed I was in an elevator. After the doors were closed and the button was pushed, I found myself drifting swiftly towards the ceiling until I hovered there alone. Everyone else’s feet were grounded as the elevator moved towards its destination. I panicked, asking someone to pull me down. Finally, the bellhop grabbed my legs and pulled me to the floor. When my feet were back on level ground, I searched my wallet for a tip. Intending initially to give him 2, 1 dollar bills, I pulled out a 5 instead. In her book, The Hidden Power of Dreams, Denise Linn writes that the number 5 is often indicative of freedom, “the number of the free soul, of excitement, and of change.” It is “self-emancipating.” (p. 206)

The messages from spirit could not be more clear. A week ago I saw Eagle during meditation. After flying freely through the heavens, Eagle landed upon a large, white oval egg. As I watched, this symbol of freedom and the egg it clutched between its talons, it rotated upon the air as though upon an invisible pedestal. “What do you wish to tell me,” I asked. Eagle replied, “I am incubating you until you are ready to hatch out.”

When I asked my guides to bring me to the under-world for healing, I found myself on a pond with my palms turned up to the heavens. Beneath me I was sitting on a pink lotus flower, its petals in full bloom. I was Sarasvati, her energy pouring through my palms. A large, healthy fish swam around me, leaping through the surface like a dolphin.

I have a dear friend in Savannah, Georgia. My friend is a transplant of the south, having grown up in the northeast. In the south she often finds herself the outsider. She is not only a writer, she is a mom and an environmental activist. We share these traits. While I have always shirked from confrontation though, my friend shines when she is “agitating the pot.” Her powerful, beautiful soul shines through in these moments when she stands, often alone, amongst the masses to voice her thoughts regarding perceived injustices. She was an instrumental force in shutting down a polluting power plant near her home. The victory resulted in the clearing of her son’s asthma. My friend is a testament to the power of the spirit. I find her power inspirational.

Often, it takes me long periods of bubbling silence until I finally reach the point of action. The water in the pot, nearly, if not already, boiling over. I have yet to achieve comfort in standing alone – in hovering above the crowds, secure in my wisdom. There are times though, when our souls call us to action; when silence is not the path to peace. Like my friend, I am often called to act when a situation not only concerns my own health (I mean this on a soul and physical level), but the health of my family. I have to trust that sometimes my vision extends beyond those around me, to the seat of the soul. This is a sometimes troubling “gift” I have had since childhood. When I was young and opened my mouth to speak my truth, I was silenced. The same fear holds me like an invisible noose.

The challenge for many of us, I suspect, is learning to speak with compassion and conviction. Oppressors of individual freedom most often have no idea that they are oppressors, as they exist within their own environments of fear. When we oppress others, our souls are crying out for our own freedom, yet our shadow selves will often take over and use “power” or physical force to silence those around us. Often those who are silenced are the souls who have been victimized many times in the past (or in traumatic past lives that they are still recovering from). They are easy targets.

The oppressors in my life have often been people I love deeply, making it exponentially more difficult to confront them and remove myself and my family from their toxic energy.  Sometimes their true souls shine through in the white light of love, but too often they are crippled within the darkness of pain. My efforts to “heal” them with love fail, as I learn it is not my path to change theirs. Yet, people must not compromise individual health and the health of their children, spouses, etc, by allowing a toxic relationship to occur. Even if we cannot shine a light of mutual understanding on these circumstances, we must have the courage to break free while still within the place of love.