I’m not sure what just happened to me, but I think I have to write it down. I also think I need people to read it. And maybe to tell me I’m not crazy.
I am not susceptible to psychic stuff.
During a brief flirtation with Wicca I could never feel energy from crystals, or sense any sort of connection with elements, Gods, Goddesses or anything else. I always felt just a little silly. I am pretty skeptical about claims of ghost sightings, haunted places, channeling, séances and anything involving trances or visions. I could not, for God’s sake, ever see a ghostly apparition in the mirror when we went in the bathroom in fifth grade, turned out the lights and chanted “Mary Worth.”
I used to try praying myself into some altered state, like the mystic did. That didn’t work, either. The only times I’ve been in an altered state, it involved chemicals or alcohol, and that’s another post entirely.
I’ve always wanted to feel something transcendent or otherworldly, though, and and I’ve willed it to happen, but it’s always seemed that I was too logical and tightly wrapped to see it, even if it bit me on the ass.
One chronic, epic fail in this area was guided meditation. I could not visualize anything because I was usually too distracted by the voice of the guide, or the cliché-ridden suggestions that I picture “a favorite place, perhaps a tropical beach or a secluded forest glade.” In college a friend and I were given guided meditation tapes to reduce stress, and we became hysterical laughing at the apparently sedated baritone droning “I feel tired. I feel quite tired.”
Then, this thing happened today.
This afternoon I was looking at apps for my tablet, and when I downloaded a meditation timer, it suggested that I check out several other apps including a collection of guided meditations. The guided meditation app was highly rated by users, and cheaper than a latte. I bit. I lay down, scrolled through the offerings and selected one that promised “intuitive healing.”
My hopes were not high.
The woman had a lovely voice, and the first activity was to identify a hurt place, physical or emotional, and simply hold it without judgment. That didn’t seem too weird; it seemed like something Pema Chodron or Jack Kornfeld might advise as part of practice. I picked a situation that hurts me deeply, makes me ashamed, and seems to block joy, freedom and ease in my daily life. That part was easy.
Next, the voice asked me to imagine healing energy coming to that source of pain and trouble. The energy, she explained, could be anything—colors, textures, light or sound. I imagined ribbons of color, pinks and purples, but it was feeling kind of contrived—like I was making things up to please an invisible therapist I didn’t know.
Then I saw my mother, who died more than a year ago. She was there, vivid enough that I could have touched the thinning silver hair I haven’t touched since I said goodbye in the hospital, or taken her hands in my own. They were always cold, and I used to hold them to warm them up.
I miss her terribly, but it’s always a controlled thing, a tamped-down, quiet vacuum. I haven’t really wanted to bother or disturb anyone with the howling void of grief. That’s kind of how I am.
I started to cry (I still haven’t stopped) and was momentarily confused. Maybe I was just feeling pangs of grief because I had quieted my mind, but that didn’t make sense because I meditate daily, and nothing like this has happened before. Maybe it was some kind of message that her death was the pain I should be focusing on instead of the problem I had chosen, but that just didn’t feel right.
I got it then. She was the healing energy.
My mother, who loved me so very much, and wanted me to love myself the way she loved me, was with me to give me strength, to let me know that I should not be ashamed, that I was deserving of joy, freedom, ease and abundant love. No matter what. She wasn’t talking, there were no directions, but I knew as I lay with my eyes shut and tears streaming down my face that she was sharing her tremendous strength with me and letting me know that she is still with me to console, support and encourage.
I took her into me, like swallowing a radiant full moon, knowing that I could heal the broken and painful places if I looked through her eyes.
It broke my heart.
It healed my heart.
And I don’t know what that was all about, but I’m changed. I’m all snot and running mascara, typing in a darkening room and worrying that I sound like a New Age, woo-woo lunatic.
Except she was with me, and she helped me, and I know it was her.
Like a child knows its own mother.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Cornelia Kopp on Flickr