“Scream, I want to scream Breathe, Breath isn’t coming
Feet, Feet want to Run
Movement, Movement isn’t coming
Cry. I want to cry.
Tears, Tears are not falling.
Wait, something else is happening.” Journals, 2005
I was grateful to have a moment alone.
I pulled the curtains across our bedroom’s sliding glass door creating a dark inviting cave-like feeling. We lived in a nice suburban track home, with simple but nice architecture and in a neighborhood with large trees and a short walk to the river. That’s where my husband and children were at now, on a walk outside. Perhaps to the park and back. It was my opportunity to relax, and recover my sweetness somehow for when they next need me.
I placed my cup of tea on the beside table before laying down. Then noticed a CD next to it. It was a new CD of drumming music my husband brought home from a recent weekend workshop on shamanic journeying. I didn’t go. It was a gift I gave to him for his birthday. But no one was looking. So, with curiosity, I put the music on and laid down to see what would happen.
Right away, my body felt like it wanted to move. Not to dance or shift upon the bed as I lay still, but energetically. I felt a pulsing sensation in my heart, a joyful energetic rhythm. The rest of me followed suit, as if doing a little dance on a subtle cellular level.
The next thing that I noticed was the smell of wet dog. Our dog, Chewbacca, was outside asleep in the sun. It wasn’t coming from him. So where was this smell coming from? I felt drawn to look over to the right side of my bed. Not with my eyes, but with my attention.
Here, beside me, stood a wolf. A magnificent creature with blue eyes and blue gray tuffs of fur on an otherwise all-white coat. Panting gently with a pink tongue and wiry whiskers. The Wolf seemed to be waiting. “Waiting for what?” I thought.
I rose to standing, not in my body but in my being. He walked around the bed lengthwise towards the sliding glass door and proceeded to move through it. I wondered if I could follow and with that thought I found myself outside standing next him. The backyard didn’t look exactly the same. There were the beautiful birch and pine trees and our own sleeping dog. That seemed normal. But everything also seemed shimmery, and like it was moving with a quick vibrating quality.
I looked up across the pool towards a small mound of grass that was a little hill in our backyard oasis and there stood the wolf next to what looked liked a staircase made of glass. I walked towards him and we began climbing.
The distance I traveled up the glass staircase and into the sky took what seemed like a lifetime, and then again no time at all. There was, I guess you could say, a feeling that something was moving within me as I moved outwardly. I didn’t understand why it was taking so long, but I felt as through I was preparing for what I was to meet when we arrived at the landing. As I took the final step, I was brought to a blanket of clouds rolling out in a seemingly endless stream of austere beauty. I just stood there, breathing, for a long time. Until the wolf nudged me with his nose and ticklish whiskers.
The wolf sat down, halting it’s own journey. Peering up first to me and then with shared eye contact, he turned to look away at something waiting. I touched the wolf’s head not with my hand, but with my intention. He looked up at me, staring blankly but with a certain sweetness and emotion that felt like humor and patience. I proceeded to walk in the direction he was looking.
The first thing I noticed through the low-laying puffs of white clouds were very large hands, about a football field away. Like the hands of a stone carver or wood worker at his craft for some time. This vision jarred me a bit. What was I doing up in the clouds looking at big giant hands? Surely this was silly, and could mean nothing of importance to me. This is not what I had expected, nor anything that I could have created for myself. I expected African warriors perhaps, or a jungle cat taking me to a lesson about my own destiny. That’s what I was told might happen in a shamanic journey. A quick thought entered my head, that I should just go to sleep and let the normal sort of dreams to their trick so I could feel refreshed in a bit.
That is when the awareness of myself, on my bed, came back to me. I could feel myself resting with silence in the room, except for the drumming. I was there. But also, I was every-bit here. Standing on the bank of clouds, looking at, well, hands waiting for me. The humor of the situation did not escape me. But also the experience was much too riveting. I could feel the wind blowing, and the taste of moisture in the air. The lightness of being up so high. I felt myself let go even more deeply into the day-dreaming.
That is when I looked past the hands and perceived what at first looked like a wall of white clouds shift into something that was moving. A white-muslin robe with lovely braided golden sashes swishing. My eyes traveled up the robe quickly to find rolling locks of chestnut colored hair and a shortly- trimmed beard framing a face that smiled at me with complete confidence, lovingness and strength. Jesus of Nazareth was starring at me.
I halted in my steps. My own relationship with Christianity ended about the beginning of high school. When I was younger, I sometimes went to church of a Lutheran flavor on Easter or Christmas with my grandparents, but I always only pretended to say what the pastor wanted. I had always felt somehow that the storybooks had got everything wrong and although I loved the stories of the little baby away in the manger, the rest of what the church had to say seemed far-fetched and somehow tainted by it’s own desire.
I remembered seeing Jesus portrayed with a long white robe. Was I making this up? But I had never imagined him a giant. And whenever I thought of Jesus on my own, he had always worn robes of brown such as what he was wearing in picture of his crucifixion. I don’t know why, but the image of him now, standing as a giant in the clouds, holding his hands out to me, as if to say, climb on in... certainly wasn’t something I had consciously in my mind. It seemed, a little funny to me really. And then I did recall a song. You know the one.
All of this information flashed through my mind in a second, and then, curiosity once again bade me continue my journey.
“What am I doing here?” I asked him. There was no immediate reply, just a seemingly deeper perceiving of me and perhaps just a hint of a smile.
“Come here, little bird.” He then, said. Not out loud, but right into my mind.
As he called me by that name, I was flooded with the memory of my childhood companion that sometimes still visited me. A large white bird. Sometimes red with white tufts on his head. Sometimes white with a little bit of red. I thought it was an eagle. Or maybe a hawk, instead. I was never sure, except that “The Bird” was always there when I needed healing or protecting. And although I had from childhood seen and talked to this spirit, this was my first moment following a drum.
I didn’t know what a shamanic journey was. I just thought it sounded interesting. The voice of this figure I could only think of as Jesus spoke to me again, in my mind directly. And with such familiarity, I trusted his presence explicitly.
So I stepped into his hands. “Now, rest here a while,” He said.
And with that thought, I found myself staring up at the ceiling in my bedroom. The sounds of laughter from my three year old boy just starting to be heard as he walked up the drive way.
I stood up, not with my intention, but because my body took me into the bathroom where I looked at myself in the mirror and put some water on my face.
“Wow, what was that?” I thought. “I’m not sure what to make of it?” I said out loud to myself.
Then I felt a curious sensation, as though I was still sitting in the hands of Jesus of Nazareth. I could feel the realness of my bathroom, and of course thoughts of all the other things that were waiting for my attention just on the other side of the door.
I also felt a wondrous sensation that was not normally with me. Peace is the only way I can describe it. Peace, strength and that of being carried by love-unending. I questioned my sanity, for a half a second. And then I made a decision. It didn’t matter to me if the experience was real. What mattered was on this day, in this moment, I felt better than I had in years.
It was as though I were being healed while standing still. With part of my awareness in my body and part of my awareness in the cradle of compassion. I had a secret, a sanctuary of body-felt active-nurturing from Jesus to me in every-day reality. I didn’t know how long this feeling would last. But for the first time, I didn’t feel so lonely in a house full of people in constant need of me and in a marriage that was quickly unraveling.