This might be my longest one yet. (I know, I know, that’s what she said.) But a lot happened in a compressed space of time, or a compressed time of space, and I think I need to share it all.
I guess I should start with the big news: yesterday I became a Level II Reiki practitioner.
During the course of attunement, I sensed an entire corps of spirit guides present to watch and aid the master as she worked. I didn’t recognize most of them: I guessed that these were people who’d gone down this road before me. I did sense both my grandmothers, my friends from Sultani Trip in California, a friend from Manhattan, another from Iselin, and (least surprising to me) the higher self of the friend in Lincroft whom I have recently banished from my orbit of friends. She was the one who first noticed healing qualities in my touch. In a very real sense she set me on this path, and I believe these words are the closest she will ever get to understanding how grateful I am that she felt that.
I differentiate between the woman I unfriended and her higher self. My intuition, which with her influence has grown considerably and errs less often than it used to, tells me that when she finally betrayed and cast down the mantle of friendship once and for all, she was acting purely out of selfishness and not out of her higher self. All our higher selves (you have one too) act uniformly and unerringly from a place of love, as mine unfailingly did for her when she needed someone on whom to lean, and as hers only rarely did for me in any of her dealings with me from day one. Both of us will blame the other for the chain of love and friendship being broken between us, and hold ourselves harmless, and we will both be right, and we will both be wrong.
It might have been this that Jane (the Reiki Master who performed my “upgrade”) sensed as she noticed imbalances in several of my chakras. She didn’t specify which, but in light of what she had to say immediately after she finished, I infer that it was the bottom four of the seven: those which deal with (among other things) the survival instinct, self-esteem and sense of personal power, love, and sexual energy. I did note that she gave me stones to hold over my breasts as she worked, but my eyes were closed throughout, so I didn’t know till later what they were.
Afterward, Jane said (no, this is not a cue for song–I wish it was) that all of my future relationships were going to end the same way as my recent ones had until I was finally able to change myself. I told her that I had been working on it for at least eight months now, that the core of the next album was devotion to that self-work. She was glad to hear it. After performing Reiki with her on a couple of willing volunteers (her daughter and her daughter’s friend), Jane ended the session/attunement by starting me on my collection of handy crystals to have around during a Reiki session. She gave me a small kyanite stone, to cleanse the aura and any negative energy other crystals might absorb.
I treated myself afterward to a few more crystals, a dollar apiece at my local New Age shop. Snowflake obsidian for the first, root chakra (the soles of the feet to the perineum), blue lace agate for the fifth (over the throat), and one of the stones Jane gave me to hold over my heart: a somewhat heart-shaped rose quartz for cleansing the fourth (over the heart).
But her words troubled me. How far had I come in those eight months? How much work remains? Certainly, the Reiki has helped me to this point–and excising Lincroft from my life has helped too. But still, I am only dimly aware of what is broken, and then only on this physical plane: I’m a Reiki practitioner now, but I have yet to gain my first client, my practice is not yet established in any sense of the word, and I am still living under my parents’ roof. These conditions of unemployment and dependence on my parents have caused me to lose much of the confidence I enjoyed when I was married and in my own place.
Other than a brief interlude of wakefulness and a rather trying encounter with a hurting friend (who wound up lashing out at me in her anger over someone else), I slept last night for about 13 hours solid, and awakened feeling curiously empty, powerless, restless, as though something had come in the night and carved chunks out of my soul as I slept. Voices I didn’t recognize were taunting me, telling me that I was late to the party of life again, and that all I was good for was for cleaning up and being dismissed immediately afterward. Love was entirely out of the question: my role in life is to be used and discarded.
But Jane had advised me that I could expect my third eye chakra to open even more now that I had received the second attunement, and I got guidance. I sensed being told to lash my bike to the car rack and head out to Bluff Point in Groton, look for a quiet place in the woods, and meditate there for a while with the rose quartz resting on my heart chakra.
It was not easy getting to Groton: traffic headed for the Shoreline towns east of New Haven and the two casinos in the southeast corner of the state saw to that. I noticed that no matter which lane I got in, it immediately ground to a halt.
There are days when I have been known to display the patience of Job himself. This wasn’t one; the day was getting hotter in my non-air-conditioned car, and I was getting crankier and more fidgety as we all inched along the 95. I wedged the rose quartz between the shoulder strap of my seat belt and my tee-shirt, atop my heart chakra, and hoped for compassion.
I didn’t get that, but I did get a message from the future: the nondescript voice of the lover yet to reveal herself in my life. Telling me to hang on with everything I had, that she was close, that she was looking, that she loved me and felt my love for her. I clung to that for as long as I could, but the traffic demanded more attention than I had been giving it, so I decided to wait till I got to Bluff Point before trying to connect with that feeling again.
Two and a half hours after setting out from Orange, I pulled up in the gravel lot, stretched, pulled my bike from the rack, mounted, pedaled precisely once–and the chain broke.
And if you don't love me now, you will never love me again.
Lincroft and I had been working on a cover version of a certain Fleetwood Mac song earlier in the year, and it lay dormant from January until late May, when she requested that I render a WAV file of the song for her to cut her vocals over, in the studio of an old family friend. With the project the two of us had been working on winding down, I sensed that the end of our relationship was also near, and that it had needed to die for a while: its twitching carcass was causing more than its share of unrest in my soul. I was certain that once she had the file, my purpose in her life would have come to an end and she could safely push me out of her life once and for all with all ledgers balanced in her eyes.
I rendered the file. Sure enough, when I left New Jersey for Connecticut, I barely heard from her unless it was for something I could do for her, or for her to complain about how her life was going–never once asking how I might be faring, or sharing good news with me. And when I lapsed into a deep depression early in June and went to her for comfort, she let it be known in no uncertain terms that she could not be bothered with me. I told her to kiss my ass goodbye, and have not spoken to her since.
I won’t deny that there have been second thoughts, third thoughts, wondering about the circumstances under which we might eventually be friends again–but when that chain broke, I understood finally that there were none under which that would be possible without a lot of personal growth on both our accounts. We had served the purposes for which the universe brought us together, and now we were, and are, truly separate again. Perfect strangers.
I wondered whether this was the real reason I had been guided to Bluff Point, and why I had to travel so far to come to this insight. But here I was, and now I was going to have to get where I perceived I needed to be on foot. I didn’t have my Timberlands with me; only my Reeboks, my cross-trainers; they would have to do.
Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve was, at one time, John Winthrop’s home when he was Royal Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the mid-1600s. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, this 1.5 square mile parcel is the last significant piece of undeveloped land on the entire 618 statute miles of Connecticut coastline. Access to the bluff and the adjoining beach is by dirt and gravel trails wending through heavy woodland that has overtaken all the building sites over the last 350 years, and because it is a coastal reserve, motorized vehicles are prohibited, so you can get there on horseback, on bicycle (as I had originally intended), or on foot. Off I went.
Couples riding bicycles past me; sleek, beautiful women on the main trail when I found myself on a smaller trail parallelling it; a sense that now I was walking by myself for real. That old Robert Frost poem we all had to read when we were in grade school sprang to mind.
I made the beach, watched women stripping down to bikinis while their consorts stripped down to swim trunks, passed a lesbian couple burying their child waist-deep in the clam shell-layered sand for his comfort and amusement. I kicked off my shoes and waded into the seaweed-snarled water to alleviate the itching from numerous mosquito bites. I wondered what the hell I was doing here, and found myself wishing my ex-wife were with me: it was with her that I discovered this place.
And just as I was about to put my Boks back on, something changed.
My foot stepped on a smooth stone, about the size of my palm. It was the kind of stone I thought my ex might like–she always liked collecting beach stones and presenting some to me as little gifts–so I put it in my pocket and eventually carried it back to the car.
I walked up to the top of the bluff–the Point itself–and looked out over about a 270-degree view of Long Island Sound: New London off in the distance to my right, Mystic and Stonington off to the left. Below me, Hispanic fishermen were casting their lines into the waves, and coming up with flatfish. I thought, that’s very cool, they’re seeing something for their effort, they won’t go hungry tonight.
Behind me, two women had made their way onto the promontory. Both were attractive, but one was amazingly radiant. Sleeker and prettier than anyone I’d encountered there; short light brown hair blown here and there by the breeze; eyes narrow as they focused on the sunlight reflected off the Sound, but still shining; smiling as though she couldn’t help herself. A tight white top concealing a floral bikini beneath, short skirt revealing a decent pair of legs. She could have been in her early 30s. As they chatted with one another and passed behind me to head to a more private area of the bluff behind the copious scrub, we exchanged smiles for one another.
I remembered my purpose and left them to their conversation. The main path doubled back into the woods on the other side of the peninsula, and the place to which I felt I was being guided lay along this part of the trail. En route I chatted for a moment with a kind and pretty married woman whose bike I admired (all the chrome!). It turned out she needed to know whether she was headed in the right direction to get to the Point; I told her she was, pointing back at the two attractive women (I lingered over the sight of the radiant one), visible in the foreground with the Point behind them and hidden by a thick layer of rosehip bushes.
It had been a while since I’d been here and didn’t know the extent to which the place had changed, so when I looked up and saw a clearing to my right I felt that that was the place. I took a path into the woods that I didn’t recall being quite as narrow, and looked for a way in.
It wasn’t. There was no way to that clearing from this path, and as I walked I realized I’d never been on this trail before, and that that wasn’t the clearing I remembered. Mosquitoes and gnats saw dinner coming, and I did my best to swat them away or kill them as they landed. The quartz still safely in my pocket, I composed myself and asked aloud, “You brought me here to get eaten alive?”
The response was swift, and kind. “We advised you to look for a quiet place in the woods and meditate with the rose quartz over your heart. We didn’t actually specify that it had to be here. Anyway, you should have listened to your ex-wife when she was trying to tell you not to go into the deep woods without bug spray.”
I shook my head as though little tiny bits of brain hadn’t assembled themselves into the proper sequence. They were right; they hadn’t said that. And now I did hear the voice of my ex-wife saying exactly that, as she had been all along; but with me focused as I was on finding the clearing, it became so much ambient noise, like the sound of planes taking off across Mumford’s Cove at Groton-New London Airport. I should have known better, and now the only way out was through.
At one point the path I was on began to parallel the main path, and through the trees I saw the two attractive women walking. I hoped that the path would veer back toward a connection with the main, but instead it went the other way.
It began to undulate up and down; large boulders could have been altars, tree roots on an uphill climb could have been the steps to a cathedral. But I was in my first chakra then, trying very hard not to become a human blood sacrifice for the swarming insects, and too busy with that to notice what I would have seen if I’d been in my seventh.
I finally came out onto the main path again, and could see the white top of the radiant woman far ahead in the distance, walking with her friend. And directly in front of me, a sign pointing to the foundation of the Winthrop homestead. The clearing to which I thought I had been guided. I felt either I could abandon my purpose and follow the ladies, or stay true and let them go.
What happened next occurred maybe in the time it takes to blink. Without thinking about it, I sought out the radiant girl’s higher self, and found her almost immediately. “Hi!” she said, wordlessly, just inside my third eye.
“Hi! Listen, I don’t know you, but I want to send a little energy your way. Is that OK?”
“Please do! I love to be loved.”
The women were climbing a short rise on the path in the distance, and once they were descending it, they would be obscured from view. Aware of the rose quartz in my pocket, I drew the distance symbol over the image of her in the distance, and held my hand out toward the radiant girl’s heart chakra. My palm tingled for an instant, then grew hot.
And as they walked down the other side of the rise, I could vaguely see her turning around, as though something had hit her from behind, and I sensed a smile coming back. Then they were gone.
I turned back to the foundation of Winthrop’s old house, now overrun with brush and thicket, and I heard: “It’s OK. Don’t go in here, there’s more bugs. Find someplace else.”
And I realized that this was the purpose for which my guides had brought me to this place: to give Reiki to that girl, and to understand that it helped her. And to remind me that I have that gift now, and to remind me what that energy is made of.
I never did catch up with them before they left the park, but I don’t think I needed to. It was good to leave things as they were. Even the subsequent drive home felt better; although there was traffic headed southbound on the 95 as well as northbound, this time I managed to get into the lanes that were moving.
My guides had one more suggestion for me as I drove homeward. “Why don’t you stop at that music store and see if that cute girl is working there. Ask her if she’s playing with anyone and go see her band if she is.”
She was working, and we wound up talking a little shop as I browsed the various drum kits in her area. It turned out that she doesn’t play with anyone; she knows what to do with a practice pad, but isn’t all that much of a musician by her own reckoning. Simply a music lover who wanted to be around music. We talked about drummers and cymbal manufacturers. We exchanged names as I was walking out; her name (I presume it’s a nickname) rhymes with mine.
And I’m home now, and not out in the woods, and as I finish this up it’s about 11:30 PM. I’m going to go into the next room with the rose quartz, lay the pseudo-heart over my beating heart, and expect nothing, and everything.