A time you may Embrace, a time to Refrain from Embracing...Ecclesiastes
It had been 12 years since I had dated...long, sometimes confusing
and frustrating years... a difficult period of life, but I knew that it had to be.
I had just arrived at historic Camp Chesterfield, one of America's 3 remaining Spiritualist communities. My plan was to interview some of the older members who were reported to be healers.
While there, I would also pursue various personal interests in subjects
like hypnosis, kundalini and mediumistic phenomena.
If all went well, I would accomplish my goals in 3 or 4 weeks
and return to my home in Georgia.
If one embarks on a journey with Spirit, things are soon out of your hands... One encounters personal challenges at the outset.
You are free to accept or decline at each stage of that journey.
If you decline, you will be returned to your former existence without blame.
After all, it is your choice.
But sometimes, there will be a slight, but persistent, sense of loss or a feeling that a misstep has been made, an opportunity lost, perhaps.
If you continue on into that mysterious unseen realm, you'd better have
a sense of adventure, a strong stomach and a sound mind.
It is a journey into the deepest part of yourself.
It is also a journey into a larger reality than you could have imagined.
Though I was a timid soul by nature, a more intrepid side of me
wanted that less predictable path.
And true to form, the Mystery served it up in short order.
That is a much longer story, of course, but this is a valuable chapter
in that story...
Within a few days of my arrival, while settling into my new surroundings,
I had a slight, unexpected intimation that I would be in Indiana
a little longer than I had planned.
I had arrived in the early spring and reasoned that I could stay till fall-
with the provision that winter was out of the question.
So, with that in mind, I made a little exploratory trip to familiarize myself
with the nearby town and to pick up a few kitchen things.
I was doing just that at the local Walmart when I noticed a stranger staring intently at me from a couple of aisles away.
She was an old woman with thick glasses...nearly blind.
I thought perhaps she was confusing me with someone she knew.
No one here knew me, so I turned away and continued shopping.
A few minutes later, however, I found myself face to face with the woman.
She approached me and without a word being spoken,
peered into my eyes for an uncomfortably long minute.
Then she stepped back and said in a voice and manner rough
with her country upbringing,
"You're a massage therapist, ain't ya?!"
It sounded more like an pronouncement than a question.
With a surprised look, I sputtered "Well, yes- kind of..."
In a roundabout way, I was...
I had been giving Thai massage away at random intervals for years.
It was purely an avocation. No one here would know that about me.
She stepped close once more and peered into my eyes for another long minute.
When she stepped back the 2nd time, her demeanor shifted, her voice changed, now soft and refined, and she announced simply
"It's time for you to go to work now."
That said, she turned and walked away.
The strange encounter left me feeling a bit unnerved...
Her words penetrated and stuck uncomfortably.
This was hardly my plan...
Over the next few days, a number of events transpired
to push me in that direction.
Evidence mounted, doors opened and I was fairly shoved through them.
The following day I enquired about a massage opening and was hired
on the spot.
My second client told me about her wheelchair-bound daughter.
After hearing her story, I couldn't get her child out of my mind.
I knew I held a piece of her puzzle in the Thai massage...
So I rented an office and set up shop for a few months to help her out,
all the while telling myself that it was only temporary.
That was 15 winters ago...
After that initial experience, word of mouth spread and I was catapulted
into a busy practice and a major life change.
I was dragged out of what was becoming an increasingly boring retirement
and put back to work in ways that would eventually prove to be deeply fulfilling.
I was doing what I loved...and learning the things I had been seeking.
Spirit had prepared me and maneuvered me into this chapter in ways
I could not have devised.
I had not been willing to stay or to take up the work initially.
I had to be tricked into it by degrees...
I see now that step by sometimes bewildering or painful step,
I was brought into submission to a higher plan...
a plan that accorded with the best in me.
What I had viewed as the ideal successful life was eventually set aside.
My definition of happiness was too superficial and culture-bound.
I was to find that stillness and service were far more conducive to happiness and a really interesting life than having all the leisure time and activities
that we typically pursue.
My inner and outer worlds became rich in substance and opportunities to grow.
Those worlds became integrated in a wonderful way.
It was a pretty thorough reorientation of my life.
I felt whole...on the right track.
My work with people was very challenging on several levels.
It forced me to become more intuitive and flexible as I dealt
with a diversity of people, situations and maladies.
Most days I was dancing as fast as I could.
As I was going deeper into the experience, I realized that my life
was not going to follow a typical path.
I needed to stay devoted to the experience and where it was carrying me.
With the long and demanding days, along with the seriousness
of the spiritual involvement with the people, any kind of social life
was becoming unwieldy and felt increasingly inappropriate.
Try as I might, I didn't fit in with their society, churches
or civic groups.
I felt set apart...held in a kind of social limbo.
It wasn't just me...
I found that the community held me in a different regard, as well.
Fitting in was not part of the plan.
I slowly realized that dating relationships were also off-limits.
Well-intentioned folks would offer to introduce me to someone
or arrange a blind date, but it never felt right.
Each time a person showed interest, I instinctively shied away.
Any budding interest on my part was also to be set aside.
I understood in part- not completely.
It was kind of a heavy restriction.
From time to time, my frustration or loneliness would threaten
to overwhelm me, but some part of me always knew that I would be
fooling myself to indulge in any of it.
I already knew too much...
Over time I came to terms with this inexplicable situation.
I asked the well-meaning folks to let it be.
"God knows my address" became the popular refrain.
"I don't need to go looking. Nor do you."
"If I'm supposed to be with someone, it will happen."
I knew I couldn't do justice to my work and fit the demands
of a relationship in-on every level.
Personal experience had taught me that my choice of partner
could be off the mark.
Sometimes we simply don't read people well enough.
So many people settle out of loneliness or need.
I was seeing examples of that all around me.
I decided that Spirit would do the choosing...if such a thing were possible.
Barring that, I would leave things as they were.
I was changing rapidly in ways that further distanced me from ordinary life.
My spiritual experiences were increasingly strong and frequent. I felt that I was becoming (or was being gradually unveiled as) a spiritual hybrid...part human, part divine.
It was not appropriate for me to step down to a common level.
Except for a few close spiritual friends, it was a set-apart kind of existence.
I still hoped this would be a temporary assignment, but 2 yrs passed
after which I was led to buy a house and set up a more permanent studio.
I was going to be here for the foreseeable future..
If I had known that at the outset, I would surely have run.
The house I was led to turned out to be more than perfect.
It had a wheelchair ramp for my young client.
It was beautifully suited to me and I would be able to live above the studio.
I remember well the day I walked through the house, surveying it
for the 1st time.
"Perfect! Absolutely perfect..." and then it hit me..."for one..."
I thought with dismay.
I was hoping once more to have a partner, but the circumstances
were writ clear.
Perfect for one...
And so I continued with my practice, devoting all my energy to healing.
"Serving without distraction," as the biblical quote goes when referring
to the unmarried.
Not easy, but I understood the necessity as events unfolded over the years. There were many times when I struggled with the loneliness,
but each time I was given to understand another piece of the puzzle.
I slowly became reconciled to the circumstances.
I thought I would remain single for the rest of my days.
12 years of rigorous work followed.
As I approached the age of 62, I was feeling somewhat spent.
The work was exacting a toll.
I was becoming mentally, physically and spiritually drained.
I yearned for an opening for a trip to Thailand.
I needed to reconnect spiritually as well as physically.
I was greatly in need of input if I was to go on...
The opportunity soon presented itself.
It came just in time.
I returned from Thailand in better spirits, but a few weeks after my return,
I began to realize that I was still strangely weary and demoralized.
As I surveyed my inner landscape, I realized that I was not just weary
of Anderson, but I was weary of life itself.
Life had lost its flavor.
It was not a good state of affairs.
My work was my only consolation, but I needed more.
I was wrung out...and becoming increasingly desperate to leave.
I began to explore the possibility of retiring in Thailand,
wanting to escape my circumstances.
I contacted a realtor and set about finding a buyer for the practice.
But there was a faint persistent sense that I was getting ahead of myself.
I began to listen.
I had the thought that I might 'miss my reward' in all my rushing ahead.
'Reward? What reward? I really don't care at this point.
Nothing here tempts me. I would rather just go.'
On the other hand, I wondered if it was right for me to tear at the fabric
of what had been so painstakingly built up over the years?
People relied on the work as well as the relationships that had grown
over the years.
I had a place in the community, even if it was on a more subtle level.
I began to slow down and try to perceive the larger picture.
One day as I was going about my daily routine with not much enthusiasm,
I suddenly heard a Voice that jolted me.
"Take HOLD of life!"
The Voice meant business!
In fact, I had been slipping away in my discouragement.
Things had gone too far...
It was time to buck up and make an effort.
Another thought quietly manifested during that period.
A faint hint of "Prepare yourself as a bride for the bridegroom."
It was a faint whisper...I couldn't take it literally or even quite take it to heart.
I was well past that...
Perhaps I was leaving this life, so I took it in the biblical sense of preparing
to meet Christ. With that in mind, I tried to live my remaining time
with as much awareness and kindness as I could.
During that time, I was led to learn about the upcoming Chinese New Year...
the year of the black water snake.
I had never taken an interest in the Chinese calendar before, but suddenly
I was compelled to seek out everything I could find.
This went on for several weeks.
There were many elements in the material that held personal significance.
It gave me a more complex understanding of how we interrelate with life
and the personal intricacies of our energetic natures.
More pieces of the puzzle were falling into place.
Finally something had sparked my interest.
There was another important element within this experience.
I knew that I could not leave this life until I completed a great deal of writing.
It was a spiritual imperative that I had been aware of since I was quite young. Many things had stood in the way of the writing over the years,
but I still had to accomplish that mission.
It now weighed more heavily than ever.
I reasoned that I had better start now, right where I was,
whether I was officially retired in Thailand or not.
Writing could be done anywhere... It was time to get to work.
I spent the next few weeks tying up loose ends so I could devote myself
That accomplished and on the eve of the Chinese New Year,
I went to bed early in order to have a full weekend of undisturbed writing.
I went to sleep with a sense of anticipation for the day ahead.
I slept deeply through the night till 3 or 4 am, when I found myself in an extraordinarily vivid dream.
I stood in a great hall where I surveyed a long line of men.
Curiously, it was a line-up of every man that I had met in the 12 yrs.
I had lived in Indiana.
From right to left, my eyes passed over each individual in the order
that we had met-from 12 years ago to the present.
I briefly recalled each person. I had met most of them through the practice. Young, old, healthy, infirm...they were all present.
It was a strange dream...so unlike any dream that I would have.
Why were they all here?
The long slow panorama passed before me for quite some time until
I finally reached the end of the line.
In the next moment 2 things happened simultaneously.
My eyes were guided to the right-to someone from the very early part
of the line. I watched a figure float forward into clear focus, while high above
me to the left, I heard a Voice say...a voice that carried immense weight...
"He has the best energy for you."
I was stunned.
After all this time and in the face of my having given up on such things...
Spirit had chosen a partner for me.
It didn't seem possible, but there he was.
Spirit cared about that side of life after all...
Spirit's choice shocked me even more...
"Him?!" I thought incredulously.
"The kid that worked for my plumber?!"
We had met briefly in the early years of the practice.
My plumber called one day saying "I've got a man down, Debbie.
Can you help?"
"Sure Pat. Send him in."
Soon after, a young man made his way in.
It was an emergency. He was doubled over in painful spasms.
No time for formalities, we skipped the paperwork and introductions.
I helped him onto the mat and went straight to work.
He was silent, wracked in pain.
Our only conversation had consisted of "Does this hurt too much?"
Finally, 2 hours later, he was back on his feet and I sent him home to rest.
My heart went out to him.
I only saw him one other time. It was a brief moment as he and Pat
stopped in to get the basement key as I was running between patients.
He looked at me with a silent intensity-conveying something with his eyes-
his body. Big energy. Too big for me, I thought.
It impacted me, but the moment passed, he was gone and I went back to work.
Now, 10 yrs. later, he turned up in a dream...
"He has the best energy for you."
I couldn't make sense of it.
I didn't know his name or his family situation.
I knew nothing about him, really.
He was a LOT younger. That couldn't be right! Why him?
And then something unexpected happened...
Spirit opened him up and revealed his essence-the person within.
Under the rugged working-man exterior was a soul of such beauty...
I had no words...
"My God! He's different! He's not like the others...he feels right!"
That was more of a statement than you might imagine.
Some people can partner with several people over the course of their lives.
I am not one of them.
There are very few keys that turn in my lock.
In my lifetime, just one.
Nonetheless, I hadn't seen him in years, he no longer worked for Pat.
I didn't know how to connect with him.
I tried to tell myself it was just a fantastical dream.
But I knew it wasn't.
It was all just so improbable!
In the end, I thought
'He feels right, but there's not a darn thing I can do about it.'
There was no way I could make sense of it, so I tried to sleep,
reminding myself that I had to get up early to write.
When I woke an hour or so later, the dream was still very present with me. There was no avoiding it. As my waking mind weighed in on the details,
there was only more confusion...
Whose Voice was it that spoke to me?
It was a Voice that knew me...from a level I was not aware existed.
It had authority over me...
It called what little theology I still adhered to into question.
There was an order of existence beyond my comprehension...
The experience opened a window into that realm...
The tone implied a different take on partnering and sex.
It cut clean from what we have been led to understand.
Sexual energy was clearly indicated.
We seemed to be connected on a different level of being.
Still, as I turned it over in my mind, I came to the same conclusion...
He feels right, but there is nothing I can do about it.
It felt unattainable.
Finally, the rational side of me tried to dismiss the whole matter.
I had writing to do...No time for imagining.
I put the dream firmly out of my mind.
Before long, I was perched at my computer, trying to figure out
where I should begin...
There was so much unfinished work... a mountain of work.
I would have to make a good choice and focus like never before.
It was the first morning of the Chinese New Year.
A couple of hours passed. I was struggling to get into the space
where the writing would begin to flow. I had let things lapse for too long. Eventually I started to gain my footing, my wandering mind coming to settle
on the skeleton of a story.
Just when things were beginning to take shape, a movement at the window caught my eye. Someone was coming up the walk.
I realized with a groan that I had forgotten to lock the front door.
A man strode in. I wasn't sure if I recognized him, but as he stepped inside,
his name came to mind.
"Hey Zack. How are you? Is there something I can do for you?"
In the foggy recesses of memory, I was trying unsuccessfully to place him. ...
"I just came to buy some magnesium."
Oh good. I could take care of that quickly and get back to work.
We had a brief exchange along the lines of "How have you been?
Life treating you alright?"
"A lot has changed since I last saw you" he said. "Just got custody of my kids. I'm not the same man that I was when I worked for Pat. I've changed a lot
for the better."
"Hey, that's great!" I didn't know anything about his life, but it sounded like he was moving in a good direction.
He then asked me if I worked on weekends.
I recoiled inside. "NO! Not THIS weekend!" but answered honestly that I took emergency appointments if someone was in pain.
"Is it for you? Are you in pain?"
Hoping to save my writing weekend, we set something up for the following evening. I was in a hurry to move things along and get back to my writing.
"Let me get your magnesium."
As I bent down to get the magnesium, I heard an urgent Voice nearly screaming in my ear...
"The DREAM!!! REMEMBER THE DREAM!!!"
'What dream?!' I wondered.
'Oh my gosh! The dream! THAT dream!! He's the guy in the dream!!!'
The dream that had seemed so improbable that I had put it out of my mind!
I froze! It took my breath away... Only Spirit...!!
I looked up at him in astonishment and said "You'll never believe this,
but I dreamed about you this morning!," not daring to say more.
"I've dreamed about you many times..." he replied with utter seriousness.
He stood to his full 6' 4" and stepped back... "but they were all naughty dreams," he confided with a shy smile.
I was so taken aback that I hustled him out of the door in embarrassment.
What was I going to do with this 6'4" hunky young guy?
Nice to entertain the thought, but it was beyond the realm of reality.
After he left, I tried to put the blinders on and stay on task.
I settled myself back at the computer and tried to pick up where I had left off,
that is, until a loud thought interrupted me...
"Do you REALIZE what just happened here, Debbie?
Stop what you're doing!! Pay attention!!!
You just had one of the most remarkable dreams of your life!
The man walked in your door!!
He's dreaming, too!
You know what that message is about!'
How long have you been shut down in that arean of life?! A really long time!
Time to let that energy into your life again. It had been bottled up too long.
I took a moment and drifted into that space...
I began to release the energy mentally and let it flow...
The energy was more pent-up and explosive than I could have imagined... Moments later, without warning, a sign flew across the room, a basket went airborne, 2 computers crashed, my watch stopped and I heard loud banging noises and knocks in the vaulted ceiling overhead!
Unbelievable...so much power!
...from Anne Carson in Eros the Bittersweet:
"Your story begins the moment Eros enters you. That incursion is the biggest risk of your life. How you handle it is an index of the quality, wisdom and decorum of the things inside of you. As you handle it you come into contact with what is inside of you, in a sudden and startling way. You perceive what you are, what you lack, what you could be."
No truer words...
After 12 yrs. of containing that potential, a heady new chapter began...
The following day, I got ready for his Thai massage. He arrived quietly prepared and was silent throughout our time. There was something about the way he received the work...respectful, reverently, fully engaged on the inner level. Something I rarely encounter. I see it with a few martial arts practitioners.
They often had high-level spiritual experiences in their 1st encounter with
'Who IS this guy?' I wondered.
When we neared the end, he asked me to check one of his ribs.
It was broken, as he suspected.
"How did this happen?"
He said he had fought the previous day.
His Sensai had grappled with him and broken it.
He's one of them...No wonder he had such an affinity for the work...
As we ended, he asked me for my number.
He was simple, direct, without preamble.
I was caught off-guard and hesitated.
'Is he asking for my personal number? What is his intent?
No... Maybe... No... He couldn't be... He might be... What to do?'
I thought for a long moment before replying.
"Zack, I think you need to ask someone 20 years younger that question."
He turned to look me in the eye and said "No. I'm asking YOU."
I knew I had to give it despite my fear and insecurity.
In the final tally, I was closer to the truth than I realized.
He was 20 yrs. and 6 mths. younger than me.
A couple of hours later, he texted me...a little polite exchange.
A few days later he asked if he could ask some personal questions.
He was polite but direct. Sexual.
I put him off. He wasn't playing by any rules.
I buried myself in work over the next few days, trying to buy a little time
to get a handle on him. He accepted it...glumly.
A couple of nights later I went to bed, tired and needing sleep.
I closed my eyes and suddenly felt him float into the bedroom.
He hovered over my bed. I couldn't see him, but his presence was strong,
clear and unmistakable. It shook me to the core.
It was clearly sexual, too.
It was very clean energy...not vulgar or off-putting.
As his energy beamed down on me, my body responded.
Soon, I had the most beautiful orgasm I had ever felt.
(There had been sexual abuse in my life and I struggled a bit as a result).
This was the 1st time in my life that everything was working like it should.
It seemed to erase all the earlier experiences.
I was awestruck. I knew that a deep healing had taken place.
Who was this man, really?!
Did he know that his soul travelled like this?
I glanced at the clock before turning to sleep...10:37pm.
The next morning, I went downstairs to find my phone beeping.
There was a message from the night before...'u horny yet?'... 10:37pm.
"He has the best energy for you..."
Who could have known how fitting a beginning this would prove to be...
He preferred to communicate that way...wordless, at a distance, deeply erotic. Intuitive, spontaneous, without pattern, rhyme or reason.
He was like the wind.
He would disappear for days...weeks, even.
Then he'd turn up just after I'd finally given up on him.
It was the most baffling, uncontrollable, deeply challenging situation!
There was nothing that was typical of a relationship.
But we had a deep, inexplicable connection.
I wondered why I was handed such a challenge...
From all appearances we came from opposite sides of the track,
opposite circumstances, opposite ends of the zodiac almost to the minute.
Had it not been for the dream and his arrival at my door just hours later,
none of this would have occurred...
Despite outward appearances, on the level of essence and sexuality
we were easily attuned to one another...as if intended for one another.
He felt deeply familiar.
I found myself relating to him as if we'd had various lifetimes together.
It was a swirl of impressions...clues from different cultures and time periods.
Despite the age difference, he was fully a man in his perceptions, deeply honest and intuitive and could cut to the truth faster than any man I'd ever known.
He saw right through my guises and was ruthlessly honest.
I wasn't used to that. No games...just reality.
A man I could respect...
Our paths in life were very different as were the stages.
We didn't intrude on each others' circumstances.
We made way for them gently as we navigated this unconventional path.
It was like having a foot in two realities...the present one and the unseen.
To have those realities meet in this daily experience was confusing,
mystifying and deeply Life-Giving.
We both needed it...
The experience required a new crucible...a way of viewing life that would help me understand him and the strange dynamic of our coming together.
I found those elements in places like the I Ching and Native American ways,
in the Ananga Ranga, Daoism and ancient Hinduism.
Things were at once simple and yet marvelously complex and mystical.
It demanded huge growth and struggle.
Much of the teaching was wordless and emotional.
I was coming under another system of order.
Burning off a lot of dross.
As Tom Robbins says, the key to enlightenment/connection with the Divine Mystery is great desire...
I was put in such circumstances rather permanently by this arrangement...
and it has accelerated my path in a way that nothing else could.
It redirected and reoriented my focus and awareness.
It put me on a steep learning curve...one that continues to this day.
On this day a year ago, Zack left my bed for the last time.
We had 2 years, 2 months and 2 days together.
And then a sudden heart attack and this bodily experience was ended.
He was thrust into the next realm of life.
Zack had been at a painful crossroads in life and a change was needed.
His freedom and release came in a greater form than he anticipated...
Our last evening together held all the omens...
He had just come back from 2 weeks in the woods by his beloved lake retreat.
I had never seen him so happy and relaxed.
He had gone to sort himself out...it was a place of comfort where he reconnected with nature.
"If I could, I would move there tomorrow! I feel so much peace there..."
But he also talked about his problems with his kids and what it was doing to his heart, and an older man...his closest friend...and what it would do to his heart to lose him when the time came.
Everything that night was about his heart...
My Silent One finally bared his heart to me, as well.
I knew we had made it and that we were secure now...
We made plans to see each other on Sunday evening...
Sunday morning he woke with chest pains. He passed quickly to the other side.
On a deep level, I had sensed the nearness of his possible death crisis
for a few months, but hoped he would pull out in time.
In many subtle ways I had been prepared.
I had been singing him out yet feeling the death of things at the same time
things looked so promising.
While the actual event was a terrible shock, I instinctively understood
the timing and was glad for his release.
I was also assisting on a metaphysical level. I felt myself thrust up to the next level between the worlds.
We journeyed together in the weeks that followed.
I lived in a world between the worlds and felt what he was experiencing
as he made his onward journey.
The baffling, at times maddening, way that we had related from the start... intuitively, long distance, being largely apart, but connected on a subtle level had become the perfect training for what was to come...
Though I never attend funerals, I was directed quite clearly to go to his.
I would need Spirit to walk me through and teach me...
As I stepped from my car, I found myself walking in alongside Pat...
the man who had brought us together so many years before.
As well, I have been prohibited from touching anyone dead or dying.
But I was urged to place my right hand on Zack's left hand.
The moment I touched him, there was a rushing of energy between us.
I was shocked!
I thought 'That's not supposed to happen! He's not in there!'
Never mind that he'd been autopsied, as well.
I withdrew my hand with difficulty and walked away for a bit.
When I felt composed, I returned and touched his hand a 2nd time.
This time there was no mistaking the great surge of energy.
And then in the next moment I felt him standing behind me at full height.
And he was making a very Zack-like joke about where my hand was!
"You Brat!!!" I thought and we bantered back and forth.
The old Spiritualists have said of those that have transitioned-
'They are more alive than we are!"
They ARE indeed!
He was so full of life and cheerful! He was FREE!
There was no need for tears...
In all, I touched him 6 times and each time there was vibrant energy
between us, but, in the last instance, all of the energy was moving
in one direction...from his body into mine.
I waited until the last drops had entered.
I stepped back...amazed.
Since that day this arm sometimes gets hot with healing energy.
I feel a kind of love for people that unmistakably bears his unique character.
Understanding, insight, dreams, protection, enhanced energies,
clarity and humor...a merging of characters...male and female.
I never would have imagined it to be this way, but 'the two are becoming one'
Many wonderful things have happened since, but one deserves special mention.
One night as I headed for bed, my eyes felt strange...as if I was hallucinating.
I couldn't make it go away, so I hurried into bed and closed my eyes.
But I still saw! This hallucination was real.
Suddenly I saw a beautiful transparent veil covering me....
Just beyond the veil, a figure flashed...
It was Zack! Full size! He was made of brilliant pure light!
Purified...Elevated...beyond error. Supremely powerful.
The Shining Self...
All dreams continue in the beyond.” -- Tom Robbins-Jitterbug Perfume
I love you-my funny valentine...