Laying on the floor blindfolded, she listened to the drums and waited in the darkness. Blackness persisted. She tried to decide how to enter the earth but indecision kept her visions at bay. A deep rumble beneath the drums caught her attention and she found herself in a familiar place: astride her magic motorcycle on the road that goes up and down at the same time. She had the impression of seeing asphalt rushing by at close range. She focused her thoughts on her intent: Spirit, please return to me the part of my soul that will allow me to come into my full mental powers.
"Spirit, please give me back my genius. My parents were both geniuses. My own intelligence has got to be a combination of the two of them, plus me. I have always known there was a high level of intelligence in my gene pool. Please return to me the soul parts that can read and do math and tell right from left."
Her mind settled for a moment on the idea that she needed to return to traumatic experiences around these issues: reading and computing. Something must have happened to block her in these areas. Something to stifle her creativity and sense of adventure.
She traveled into another world, not in nature but rather various locales from her childhood:
Outside the house squeezing her kitten too hard, looking up at the window where her baby sister had just taken up residence, cat poop trickling down her dress front.
Walking to school with her little red plastic lunchbox; with her shame over being put back into first grade, after having been pushed ahead to second grade from kindergarten. The lunch box was just for show. Second-graders took their lunch to school and stayed all day. First-graders went home for the day at noon. She remembered the absolute shame she felt.
Then she was in the bathroom at school, she saw the stalls lining the walls. She had run in there gagging over the sight of another kid eating a banana with his mouth open.
Then she was at Mother Goose Nursery, laying on the floor at nap time, being tickled by some other kid until she couldn't breathe.
Then there was the memory of Mother and Daddy fighting. And the time he punched her out. She'd walked in on them. Mother was bleeding, crying and drunk from the night before.
A vague memory of church in North Carolina with her father's family flashed through her mind, and then the trouble learning to read. Mother was there to help her. And the math problems that plagued her all through high school where her dad tried to help her out.
Brownie Scouts. She hated the uniform and got into trouble. Behavior problems! They started right here. Kicked out of the Brownies. Everything seemed to be taking place in North Carolina in the house on Virginia Avenue where she lived with Peggy and Joe.
She was with them now. They were with her. She tuned in to their intent. They had intended to be suave and debonair - intelligent, witty, loving parents.
It was alcohol that ravaged the dream. It wasn't THEM. It wasn't any of them. It wasn't even HER.
It was the curse of alcoholism that tore their intent to shreds. She felt Peggy's presence. They were leaning against each other, seated on the Moroccan hassock. Peggy was wearing her silk lounging pyjamas - deep green silk slacks and gold brocade jacket. She was really elegant and the vibe was a warm glow of happiness and security. Joe was making the martinis, being charming and entertaining.
This was the American dream. They were making it. They had a big, beautiful house, a dog and a cat, next-door neighbors to play with.
At the same time the thought occured to her: Spirit, take me to the part of my soul that ran away when I felt ashamed and confused.
SHAME and CONFUSION. But wait, she thought! Confusion is a good thing. We have to be willing to enter a state of confusion in order to access our higher selves. To access our creative selves. Spirit, take me to the soul part that can handle confusion without feeling shame.
She felt the shaman's breath on her solar plexus while he pumped all the old air out of her lungs. He opened her up, making room in her chest cavity for the return of the lost soul part.
Suddenly she was lying on the desert floor, breathing deeply, aware there was a wolf sitting there watching her. Yes, it's definitely a wolf, she thought. Then he changed into something else she decided must be a coyote. The lost soul part became a red disk, yes, a frisbee that she pulled back out of her chest and threw to the dog. He chased and caught the frisbee, the red disk of her soul, and brought it back to her. She laughed and they continued the game, tossing the frisbee out into the desert in the night-is-day and up-is-down world to the dog creature who now had become almost a cartoon of a coyote, like a primitive painting of a one-dimensional coyote on a one-dimensional desert. Like Stanley Mouse paints them. Like the ones on the cover of Coyote Oldman's album. She laughed, aware of the new open feeling in her chest, in spite of all the scar tissue and physical trauma from her recent car crash.
Again she experienced the total security of having her parents by her side, the warmth of her mother's body against her arm as they sat there together... READING. Very laid back and casual, no big deal, just three brilliant people enjoying each other's company in front of a warm golden fire in their living room.
She flashed on how her life looked, stretched out from that moment into her young womanhood. It was like an old 'forties movie with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, Bogie and Bacall. She felt most fortunate. Blessed. Hell, she was a fucking debutante.
As she sat there in the living room with her parents, feeling the reassuring comfort of her mother's warmth next to her, she became aware that the creature leaning gently against her arm was her power animal. There they sat on a cliff, her legs dangling over the side, the animal sitting on his haunches - a coyote. Or was it a wolf? Some kind of dog, anyway. A desert dog. Desert Dog. It seemed to keep changing. The sun was setting and the animal now was definitely a cat. They sat together squinting their eyes at the red sun setting in a golden sky. Every now and then a bubble of laughter would erupt in her chest.
She felt joy. Tears of joy streamed down her face, disappearing into her bandana blindfold. She was smiling. The music faded, eventually she rolled over onto her somach, removed the blindfold and stared into the flame of a candle placed in the center of a circle around which they were all laying, head in.
Tears continued to flow as she stared at the candle. It became two candles, two flames of passion - one was Peggy and the other Joe. She focused her eyes in a different way and the two candles merged into one: SHE.
The flame was now her passion, containing Peggy and Joe's brilliance and passion, along with her own. The flame grew brighter. The red frisbee in her chest resonated to the flames. They were the same. The brilliance was inside her. It was her birthright. And for once, when the Soul Hunt was over, she did not feel compelled to 'share'. She simply enjoyed the glow, content and confident. The cosmic laugh was just a heartbeat away.
* * *
Monday, May 15, 1995