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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Time Machine


     When bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki they stopped a war and killed over 200,000 civilians, leaving behind a decimated landscape, with fallout still observed generations later. This could also be representative of trauma and survival.
     After I ignited my first round of healing by a shout out in Lake Superior, I invested eight years in various forms of therapy, both the oddball (shamans and pixie dust) and the conventional (talk therapy). At that point, I determined me and my bank account were done healing. I’d come to the point of “good enough”. Yet astutely, I had already learned to flinch when I make declarative statements, as they tended to have an ugly boomerang effect. And this was the case with my “done” comment, coming in the form of an MRI tube that obliterated my illusorily healed surface.
     A doctor, concerned that my recent headaches, seeing multi-hued lightning bolts, and high blood pressure, are symptoms of a stroke, sends me in for a scan to gain more information. At a 6 AM appointment, I close my eyes sleepily as a young female technician slides me into the machine. Her last words before leaving the room are that she’ll be able to hear me from an overhead microphone once she reaches the command booth. In my hand rests a squeeze-for-help mechanism if I were to need to contact her. I’m not overly concerned about the twenty-minute test, figuring that with my eyes closed I’d pretend I’m meditating, bashing the illusion when my snores are picked up on the sound feed.
     Imagining myself seated on an empty beach, I take a long relaxed breath and release it, the expelled air bouncing off the nearby tube wall back into my face. Panic prods a burr in my psyche into alertness. Ancient shrieks of terror vibrate through my eardrums, faces bob behind my eyelids, and suddenly I cannot breathe.
     Repeatedly pressing S.O.S brings no response from the technician. I chant a stream of words to calm my surprising hysteria. Oh no. It’s okay. Just think of the beach. Breathe. I can do this. Where is that tech? Oh God, I’m gonna die. My body pulsates as I resist the urge to open my eyes. Don’t open them. Don’t scream. Don’t move. Don’t, don’t, don’t!
     My brain is exploding, stroke concerns now seemingly true. Straps encasing my skull make it impossible to shimmy out. Warm, moist, cloying breath surrounds me, and suddenly, terrifyingly, I’m completely encased in a wool blanket, with the fibers scratching relentlessly. Smoke Man has returned and won’t let me go.
     The MRI tube is a time machine, sending me back to that house. It is the 1960s on a charming cul-de-sac in a sunny beach community, the Gidget horror story that was my childhood.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Broken Heart Chakra

~The Broken Heart Chakra~

     At forty-six I am in a slump and know it—this is an accomplishment since I’m fairly certain the low point settled in and took root around twenty years ago. It is the kind of dip that occurs when life doesn’t seem to get the human or the human is grumble-bumbling in opposition. Either way, the net value is that every day is defined with a gray or angry hue. 
     There is no reason for my miasma if the reason is evaluated by what’s easily seen on the surface. Work is fulfilling, my family is healthy, I don’t live in a box under a viaduct, and every so often there is a little left in the bank account after the bills are paid. Yet something undefined irritates my lining, a burr secretively nestled behind my awareness. Aside from blah skies and pissed off episodes, a thought regularly pops into my mind.
     You’re supposed to do something and time is running out.
     This thought zapping in from nowhere seems more ominous than signing a permission slip for twin teens or remembering to do the laundry. It’s as though I’m overlooking an item on a list and the writing is quickly fading.
     Which is how I wind up getting my aura read as a belated birthday gift to myself. Before it sounds as though I reach for a magic wand when I have a head cold, let me be clear—I’m a skeptic. I don’t believe in much other than my own ability to drag myself up the block. Paying an aura reader is more of a “prove it” game that I play. And if I didn’t know better, the bland woman in a nondescript office is finalizing my taxes. Her head is bent toward a printer as she explains that a computer program will assess the photo she has taken of me.
     As expected, no magic wands, no fairy dust, no evidence of the woo-woo. I sigh heavily, waiting for her to dish up my color wheel. It is certain that mine will be muddy brown with black spots. The woman interrupts me mid-silent-moan.
     “You have a blocked heart chakra. This means there is old pain that is stuck.”
     She stops speaking to gather more information from her notes. I roll my eyes inwardly, perfecting this mad skill with my teenagers. Having been around the heart-shattered block enough times to be lapping myself, I probably ooze woundedness in my wake. This is an easy tell. Now ready to scream fraud in the lobby, I slide to the edge of the folding chair.
     “The blocked heart chakra must be why there is a concentrated white light at the top of your head. Your guides are trying to get messages through, but are blocked by your old pain.”
     It takes monumental effort to swallow back a guffaw. The aura reader finishes with a single statement that bundles my wounds with everyone on the planet and polishes it off with a broad assumption that makes my smirk impossible to hide.
    “You’re not alone with this type of thing. A lot of people have these colors, though there is a unique shade of blue-green surrounding you that implies the skills of a healer.”
      Thanking her, which seems like an overpayment, I nearly unseat my eyeballs with sarcasm on the way out to the car. In the weeks that follow, I’m bombarded by the usual “to-do-thought” alongside a new accomplice.
     Does a broken heart chakra keep me from having a good life?
     I carry the question with me on a family vacation to Madeline Island, a small red rock uprising in Lake Superior. On the last day of our trip, the kids outmaneuver my husband into playing another game of Go Fish. I scatter before I’m found. My trot down the path slows when I reach the shore. The sun is preparing to set on the large body of water, with ripples cascading across the surface in pinkening blue rolls. I’m far enough away from the house, that the voices of my family are whispers in the breeze. My attention is grabbed, hushed in the same way that it can be in an aged church.
     People do non-conscious things all the time—eat twelve cookies instead of two, drive to the grocery store and back, stare into space while doodling. Yet every time it happens we’re surprised. Today without notice, I have gone from shore to chest deep in the ice-cold ancient water. The undulating motion of melted glaciers is calming. Illogically I am not cold, but warm. Just as the sun bellies up to the ridgeline of Wisconsin a sentence breaks the crisp silence.
     “Bring it on Universe! Break open my heart chakra!”
     I whirl in the water to see who is shouting into the sunset.
     Who the hell said that?
     The shoreline is empty and my ears prickle with awareness.
      Uh oh, I think it came from me.
     Nine words bloomed away on a cosmic chain, opening the Universe door so wide and fast a decisive loud click vibrated around the world.    
      Please wait quietly while the waitress brings your order.