Walking, Not Crawling, to Elysium

It’s Saturday, July 16, 2011. I’m lying on my bed, unusually tired after delivering a workshop. I’m resting and doing an energy movement exercise before, hopefully, falling asleep for awhile. I don’t have much experience with the exercise, at least no results-oriented experience of it. But as the ever-faithful, ever-hopeful (and quite weary) warrior-servant, I do my duty to Heaven and country; that is, to the Kingdom of my BodyMindSpirit . . . Breathing in I imagine my ankle joints expanding just a little bit to permit energy to flow down into my feet, which I then encourage to “melt” into the bed; next I imagine my knees expanding just a bit to allow the energy to flow into my lower  legs so they, too, can melt into the bed. And on it goes as I work up my body, joint by joint, area by area. I don’t feel anything but the exhaustion, don’t remember when I’ve been so tired. But I keep going . . . Suddenly I’m “Betweens,” which is what I call the space between waking and sleeping, a realm in which I sometimes see people and hear snippets of mundane conversations just before falling fully to sleep. But this Betweens is nothing like the ones I’m familiar with. Oh, my, nothing at all like that! No, this is a pure gift from what I can only call All That’s Good. In this Betweens I’m the only one here, and I’m being transported above the still, still sound, that curving blue channel snaking through my beloved saltwater marshes, the living green and blue all I see.

I suddenly understand that I am not, as presumed, in a boat at all. I am the “boat”, the transport. I’m moving above the water.

Okavango Delta (Africa)

Am I “flying”? I can’t say, but I’m very much enjoying the pace. Not slow, not fast, but rapid enough to appreciate the joy of effortless movement while being, at the same time, completely entranced and satiated by the curving channel of brilliant blues and greens as I glide along through it all.

And then thought comes.

“This is what I’m doing! The energy is clearing out from the channels of my body!And I find myself gliding through the marsh once more. A second trip and then, oh so amazed and grateful, I come out of this seminal moment, this glorious Betweens to find all exhaustion has evaporated and left my body feeling normal again. But not my spirit. My spirit is now soaring in gratitude for the experience. The body’s returning to normalcy so quickly, while amazing, is almost irrelevant. The physical clearing is highly unusual for me and not something to be dismissed, yet it’s the visual, sensual experience that has me tumbling into speechlessness. What doesn’t lend itself to words still wants telling. So I will share more of the tale . . .

With this one Betweens experience, the dark veil of failure and nightmare I’ve lived behind suddenly retreated and fell back in the ranks thanks to this first gift of Opening so long in the making – thirty years of expecting, waiting, begging, demanding, praying, and all but giving up hope, still aching for the sort of experiences many of my friends routinely have. Though not just for want of such experiences, as the years have gone by, I’ve come to feel what a moth caught in a web must feel like. My web is sticky with frustration, anger, and depression brought on by efforts that come to so little and that leave my dreams unfulfilled. In fact, I recently told someone that I’d forgotten how to dream. In saying so, I felt very, very sad. Over the years my expectations and hopes of multi-level healing eroded and led me to a defeatist conclusion: “Nothing can help me.” A desolate place to live, believe me. But I decided that, if that was true, I would still do what I could to be a light for others and to somehow facilitate their healing.

With the “nothing can help me” conclusion, I’ve felt something of what one exiled from the tribe must feel. Yet not so much the pariah, for I came to see that this was not a forced exile in any way, at least not from the outside. It was just a a place in which I found myself, alone and separate, and feeling barred from something. But barred from what, exactly? God? Home? Light? Healing? my Self? but perhaps my Greater Self more than anything.

Now apparently the web is breaking apart; something has happened that allows me more access to the parts of myself that have lived in exile, lived in the dark and cold of things. Never before have I been able to visualize; neither have I been able to see colors or scenes in my mind. Nor am doing that now. But something in me has opened a door for me, and for such things to be received. Without my knowing how, some sort of Grace has arrived bearing gifts of salt water and grasses. Nothing could have come to me that I would have trusted more than these images.

Rainbow at Elam

And it goes on. At early dawnthe day before the marsh and sound came calling, I woke to another unexpected Grace. Having slept all night in my front porch swing, sometime around 5:30 I found myself coming out of a Betweens, at least I think that’s what was happening. Before opening my eyes, I was seeing rapid flashes of light, lightning-like behind my lids. Beyond the lightning I could just barely see a landscape infused by golden light, the sort of light I sometimes see in late afternoons when cloud, ground, and sun commune in some common agreement to turn the ordinary into the ethereal. With my eyes still closed that early morning, the thought came:The Elysian Fields.*

Elysium and its fields of gold (at least I imagine it thus) has been pulling on me for many years, reaching out through some ancient cord of mutual attachment. This pull is not unlike the longing I experienced  from childhood through my mid-twenties when, during the dimming-of-the-day time,

Elysian Fields, by R. Atkinson Fox, circa 1920s

I quite simply wanted to melt into the sunset. I thought everyone felt that way. But the few times I mentioned it to someone my words were met with silence.

I learned quickly that my longing for Home was not one I ought share, since other youngsters obviously didn’t remember Home the way I seemed to. And so I kept my Self to myself.

Ezra Pound in “Cantos” wrote, What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee; what thou lov’st well is thy true heritage. The desire for melting into the sunset dimmed over the past three decades as my life and body became more and more painful, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. And the years of exile have taken their toll. “Yet in the dark and cold of things, there always, always something sings.”** And so I somehow continued making my way through as best I could by deliberately, albeit slowly, crawling to Elysium and its fields.

Tree at Elam

It seems now that the road I’ve been crawling on for so long may, just may be beginning to straighten out in front of me. There may now be a village ahead that I’ve not yet seen. The straightening of the road would indicate no hindrances, and the message that comes tells me that ahead of me on this road stands a Tree (the Tree of Life?) and that arcing over it, from left to right, is a rainbow (the Promise?).

We shall see what we shall see. At least I feel that I am now walking, not crawling, to Elysium. And that, my loves, is a good, good thing to feel.

*Elysium; Elysian Fields: 1) any place or state of perfect happiness; 2) the abode of the blessed after death

**From Something Sings, by Libera (click link in text above for lyrics and to hear the song)

© Amy Pierce and In Spiritual Wonder, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amy Pierce and In Spiritual Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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