My family took a trip to the mountains near Asheville after Christmas. It was the perfect get-away, a rental through a colleague and a chance to see some family who came from out-of-state. Yet I didn’t foresee the impact that being in the mountains would have on me energetically. I’ve been sitting down to write about this slowly over the last week, and I realize that I have not wanted to write much at all on my blog the last few months.
About three months ago, while my healer and I were emailing about the shift inward for my healing journey, he asked me to cease contact with him. Something like this has happened with him probably about a dozen times off and on during almost six years that we worked together. The first year or two that I worked with him, he would frequently email to me that I needed to move into my own circle of fire. He would write long articles with lines like: “For your seeking to end…you must make your own robes.” and “until your teacher is gone, you will not find the last teacher your heart will ever need.” He completely set the tone and intention of our work that he is not a typical spiritual teacher, that I should not seek stay in association with him. Sometimes he would meet with me and my son briefly in a social setting, or he would indirectly refer to me as a friend on his blog, but it is clear he wants most for students/clients to become grounded within their own field and live whole lives without any projection back onto him.
However, this time my healer completely removed his own website and stopped advertising his healing work. It was not obvious to me why the question I’d asked him contributed to this strong response he had. It was enough of a jolt to me that I met with another member of their former spiritual community, to review what happened in the 1990’s when his own spiritual teacher ceased to teach. A few years ago my healer had mentioned that his teacher could not truly support the “fall inwards” away from projecting onto her as a teacher, he felt she sought to hang onto her students. The other member of their community confirmed these details to me when we met, and said their teacher began to project some inappropriate energies and off-base assignments, especially onto some of the female students. My healer had also told me that he tried to express the imbalance he saw going on to his teacher. I know he loved and received much from his teacher-she helped him restore his relationship with his parents, and she encouraged him to marry and have children-that must have been a difficult human experience to go through. So I don’t take that jolt so personally, I see it in the context of the karmic energies he himself has endured. However, because my healer has been a significant inspiration to me and all of my writing, there has been a grieving and sadness I’ve had to work through that has impacted my own expressions. Now there is a slow movement into writing more wholly from my own stream-yet still integrated with what opened through my healing work with him.
Which brings me back to the focus of this article. My family was packed up in the car and we were heading toward Asheville. I was looking forward to a break and seeing some local sights with my son and my dad. I needed a break, a fun break. My work for about a month before the holidays was utterly insane. I’d used all of my comp time to teach the “hour of code” at my son’s elementary school in early December. This was rewarding, but definitely exhausting. And then our housemate who rents our in-law apartment had injured her foot, completely derailing her own holiday plans to see her mother who is very ill, and her ability to work (and pay rent). So about two hours into the drive, my dad turns to me and tells me he has a sore throat. That was the first moment I sensed this trip was not quite going to be the relaxing experience that we all hoped!
We arrived late to our mountain house and unpacked amid a flurry of taking cold medicines. My father has some issues with fluid in his lungs (due to a congestive heart issue), so getting a cold required careful attention. I have a good friend who was caring for her mother in Asheville, so along with seeing our relatives, I was hoping to see my friend and meet her mother. But she wrote just before we left that she felt it wasn’t going to be a good time to visit, and I read that night that her mother passed away the very day we drove up. I was saddened that I would not get to meet her in person, I was sadder for my friend about how suddenly her mother had passed away.
We got to sleep and I awoke early the next morning hearing my dad’s voice calling my name. Except this was not hearing his voice physically – it was a hearing directly in the mind or through the soul. I padded downstairs and checked in with him. He was not too sick, but he wanted to talk. Actually he wanted to dream of a future of why he would still be here in his body. We talked about taking more trips together as a family. He wanted to go places and see his grandson learn about them. Later on in the trip, my father told me that I help him feel welcome, like he has a purpose here. On a soul level that morning talk felt very important for how my father’s life will continue to unfold.
We met our relatives at a bohemian breakfast café in Asheville – and then went to play frolf. Other than the mountain house we stayed at, that family get-together was the highlight of our trip… before we all succumbed to the holiday head cold. Seeing my dad talk with my uncle – with that smile on his face was so important to me. When they were younger they would hang out and have adventures together-some of the stories they tell, oh boy! So I’m there watching my dad and my uncle and I’m just so grateful that they got to see each other and talk, because really I don’t know how many more times they will get that chance.
We headed back to the mountain house about 4pm and stopped to get a few groceries, and I got my son a couple of DVD’s to watch. Good thing, we didn’t leave the house for two days after that…
When I woke up the next morning I literally felt like I was in the basement. My energy was earthed, connected with the ground of the mountain, even though my body was in a bed on the second floor. The energetic experience was so bizarre I had to sit and meditate with it for about 20-30 minutes. I was experiencing a very strong downward energy. The only other time I’d felt something like that was when I’d done some healing work with a friend who was about to have surgery, (what was thought to be a relatively benign tumor would be discovered in the surgery to be a more serious form of cancer). I remembered how distinct that downward energy felt, and there was something similar about this. I sat with it and found a space to hold the strong downward energy and balance with it. I guess some would call it “dark energy” – but for me it just felt downward into stillness, and including physical death. So I was experiencing new awareness of holding and balancing with death energies.
What had not occurred to me when I booked that holiday – was that being on a mountain was going open this kind of energetic experience up within me, in a way I wouldn’t necessarily plan to do with my father and my son. Unconsciously, I had moved us all to a place that would bring strong healing energy to the forefront. As we went through this, I remembered this is what happened when I went on retreat in the mountains of Colorado in 2012:
Retreat (with Charles Morris Oct 2012)
Charles said if we do healing work, spiritual work, but do not come back into accord with nature, it doesn’t stick, it doesn’t fully ground.
Let me share with you what that statement has come to mean to me, through the course of the retreat and the last three weeks. Energetically there is an openness that occurs in communion with nature. Feelings can be felt, the presence in nature reawakens the space within us to not distract ourselves from what is painful or joyful. It is there, held in our body’s field. There in the mountain-side of Chamma Ling it was so easy to move aware in that space. Later, as I returned to Denver that awareness meant I actually felt the dynamics of the concrete, the city, as the lifeless and energetically disturbed environment that it is. It is not that I was somehow newly shocked to discover what chaos we are creating for ourselves, it was that I now was consciously aware of what I was always feeling, what was always happening in my energy body in these environments. We are so numb to our feelings that we are unaware of the energetically painful environments we create to live within. So what I can not lose since returning from this retreat, is the self-love to feel this pain and not distract myself from it. To attend more deeply to the ways I was shown that I deplete and suppress my own energies.
I am very grateful that my father did not get pneumonia on that journey. Even with the virus and some grumpy moments, we had good family time together. This included feeling and talking about some of the difficult, unhealed patterns still moving within our family dynamics. We learned as a family how to be more graceful with illness and with my father’s advancing age. The gift of being in the mountains…