Last week I participated in a guided meditation in a course that I am taking. And I wanted to write about that experience even though it does not fit in here in the way I'd like.
The course is given by author of Writing Down Your Soul, Janet Connor. It is call Plug in for Writer's and I recommend it highly. During this, our third class, Janet lead us through a meditation aimed at removing blockages impeding our creative flow. We were to imagine each blockage as a rock. As Janet guided as gently through the meditation, I found a rock at each and every chakra. My rocks were made of different material. Each was a different shape, size and color.
At my first chakra, I found hematite. At my second an elongated piece of slate. At my third and fourth a sort of chalk. At my fifth a black rock, very like the deep dark and always slightly iridescent anthracite coal which is everywhere here in Northeast PA. At my sixth chakra small rusty shards. At my seventh a small gray stone of no particular type.
At felt a wonderful sense of release during the meditation but I also felt that there was more work to be done. That night I had two interesting experiences during sleep. In the first, I woke up to a voice speaking quietly but very clearly inside my head (as often happens to me at night). It said, "We couldn't remove all. Some are gone. And some are changed." I wrote down the message and went back to sleep and began to dream.
In the dream, I was thrilled to have been given a box that held a litter of new born wolf pups. Or so I thought. When I got home however I discovered that the box did not hold the actual puppies but a collection of soon to be hatched wolf eggs instead. Each egg had a different shape and size and, as I remember, there were five of them. Several of the eggs were round and rock-like - but I was quite sure that they were eggs nonetheless.
I was worried sick that the eggs might not hatch but in the end they did. Three of the egg-rocks yielded ducklings. One broke and I didn't see anything inside. I was happy to have ducks but still disappointed that there were no wolves. And then the last egg opened. Inside was a tiny perfect coal black wolf and I loved that wolf immediately.
I carried the tiny wolf everywhere with me in the dream and as I did it grew into a beautiful and affectionate animal with a variegated coat of brown and tan.
There's more to the dream than that but I wanted to comment here on the message which I am quite sure concerned the meditation I'd participated in earlier that day - and the symbolism of the dream. The rock-eggs were like the rocks I encountered in Janet's meditation. The coal black wolf paralleled my third chakra rock. Black rock. Black wolf. And now a third black to complete the circuit.
When I was nineteen, I left home for fifth or sixth or seventh time. My family had long since given up on stopping me, if they had ever really tried at all. I was living on my own for some time at that point but I liked to keep my parents updated. In the name of doing that, I met mother one rainy afternoon in a coffee shop on the main street of a town which I have, in an unexpected way, come back to. I told her I was leaving and I tried to tell her why.
The reasons, then and now, were murky. I was passionate about poetry in those days and I wanted to garner the experiences of a great writer. My mother didn't understand that, or perhaps she did, but I felt more misunderstood after that meeting than I had before. I sat in the old-fashioned vinyl and Formica booth long after she had left, writing poetry on a series of paper napkins. Pieced together they became this poem.
Pittston, On Leaving (1979)
There's nothing for me here. Only rain
and streets of wet magnesium.
These hundred panes are filled with a watery yellow light
but the corners of the shop are webbed with shadow.
There should be carriages and gas-lights here
but there is only a maroon and gold awning
out there across the street.
The tiny window panes run with rain, blur the words,
glisten up above that awning.
Plate glass windows and clothes behind:
Kresge's yellow-purple cotton housecoats,
old display cases, nineteen-forties styles,
and everything looks so old.
My face, these shops, slip along grey-hound windows
lost their hold
Plans forgotten before the coffee's cold.
Promises I cannot forget.
And you within your distance.
Tomorrow is waiting in a shipping crate,
one more highway, one more home.
I can't stop now.
So this time it's Miami, because there's no place left
I haven't been
I take what was me in two-fisted filthy chunks
and wrench it out.
I am quite sure that those chunks, however awkward poetically, were black. Black as Northeast PA coal and blocked fifth chakra centers and the dark-bright promise of a newborn wolf. And I am equally sure that removing them was not as simple as I imagined. There is, I suspect, a message in all of that.
One last thing. Several years ago I had an odd and somewhat disturbing reading at a psychic fair. I was beaten down by life a bit that day, that year, that decade. And the reader I paid to hear that I was a phoenix or a swan told me I was a wolf instead. My immediate reaction was that I did not want to be a wolf at all. That I wanted to be something beautiful and transformational and winged. The reader saw that I wasn't pleased but he stuck to his assessment. "Some people are birds and some are sheep," he said firmly. "But you're a wolf, my dear. Whether you want to be or not."
Wolves are brave animals, both alone and in a pack, and I suspect that that was part of it. I didn't want to be brave then - or even really now. But the truth was that I was already brave whether I wanted to admit to it or not. I was brave at 15 or 17 or 19 - packing up my little VW bug to head out for parts unknown. I was braver still in the years that followed as I battled bad luck, tragedy and loss.
But there is a kind of bravery I still don't want - an owning of things which I would like to finish and be done with - even and especially because it seems I never will be. I want to write about the light and yet, despite my best efforts, I find myself pulled back to the dark stories and changing metaphors of fiction. Some things cannot be taken out, I am reminded. But I've yet to discover how they will be transformed.