Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recalling a First and Last Vision

It came at a crucial time in my life. But before I talk about it, I have to flesh out its source and meaning.

My ex-husband was a black belt in judo and had opened his own school. I had always been fascinated by all types of martial arts because of the self-discipline and self-assurance, even a kind of serene countenance, that they seemed to impart to many of its practitioners. So I signed up for free judo lessons. As a white belt (beginner), eventually I had to engage in competition with a yellow belt (one grade higher up). My first was against a tall young man half my age. And I won! This meant an immediate granting of my yellow belt. My ex and his cousin, who was also a judo instructor, both exclaimed that I was a "natural". I grinned, its more profound meaning lost to me at the time. I kept with judo for a short while until, some weeks later, I got pregnant. Still, Japanese culture held a special attraction for me and always had a sense of familiarity. As did other cultures and ethnic groups. I later learned that this special connection often gives a clue to past lives in those same ethnicities. But at the time, I was nowhere there...

A number of years later, my world as I had known it collapsed. It ended up being probably the worst time of my life due to many traumatic losses. My father to death, my mother to estrangement (eventually we reconciled), my 17 year old son to joining the army, separation from my husband, which eventually led to divorce, loss of my house, which was his by marriage contract. All that had been my life blew up within 6 short months. Understandably, I was extremely despondent. And angry. And fearing having to start from scratch with two young children. And hurting for my children. And so very resentful.

While still in "my" house, on a sunny and mild day, the children were at school and I was washing the dishes, trying to ignore the anguish that gripped my heart like a vise. There was a window above the sink overlooking the backyard. Everything was still green in early September. But since I would soon be losing it all, I knew that I had to try detaching. I suppose that my stare must have been quite blank.

All of a sudden, the window seemed to turn very dark. As if I'd been watching a movie, I "saw" a woman dressed in a black kimono, head down, slowly walking toward a house. It was clearly Japanese in style, and was fronted by a step running the whole width of the house. There was a planter on the left and the doors consisting of shoji screens were wide open. Puzzled, I followed the woman as she entered the house. Way at the end of the room was a table that seemed like an altar on which were displayed statues, candles and incense. She walked toward it and stopped glaring at it all.

Then, suddenly it felt as if I had jumped into her skin. And I became aware of her deepest emotions and thoughts. She was seething. Her anger was directed at the in-laws, the husband, even the ancestor worship of Shinto practice. She hated a life filled with so many taboos and restrictions. She felt capable of so much more, painfully yearning for freedom from what felt as totally oppressive. But her yearning was even more for the freedom to be all that she sensed that she could be. The cultural obligation of being silent and submissive was killing her. Her sentiments became mine. I was not crying. I was raging, fists so tight against my chest that it hurt...

Just as suddenly as it had come, the vision ended. I have no idea how long it lasted. Seconds? Minutes? I can't say. I was more flummoxed than shaken. What was going on with me? It was all so alien to my mind and belief system (or lack of it) given my atheism of the past 20 years, I certainly was at a loss to explain any of it. I mentally filed it away, somewhat unconcerned. Other things were of much more immediate and serious concern.

Eventually, with time and spiritual learning and practice, its meaning became clear to me. I had indeed been that woman. I even understood and accepted that I had wed my husband knowing in advance that he'd leave me and I'd have to start from scratch ON MY OWN. I had died with such a deep yearning for freedom that it had survived my mortal life. Finally I was free. Free to discover what strengths I had, to develop my own inborn talents so stifled in that despised life. It had been MY choice to opt for the life that I now had!

With time, it helped me to let go of bitterness, resentment, and even sadness. Not that I couldn't fight for justice whenever it was necessary, but I learned to let it go without rancour if it failed me. I had always had a complex of inferiority due to a number of factors. At age 15 I had won a 4 year scholarship but had let it go because of that sentiment born of poverty and a difficult childhood. I had repeated a previous life (or more?) of being in relationships with men who subtly or not so subtly would demean me or leave me. A vicious cycle that had to end.

Now was the time to prove my mettle. So I enrolled in courses, first at Champlain College, later at McGill University. I studied languages, administration, translation and found myself quite capable. I'm not saying that it was all easy. But it all contributed to making me develop into the woman that I had yearned to be eons ago.

Freedom has been a constant in my present life. It led me to traveling solo in an RV in my old age. And to settle in a foreign country to build my own little house. If I want to be honest with myself and others, I'll admit that from the time I was a little girl, I bristled as soon as my freedom would feel threatened. I have discovered to my satisfaction that with freedom and confidence, I could overcome all challenges, without any fears.

The vicious cycle has thus ended.


Dixxe said...

Freedom has always been a very big issue for me, I feel that I give up my freedom for reasons unknown to me, I get free then come back to a situation where I feel captured again.

Stargazer said...

I think that some of our hard-to-understand attitudes, actions, or motivations in our present life can be ascribed to a prior one. An excellent book on the subject is by Dr. Gina Cerminara "Many Mansions". Fascinating.