Trancendent Study

I hear enough critique in my own mind, in the real world, and I didn’t need it to come from the afterlife too.

Continued from Such Diffidence

“Learning the lessons of life can be so simple if you believe in immortality.” – Brian Weiss

There is a phenomenon of picking the same seats, day after day in college classrooms. It is a psychological mystery. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t just happen in college and it was apparent there, in the conference center at Omega, full of adults ranging in age from 25 to 80 – that we were also subject to this tendency. The good part was that I could ask that guy next to me – eventually known as Michael – about his regression yesterday.

The resolve I had started the day with, the resolve that quickly waned as I went relatively unnoticed at breakfast, had not walked into that room with me. I sat there, silently, as Dr. Weiss asked us all if today was in any way special. I wanted to say “It’s my birthday” in hopes that he would use me to demonstrate a regression; something I had fantasized about ever since I began reading his books. It was a simple gesture to just raise my hand and make that factual announcement but something heavy and solid inside of me prevented my arm from lifting away from my side and the day got started. I sat there, of course, interested in the unfolding of what I could learn but also disappointed in myself again for not being willing to take the risk, for not allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was still not convinced that my voice, my energy, my input – was worth hearing.

We broke off into groups of two or three several times that day, offering me an opportunity to talk with people and yet even then, I waited for people to come to me or I waited to see ‘who was left’… it was a self-fulfilling continuation of those many times in grade school where I was the ‘last pick’… relegating myself to the benchmark of my youth. There was a woman behind me who appeared as quiet and as low profile as me, she became my go to… my escape when it was time to pick partners. If I chose her, I didn’t feel unchosen. It was a good compromise. What I really wanted was to choose Michael but he had already formed a ‘group’, the popular people… the ones who were bold and confident. I didn’t belong to that group no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t find the moxie to wedge myself in there. It was one of those adult moments that seemed as though we (or at least I) had transported back to middle school for a short time and who in their right mind would do that?

This woman who had become my serendipitous partner was so ‘in tune’ with the Universe that when it came time to practice listening to our souls, she read me like a book. We had the task of taking an item from our partner and holding it – concentrating deeply on the story of the item, it’s history and then share any insight with the owner. I handed her a ring that I had been given from my Grandmother’s estate. It wasn’t old fashioned looking, in fact, I’m not sure it was old, only that it had been hers. She gave me a bookmark. Dr. Weiss directed us through a process whereby we were to consider the object and its energy. I felt way, way out of my league at this point. I was still an infant on the regression thing and reading energy was for Spiritual Masters, wasn’t it? I tried to concentrate on his voice, on the direction but my feelings of inadequacy were too strong. They overruled almost everything that came through my mind. The only thing that I could say I ‘felt’ was God. That is the word that kept coming to me.

When the challenge was finished, we shared with our partner the information we had received about the item we had been holding. I told this lady that I wasn’t very good at this yet, that the only thing I sensed was “God”. She smiled softly and informed me it was the bookmark from her bible and pulled it out of her backpack. It was a worn, King James version that appeared to be well read. As she slipped the bookmark back into the pages, I felt a shiver run up my spine. ‘Whoa’, I thought. Next, it was her turn. She informed me that the ring had belonged to an old woman, perhaps my grandmother – she asked with a question mark. I nodded in agreement. She said that my grandmother had come to her and spoke about all the sadness in our family, that there had been too much loss but that they were all together – the shivers intensified dramatically. And then, she said, “your grandmother said to forgive your sister.”

I sat there stunned and silent. Why would I always have to face this? Can’t Abee just be a non-issue for a while? “Wow, that’s amazing,” I said. “Thank You”. I wasn’t sure I liked the idea that people could talk to me from the grave. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say, actually. Isn’t it odd, perhaps misfortunate, that we only want to hear the things that are supportive and validating?? I hear enough critique in my own mind, in the real world, and I didn’t need it to come from the afterlife too.

We spent a fair amount of time hearing more from Dr. Weiss, details from his sessions with Catherine, in the early regression years. She had channeled some spirit masters who spoke about love, learning, and the ultimate goal of serenity. Those masters indicated that sometimes, we stay in soul form so that we can be guides for people we’ve left or for future generations. Other times, we reincarnate into the same family to continue working on growing in an environment we know is ripe for us. He led us into a regression where we were to connect with our spirit guides, asking them to come to us in an identifiable form. I saw a picture frame on the wall with three ‘windows’ – room for three photos – but they were blank. The more I focused on the frame, I came to realize that there were forms in the squares but they were blurry. I stayed with it. One of the frames became clear and I saw a face. It wasn’t a face that I knew completely but it appeared to resemble my oldest daughter. When I looked closer, I experienced a distinct knowing that it was indeed her. There was something about the eyes that make it obvious and believable. I was a bit confused because she was here… in my life, not just existing in the spirit world somewhere. Was it possible she had come into this world to guide me? I was pleasantly surprised at the prospect.

We watched a couple more regressions that day and by the end of the afternoon, I was tired. I ate a quick dinner and headed back to my room where my roommate, was resting. I tried to be quiet but of course, she woke as I came and unpacked my bag. She was from Pakistan and spoke very broken English but we made it through conversation pretty well. It turns out she was known, in her country, as a medium and was there training with someone renowned in the US. When she discovered it was my birthday she offered to ‘read’ me. She used only my date of birth and jotted down several things. The one I specifically remember is that I would meet a man sometime between holidays, before Christmas; I took that to mean after Thanksgiving. It was still only July so I didn’t get too excited but it was fun to have something to look forward to – maybe.

I had to drive off the mountain in order to talk with the girls who had been waiting all day for me to call so they could wish me a happy birthday. For a few minutes, as I sat by the river in a park across the bridge from Poughkeepsie, I missed them terribly. I considered just leaving, going home to my kiddos and forgetting all this transcendent stuff but I continued to be pulled toward the things I could not rationalize. The week had just begun.

Life on the Outside

When emotions arose that didn’t fit the construct of my life vision, they were chided by my outer self.

Reality, however Utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays.- Aldous Huxley

Within weeks of returning home I began suspecting that I was pregnant. Remembering back, that air conditioned cabin had afforded some additional creature comforts… A test confirmed that we would be welcoming a little one sometime the following April. I was crazy happy to be pregnant again. We seemed to be congealing, the three of us, and I was excited to be moving toward the vision of ‘family’ that had been rebirthed as Hubby and I built dreams of our life together.  Any indication that something was amiss stayed tucked inside that mental filing cabinet

We were both smokers back then and talked about quitting often. We had agreed that if / when I was to get pregnant, we would quit together. One of the things that tipped me off to the pregnancy was the repulsion I experienced when I smelled cigarettes so for me, quitting was a piece of cake – nothing like vomiting as negative reinforcement! For Hubby, quitting was not as easy and he continued to smoke. It became a true and sizable bone of contention between us. When he arrived home at night, I would immediately know he had just had a cigarette, I would gripe – a lot. Eventually he stopped telling me the truth but the smell was always a dead giveaway as my nose had turned into an ultra-sensitive olfactometer. And then – my grumbling and nitpicking became more intensified. I was a pregnant woman who had been let down and lied to – no combination of those aspects were good together. I was turning into a nag about the whole smoking thing.

I continually tried to explain that the odor of cigarettes in any capacity was difficult for me to experience while I was pregnant and couldn’t be close to him if I smelled it. I stopped kissing him. Not only did I feel let down because of the broken promise but no matter how many times I had said something was a problem for me – it didn’t change. I felt unsupported and insignificant yet again. The absence of greeting him with a kiss – and in fact I would often stand five feet away – when he came home in the evening, certainly wasn’t behavior supportive of a good relationship. However, I didn’t feel as though I was simply being ‘stubborn’, I had a true physiological response. It wasn’t long before he noticed how much physical distance I always maintained and that I wasn’t kissing him. He wanted to know what ‘my’ problem was.

I didn’t exactly enjoy the bodily changes that my physique went through during pregnancy but I cherished the experience of feeling the baby move, knowing that life was growing inside of me, and the anticipation of loving our little angel. My body began to change, I started gaining weight – a lot of it – and Hubby’s libido suddenly disappeared. He swore it wasn’t personal, that it was him – that he felt weird during sex – like the baby could somehow know what was happening.

Something didn’t make sense. We went from having sex literally, daily – to nothing at all. I talked with my mom. My step-dad talked with him and ultimately we had a ‘family talk’ about our sex life. “This happens sometimes” my mom says. Umm. I am thinking, you don’t know my husband. After being with him for two years, what I felt sure of, was that this behavior was odd – definitely off from what was normal for us. And, while I realize that everyone is different – it was quite contrary to my prior experience. My pregnancy with Francis might as well have been an aphrodisiac for both Rocky and me. No matter how he tried to rationalize this shift in our lifestyle, it didn’t compute for me. I wondered how his needs, the ones that I perceived to be insatiable, were being met. I grew fearful that he was going to look for alternate avenues. I started to play detective and challenged any information that felt off… he thought I was losing my mind.

It seemed as though my belly grew in tandem with the gap in my marriage. Each morning as I showered and dressed, I would allow my mind to wander to the Playboy magazine collection that swelled by one each month – and the women in them. It would wander to the Victoria’s Secret clothing that was delivered to the house as a gift for me (pre-pregnancy) but always a size or two smaller than I actually wore. It would wander to random comments I heard from time to time about men who should divorce women who got fat. During a time when I should have felt loved and cherished, I felt rejected and rebuffed. I ate an amount of food commensurate with my sorrow and gained 60 pounds over the course of my pregnancy.

There were dramatic behavioral changes in our sex life. The smoking / distance thing that had become ‘my fault’ (at least in my mind) created emotional distance between us. Then there was my body, the weight gain and pregnancy metamorphosis. All in all, it took a deep and rugged toll on my self-image. Any gains that may have been made over the last couple of years felt as if they were being swept away. I found myself once again doing anything necessary to experience approval. I cooked better meals, I worked to save us money where possible, I attempted to initiate physical contact as much as I could. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be desired. I wanted to feel important to my husband. I didn’t feel any of those things.

I tried to immerse myself in activities that would occupy my mind, to make sure that I had a never ending supply of ‘busy’ work so that I didn’t think too much. I was a Den mother for Francis’s Cub Scout troop, I sewed a lot of clothing, I decorated and crafted as our budget allowed. I worked at organizing Hubby’s business, helping with paperwork and motivation whenever it was necessary. We continued to build visions for our business and I signed up to sit for a licensing exam that would offer us more opportunity.

I focused on the activity that kept my mind occupied. When emotions arose that didn’t fit the construct of my life vision, they were chided by my outer self. I couldn’t help but think that I had rushed into this thing – that I deserved to be in this predicament because I had been so impetuous. I was afraid of being labeled a fool if I were to acknowledge it wasn’t working. Duh…. They would say… that’s what you get for being so spontaneous and reckless or perhaps that was my own mind talking, scolding, and criticizing.

On the outside, life was great. We were good (and became experts) at projecting to the outside world, an image of ourselves and of our family that fit into social and familial expectations. My subconscious began the slow and delicate separation between the life I wanted to live and the life I was actually living.

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