Monday, May 11, 2009

Someone Give Me a Title Please

I was inspired to tell this story when I read over at Utah Savage’s place about her past in reference to her relationship with her Mother. I had a similar relationship with my Dad in so far as that he was a mean one, fierce and intimidating. When he passed in 1983, I was but 34 years old or so. He was 63.

I hated him. I never had a good thought about him until about 6 years ago when I went through a hands on healing session with a Reiki Master. It was my third session on the table. I remember her touching my legs and feet and saying that what she did, she did for the greater good of Joseph Spado.

Sometime before that, I had gone through a healing ceremony alongside a small fire. I was told to tie small bundles of tobacco, seven of them, and tie them in red cloth. I was to use any kind and color of thread to secure them. But one was to be a different color than the rest.

I used black thread, I think, and used a yellow thread to tie the seventh bundle.

I came to the fire pit. It was ringed with cedar boughs in a circle, forming a perimeter. There was an entrance of sorts at the East. I entered this ring and was instructed to place a bundle into the fire for the Sacred Earth Mother and another for the Great Grandfather sky.

I did this, and then set out to tie a bundle on a tree in each of the four directions. When this task was completed, I had one bundle left in my hand. It was the one tied with the yellow thread. The Medicine Woman that was guiding me through this told me to hold this bundle. Then she went about her business of talking to other people who were around the fire.

I felt abandoned. She didn’t look at me or say anything to me for quite some time. I stood there, confused. Wondering if she had forgotten about me. She turned suddenly and told me to cast that last tobacco tie into the fire and with it, get rid of something I needed to get rid of.

I immediately thought of my Father. I wanted to get rid of this hatred and misunderstanding that I harbored for so long. I tossed the small bundle into the fire and that was the end of the ceremony. I didn’t know what to expect. I really had no idea of what this healing ceremony held for me. In fact, I remember wondering if this was for real. I had an open mind, but just didn’t ‘get it’.

It was a few years later that I was under the hands of the healer who was touching me and channeling energy through me, some good in, some bad out. I had a dream a few days after that. The dream was about my own heart.

I traveled deep into my own body. I was inside of my heart. At the entrance, I was afraid. It was dark and gloomy. Black as coal. The walls were dusty and flat. No shine, but flat and cobwebs were festooned everywhere. I started to walk into my own heart. I was very afraid. Each step was a baby step, taken with extreme caution. I went past chambers that had no light.

Way far away, ahead of me, was a faint light. This light was just a glimmer when I first saw it, but I knew I had to disregard my fear of the dark and the unknown and keep walking, with these small steps, towards that light. I kept going, seeing more blackness, more dust, more gloom and more frightening surroundings. I was deep inside now, ready to run back towards where I started. The light got brighter.

When I was near this light, it went from a faint glow to a bright yellow white aura. It was deep inside of my own heart. I stopped. I stood there, staring at the light. From the light I saw two figures. One was a man and the other a small girl. The girl held the man’s hand in hers and was guiding him towards me.

It was my daughter, Maggie, who left this world in 1991. She was guiding my Dad by the hand. He wore a bright white V-neck T-shirt, the kind he wore so often during the summertime. He didn’t look right at me at first, but had an expression on his face that was asking if it was okay to enter my heart, my dark, gloomy blackened heart.

I nodded and beckoned him to come, Maggie tugged at his hand, pulling him in towards me as I stood there.

I remember smiling with him as he smiled. I remember thinking that it was okay and that I wanted to see him. I remember telling him I loved him. I told him I forgave him. Then I asked him to forgive me. We didn’t specify what we were forgiving each other for, but I know we were crying and loving each other very much.

I returned, following the route I had taken to get me deep down to the depths of my own heart. As I walked, briskly now, toward where I had entered, I saw the black walls of my own heart and they would shine. They were glossy now, the dust and gloom gone. The cobwebs were also missing. The woman who was touching me was there with a corn broom, sweeping the cobwebs away, leaving nothing but these shiny black walls. The light from far away, deep inside my heart was brightening every surface. The walls glimmered from the beautiful light.

I awoke and cried. I wrote about my Dad that day. I remembered many good things we had shared. I remembered fun times, humorous times. I remembered love. I wrote about the trip to Riverview and Kiddieland. I wrote about the road trip to California on old route 66 back in 1959. I loved my Dad and never knew it. I forgave all that I hated and wanted forgiveness for all I ever did to make him angry.

This was healing. This is what it meant to heal. This happened later, after the ceremony, much later. The ceremony put me on the path of healing. An Elder once told me that healing is a path and it took time. It would take patience on my part. I had to be ready for healing, when it was offered, when it came. I’ve had more healing over the years. More understanding of how forgiveness heals. How love heals. How it is our duty to forgive and ask forgiveness even when it was the other that we think caused all the trouble.

As I write this, it is a beautiful day out today. I bought two trees to plant. I bought some blackberry bushes to plant. I was given two lilac bushes to plant as a birthday gift from my daughter. I was going to attend to the chore of shoveling, digging holes and spreading manure, but I stopped at the computer to read what some folks had to say.

When I read about the thoughts of people’s Mothers on Mother’s Day, I felt compelled to remember my Dad. So I started writing this story instead of planting trees and bushes. I’ll get to the chores, but I must have needed to tell someone this story. Someone must have needed to hear it. Or maybe I just needed to remember.

I talked with my Mom yesterday. She’s 400 miles away. I will probably see her in less than a month. As she ages, she has a hard time with names and dates. She forgot who she was talking to and called me by my brother’s name. I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t even correct her but my sister, in the background, did. Mom apologized and I said it was okay.

Peace to all.


fjb said...

Arg, I feel so bad! I got so caught up in the moment writing the comment for your previous post I forgot to wish you a belated Happy Birthday!:0

fjb said...

Glad I went back to finish reading this post. Sometimes I forget how important it is for everyone, including myself, to forgive.:)

My mom and I had a fantastic talk on the phone yesterday, with lots of love and laughter. The older we both get, the more forgiving of each other we become.:)

susan said...

That was such a beautiful story I'm convinced that I was drawn here in recent weeks just so I'd be able to read it now. It takes a lot of work to open a heart but once done the universe gives the love back in multiples.

I can only imagine the suffering you went through when you lost your child but for you to know for certain that death is just a gate and not a wall is wonderful.

ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there is a crack, a crack in everything
that's how the light gets in

~Leonard Cohen

Mel said...

If Susan hadn't quoted Leonard Cohen, I would have.

I don't mind telling you I got misty eyed. Just yesterday there was a conversation about blackness of the heart and the light that comes through loving anyway, even when we feel 'entitled'. I don't find it 'coincidence' to wander here to read this--I think I offered up before, I am not a believer of 'coincidence'.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing--

Bless your wee one for leading g'pa into the light and warmth of your heart. And bless you for receiving him.


Utah Savage said...

I'm sitting here sobbing. I am unhealed. Heart hardened like a rock, small as peagravel. I tried everything I know of to heal myself:acupuncture, various forms of massage, yoga, therapy, endless years of therapy... And when I read this I broke down and sobbed. I feel heartbroken. I feel so deeply wounded I may die of the festering. I pick at it, try every which way I can to exorcise it.

I've been watching the series "We Shall Remain; The American Experience" on PBS, and last night was "Wounded Knee" about the 1973 AIM take over of the the Town and the stand off over American's broken promises attempts at extermination, and broken treaties. I feel like I might be the embodiment of every broken treaty, every broken trust, broken promises that flow through my veins instead of blood.

I have withdrawn from contact with almost everyone. I go to the store, I smile, I speak nicely, and then I come home to hide myself behind locked gates. I'm not so much afraid of them as I am of myself. I've locked my heart which is more a scar than an organ. It seems to pump little more than sorrow, grief, longing, hunger for what was never given. Sometimes I feel I have died already and it is a ghost sitting here writing.

Your dream has touched me deeply.

Thorne said...

Ah ho!
Perhaps "Healing the Heart Cave". I love to read your words. My travels in the heart cave have also been fraught with darkness and pain, but seem always to be pierced with sudden shards of overwhelming brightness. And healing.

Thorne said...

Oh! And Happy Birthday (belated) Another bull, like me. Mine is coming very soon. I am bull, ox, frog. LOL

billie said...

when i read this- i thought of my own situation- my dad is a lifelong alcoholic and i haven't always felt sympathy or pity for him. i began to heal the worst of the hurts to my soul when i realized a couple of things- 1) i needed to let go. i hold much inside and i needed to allow myself to feel what i needed to. 2) i was mistress of my own fate and while i didn't have a choice growing up- taking the mean and abuse- i did now. 3) and i realized how much unhappiness and emptiness must be inside my poor dad. to inflict that much misery and pain on the people you are supposed to love- well, the emptiness and misery must be staggering.

and i realized that i felt bad because i had the capacity to love deeply and openly- i knew how- and i realized that my dad wasn't bigger than life- he was small and empty and his poor heart wasn't there. and it breaks mine to think about it. now, that doesn't mean he is allowed to abuse any of us- my family or me- but i hope he and i have come to an understanding where we can genuinely have a relationship as best we can.

as for a title- i have a feeling that each person will have their own- how about 'open hearts' ?

Whimsy said...

I feel like anything I have to say about healing and heartache has been said here. This is so lovely. And also so brave.

..."how the light gets in", indeed.

Thank you for sharing this.

Spadoman said...

I mean to respond to these comments. I'm searching for words right now. I am thankful that you've come here to read. I'm honored as well.

This is just what happened to me. I didn't know this was going to happen. Sure, I wanted healing, but it found me rather than I was out looking for it. My head was in a bottle or smoking a fatty. I was guided by some unknown force, a higher power perhaps? I just realize, through life's experiences that I control nothing and I certainly didn't look for this road to try and heal. I still suffer, a lot!

Thank you again for coming here. All my writings won't be on this subject, but I know I will return to it once in a while. Some amazing things have happened to me and they all seem to be related to healing in some way. It's time I told these stories. Two of you mentioned that you might agree that coming here was guided by an outside force. Maybe the next writing of this nature will be guided, when needed, as well. I'll call this Part One as a title.

Peace to all, and all you hold dear.

Anonymous said...

hi joe the old cherokee from arkansas i red your piece about the healing and your father and i believe i too was suposed to read it thanks my brother