“Oh!” my friend gasped as she turned over the tenth and final tarot card in the spread, “The Sun. There is a lot of power, of fire, represented in this reading. Tell me, are you a fire sign?” I shook my head. A brief flicker of confusion clouded her deep gaze as I responded.
“I’m a water sign, a Scorpio. I’ve often wondered why we are water signs we seem much more fire-like than water…” She looked over her silver horn-rimmed glasses and stared at me. My voice wavered at the intensity of her gaze. She wasn’t listening to my words, but my being. A moment later, her eyes refocused. She waved her hands over her head as if to clear cobwebs from thin air.
“Well, either way, the message is clear Will. Your power lies ahead of you! Be who you are regardless of the doubt’s others may stir inside you. You cannot wait for them any longer.” Her voice rose in a way that made our tired, coffee-filled conversation pale in comparison. I hadn’t told her anything about what I was questioning in my mind, but this message struck me between the eyes. How could she know?
… two weeks prior…
“I keep coming back to this area, there’s a lot of blockage here. Do you have asthma or struggle with breathing in some way?” The perplexed reiki healer had returned to my chest a third time, even though I had come in seeking healing for my upper left back and shoulder. I smiled at the question. I gestured for her to pause her work before I answered.
“Let me tell you about my open-heart surgery when I was two years old.” I said. It didn’t seem fair to leave her in the dark about my near-death experience anymore. Afterall, the pain in my back and my NDE were psychologically connected. Her repeatedly honing-in on an area she couldn’t know about firsthand alerted me to tune into what she was sensing as more than mere guesswork.
… two months prior…
I have a friend, a fellow Scorpio, who will periodically send me our daily horoscope. This one read:
Do something different that will allow you to connect with people who offer a different perspective on life. A lifestyle alteration will warrant a change to some of your relationships.
I have felt stalled in my journey of healing for a few months. Due to vacations, sickness, and shifts in schedules, I have only been able to have one therapy session since mid-July. This was frustrating at first, but I recently came to a place of acceptance. Perhaps I would intentionally open myself up to “connect with people who offer a different perspective.” I surrendered to the process and waited.
As I surrendered, I began listening to my body. I realized it was mourning. In my EMDR treatment I was at a threshold between two chapters in my life—leaving my mother and moving in with my father at age 8. The one session I had in early August brought closure to the awful day my parents had made the exchange of my stuff. Although part of me was ready to move on, I lingered at this crossroad, hoping either of my parents would join me in healing. I realized I was the one who had stalled out. I was holding myself back from moving on, refusing to admit that neither of my parents were going to join me in healing.
My waiting produced some interesting visceral reactions—a gripping neck and shoulder pain when walking into a sanctuary at a conference, a sense of freedom and lightness during a visit to Lily Dale, a desire to flee during a service at Chautauqua Institute—the things I’ve written about in the past month.
What also happened were two significant conversations. One with my mother and the other, a week later, with my father. Due to strained relationships with both, we rarely speak. It is interesting to me that in both conversations, although neither of them has ever asked about the elements of my life that I share here, each one alluded to this situation where my journey to healing stalled—my leaving my mother to live with my fanatically Christian father and stepmother in order to avoid my abusive stepfather. That stepfather, in turn, less than a year later, took the house and everything else away from her that she and my father had built.
Not that my mother talked to me about it directly. Instead she called my sister distraught that I had unknowingly unleashed this flood of guilt and shame she had kept contained for decades. She admitted to my sister she had made mistakes, she had lost the house, but my presence in her life was too painful of a reminder to bare. It would be easier if I didn’t talk to her.
My father, on the other hand, referred to the situation from 40 years ago in a way that deflected the blame only onto my mother. In between the lines, I read that he is no more ready to face the events that tore our family apart than my mother is. She holds all the guilt and shame, and he is happy to let her do so.
My point is this: My journey to a trauma informed life is anything but straightforward and easy. It pulls me into dark places where monsters of my past live in hiding. Ferreting out these monsters sometimes stirs up the demons in someone else’s life. Sometimes this means others want me to leave their life. And so, rather than continuing to linger at the crossroads hoping either of my parents will want to face their own monsters and demons, I must leave them in their guilt or denial.
They did the best they could, and I forgive them for when that fell short of what was needed.
It’s time for me to move on. I will grieve as I leave this memory, knowing my parents are both stuck here in their own way. Having my answer, I can heed the part of me that claws at me to move on. I am ready for what lies ahead.