That was a mistake! I hate this new editing format! The full post is coming next week.
As I was dozing off the other night, I was doing my “trance” breathing (two short, shallow breaths in; a long, slow exhale). This usually puts me into a deep state of relaxation very quickly. (Try it, especially if you can’t fall asleep.) I was hoping to get back to channeling, to connect with another dead narrator. Instead, I suddenly found myself hovering over the dining room table, looking through the bay window , out to the front lawn. It only lasted a few seconds. As soon as I think, “Hey! I’m out of my body!” I snap right back in. But it was something. Progress. At least on that front.
Also, Ipo, has been tugging at my psychic sleeve of late. He’s been whispering to me at odd times, as if trying to give me a lesson. I get a bit more every day. Rather than give it to you piecemeal, I’m going to try to put the whole thing together in one post. In a nutshell, he’s been explaining the human psyche. 🙂
When I was a child, I accused a man of rape. In truth, he had not touched me at all. But my own belief that I had been violated was so strong; my description of the incident so vivid, so full of the kinds of details a young girl would not know, that people believed me and became outraged on my behalf.
I did not tell a deliberate lie. It was not an immature display of power. I did not misidentify my attacker. I understood, on some level, that he had not harmed me yet I could not let go of the compulsion, deep inside me, that he was guilty and needed to be punished for this crime. That was my greater truth.
He was dragged off to prison, all the while proclaiming his innocence, where he spent the rest of his days.
As I got older, as I thought about the incident, I wondered occasionally if I’d fabricated these accusations. Sometimes, in going over the details in my head, I’d find holes in my own story which made me realize that things could not have possibly happened as I remembered them. And yet even in those moments of doubt, it never occurred to me to felt guilty for destroying the life of an innocent man. It was my unwavering belief that prison was exactly where he belonged regardless of what had transpired between us.
Later, after I passed over, I understood.
In the lifetime before that one, with both of us in different bodies, he had beaten and raped me, and left me for dead. I was found a few breaths away from my last, and was nursed back to, if not health, at least a condition which was compatible with life. I was never again right in the body or right in the head.
Meanwhile, he forgot the incident entirely. He was guilty of a horrible crime — the ruination of another human being — yet he continued to live his life free, as an innocent man, never suffering the consequences of his actions.
When I encountered his spirit in the next lifetime, without ever understanding why, I was overcome with the need for revenge. This was part of our karmic agreement, that he live as a guilty man, though he was innocent, and I should be the instrument of that punishment.
Sometimes, trauma takes several lifetimes to be resolved.
I was a great beauty. All my life, I was grateful for this. It opened many doors which never would have opened to me if I’d been born plain.
My mother had been a great beauty herself as a girl, and was still beautiful as I became a young woman. She’d been divorced from my father since I was small. For my entire childhood, she was obsessed about finding a second, wealthy husband. She studied, calculated, plotted. She was singular in this goal.
She was not above telling men that I was her baby sister; that she was raising me alone after our mother died. This, she believed, made her seem saintly and nurturing without the taint of “used merchandise.” She dated a lot of men, but to her great heartbreak, promise seemed to vanish just as she was feeling most hopeful about permanence.
To the outside world, she remained gay and carefree, but alone at night, while doing her evening beauty regimen, she’d examine herself in the mirror and fret that her looks would run out before she found a suitable man. She had no means of supporting herself. Her only skill was to convince a man to take care of her. If she lost that advantage, she’d have nothing.
She taught me everything she knew. She showed me how to use a coy glance to bring a man to my side. She taught me how to tease a man with promises of his own imagination. She taught me the trick of giving just enough to make him want more, but not so much as to ever satisfy him. She dressed me to accentuate my natural assets (which were considerable.) She showed me the secrets of maquillage, which, when used skillfully can make a woman appear to be more or less than what she actually is.
When I was sixteen, I fell in love with a sweet young man. We talked about running away together. Mother quickly broke us apart and forbade me to see him again. I was devastated. A woman’s status, she explained, was completely dependent upon the status of the men in her life. She had great hopes for me. I would use my beauty to marry somebody powerful and wealthy. She would not let me throw myself away on a common boy who would never go very far. There would be more suitors, she promised, of far higher caliber.
And so there were. Mother made sure of that. She pushed and preened and schooled me; she insinuated me into the right circles. She invented a story for me to tell about myself. I met rich, handsome men. Captains of industry and their sons. Famous entertainers. Influential politicians. Mother married me off to the best prospect. I was elated. I had won the prize! My life was exactly as it was meant to be.
But soon I was no longer happy. We had both conquered each other and had no further need of each other. An unhappy wife makes an unhappy husband. And vice versa. We ended in divorce, but not before I had acquired property and position. I did not want to make the same mistake my mother had made.
I was a divorcee but I was moving in more rarefied circles. I leapfrogged from one man to the next, each more powerful and wealthy than the last. I accumulated status and money. All that was important to me was to rise as high as possible above my standing at birth. I swore I would not end up like my mother.
Over the years, Mother’s fret gave way to worry. The worry eventually blossomed into full panic. By the time she was in her late forties, she was finding it difficult to hold her desperation in check, even though she knew she must — nothing sends a lover fleeing faster than the fetor of desperation.
Eventually, she found a much older man to marry. To my mind, he was a soft and ugly beast, but he was well-off and kind to her, and she was grateful for him.
I did not want to become a woman who waited for men to choose her. I vowed to always be the one to chose. Even as I got older, I carried myself with confidence. I was an aging beauty but a beauty nonetheless. When I wanted to, I could still be quite charming. But I was selfish; I was vain; I was spoiled (as beautiful woman often are.) I was perfectly willing to use anyone who could be helpful without a single thought to the consequences for them. I was very practiced at extracting what I wanted from others, as quickly as possible, with as little emotional investment as possible.
I married three times. I had two children, both of whom met tragic ends, ravaged by the plague of a selfish, vain, spoiled mother. I can’t say I mourned very deeply at the time. We’d never been particularly close.
Few, if any, of my ex-lovers or husbands had much good to say about me. Once my spell on them was broken, all my ugliness became apparent. I made no effort to hide it. I didn’t try to be polite or kind. It mattered not what they thought of me; they were of no use to me any longer.
One evening, when I was in my late 70s, I came home from a gala, went to sleep and never woke up. Some acquaintances might have shed a polite tear or two, but there was nobody to truly mourn me. I’d only grazed the surface of the lives of others.
My mother had convinced me that my beauty was a key that would open doors for me. I understand now that it was not a key at all. It was the padlock. It kept me a prisoner of shallow intentions.
As a small child and well into adulthood, I felt a part of me was missing. It was as if my soul existed both within me and without me, and I had no agency over the part outside myself.
I could not explain this sensation in any way that would allow another human to understand. To others, I seemed strange. My feelings were often bizarrely congruent. For example, sometimes, when things were going badly, when I was hurt or deeply disappointed, when my heart was broken and by all rights I should be crying, I’d be filled with a strange sense of satisfaction or happiness.
The day my father died, I was weeping and mourning with my family, feeling all the pain any adult child might feel at the loss of a beloved parent. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of joy and peace. I stopped crying and sat wordless, smiling beatifically. In an instant, I no longer felt like grieving.
By then, people were used to my strange moods. They shook their heads and reminded each other in whispers that I’d always been odd.
Sometimes, too, in the middle of a happy time, when it seemed everything was going my way, I would be stricken by a sadness that sucked all the joy out of me. On my wedding day, I could not stop crying. I loved my husband. He was the right man for me. I was thrilled to be marrying him. I had no doubts. And yet, I was filled with inexplicable sadness. They made no sense, not even to me.
Eventually, my husband and I moved to the city. One day, a friend became angry at me because she said I had snubbed her in public. I had no such recollection. “You looked right at me, smiled back at me, and kept walking.”
Then it happened again. And again.
Sometime, strangers would approach me, greeting me familiarly, calling me by a different name. When I denied I was who they thought I was, most did not believe me. Some thought I was joking or playing a game. One or two became angry or insulted.
I began to seriously question my sanity. I was used to my unexpected emotions but I would never ignore my friends. I was not rude. I worried that the issues which had plagued me all my life were now progressing into a serious mental disorder. Was I losing touch with reality? Was I losing hours without knowing it? Was I losing my ability to recognize familiar people?
I did not share my fears with my husband so as not to worry him.
It went like that for perhaps a year.
Then, one day, I was in a café, reading a newspaper, having a my lunch. Out of the corner of my eye, I perceived what I believed, in that first tenth of a second, was my own reflection. In the next tenth of a second, I realized this was not so. We were not moving in tandem. We were not dressed alike.
I looked again, this time, more carefully. She hadn’t noticed me yet.
I could not stop myself from staring. Finally, I stood up and walked over to her table, and sat down in front of her. She picked her face up from her book, first in annoyance at being disturbed, and then, her jaw dropped in incredulity.
We were not merely two people who looked similar. We were identical. Even to a mole on high on our right cheek.
We sat there for what felt like a long time, just staring at each other. She too, had had a lifetime of disconsonant emotion. Her recent encounters with strangers and the upset of friends at having been snubbed had also made her question her sanity.
But now, the logic was beginning to dawn.
“Birthday?” I asked. Just one word. She immediately understood the importance.
It was the same as mine.
When we were little more than a cluster of cells, we split in two. “I” became “we” inside our mother’s womb. There, we shared one soul. When our forms became more distinct, our soul also split in two. One soul, one set of DNA, two separate people.
We came into the world minutes apart, and clung to each other in our first hours. Others saw us as two, but we still felt as one.
Our mother was sick and poor and alone, not able to care for us. And so we were given away to those who could. No one would take us both. Those with the power over our lives decided it was best for us each to have a loving home, rather than to remain together in an orphanage. Cleaved yet again, both from mother and each other.
We were too young to remember any of this. Even our adoptive parents did not know we were twins.
That was the first time in our lives we both felt whole and that our feelings made sense.
We each had places to go, obligations to keep. It was painful to take leave of each other but we arranged to meet later that evening, in the same cafe. We talked until the place closed down. We then went back to her apartment which was closer than mine. Her husband and son were already sleeping, but she insisted I peek into the boy’s room to see him. My nephew! Flesh and blood, twice in one day!
From that day on, we were as inseparable as two separate people can be. Our families became one. Our children played as cousins. Our husbands became as brothers.
We still felt each other’s feelings, but they were no longer a mystery.
We both lived to be quite old, and died within months of each other. And here we are, together, waiting to be born again. Perhaps as one, perhaps as two.