Note: It seems to be a day of deep healing. See jbuss’ excellent counsel here, and Dee’s healing song here. I touch on traumatic moments in this piece, which may awaken any yet-to-be-healed traumas within the reader. Please proceed carefully. (Spoiler alert: All ends well : )
On my first visit with my ninth therapist I presented a Reader’s Digest version of my history as I had figured it out up to that point. I was earnest, approaching desperate, how could I possibly still be working on this ancient crap? The therapist’s response rocked me, “You have no idea how wounded you are, do you?” An image filled my mind: Bleak concrete room, walls of hospital green, metallic doors, no furniture. And lying on the floor, too numerous to count, were small forms wrapped like mummies in gauze, many still actively bleeding through the bandages: none of them moved. I knew at once they were me, at various ages, ‘showing’ me my wounds. I looked away, again.
Over the next few years, the image would return and I, overwhelmed, retraumatized, would always look away.
Then, in the summer of 2013, it became clear that the course I had then set for myself would require every bit of my strength to even stand a chance. I knew my first task was to heal those babies, at last.
I went to the concrete room. (These places are real, in the imaginary realm. There are what gamers call persistent servers: what we create there persists until we change it.)
Not overwhelmed this time, not retraumatized: I had a mission. The first thing, obviously, was to get these babies off the floor. With that thought, and a desire for the most healing place possible for them, I saw it suddenly, all at once: A vast chateau on an Alpine meadow, green all around, with snow-capped peaks in the distance. Stone stairs led up to great burnished wood doors, and everything pulsed with love.
Entering, one sees wood-and-glass doors immediately to the left, a sun-warmed staircase rising up to the right. Though the glass doors: beautiful, perfect beds with handmade quilts line the wall facing the windows overlooking the meadow, and in a twinkling all the little ones were now in beds, the newborn in the farthest corner, the oldest nearest the door.
Now there was a moment of overwhelm: How was I ever going to take care of all of them? In a flash, I knew: I began calling on all those ‘on the other side’ who had brought moments of light to my childhood. My grandfathers, grand aunt and grand uncle, my godfather, my sister, my uncle: they were all thrilled to be asked to help, and sorted out easily, perfectly who should be with which me. Bandages were removed, sweet jammies donned, and real healing began.
I saw to it that the freshest and most delicious foods would always be available: juices and smoothies and luscious pastries (because, of course : ). I brought in a chamber quartet to play healing, soothing or lively music to meet the ever-changing needs of the moment. Everything was seen to, every detail.
I walked down to see the newborn in my sister’s arms, stroked her tiny cheek, and met Juju’s eyes with warm gratitude. I visited each bed, bonding with each of me, and with the loved ones who came to help. And then I stood, my back to the glass doors, and surveyed all I had created. Everything was beyond beautiful. My grandmother came to the door and asked to help, but I told her she couldn’t come in near the babies. Her face fell, but she understood. I asked if she’d like to take care of the gardens, plant her tulips and begonias and fruit trees: she lit up, and set off to work.
I breathed in the deep healing of this place, amazed at myself, at what was possible within me, within all of us. I knew in that moment that I would never be the same. And I was right. But we’re not at the best part yet.
As I stood there, watching love work its magic, a lovely teenage girl walked up behind me and stood by my side: jet black hair short, plain white t, snug dark jeans, motorcycle boots, helmet under her arm, and a wild air of travel about her. I knew she, too, was me … one who had had to leave because it hadn’t been safe to stick around. She looked over all the little ones and turned to look at me, steadily, her eyes still grave. She nodded. Just that. I had done enough … enough to call her home.
This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The beds are all empty now, at Alcazar Sanitorius. The whole upstairs is an Imaginarium, where the little ones create and wonder, and hear stories of how they are children of the stars. When they want to hang out here, Grandpa, Aunt Clara and my godfather, great chefs all, create amazing fusion cuisine that tastes like love; my uncles rest in chairs under the trees, watching the little ones play; my sister effortlessly sees to it that everyone has whatever they need, and is always singing. So I invite you to create your own healing space, or bring your little ones here: you can find Alcazar Sanitorius within you.