The Swing that Raised My Awareness
I’m in a surreal space. There’s an aspect of me that is floating around observing the body my soul houses, an aspect that can see the coloured threads connecting me to the divine network. I raise my arms and see all these threads are vibrating with energy, and though I can visit the body, and it is the one that would be called mine, it seems I can now take it off like a coat. So many things are happening and all because of last weekend.
My friend had invited me to go away with her early Saturday morning and return Sunday evening. We’d be staying in a house in the middle of nowhere with a group of people and it would be ‘basic’, so we had to bring our own bedding. The cost would be less than a night out. The weekend would be about the book, A Course of Love. She knew no more than that.
When she’d asked if I’d like to go, I’d said yes in an instant and surprised myself. I didn’t want to rough it after a series of rough nights’ sleep, and I am not comfortable around big groups of people. Yet I think that ‘yes’ shouted out to save me … or erase me.
She picked me up early the next morning. We drove for a few hours and turned down narrower roads with no signposts and only saw two people, who we stopped to ask for directions. The place we’d be staying had no road name, because there was no road. As we turned up a gravel path, a handmade sign told us: ‘The House of Miracles’. We realized we had found it.
Leaving the car, we crunched on the stones, the breeze catching the scent of thyme and rosemary around us. The owners came out to greet us, and others had already arrived and milled about unloading their cars and chatting. We walked around to the other side of the house and I stopped. Beyond the terrace two oaks soaked their roots under a sea of grass. On the far oak, on its biggest branch, hung a swing. I knew, at that moment, I had been brought here. I love swings. Unable to wait, feeling undressed of my concerns, I ran to the swing. The oak stood on the edge of the grass ridge and, as I swung my legs, I lunged out over a drop of a few metres to another grass area below. All around the mountains, flocked with fir trees, seemed to hold me in a nature basin. I leaned back and loved the leaves and branches of the tree I hung from, thanking it for caring to carry me. The sky slipped through between the branches.
I stopped my bliss because whatever we had come for was about to start. Those of us outside wandered in, taking our shoes off outside a huge cream-carpeted room. A circle of sofas, armchairs and dining chairs had been set in a circle around the edge of the room.
Blessed to have a seat on a sofa, I faced a woman with an instrument on her lap that resembled a wok with a lid with no handle - I would later learn it was a Rav Vast drum. She played it with two mallets and the soft sounds took my imagination off to Japanese gardens. We beamed at each other and I felt my energy pouring over to her, opening like a hand, sending her love. Once all twenty six of us, a mix of Belgian, Dutch, Spanish, African and English, had sat down, she introduced herself - Coralie. She had spent a record time of only two years and one month writing the Spanish translation for A Course of Love. She, and two guys in the room who she introduced, would be the facilitators, the sharers of excerpts and they would also share their experiences with the book. And so would the husband of the husband and wife team who owned the house. Every sentence he spoke fell into my heart, his wisdom so pure and easy to receive.
Some of the twenty six had read the book in its entirety, some knew a little about it. Coralie explained that, unlike A Course In Mracles, A Course of Love has only one exercise. She read it from the book.
“The first and only exercise for your mind within this Course: Dedicate your thought to union. When senseless thoughts fill your mind, when resentments arise, when worry comes, repeat the thought that comes from heart and clear your mind. “I dedicate all thought to union”. Your heart will intercede fulfilling its longing for union as soon as you have expressed your willingness to let it do so.”
When my thoughts became busy, I began saying this line in my head. It worked.
Coralie and the others spoke humbly and eloquently and came back to the theme of including the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, that nothing is excluded. One of the guys held out his arms in an embrace as he spoke of this too and that gesture stayed with me as a reminder when negative self-talk came in. They spoke of us having stories we tell ourselves and others. That we run patterns and only change when we want to. That all we needed is to really want to. This proved to have gone into my soul because that evening I would be shown one of my stories and would be woken in the wee hours to ask if I really wanted to change it. I did.
I felt both full and frazzled and in need of air by the end of the day. My friend and I went for what should have been a brief walk, got lost in the dark, and with no soul around to ask directions, were beyond grateful when the only car we saw on our walk was the owner of the house who had come out to search for us.
He drove us back to the house and I was shown to an empty space next to two lovely Spanish people and struggled to concentrate on what they were saying because I was just too tired. However, my discomfort at being in a big group, and my not wanting any discomfort, had me talk so I didn’t appear rude.
However, the heart-learnings from the course wouldn’t let me get away with running this old story of making sure others felt great even if it meant me not being in truth. These learnings woke me at three in the morning with the trash-emptying truth: I had talked because I was too embarrassed to ask to be excluded from the conversation. I realized the association came from being ‘sent to Coventry’ when I was small - given a silent chill treatment and atmosphere where you are ignored on purpose. The realization hit me. They had nothing to do with this, yet I had obviously been carrying that awful memory and its associated ‘how-to-solve-it’ pattern since childhood. This meant being inauthentic and untruthful to myself, without any idea of it - or at least not full exposure, because now the light shone on it, it seemed like I’d known for a long time. I looked back on the evening, how I had people-pleased and agreed with everything so as not to make anyone feel bad. And, even though some things weren’t true to my soul, I had made them and me believe they were. How crazy is that? I was believing my own stories.
My friend and I unpicked the pieces before we went for breakfast and she asked me, ‘Do you really want to change this behaviour?’ - quoting what we had learned the day before. I so did. I felt cleansed from what I’d learned and the story no longer fit. When we headed to breakfast, I had a knowing that I didn’t need to interact with anyone at break or lunch today and that I could enjoy being present in my aloneness even in a group. And of course, because I decided this, I went into the big room after breakfast and sat next to someone I immediately connected with who had just come for the day. We beamed and she hugged me and asked me questions and it was natural. I could just be me, no story. I had the same connection with her friend on the other side of her. On my right sat a woman named Anna who looked like she had been sculpted by God and glowed. She had flooded me the day before with peace every time she spoke. That Sunday morning she asked me to close my eyes and she would touch my arm and that I would know that it was my hands touching me not her hands. I closed my eyes and she touched me. Her hands did not feel like hands. They felt like a thing no vocabulary has been created to describe - an energy turned solid that came out of my core to touch me. At times it was like being touched by an ethereal being and my forearm was its piano. At other times I knew that, somehow, it was my hands touching my forearm. I cried. I knew all these gifts came because I owned up to myself about my story.
At lunch I chatted with new people and those I had spoken with the day before, all because I had planned to honour not having to. A wonderful woman who had given me wisdom the day before, came to me and gifted me her stripy jumper that I had fallen in love with. I, and those around me, stared. She had looked so lovely in it. She lit up to see it on me and grabbed my hand to show me in the mirror how great it looked and said, ‘Let’s go on the swing and get photos.’ So we accosted one of the others to capture our joy in togetherness and arranged to meet up after the weekend.
One person came to me and offered me a free treatment, and I’d like to remember what the treatment was, yet I am so in space still that the name escapes me. I felt the need for some quiet and took myself back into the big room before we were due to reconvene with my notepad and pen and ideas for poems. Coralie sat playing the Rav Vast and looked up and smiled at me.
“If something comes to you, sing along,” she said.
I closed my eyes and let that Japanese-image music fill me and began singing sounds and a song about her. The vibration between us, within us and in the room grew and at the end we beamed, had tears and hugged. She then gave me the Rav Vast drum to play. I jumped up and down inside. I played and slipped inside the ethereal sounds. Meanwhile, she picked up her frame drum and mallet and began to play. She said I was one of her many miracles that weekend. She was definitely one of mine. We’ve stayed in touch since.
The weekend, the people, the happenings have unwrapped some rubbish and, it is in that unwrapping that I have more space and therefore more lightness. I am crying over the magic of my veins beneath my hands, laughing out loud at the bursts of bliss rushing through my heart, wearing my new gifted rainbow jumper and wondering as miracle after miracle unravel themselves before my conscious. I am not saying my ego won’t persuade me to leave this place, yet right now? No wonder I am floating.
A Spoonful otf Soul
Threads of colour
Shoot out from my skin
The energy outside
Comes from within
And everything’s breathing
Even the walls