Today I am going to share with you my most personal post to date. I am writing this in response to a wonderful challenge from Linda at litebeingchronicles. You can read more about this challenge, and Linda’s inspiring work, here.
The essence of this challenge is to consider to role of time, and how we integrate the past, present and future. Dreams are one special way we do this. In dreams, when the usual external stimuli is reduced or even completely excluded, we are able to enter a unique temporal state where past, present and future can all exist within our minds simultaneously. While this kind of experience does not often occur when conscious and awake, I would like to share with you a time when I had such an experience, and that changed my life forever – indeed, it still is!
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour." - William Blake
Many moons ago, when I was about 7 years old, my parents were going through a painful and messy divorce. I had yet to realise the full implications this would have on my life and personal development, but already I could feel the reverberations rocking my young world. Things were not as I had previously thought – the world was far les stable, grown-ups not infallible sources of wisdom and security, sadness was something far bigger and longer lasting than what happened when you fell over and scraped your knee or lost a favourite toy. I was growing up all of a sudden. I was lost, lonely and scared. My innocence was shattered.
In this vulnerable state I was more blessed than I could ever know. Not only was this long and traumatic experience to be the making of me, but for some reason I have yet to fully understand, I was blessed with an experience of grace.
The first magical experience alone would have been enough for me to become open to the wonder of life and chance. My little broken family – mother, brother, sister and I, dislocated from our lovely home in the country to a government funded house in a rough neighbourhood, were invited by someone (I don’t know who or how this happened) to stay at a special camp for people in difficult circumstances. It was a beautiful setting in the Australian bush, with a pool fed by a natural stream, frogs chirping, tall eucalyptus trees everywhere and dirt tracks winding through the bushland to explore. Along a ridge a railway track ran, and twice a day the train would go past carrying the bauxite from the mines far away to the aluminium refinery near the coast also many miles away. The train had dozens of carriages, and we would sit and watch it, trying to count the carriages slowly lumbering past and chewing on sourgrass until we lost count. Sometimes we would put coins on the track for the heavy wheels to flatten. We would signal to the train driver to pull his whistle, and he would do so obligingly. Summer days were spent playing in the bush, catching and releasing frogs, bugs and lizards, or floating on an old truck’s inner tube in the fresh pool with dragonflies darting over head, the sun sparkling on the water. The sense of peace I felt then I can still recall to this day in my moments of tranquility. We returned to this camp many times over the following years, and it was a tonic for my soul. I am not sure I would have made it through those dark days without the respite of this wonderous place.
But on my first day there, all this was yet to come. I still don’t know what possessed me that very first time, in a strange, unfamiliar place, and only 7 years old, to state boldly to my mother as dusk set in, that I was going for a walk. It was decades ago, and the place set up as a haven with a perception of safety, so she let me. I walked down the twisting dirt track, through the trees, to a gentle embankment where I could look out over fields and native bushland, the railway line disappearing into the distance, a dark mysterious hill rising before me, and directly in front a clearing filled with wild grass. The sun began to set and the grass seemed to glow golden as it swayed softly in the breeze. It was a scene of such profound beauty I was transfixed. I was not raised in any religion, my father had been a scientific atheist, my mother agnostic. I knew nothing of grace, or mystical experiences. None the less, that is what I experienced. Now I would probably refer to that moment as a direct communion with the divine. There are simply no words to adequately explain that moment of pure transcendence, of peace, of myself dissolving into pure presence. Time and space seemed irrelevant, and from that moment on I would never perceive time as linear. And I knew with every fibre of my being that we are more than simply our physical bodies. But more than that, I had a sense of myself in time, of my entire life contained within a single moment. For years after I would try to explain it by saying “it was if the me from the future (perhaps even at the moment of my death?) visited the me at 7, and she assured me everything would be ok.
I have revisited that moment many times over the years, reaching out to that sad and scared little girl and comforting her as best I can when I am happy and strong. And when I am sad and scared, she reminds me too of the joy and beauty of existance. I am aware that the eternal me lives on in that moment, as she does in every other, and I am deeply grateful for this gift.
Post script: in period of great sadness in my adult life, I wrote a letter to my subconscious, asking it to guide me and be my ally. I had forgotten this until yesterday, when synchronisctically it fell out of a notebook I was looking at for another purpose. Now I find myself in a very similar situation to that of years ago, with new lessons to learn and a different perspective. As I write this I am living in a house in the Australian bush, with chirping frogs to sing me to sleep, a fresh water pond outside and tall eucalyptus trees all around. I am learning and healing again, and my two young boys are sheltered in this sanctuary of nature. I know I was guided here in anticipation of this painful event, another cradle to support me through a difficult time. I cannot help but marvel at the magic of the patterns in my life, the folding of time, and the grace bestowed upon me. I have shared this with only very few people in my life, but now recognize it for the gift it is, so I share it all with you also. May you all find your sanctuary when you need healing, and grace when your heart is in pain.
Post post script: In searching for images to use here, I typed in the name of the old camp to discover that it is for sale! Going to auction on the 10th October. And recently I have been considering new places to live. I don’t take this as a sign to buy it (many reasons, financially and practically!) but more that I still have a sacred alignment with that place. Perhaps for both of us, it is time for a change… At the very least, I can save some photos that I otherwise would not have had the chance to before it is developed beyond recognition!
I will let you know if any other synchronicities occur!
I now pass to the inimitable and beautiful soul of Sindy at Bluebutterfliesand me for Day 2 of the time travel challenge…
 “Dreams and the temporality of consciousness” – MacDuffe K AND Mashour GA
Am J Psychol. 2010 Summer; 123(2): 189-97