Something oddly familiar happened at the library the other day. I was looking through a selection of books by Debbie Macomber, who writes women’s fiction as cozy and comforting as your favorite Polartec robe on a snowy January day, when I spied two books that were clearly misfiled. Both were by psychic Sylvia Browne. I pulled them out and opened one at random and began to read.
“Here’s a simple analogy. Think of our lifetimes on earth as a school year, and summer vacations as The Other Side. Isn’t it silly to imagine that after every summer vacation, we’d show up for a new school year a completely different person, having had none of the benefit of classes and experiences from the year before so that we’re just perpetually starting from scratch on our first day every fall? We’d never get out of kindergarten if that were true, nor would we recognize any of our friends and classmates or, for that matter, ourselves. What possible progress could our spirits make, and how could our souls contain so much cumulative knowledge, if that described God’s intention for us?”
“Instead, we’re the same unique spirits throughout eternity, advancing our way through this tough school on earth and the blissful, sacred education at Home. We repeat courses we find more difficult. We ourselves decide when we’re ready to tackle more advanced work on earth and when we’re ready to graduate and concentrate exclusively on our postgraduate studies on The Other Side. And never, ever, do we forfeit our history, our infinite wealth of experience, or the original identity that is our birthright.”
I checked out both books and devoured them over two days. There was little that was new to me, or surprising, but the material was a reminder of how long my soul has been shuttered and closed for business. I spent too many years in a marriage to a soulless spawn of Satan, who, in the end, became so inhabited by demons and insanity and anti-depressants, that he did the only noble thing he’d probably ever done in his miserable 58 years on earth; he swallowed a self-imploding bullet from a .22. In the dark years leading up to his foregone conclusion, and in the tsunami of shit that he left behind for me to deal with, I lost sight of myself, of my spirit. There were days so overflowing with the bitter bile of hatred for this monster, and the knowledge of the horror he’d left behind for his 12-year-old son and me to deal with, that I had no time, attention, or energy for contemplating anything more esoteric than what might be on our dinner plates and how many dollars were left in the bank until payday.
But now that I’m in a far more peaceful place, where all reminders and consequences of life with The Monster have been buried at sea, I can finally allow myself the luxury of giving my spirit a wee peak at the sun. I can remember who I used to be, and when I start to miss her, realize that’s she’s been right here beside me the entire time. I just forgot about her.
When I was six years old, my mother enrolled me in Catholic school, and it wasn’t long before I formed a very bad opinion of organized religion. There were many times when I felt wiser than some of the stupid, posturing adults surrounding me. The nuns tried very hard to beat Satan out of me when I started writing with my left hand. In addition to the beatings, which went on through second grade, I was subjected to hours of proselytizing in the Mother Superior’s office about what a very bad child I was for writing this way. Well, I didn’t buy that crap then, and the older I got, the bigger a crock it all seemed. So, after trying on cloaks of being Methodist and Baptist, and finally, Unitarian, I ultimately just threw up my hands and cried ‘Uncle”. None of them felt right or true, so I decided I would form my own internal religion and follow it as my spiritual path.
This philosophy-forming started shortly after I married Jack, when we lived close to the grand, opulent NYC library on Fifth Avenue. Time after time, I would be randomly wandering through the stacks , when a certain book would seem to come flying off the shelves and land at my feet. Because it seemed I must, I would check it out and take it home to read. I was introduced to so many “New Age” concepts that I’d never been exposed to before. Karma, reincarnation, spirit guides. I embraced the idea that this earth is our hell, not some flaming charcoal pit located just south of our Jimmy Choos. It all rang true, and suddenly many things made sense. I touched on the ‘earth as school‘ concept in my “Is Scottie the Hottie a Karma Chameleon” post last month.
How many times have you been introduced to someone, only to have that electric shock of recognition, yet you have never met them before, not in this lifetime anyway? Ever found it odd when a new acquaintance seems to adore you at first meeting, like they’ve been hanging with you for lifetimes? What about that soul mate concept? I tinkle on that idea, but let’s take it one step further. Maybe you have that insanely strong urge to be with that person NOT because they’re your soul mate, but because the two of you have some pressingly important karma to work out this time around? Perhaps the two of you made a pact before sluicing down the old birth canal that you would hook up for a little remedial education?
This whole line of thinking gives me some hope that the 18 years with The Monster weren’t all for naught. Perhaps a karmic debt was being paid off, or maybe I just needed the lesson of knowing what it was like to rebuild an imploded life, one based on lies, criminality, and deceit? So many possibilities to ponder, so little time!
I’m cutting myself off now; I’m trying to discipline myself to LESS than 1000 words in these verbose posts. I am discovering that the trickiest part of writing a novel isn’t the writing; it’s the editing!