Tenacious Magic ~ Chapter 6
S gets deeper into the work with H * life is changing * an initiation
I will be trying a perspective shift in this chapter. This is in response to a suggestion by a friend and reader, Kathy. It’s a good challenge for me and something I’ve thought about before.
If you’ve been reading so far, you may have noticed the two stories are written differently. Katherine’s is third person, present tense. Mine is first person, past tense. This is how the stories came to me when I started to write them a few years ago. Katherine’s felt like a vivid transmission. I received a lot of the scenes and dialogue directly and felt like the job was to take it all down as a good witness. It felt fresh and urgent. I felt like an eye-witness.
My story always felt to me first person and past tense like personal memory box it is. But, Kathy pointed out and I believe this is true…the immediacy of the other style is more immersive and flows better. She also noted—accurately, I think—that my story felt more “reserved” than Katherine’s. It is vulnerable for me to share about this time of life. Writing it first person, I feel constrained to tell “the truth,” which if I’ve learned anything is a funny thing to try to do! So, this week I’d like to see what happens if I establish myself in the role of witness (as I have with Katherine) and watch the action unfold along with my readers. Let’s see what happens!
Thank you for your participation! A reminder that I’ll be hosting a ZOOM gathering on Wednesday evening (Feb 22) from 6-7pm EST to talk about the story thus far and share together. Please join us for this unconventional book club experience!
“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can — in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal — but then you need to do that — then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church — your cathedral — the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them — then you will lose your soul — for in that book is your soul.” –C.G. Jung
New York, 2009
The subway is hot and crowded as it runs uptown along the 6 line. S fans herself with a small journal as she thinks. She bought three identical lined notebooks and filled the first in a month. Now, she is nearly done with the second. With a Sharpie, she has penned a tidy “2.” in the top right corner, knowing there will be many and they will need to be kept in order. She’s aware it's merely an illusion of order, but it is reassuring nonetheless.
H had said, “Write down all your observations about yourself so we can deconstruct them. You have false ideas that need to be dismantled…Don’t rush, take it slow…The Universe wants you to succeed so it will help. It is time.”
A thought comes to her and she scribbles it furiously, trying not to jostle others. The man next to her shifts and glances down at the book on her lap.
“You journaling?” he says in a gruff voice.
She hadn’t noticed this man when she sat. His face is tough, weathered. His dull skin seems prematurely aged from alcohol or drug addiction and he has a small teardrop tattooed at the corner of his left eye; the kind you get in prison, not the tattoo parlor.
She is on her way to her weekly meeting with H and in a state of mind to engage. If there is one thing she has learned since starting the work it is that nothing can be taken for granted, there is meaning in everything.
“Yes, actually I am journaling.”
“Not everyone would notice that,” he says confidently. “Know how I knew?”
“I keep one myself.”
She looks at him hard and notices a sparkle in his blue eyes along with the deep lines etched in his face. She becomes curious, “What do you journal about?”
“My emotions…” he says. “Things that happen to me during the day. You?”
He nods thoughtfully, “Dreams are important.” Then he’s quiet for a minute, thinking. How looks at her directly and says with intensity, “Only you can control your dreams. When it happens, when you dream, you can choose to step in…or not. Remember…it’s your choice.”
He stands and walks towards the door to get off the train as they pull into the next station. She feels the message penetrate.
“I’m going to step in,” she calls as he exits. He looks back at her and winks the eye with the tattoo.
A few stops later S exits the train and surfaces on Lexington Avenue. Despite the delays she is early, she has learned that things tend to happen on her way to see H and she has given herself ample time. As she walks, she is suddenly aware that her habitual thinking has ceased. She slows her pace and her mind seems to follow suit. Slower still, and the mind comes almost completely to rest. She is unexpectedly and without effort, empty in a delightful way. The space allows her attention to focus, her vision becomes clearer and more vivid. She begins to notice things on the walk she has never noticed before…as if she is walking this street for the first time. As if…she is new to walking, new to streets.
Surely these lions weren’t here before? She notices the display of heraldry on the doors of H’s building. The effect of their “appearance’ is so surprising she stops in mild confusion about whether she is actually in the right place. She looks up at the street number and confirms she is…though everything feels different.
She walks into the lobby and speaks to the doorman. She notices his face, wonders where he is from. As he calls up to announce her, she sees the walls are painted in a trompe l’oeuil style with clouds, marble columns, and vines. The pattern on the rug leaps out at her. The chandelier is ornate…has that been here all along?
She realizes she has now been here a dozen times and has never noticed anything. She couldn’t have described it. She stops again to make sure she is in the right place as the elevator doors open and she is confronted with a framed photograph on the wall she’s never noticed: the Brooklyn Bridge.
H opens the door with his usual polite flourish and finds S looking confused. They take their seats in silence. He stares at her with an amused smile until she speaks,
“I’ve never noticed the lions on the doors outside before…” she says still in a daze.
“Ah,” he says, “You’ve begun to see.”
She looks at him in amazement and he laughs, “What can I say? I have a talent for helping people begin to see.” The confirmation brings her into herself and she laughs, too.
“I’m seeing so much, actually,” she tells him about the many synchronicities this week, the flashes of light, the visions, the mysteries. He seems to enjoy her enthusiasm and they both laugh at the weirdness of New York City. Their meetings have many dimensions and moods. Sometimes they are light like this and she feels she is with her oldest and dearest friend.
“Sounds like the universe is communicating with you directly. You should pay attention. These symbols and messages will become your own personal puzzle,” he says and then adds a cautionary note, “Don’t be afraid when you see things.”
He goes to the small refrigerator and gets a bottle of water. He offers her one and she accepts. It’s the first truly hot day of late spring and the water is ice cold. “So what’s the topic of today’s conversation?”
Still in the reverie of sight, she says: “I want to be able to see people and circumstances better.”
“In order to really see you must be willing to give everything up. You must be ready to slay the dragon, to overcome your greatest fears. To be unattached is not easy…It changes everything. You must be willing to give up your life as you know it now. You have to find your inner power.”
“I had power and it was overrated.”
“Not that kind of power. Do you know what power is?”
She shakes her head, sensing he will offer one of his unique definitions.
“Power is nothing more than this: when you speak, people listen. Do people listen when you speak?”
She considers the question, “Yes…at work.”
“Yes, of course. That’s work…they’re paying you to speak at work,” he teases. “But, what prevents people from listening when it really matters?”
She thinks about it, “I don’t know, actually.”
“Two things: people cannot hear what is beyond their understanding. No matter how loud or clear you are, he cannot receive the message. Even if he claims to want to. Also, people will not listen when you speak without conviction. Something in them senses it doesn’t matter to you, so why should they care? This is your problem: you don’t yet have conviction…except with your work.”
S begins to shift in her seat. She considers protesting, but knows he is right.
“You have fear and you get overexcited. You speak with force, but to cover up your lack of conviction.” He stresses the last word. “You have suppressed a great power and when it comes up, you are afraid of it…like a woman who has a great sexual power or appetite and it scares her so she becomes a nun. You have become a nun.”
She is learning to accept his harsh medicine. He is more direct than anyone she has ever known.
“You once told me you were a wild girl and you didn’t like yourself. You have now developed a new nice personality that is no more you than that one. And you have become a nun. All your energy goes to keeping that wild girl energy suppressed. Free it up.”
“But, how do I fix it? How do I stop the suppression? I don’t want to be a nun,” she is sincere in her desire.
“You don’t have to solve anything or fix anything. Just be aware of it. You just need to accept it. Acknowledge it. As you accept it, it will come back and take its right place in your life—as a fire. It will fuel your knowing and your conviction.”
He goes on to explain, “It’s like you’re living in a house and there’s a dog, a Jack Russell, in the corner. And you are so afraid of this dog.” He cowers, mimicking her fear, capturing the emotion with comical expressions. She has to smile.
“You live your life in fear of this animal taking over you, devouring you. All the while, you are so tense! Trying to pretend it’s not there.” He imitates her trying to ignore the threat. Then, he stops imitating and sits up straight and regal. He says with finality: “You need to learn to live with it. To know it, accept it, and live in peace with it…You must learn to observe yourself without shame, judgment, or emotion. You must unlock your secret–everybody has one, by the way–so you can stop using your energy to protect it and start using that energy to grow and unlock consciousness.”
She needs reassurance, “Does everyone have a Jack Russell?”
He is amused and says emphatically, “Some people have a Rottweiler! Some people have a Doberman! This guy,” he turns around in his seat and points at an engraving on the wall behind him depicting St. George, “has a dragon!”
She exhales in relief. He looks at her with encouragement and says, “You just start with your Jack Russell.”
“How do I get to know it? How do I get comfortable with it?” she asks. “Trial and error?”
“Trial and error is the best way,” he says, nodding approval.
Life in Brooklyn is lovely in the spring. The tree-lined streets of Cobble Hill are full of blossoms. The aroma of the massive apple tree in front of the laundromat mixes with the detergent scents to make a whole block fragrant. Daffodils and tulips blossom. People stop to talk again on the sidewalks and the fruit sellers put their wares out front. S is living on the third floor of a classic brownstone. She can open the windows now all day and wakes to the sounds of birds in their backyard. The apartment is full of light and voices from the street, children.
S and her husband, Paul, spend their weekends biking to apartment open houses and exploring new neighborhoods. They are looking to purchase a home, with the idea of eventually starting a family. It feels like the right time to settle down…or at least, this is what S has been telling herself. The truth is, she is split. Part of her wants the conventional dream of marriage and children…this is the part that stood at the altar a year ago and made vows. But, another part wants something else. The problem is she doesn’t know what. She mostly suppresses this part because it seems to cause trouble. The idyllic and prescribed life is within reach now.
She likes to describe Paul as a “truly decent man,” because he is. He is steady, unemotional (with the exception of anger) and hardworking. She was attracted to him originally because he seemed the kind of man who would make a good husband. Coming off a string of terrible relationships with truly awful men, she was looking for the opposite when she met Paul at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Like her, he also worked in advertising, as a copywriter. He’d been born and raised in Manhattan, which made him native to the city she loved with all her heart. Sometimes she thought she’d married him because it was as close as she could get to marrying the city itself. He walked the streets as a local—never overawed, slightly bemused, and sometimes annoyed. He knew where everything was, how to avoid crowds, how to get freebies. He detested lines and yuppie incursions into old neighborhoods like his West Village homestead. Whenever the streets were blocked for some holiday showcase he announced with classic New York sarcasm, “I hate a parade.”
Their relationship is familial—like brother and sister. Mostly, he makes her feel secure. He has some small interest in yoga and yogic philosophy. Periodically, they leave the city to stay at the ashram upstate or in the Bahamas. She hopes it is enough to allow them to grow together, but Paul is not much interested in growing. He is cautious; interested in living a nice and uneventful life.
He is tolerant of the work she is doing with H, but doesn’t care to hear about it. She continues to practice her exercises when she is with Paul, but doesn’t share what she is learning. Soon, she stops sharing altogether. Every once in a while when she tries to bring something to his attention regarding their relating, he expresses annoyance and tells her she isn’t his therapist. So, she stops doing that, too. Slowly an unspoken agreement arises between them that she can continue to pursue her spiritual interests so long as she doesn’t expect him to care much about it. A barely perceptible dream of real partnership on the path is shattered, but the security he offers is too reassuring for her to put herself once again in the precarious place of being single. This is the first of many concessions they will make to living together apart.
When she left the agency, she felt she needed a karmic cleanse. She was initially determined to consult only for companies doing “good” in the world. But, soon she realized it wasn’t so easy to draw distinctions between “good” and “bad” in marketing. A baby formula naming gig…good or bad? Influencer strategy for a new electric vehicle…good or bad? When she’d brought the dilemma to H in one of their sessions he’d wisely counseled her to just take the work she needs to make a living, “Do what comes to you to be done. You don’t want to be the integrity police.”
Paul encourages her to go back into the industry where she was making a good living. But, she values her independence too much. She wants to prove to him she can do it on her own. She wants to make a difference in the world.
She begins to explore work with start-ups and innovative brands in the wellness space. She tries working for non-profits. Sadly, she finds the work to be twice as demanding, half as lucrative, and no less narrow in its desire to persuade. The question of “good” and “bad” is murky here, too. She is beginning to see the impossibilities inherent in the system. She is beginning to see a lot.
She is also in the midst of a mystical awakening, though she doesn’t quite understand the implications of this yet. And won’t for a long time. She is already adrift, pushed off from the known shores and now bobbing along in the middle of the river. The crossing will be harrowing in moments and frequently disorienting. But, she can still see the lights from the known shore now, and it gives her a false sense of comfort.
All she has to navigate are the sessions with H, the mystical books that become her lifeline, and her own intuition, which she is recovering, but slowly. She is developing a new self-awareness that requires her to not forget herself. H has given her the mantra: “remember yourself, observe yourself, do not identify.” She doesn’t know it, but this is a hallmark of Gurdjieff’s work. She understands the self-remembering to be about presence, coming into the body in the now, infusing the body/mind with awareness. Then (and only then) can one observe themselves with any accuracy. The key is to observe with that awareness and without judgement. And finally, the practice of not identifying is about detaching herself from overly-emotional tendencies and the false stories she (or parts of herself) constructs about what is happening. She has to become less reactive, less a victim of her circumstances…moving in the direction of doing more and letting happen less. She applies herself to this self-study with all the diligence and conviction she once applied to her striving in the conventional world. It is still motivated by survival, all of it, but there is something new arising from these efforts. Something she would call…magic.
One day, H sends her a lead at a big investment bank. Many of his other clients are financiers, some of them quite famous. She knows this from hearsay, but also because she’s begun helping him with his email correspondence. His written English isn’t sufficient for involved responses.
A week later, she goes to the offices of this bank to meet with the man and his small team. They sit in an impeccably decorated meeting room high in a midtown tower with views of Central Park. They explain to her that they are looking to attract younger clients into their practice. It seems to her as she listens, that the problem is the older clients keep dying—an inconvenience, not a great business model. They are confident, even cocky, trying to outdo one another and look smart in front of the boss. She can sense the dynamics more clearly than she has in the past.
She has been to big banks before and has interviewed dozens if not hundreds of high-powered executives, but always in her previous life as an executive at a well-known advertising agency. On her own, she feels vulnerable and uncertain—lacking conviction. She searches for the inner power she and H have been discussing, but she is fumbling. Now, unprompted, she begins to do her self-remembering exercise. It overcomes her and suddenly, she is intensely aware. She can only observe, witness. She can no longer fake it.
She becomes aware of intense heat rising in her body. Her vision becomes tunnel vision—intensely focused, very narrow. She doesn’t seem to have access to her own industry jargon. She cannot counter their financial patois with her marketing speak. And then some switch within her flips and they are speaking in tongues. It is as if they are talking pure nonsense, another language. She cannot understand them at all. Inwardly she is panicked, searching for understanding. Searching for words, for meaning. The more she falters, the more they become irritated…the predator/prey dynamic sets in. They pounce, asking tough questions, challenging her assertions, acting openly dubious now and then bored, distracted, ready for this to be over. She has lost them. She has lost herself.
As she leaves the bank without the job, her main concern is that she has let H down. The next time she sees him she confesses. He asks her what happened and she tells him in detail. She feels ashamed until she notices that he is enjoying the story. When she describes the way they were speaking in another language that was completely foreign and unrecognizable, he laughs and interjects:
“That’s because they weren’t saying anything! They literally were not saying anything of substance. Just empty words.” He looked delighted, “Ah, so now you can hear, too. You will no longer be subject to the pathetic ideas of most men.”
She is overcome with relief and wonder. The thought crosses her mind that the whole thing was orchestrated by H for this experience precisely. She feels a slight shudder at the power that could do that.
Self-remembering is hard. Every day has become a battle with her own bad habits, her own remorse. One day she is beaten down when she enters his office.
He listens to her exhaustion and then says, “Keep fighting. Be persistent. Before you came here you were not fighting. Now you are…That’s progress. Train your feelings. Master them.”
She looks at him with tired eyes and he gives her a rare and precious thing: empathy.
“I know the feeling,” he says sincerely.
He brings them into a state of meditation—gazing into each other’s eyes, the room fills with light. She begins to relax, melt. She feels a warm radiance running from her heart to his and back. She senses she has some control of the light, which she has always ascribed to him. He senses her making the connection, “Produce it,” he instructs her cryptically.
She plays with the intensity of the light until she loses the feeling. A memory surfacing from the depths. She is at an art class at the local museum. The teacher is showing the class a vivid painting of a phoenix. She explains the legend of the phoenix. S is about six or seven years old and is enraptured. The legend seems to enter her childlike awareness as a whisper; a long-forgotten knowing. She is mesmerized by the image and thinking about it after class as she walks out holding her father’s hand. As they walk through the empty halls of the museum it hits her: death and rebirth, cycles throughout history, civilizations coming and going…and the phoenix, the shining example of resurrection through it all…she is so small and understands something so big. Everything feels…alright, even hopeful.
Speaking slowly, without breaking their trance, she shares the memory with H.
He says softly, “How fortunate to be in a position at such a young age to be presented with this image.” She understands he is helping her see that she received a blessing.
“That little girl had self worth,” he explains. “That she would have the intuition to identify with the Phoenix. That is self worth. Leave behind what then happened between age six and eighteen or so when other minds entered the picture and you began imitating and comparing yourself to them. Some people spend fifty years in therapy trying to sort out what happened in that brief period we all go through. Just let it go.”
Then he says, “Do you know what the ashes are?” She doesn’t understand at first. “The ashes the Phoenix is rising from? What’s been burned?”
She shakes her head.
“False hope. The Phoenix rises from the ashes of false hopes…What you felt then and what you are beginning to feel now is real hope.”
H. introduces S to Gurdjieff. He suggests she start with Views from the Real World. She follows that by reading Meetings with Remarkable Men and then Ouspensky’s account of The Work, In Search of the Miraculous. They discuss the ideas in the books animatedly. H has a real grasp of the material. He has strong opinions also about the evolution of The Work and speaks harshly of the Gurdjieffian groups that gather in the city. He discourages her from attending them and suggests opaquely that they have corrupted the original ideas and if she wants the pure teaching, she should get it from the source.
One night, S lays in bed reading a book written by a student of the Fourth Way. The book itself is unremarkable, but she is insatiable and wanting to penetrate the mystery of the teachings. She flips through the dense text searching for direct quotes from the master when she comes across a breathing exercise. It has to do with sensing on the inhale and perceiving on the exhale, saying inwardly: I feel…I am…I feel…I am. She lays in bed and performs the exercise for a few minutes, feeling herself relax and expand. Then, she falls into a deep sleep.
She is initiated that night in a dream state by H. She wakes with such a current of energy flowing through her she thinks she might have a heart attack. She lays there reliving the moment over and over. She is aware that she is–for the first time this life–completely awake. Something that has lain dormant has been aroused. She experiences the senses on a level she’s not known possible. In the darkness of the bedroom, she wants to cry with joy and awe. A door of perception has been opened. Paul lies next to her asleep and unaware.
And then something surprising happens…She becomes afraid. She feels a fear that she might literally break apart, shatter. Questions race through her mind: “Can I handle this? Have I gone too far?…It’s too much too soon…I’m not ready.” But she quiets the intensity, remembering H’s instruction in other intense moments: stay. She stays and allows the sensations to engulf her.
When they have subsided she knows she must move into the next room to capture the details. She grabs her journal and moves carefully in the dark, her body strangely light, into the dining room. She writes:
We were on a wrought iron bed situated in the middle of a cavernous and sparsely furnished room. Around us, four tall white columns formed an inner sanctum or chuppah. Everything had a silver tinge as if lit by moonlight. Along the wall there was a small writing table and an intricate washstand. Next to the bed on the cold stone floor was a basin, and our clothes. An arched doorway far behind us led into the darkness beyond. It might have been the 1920s, 30s, or 40s. It might have been Berlin or Paris. Yes, I believe it was Paris in the 1940s.
Viparita Maithuna: ritual sexual intercourse with the female superior; in Tantra, the union of Siva and Shakti.
You’d come to visit me in this grand apartment. We were both thrilled by the news of our teacher’s coming to town. We were in high anticipation of his visit; so filled with youth and joy and vigor. As we embraced and I spun around in ecstasy I was suddenly confused…you were you, but also “the teacher.” You were you, H, and Gurdjieff at the same time.
You talked and glowed with news about him…You’d come to help me understand his greatness and I was spellbound. I abandoned myself to you because I understood the only way for me to truly understand was to experience it firsthand through you. I opened myself for you to share with me on the highest level.
And then we were locked in an embrace on the bed. In Viparita Maithuna. It was not making love, not sex, it was communion. We were separate, but one. I was swimming in you, experiencing your senses, seeing with your eyes, hearing with your ears, feeling with your body. I was still aware of my own sense of wonder; my own sensuality containing me even in this state of extreme expansion, in the confines of my body. But, for once those confines didn’t constrain. They set up a membrane which helped me remain aware of what was ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ and made the wonder of the permeability of that membrane all the more remarkable. It was a union of opposites. We were at the same time female and male, separate and unified, human and Divine.
Your power was astounding, but it was my own participation, my acting as a vehicle for it, which allowed it to manifest fully. We were a flower in full blossom. We were engulfed in light. What was happening felt so special, so intimate and even illicit…Another union of opposites: light and dark. We exploded in sensuality and passion. My body filled with a rush of energy, which continued to course and pulse through me as we disentangled.
You stood and started to dress. You spoke little, but let me know somehow–telepathically–that you ‘had to go prepare.’ Prepare for what? Were you preparing for the teacher’s arrival or were you the teacher preparing material? Either way, there was no holding you…nor did I want to. What had happened was complete in and of itself. It did not demand anything further of either of us.
I stood and watched you leave; feeling a little bit of sadness, but also full of a joy so enormous I thought I might fly. I felt there was more on the horizon, more to come. I was filled with anticipation and the feeling of having found something I’d been searching for, for a very long time. It was all vague and yet strangely definite…like being home after a very long and trying journey. In that place I didn’t need to know what next.
I pulled on stockings and an olive-colored skirt, buttoned my white blouse and pulled on a matching olive jacket. The outfit was restrained, proper. I felt dignified and rebellious in my vanity. The clothes were nice, luxurious even, but out of date, bordering on tattered, like the best clothes of a poor woman on her way to church.
I dashed outside with a basket on my arm. Walking through the streets–cobblestones–I relived the union I’d just experienced. I was walking on air. At the market I shopped for the most basic of items: firewood, water. These were mine to get, a chore I seemed to perform regularly, my job around the house. I was aware that these basic necessities had become luxuries for many. I suddenly understood: it was wartime. We were rationing. I couldn’t believe how little I cared about such things. In that moment I felt abundance beyond rationed goods. I could have frozen and starved and died happy.
I became aware of the other customers in the market watching me. I was conspicuous somehow. I barely let it register, but slowly tension mounted. The stares became ominous and the shopkeeper was trying to tell me something non-verbally. She was giving me looks, warning me. She put out the bill and I went to sign it. I became very self-conscious as I signed…my name. It’s wrong here. It’s Jewish.
I became frightened and hustled out of the market. I headed home with my basket full of firewood and water. I began to understand what was happening. I was being followed. My mind raced and I wondered where you were. I felt you might be able to save me, “But, he has a wife…It can’t be…” I told myself and then I responded, “But this is something bigger. This is real love.” I loved you with all my heart in that moment as I understood I was about to loose something, maybe myself. I understood I was about to loose everything I had right at the moment I’d felt such completion.
And then the air was full of white powder. Snow? No, it wasn’t cold. It was something manmade, chemical. I made it to the doorway of the house. Several women stood there trying to warn me–someone was inside–but, also not wanting to be seen talking to me. They gestured for me to turn around, to run. One of them began to say, “Go to this place,” she handed me a slip of paper, “and tell them you need…” And then I felt my heart gripped with fear…a hand on my arm told me I’d been caught.
Five days later, S sits across from H in his office. She is telling him about the dream, feeling embarrassed by the liberties her subconscious has taken. She’s never shared such a dream with anyone…She’s never had such a dream. She feels ashamed by some of the theories she’s cooked up about its meaning over the intervening days. She isn’t yet confident in her dreams as visions. She half expects him to laugh or dismiss the whole thing.
He listens attentively and asks questions. He says the dream is a transmission. He confirms her belief that she is experiencing something from a previous life. He describes briefly the situation of rationing in Occupied Paris and the fact that Gurdjieff had many Jewish students. He tells her about the curfew. All of this is astounding to her.
“In the telling of the story you miss the most important point,” he says with a directness that forces her to go back over her words in her head...she searches for what she might have missed. He answers for her: “Your inability to handle good, success.”
She is confused…
“You said you felt you were not capable of handling this. When you woke…you said you lay there and thought, ‘This is too much too soon. I can’t handle this.’”
She nods…becoming aware that she is about to be taught a strong lesson.
“That is a splinter in the brain. Remove it. You can no longer be subject to fear. You must learn to trust…You’re afraid of success. You have to get rid of this weak, sweet, precious act.” He continues, letting it sink in. “You were afraid because you know you have to be great,” he emphasized the last word, “Not good…great. Your problem is you’re good without trying. To be great, you must suffer.”
She sees the truth in what he is saying and starts to cry…at the revelation and in relief that he is with her. It really happened.
He becomes tender and says, “I will teach you two things in this life: courage and certainty.”
Time melts away. As she sits there in his office the scenery comes into relief and she has the sensation of it all–this moment in this office on Madison Avenue–being an indelible memory.
“You’ve found your way back. Good. We have more work to do.”
She feels like she’s come home, which brings more tears of relief…Her heart swells with gratitude.
“Why are you crying?” he teases in mock exasperation, “This is good news! You should have brought champagne.” Then more seriously he says, “You will never forget this dream.”
The session is coming to a close at the top of the hour. As she collects herself and starts towards the door he says: “Courage and certainty.” She nods, feeling the beginning of both emerging. She has been initiated. Into what, she doesn’t yet know.
As usual, I invite questions, curiosities, comments, suggestions. Please let me know how the story is landing for you. You can use the comments or come to the live Zoom session on Wednesday evening at 6pm EST. Registration link above. Next week we will return to Katherine and her first days and weeks at the Prieuré. Have a good weekend!
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