The first part of the chapter (unedited, okay, just if you're reading and you're "in the field" and you want to take potshots *disclaimer over*) is below. But the poignant line that kept repeating in my head as I grabbed that much-needed alone time in the shower was:
Be your own Light source.
I can't be more profound than that. Perhaps it will speak to you if you read the following, but I am damned if I can string together a coherent sentence in my mind now to more properly or completely explain myself.... Gimme a break. I've just farewelled Cyclone Family (I love them, I gnash my teeth over them - the children - I wonder why my daughter MUST copy the naughty antics and lose herself in her cousins instead of being her beautiful self, while they are here. I mourn, deeply, the fact that I will not see my sister in-law again for another two years when they leave... But now, at least I can think for the first time in two weeks and have some precious sweet Me Time)
For now, I want to ask you: Do you know how to be your own Light Source?
In August, I had a really profound dream. I was, of course, still coming back down to Earth after the euphoria of giving birth to our girl, as well as becoming familiar with the floating nothingness of learning how to live without her - and yet, with her, for she was both eternally in my life and not present.
At first, the dream didn't seem like much. But it was terrifying, bathing me in a cold sweat. One of those dreams that really grips you. One that you come out of, realising, by the sensations in your body, that you've had adrenaline coursing through you and when you connect it was because of the dream you just had, it kind of freaks you out a little bit more. Years later, I can still remember the fear and dread I felt, long after I woke up.
In the dream, I was somewhere outside, in pitch darkness. My eyes were wide as saucers, trying to adjust to the lack of light. Eventually, I was able to see a little way in front of me.
I was in a forest. A forest of dead, bare, white-barked trees standing grey against the pitch darkness of the night. It looked as though a fire had gone through and razed all the vegetation, everything seemed to be covered in white ash. It was beautiful, almost lunar in its appearance – if the moon’s surface bore dead trees, that is.
In the distance, I saw something flicker. It was the flash of a wild animal’s eyes glinting off a light source. A rising sense of fear sent goosebumps right up my back and into my scalp. The animal was hunched over in a prowling, purposeful stance, coming towards me and fixing its steadfast, hungry intent on me as it padded closer, hunting me like I was its prey. I backed up and found myself standing alongside one of the trees. Clambering up the trunk, I tried to get as high off the ground as I could. I was petrified but I didn't know what of, exactly. The dark, the predatory animal, the silence. All of it. I was hyperventilating and panicking by now. This was not what I had bargained for, this dream, when I had gone to bed that night asking for a message or visit from Ellanor (something I had grown used to doing, for I learned to look out for her or her words in my dream state). And then I saw the animal.
Wow, it's beautiful but it looks spooked, I thought. It looks menacing and out for my blood, why is it hunting me so fiercely? What is it? I was instantly informed, somehow, that it was an ocelot. Its staring eyes never left mine as it came closer and closer, really getting low to the ground now. And then it leapt towards me.
I was up the tree with nowhere else to go. The ocelot sank its sharp, feline claws into my right thigh. And I screamed. The pain was searing and instant, a sting that lingered for some time after I woke up. When I did force myself awake, there was a silent scream still in my lungs and I breathed out the air I had been holding onto.
I still felt shaken, hunted, although I was now in the relative safety of the darkness of our bedroom, feeling more and more present in the room, Steve sleeping peacefully at my side. When I made myself think back over the events of the dream, I suddenly realised I had been the light source. I made a promise to myself to seek out the animal wisdom teachings of the ocelot, for I had been getting used to seeing these sorts of things – dreams and other seemingly odd or out of place messages – as signposts to my further learning, becoming guided by the rhythms of these instances that were unfolding for me in my life more and more, instead of shying away from them. Once upon a time, before knowing Ellanor, these were the sorts of things that I would wave off, not even willing to consider them as anything other than random occurrences in my daily life (or dream state).
It took me four years before I finally got around to looking up the ocelot totem, even though I was still wondering from time to time during those years what it had been trying to say to me that night. What I uncovered helped to retrospectively patch another part of the quilt of my healing at that time in my life, for I had also been on the precipice of growing into the more aware, more open, more willing person I was to become.
“Animal Totem: The OcelotComfortable in the high trees and in water, Ocelot can show you how to adapt to whatever environment you find yourself and how to look at your surroundings from on high. Ocelot also shows you how to regenerate through solitude and quiet meditation. Because they live in both land and water, they have a connection with both the physical and spiritual world and the ability to be in two places at once. Use Ocelot as your meditation guide to connect to the spirit world.”
Putting aside what was obvious to me - that the appearance of the ocelot in my dream, and now finding this particular totem’s wording, was a confirmation of connecting with Ella in the world she had so briefly left to come here – I found the dream so much more profound, now that the years had passed, as if it had happened back then in order for me to bookmark it, somehow, and provide me with this affirming proof so far down the path I had been on. I was the Light source, a point not lost on me, now I look back on it. It gave me some confirmation, at least, that I had been on the 'right track', even back then when I honestly thought I might shrivel up and be forgotten if I did not diligently stay the course in my connection to my own truth.
"If they can't get it through to you while you're awake, they'll do it when you're asleep!" Jen had once told me, laughing at my wide eyes. How right she was.
My life was much different around the time of the visit from the ocelot. I was looking at things from a higher perspective more often by then – from my soul's perspective, or my higher consciousness – for that was where I was learning to forgive myself and my actions, give myself and others a break, find my own solace and, most important to my survival, have a safe place in which to regenerate and fill up my reserves, sometimes daily. For this was my new way of being; Steve and I were living a life pummelled by insecurities now, without all our previous social masks and various obligatories to cushion us. We were dealing with our sorrow, learning how to incorporate our lost child in our lives with meaning and joy, whilst continually having to replenish enough strength to weather whatever the next day and its trespasses were going to bring. I was supposed to learn to accept these shortcomings, delivered by the people around us, even though some were clearly not accepting me in my newfound state.
Towards the end of August, I wrote in my journal:
I am a psychoNow I’m totally depressed and low, I give up. Don’t even know why I am writing.I can’t do “this” anymore, whatever “this” is. I don’t want to say I want to stop trying to get pregnant, but I think I have to. I’d say it’s for my sanity, but if I stop trying, I haven’t got any other focus, really, so how can that be good for me?I’m exhausted. I just completely give up.So tired of all this shit.I just wish I wasn’t here.I don’t feel, at the present moment, that there is anything that really brings me true joy anymore.Not Steve. Not Pepper. Not friends or family. Nothing previously in this journal. I feel like a fake. And maybe I am.I can’t stand this life. I hate where I am. And I am stuck here.Just living.And I don’t know what for.Diary entry, 25th August, 2004
I recall that this was one of, if not the, lowest days I have ever had in my life. If I was truly going to end my life, it would surely have been on that day. But, once again, something gradually bailed me out over the ensuing hours. As acceptance of my continuing living, breathing, physical self set in, the tears flowed. I did not want to feel stuck here, on Earth. This was not the death sentence I was meant to subject myself to, not in Ellanor’s name. I briefly noted the turning point of coming out of destitution into decisiveness. There did not seem anything more to say:
Spent the rest of the 25th and most of yesterday inconsolably sobbing.I have given up on being pregnant, of ever having children, anyway – something (someone?) in me keeps telling me it’s not giving up. It’s letting go, with acceptance.Just as I did when Ella needed to go.Diary entry, 27th August, 2004
Soon after I made this entry, Steve and I agreed that we had to confront the acceptance of facing a childless life together. It was so difficult to call it that, because we knew we had already given life to a child, yet here we were, having to consider ourselves possibly now destined to be “childless” anyway. We had connected very soundly with an amazing little baby with a huge soul and a set of challenging physical hurdles that meant she would leave us all too soon. It was, therefore, painfully difficult to say to each other, “Well, maybe that was it. Perhaps Ella was all we were ever meant to know.”
Don't wait for permission. Breathe out, it's okay to let go what you've been holding onto. You are adaptable, no matter what. Don't forget your Soul's perspective. You can be your OWN Light source. It is, after all, within you.
Have a good weekend. I'll be back properly next week!