Monday, October 23rd 2017

Peak experience: Why I look up to feel grounded

In the words of Nelly Furtado, I’m like a bird. It took an aboriginal healer to tell me why it’s perfectly okay to fly.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – Being corralled like cattle in a crowded subway underground, I always wonder where everyone is going. And my own destination was a mystery to them, one gray slushy day, as I held onto a steel pole and got jostled about. What would they think if they saw what was in my purse – a small bundle of tobacco wrapped in red polka dotted cotton and tied with string?

That, amazingly, is the “fee” they charge at Dodem Kanonhsa, an Elders’ Cultural facility created by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. It’s in a highrise office building, on a busy street with no trees in sight. To step out of an elevator, down a hall and into a peaceful “lodge” is surreal to say the least. I was sure I felt some kind of magic, even though I knew the magic was government funded.

I was about to finally meet Marjory. A friend of a friend of my sister’s had found her “visions” uncannily accurate. Even the other healers at Dodem spoke highly of this special member of the Ojibway First Nation, Turtle Clan.

The New Female Mystics: A Soul’s Code Slideshow

I’m not sure what I expected, having never been “healed” of anything. I had seen televangelists wrap their hands around people’s temples, then yell and throw them across the stage, perhaps shocking a life-altered feeling into them. My two attempts at hypnosis had left me feeling like a fraud because I really “saw” nothing (feeling pressured to have a revelation, I just made something up with my conscious mind).

Marjory was older than me, pretty and soft-spoken, but fairly serious. In contrast I felt ditzy as I tried to explain my general lostness: “I’m not sure why I came to see you. I guess I don’t know where I belong or who I am.”

A story just for me

We were in a large room with decorative wooden floor, walls and ceiling, and a built-in bench lining every wall. A CD was playing soft music and nature sounds, and a small wisp of smoke was rising from near the bright window, where sweetgrass and sage were burning in a metal bowl.

“Did you bring something for me?” Marjory asked.

“Yes!” I unzipped my purse and handed her my little bundle of tobacco. She thanked me, then added the tobacco to the sweet-smelling pile and stoked the hot ashes.

In the middle of the room was a table the size of a gurney, covered with soft blankets and a pillow. She asked me to remove my shoes and lie down.

I closed my eyes. In what I assumed was Reiki-style, she passed her hands over my head, face, neck, torso, arms, legs and feet and was silent for a long while. Then she started to speak. I’ll omit the very long pauses between sentences, but here is my best recollection of what she said:

“I see you arriving from the sky onto this earth as a baby, but you are not ready to be here yet. Someone sets you down on a table, on a beach, by the ocean. And they wrap you up in a sort of stretchy nylon straightjacket. You are struggling to break free. The material isn’t very strong, more like pantyhose, you know? But you are stuck. You try to poke an arm out, or a leg, but you are getting very frustrated. Meanwhile, birds are flying overhead. The sky is big, blue and sunny…

I took a peak at Marjory. Her eyes were closed.

“Several women unwrap you, then they take turns picking you up and holding you, keeping you safely off the earth until you are ready. You weren’t ready to leave the sky. So they hold you, love you, keep you safe for a long time. Then one day when you’re a little older, a toddler, it is time…

“A woman gently sets you down in the sand. You crawl, and you are smiling. You put your ear to the ground and listen. You can hear a herd of buffalo running at a distance, and you are thrilled to feel the rumble of it against your ear. Then you start to run and dance in the sand, looking up at the sky.”

“What I get from this,” Marjory concluded, “is that you have a tremendously strong feeling for the sky. And yet it is still yours. To feel grounded, just look up.”

When I opened my eyes, I felt thoroughly rested and pampered. “So?” Marjory asked. I sat up, got my bearings, and told her about how right she was.

She was delighted to hear that I had written a (not quite finished yet) novel about people with the gift of flight; that I had had such vivid flying dreams as a child that I would wake up breathless, dizzy and convinced that I’d seen my neighbours’ rooftops and my own backyard clear as day; and that as a teenager I didn’t play sports but always found the tallest trees to climb. I was already doing what she had just advised: looking way, way up at the sky, the clouds, the stars, the moon, to be elevated both figuratively and literally. Maybe now I would remember to do it more often.

The subway was just as crowded on the way back home, the city just as chaotic. But again I had a secret. Not a satchel of tobacco this time, but a nugget of some newfound peace.

If these revelations from Marjory were not entirely new, why did I feel so refreshed and clear-headed? What had I gained? The nice feeling of being told something I might have already known but had now been validated. I really wasn’t ready to be on this earth as a child, and did require extra coddling. I could not relate to other kids. I was afraid of everything and everyone. Being picked up and loved and coddled really did help, but also kept me in a straightjacket of dependency. It took me a long time to feel strong and free enough to crawl in the sand alone.

What Marjory did teach me about myself was how it all comes together. I still love the sky – and always take a window seat on an airplane – but am now also firmly planted and have found my place here on the ground. If I am ever lucky enough to feel the vibration of a distant buffalo herd, it will surely drum the message into me more than ever that I belong here.

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2 Comments on “Peak experience: Why I look up to feel grounded”

  1. thanks for sharing your experience with soul's code michelle. very cool to hear about your journey. keep up the amazing writing for the site! i always enjoy reading your stories :)

  2. What a delightful story, Michelle. And it was that much more powerful because you shared details from your personal life.

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