I haven’t been myself.
I’m counting down the days to my two-week Yin Yoga teacher training in Soquel, California. I leave on Sunday (and there’s no wireless so I’ll be maintaining ‘radio silence’). When I return I’ll have three days to prepare for the journey home to Pennsylvania that I’ve put off for twenty-eight years.
I’m understandably distracted. I’ve lost things – my watch, car keys, sanity. And I’ve found things – my watch and keys. The sanity? Not so much. I’ve traded sleep for restlessness and when I do sleep my dreams are vivid. But I’ve always had vivid dreams.
My daily word count has stalled to the point that Cora, Wander and Rose is a file on my desktop last opened eight days ago. Should I be concerned? I don’t think so. My writing process has always included periods of stillness. These next few weeks are not about word count and chapter summaries. They’re about stillness and reflection. They’re about asking questions and finding answers.
At the beginning of the week I began to gather a few things for Soquel. I knew I needed something to record the flashes of…ahem…brilliant insight that arrive in lovely, random ‘aha’ moments. But I didn’t want to lug around the big spiral notebooks I’m fond of. Instead, I decided my little half-filled Moleskine journal would be perfect. I retrieved it from underneath a stack of books and released the band that held the book closed.
The opening entry was dated Christmas Eve, 2007. I remember that Christmas. At the time I was struggling under a difficult living situation but I had put that year – and the next year – far behind me and moved on.
Yet as I thumbed through the buttery pages I saw that my black Moleskine was a record of my resilience. I wrote about applying for an apartment in secret; about packing without raising suspicion; the final verbal and physical assault and my escape. I wrote about it all.
And then the entries stop. Once I moved into my current apartment I had no reason to write for relief. The journal drifts into a series of notes, scribbles and snippets of poems.
Except that we hold more inside than we think. And I record my dreams.
On May 5th, 2010 – months before my decision to travel back east had entered the realm of possibility – I had a dream:
I’m in my hometown, standing in rubble. It is what remains of the house I grew up in. But it is nothing but a rotting shell and broken glass. The air is moist, musty and tinged with green. My former roommate is there, taunting me. They’ve purchased the property and are planning to tear the derelict remains of the house down in order to rebuild. I don’t understand why. I feel bullied and manipulated. The ex-roommate gives me permission to take away anything I can find, but there is nothing to gather. Everything is broken. I ask, “But you’re naming it Mimmosa.” They smile but it is a fixed and empty smile. I wake up.
I closed the journal. Reading the description of the dream brought a rush of emotion. What stood out to me was the phrase “naming it Mimmosa”. At first it seemed like nothing more than a quirky play on my name. But I had a feeling in my bones and Google at my fingertips.
Of course there’s Mimosa the sparkling drink. And Mimosa the flower. But one of the main ingredients of Ayahuasca is Mimosa tenuiflora. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink used by several South American tribes to enhance divination powers and to heal.
Am I manipulating a very tiny coincidence to substantiate my decision to go home? Maybe. If we dig deep enough anything can take on a magical, mystical quality. Everyone remembers the long list of fluky similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
But if it’s possible my subconscious knows what I need to move forward with healing, then I’m going to pay more attention to my dream life. Maybe that’s where the answers are. I’m not interested in being able to foretell the future – it’s challenging enough staying in the present. But healing? Who doesn’t need some wound healing from time to time?