Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Headlong into the wind....

(our newly remodeled home office)

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I've had a rough time of things regarding my career. This year marks my last year at my current institution, and I admit that I am facing the beginning of the year with a great deal of trepidation.

It will not be easy.

Let's face it, it will be an extremely stressful situation, to go in every day with a smile pasted on my face, pretending that I have not a care in the world. Just thinking about going back has had me sleepless or with nightmares for weeks now.

Meanwhile, I need to figure out where I go from here.

That's not to say that I don't have ideas, or haven't been thinking about options.

Believe me, I have.

Life, however, must cooperate with my dreams. So this year, I need to be extra sensitive to the opportunities that avail themselves to me, and grab for the golden ring. In fact, one particular opportunity made itself known to me just this week, as if a sign from above. I will be following up on that avenue, rest assured!

I know that I will overcome this bump in the road.

And I know this, because I have the greatest support system in the world, waiting for me at home.

And this is how I will make it through this year.

With a newly remodeled home office space, to make working pleasurable!

And with these smiling faces and warm cuddly bodies to help make the world disappear, if even for a few hours each night.

Our sweet, adorable Miss Scarlett...

And our old man, Monte, who I swear is at least 50% cat himself...

(and our two elder cats, who remain a bit camera shy....Sulu and Lucy).

I will endure. I will survive.

And I will thrive.

Thanks to the ones who've got my back. Oh, and of course, most of all to the best warm cuddly body of all, who can always make me smile.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hana's Story

(my sketch of Hana)

This must needs be a multiple part post. It's a bit unnerving to me, to write about Hana, because it is so close to my soul. She is so much a part of me, that it is like exposing myself when I write about her.

But I promised, so here goes.

Hana's story is complex.

I have written here before about my Holocaust dreams, dreams that started when I was a child of only about 4 years old. Over and over again, I dreamt horrible things, images of the atrocities of the Holocaust. When I began to have these dreams, I had no idea what the Holocaust was, or what any of the dreams meant. I only knew they frightened me, and that I felt as if they were not merely dreams, but memories.

But how could they be memories?

As I grew older, I began to understand what I had been experiencing. It was not until I was in my mid-30s, however, that I comprehended their full significance.

I was having dreams from a past life.

The first past life that I fully uncovered was that of Rachel, a Russian Jewish woman, who was killed in a pogrom in Russia in the 1890s. She was married to a man named Yakov, and they had a beautiful daughter, Sarah, who also perished that day in the pogrom, despite Yakov's efforts to save them.

As I began to delve deeper into my past life experiences, I re-discovered Hana.

(The town square at Kazimierz-Dolny)

Hana was a 10 year old little girl, from the town of Kazimierz-Dolny in Poland. This was a quiet market town, about 2 hours outside of Krakow. She had a lovely life before the war, adored her father and was the apple of her mother's eye. They had a small farm and her father sold milk and produce in the town square every week.

One night, as I opened myself up to her memories, a flood of names rushed at me. I believe that her last name was Skibiskova, or something similar. She also was very fond of a man named Pulli Eckstein, from the village, who served a grandfatherly role for her. Her father, Wladek played the violin, and her mother Elsabet was a strong woman with broad shoulders and a huge heart. Her maiden name was Rawkow.

Their life was peaceful and calm, until the Nazis arrived.

Her family was rounded up, along with all the other Jews in the area, and sent to the camp at Maidanek, where Hana would perish in the gas chambers. She was captured by two Ukrainian brothers, Anton and Marko Danilovich, who were aiding the Nazis with the persecution of the Jews.

Once in the transport, Hana was ripped from her parents, and she became frantic to find them again. At the camp, a female Nazi SS guard took Hana roughly by the hand and began to walk her down the Black Path towards the gas chamber. Hana had her red ball in her hand, but dropped it along the way and was worried about finding it again. Inge, the guard, distracted Hana, singing songs and telling stories, and promising that Hana would find her parents once more at the end of the walk.

Instead, Hana found blackness.

Hana would perish, along with about 100 other young women, in a gas chamber at the back of the camp.

The dreams I had, starting with age four, were all various versions of Hana's memories. Most of them revolved around a huge door being shut on me, and my screaming in fear at the guards who were closing them. I also had repeated dreams about dying inside the gas chamber. This is most likely the source for my claustrophobia.

All of these memories came to me, repeatedly, before I made my trips to Poland and to the camps. Once there, especially at Maidanek and at Kazimierz-Dolny, I felt Hana everywhere. These experiences only solidified my conviction that I was Hana. Over and over again, I saw what she saw, felt what she felt, experienced what she experienced. And, ultimately, as I stood on the grounds of Maidanek, I knew when, where, and how she perished.

Her story has come out in bits and pieces, in the form mostly of poetry, which I will share here on this blog. And more of her story will also emerge, as I haltingly begin to let the memories tell themselves here.

Please help me remember Hana, and all the Hanas of the Holocaust, to ensure that such tragedy may be prevented from ever happening again.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Taking Care of the Self

Lately, my dreams have been out of control.

I usually have vivid, detailed, and often bizarre dreams that are filled with meaning, and I learned long ago to listen to my dreams and what they are telling me.

Lately, though, I'm being overwhelmed by them.

Though the subject of the dreams varies, the underlying meaning does not: my life is out of control.

To the outsider, nothing is noticeable. Life goes on, and I seem calm, collected, and on top of things.

And for the moment, this is true.

But my need for long-term control is driving me nuts. Because, as I've written about here earlier, as of May I will not have a job. And that knowledge is driving me insane.

So much so that I am driven to control the aspects of my life that I can, indeed, control.

For instance, it explains my rabid desire to finish painting this summer before I go back to school. Originally, once I had finished the TV room, guest room, and bath and hallway in the basement, I was going to take a break from painting until at least Christmastime.

But now I have a bee in my bonnet to paint our office. You see, it's the last room I can paint on my own, without hiring someone, in our house. So, now I want it done.

Because it's something I CAN DO and thus I can control the outcome.

It's not fear, really, that is getting me. I have this sense that, ultimately, things will work out and I will be fine and that I will be meant to move in whatever direction comes next.

It's the uncertainty, though. That's what gets me.

I hate not knowing.

I hate not being able to determine my own path.

And my dreams keep reminding me that, in fact, I do not. For instance, the other night, I dreamt that I was in charge of getting a living history display up and running in a neighboring town. I was in a van with several others, driving full tilt down a highway over the mountains, with the doors of the van flung open and us struggling to keep inside. Behind us followed a Canastoga Wagon pulled by 6 horses, and a hitch team of a variety of farm animals (including pigs, goats, cows, and a mule). As we came down the mountain, suddenly it was covered with snow (lots of WHITE imagery in my dream - highly significant) and the wagon lost control and wound up plowing into the bank and flipping over. The animals behind were in danger of being crushed.

The interpretation of this dream is simple: the items in my charge were wildly out of control and there was nothing I could do about it.

So, the question is how I can wrap my brain around this dilemma and move beyond it. Obviously, I have MONTHS to go before I will know where my life will lead me next. How do I ease my troubled mind and let go of this need to control?

I think I am finding the answer, right where it has always been, in the pool. As I swam yesterday, I let myself go and let the water support me, let it take me where I needed to go, and let its energies fill my soul.

The angst is still there, admittedly, but its power is lessened. Hopefully, with more time in the water, I'll become strong enough to let go of the control completely and go where life needs me to be.

How will you take care of yourself today?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another spiritual visitor

(my sketch of Elena)

I have been thinking a lot about Hana, since I promised that I would tell her story here.

Hana's story is, in many ways, my own story. You see, I was Hana in a former life.

So her story hits me very very close to home. It is highly emotional to experience and retell it.

So, her story is reluctant to come to physical form.

In the mulling and thinking, however, I opened myself up to the other side. And last night I had another encounter, one that I am able to talk about now.

Last night, I met Elena.

I can always tell when spirits will contact me. I get very restless, and edgy. I feel as if I need to write, but don't know what. And the room gets cold.

Last night, it started with a face in my mind. A woman, probably in her 50s, with long black hair, dark eyes, and strong angular features. Elena's face. Her face was so vivid in my mind that I had to draw her.

I am not an artist. Not by a long shot. Mostly, I draw stick figures and flowers.

But I had to draw Elena. (I have also drawn Hana...but that will wait for her own post).

I drew the sketch and felt something so powerful from it that I had to share it with my friend, who also has psychic abilities.

She, too, was deeply drawn to the image.

Then, I sat back, and opened myself up to see what would come.

The first thing I saw was a small, white-washed cottage nestled in the deep snow. There was a tendril of smoke coming from the chimney, and all was quiet all around.

I could feel the cold and hear the crunch of snow beneath my feet. I smelled the wood smoke coming from the chimney.

I was alone.

I was Elena.

I/She was watching the cottage, closely, and I could feel her sadness. I/She was yearning for something there, inside.

Suddenly, I/she was running, being chased. Tried to run, but fell, tripped on an exposed tree root. I/she cried out, but there was no one there to hear. No one helped her.

And then.... she was .... cold. Gone.

But within that memory lay another one. A memory of Boris. Her man. I saw him carry her into the cottage in her arms, both of them happy and laughing. Her arms were wrapped around his neck and she kissed him as they entered.

Happier times.

Elena had been looking for Boris, hoping he was still at the cottage.

He wasn't.

It was 1917. Russia, outside Minsk, I think.

Elena was killed by Revolutionaries. Boris was in hiding from these same men.

She was searching for him.

Elena didn't realize she was dead. She has been searching for Boris all this time, camped out in front of that little cottage in the snow, getting colder and colder, and waiting for him to return.

I called my encounter last night a "psychic wrong number."

Elena was looking for Boris, but got me instead. I helped her come to understand that she had passed, and so had Boris, and that she needed to let go and accept it.

Some spirits have a hard time with the passing over. They don't quite understand how to do it.

Last night, I helped Elena make the transition.

And hopefully, once she did, she was reunited with Boris again.