I was hurting. I was downtrodden. I had lost both my implants to a series of infections and was recovering from 3 surgeries in less than 3 months after chemotherapy was done. I was still slick bald, even though I should have had a bit of hair already. My chest was what I called a mangled mess. I was having to face the reality of losing my breasts in a whole new way, as I was seeing a stage of reconstruction I wasn’t really supposed to have seen. Our friends threw a party for us, a fundraiser for the extra medical bills we had acquired and for time that I needed to take off work, to lick my wounds and try and make some sense of all that had happened. My friend and drag artist, Paul, performed at the house party. He pulled me aside to tell me that he had never heard me use a word like “mangled” before, speaking of my beautiful self. In so many words, he explained to me that the essence of me couldn’t be broken, and the essence of me could not be mangled, could not be so easily snuffed out. The essence of me did not rely on outside factors like breasts or hair or anything of the sort. What the essence of me is is beauty personified and a spiritual expression. I was onto him enough to know that he wasn’t speaking of a generic idea of letting my light shine or whatever, he was speaking of an outward expression of something more magnificent than a light. He was speaking of self presentation. He was speaking of painting and decorating myself to be seen in any way possible, and it being a true authentic expression of me, but just as I was onto his concept, I didn’t believe it applied. He doesn’t understand me, I thought, a biological woman doesn’t want to wear falsies to present as having breasts, or wigs to present as having hair. I bucked the idea that we were the same in this regard, because I was attached to a concept of being a “natural” beauty, of having lost something that made me fit into the categorization of a natural born woman. I appreciated his concern and his advice and his love and his words of encouragement, but I was only hearing the “you are beautiful on the inside” type of shit that people always say. Years later it would suddenly spark something within me. The seed he planted grew and fruited into consciousness. I wasn’t meant to understand his words in the linear timeline of my hearing them. I was meant to integrate that knowledge later on, when I had done the heavy lifting, when I had finished wallowing in my self pity and in my pain and when I had gritted my teeth and eaten the proverbial shit. Not until then was I finally able to kick up my heels and swipe on my lipstick and tape hair on my head and say “OHHHHH, I totally 100% get what you are throwin’ down, and now I know it’s true because I am living embodiment of it”.
The first time I was cognizant of the concept of non linear healing was when I started integrating lessons from conversations I had with my friend Sabrina when she was alive. I had been a 21 year old kid, angry about the war we were starting in Iraq. Angry about the Presidential election, about homophobia, about racism. I was angry about the world and the general malaise toward the oppressed in general. And she spoke to me on the phone, between my fits of rage, about how change starts with me. A bunch of nonsense (I thought at the time) about actively and passively disregarding the larger picture and starting with the healing of my own vibration. Something about the universe not really accepting sides, but reacting to the vibration of the energy that we put out. Total bullshit, I thought. I thought how can you sit there and say that, as someone who is for social change? As someone who is for social justice? As someone who is oppressed? As someone who loves the oppressed? I fought against the notion, and actively disregarded her message. It was planted though,because it was true. And then I found myself, 9 years later, about a year after her death, integrating the truth of this piece of advice into my psychic awareness. I was seeing that making a bunch of noise wasn’t really effective if it wasn’t coming from a place of stillness inside, of knowing who you really are on the inside, or of at least having a curiosity of your inner landscape, of listening in, reflecting in, pointing the finger back in. I was seeing that my example of peace was shifting others perceptions toward me. I was seeing that I was able to stir change in people’s hearts by loving myself, by loving them, and by leading with love in my communication. By no means was I a master at this concept, but I started to preach it, and it felt as though my teacher was right there with me in the teaching and integrating of it. Her love of crystals and her studies of the witchy kinds of things that I am into now feed into what I am learning today. They were concepts that were kind of on the fringe of my consciousness for a very long while, always being kind of aware of them and respecting of them and curious of them, but not really immersed in them at all. Little by little and then big by big they started taking center stage of my consciousness. With each further dive into these modalities for healing she is here with me, soaking up the deliciousness of what there is to be found. There truly is an element of a friendship, of communion that can extend beyond this physical plane. One of us is living on this plane, and the other is not. It is unconscious connection that we are making.
I do something similar with Virginia Woolf. I light a candle for her. I serve an offering of tea. I roll her a smoke. I pace and I smoke and I talk to her, as I imagine she might have done with her own guides, as she was working out the problems of her craft. I read aloud passages from her diary. She answers my questions. She gives me ideas. She gives me inspiration. She encourages me to try putting words to an unconscious experience. She talks to me, she guides me to sink into my third eye and sit with her. It is not her persay, personified, that sits there, but there is a sense that a shared consciousness is being tapped into. That by studying her so intently and by embodying her spirit and simply gesturing in ritual an invitation to sit, I am invoking her wisdom, because her wisdom could not have died along with her. Her wisdom was not in her body, her wisdom came from somewhere else. The ether. The underworld. The spirit world. The collective consciousness. She used language to describe it. She used language to tell stories. She used language to heal herself through those stories. And through those stories she heals me. And I offer to pick up where she left off, to harness some of the concepts and explain them in my own words, within the context that I live in. And when I say I love her and that she loves me, it is not a physical love that would exist between two people who know one another. It is not the love of girlfriends or of niece/aunt like I had with Sabrina. It is what we name Love that keeps things moving. The thing that helps things grow. The thing that inspires creation. It is in that concept of love that my tutorship with her resides. I learn from her because I ask the questions, and she has written the answers down, and on a deeper level than ink and paper there is a mysterious thread of consciousness that can not be broken, can not be mangled, can not be snuffed out. This place of knowing is where and how I hear her.
I did something similar with my Bible when I was a child. Confused and hurt by my parents’ divorce, I sought healing. I had questions about commitment, failure in relationships, familial love, romantic love, betrayal. I would sit in the floor of my bedroom and I would talk to “GOD” and I would flip though the Bible, as a divinatory source, and I would ask a question and hope to read the answer. I would randomly read the page and I would apply it to my problem. I see this as the same thing that I do with my VW diaries, or with my Tarot cards. I am asking a question to the spiritual ether, and I am drawing on my own unconscious mind, using a tool to reflect back what the truth is. I hold the truth inside me, be it God. Be it Source. Higher or Divine Consciousness. That thread of consciousness, call it what you may.
I sometimes put more common names to this consciousness, such as My Inner Child, speaking in the context of a linear past. My IC is who I tap into now, to heal those parts of myself that gave up trying to use the tools, that abandoned her own healing because she started to distrust the information that she was receiving. She began to distrust the truth of the thread of higher consciousness that informed her. She began to distrust god and religion because other people were using their interpretations of the same tools, to tell her that she was wrong and dirty and bad. She went the way of wrong and dirty and bad and took pride in it, not knowing what else to do. And let’s be real…we all have wrong and dirty and bad within us. It is part of the higher consciousness too. It doesn’t need to be labelled for its own sake. We feel the need to label it, as humans, we want to categorize everything. So when this lovely little Shondi started flailing out in the world and many experiences went unintegrated, many hurts went unhealed, because she had fallen out of trust with her higher mind. She had fallen out of trust and fallen out of communion with that voice, that spirit, inside that was always there to be her compass. I started experimenting with tapping into My Inner Child, even speaking to her, from her station on the floor of her bedroom, through her bible, and giving her another signal that what she is divining is true. That what is being reflected back at her, out of her purest and deepest desires to know herself better, is true. And I am able to arrive at this present moment, stronger and more resolved, more loved, more secure and more confident, because I went back to hold her for a moment, to whisper in her ear. And I know that my future self will do the same for me, and so on and so forth.
In essence, I think learning to trust my intuition is cultivated from an awareness around energetically tuning in. I am more acutely aware of those times when I have a gut feeling or reaction to something, and have a mysterious sense that this will be useful to me, that this moment is helping to define an aspect of my truth, if not immediately but in the linear future, when I will integrate it more fully. Examples of when this has happened to me is picking up my first Yoga Journal, years before I started practicing yoga, and saving it, even moving with it from apartment to apartment. An acute awareness of the possibility of someday being bald as I curled my long hair, that voice inside of me clearly asking me to love and revel in this moment, almost exactly one year before I was diagnosed with cancer. The moment I lit Kayla’s cigarette, the first night we met, the woman I would marry three years later. In these little glimpses of recognition, synchronicities, and in deja vu moments when I know I have been here before, in this exact scenario in this place that I have only just first arrived on this timeline, I am learning to trust as intuition.