Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life-Changing Encounter

The first little tear was easy to catch with a quick swish of my tongue, but the ones that quickly followed were a bit more difficult to sweep away because they flowed steadily as I sketched the image. Needless to say, I had no problem getting in touch with the emotions from the picture that had come, once the distractions of my mind were put to rest. Fear had no place in this experience! All the earlier clutter of thoughts, fears and judgements dissipated as soon as I was able to focus on the healing music and the gentle invitation that Francis dripped into my heart. All else fell away, except for the pesky tears that arrived in such abundance that I then had to involve the sleeve of my shirt to help capture them. At one point I did become aware of the reality of sobbing in front of the large number of bodies that surrounded me, but after taking a quick peek at them, I understood that they too had their own images to welcome.

I was carefully drawing the distinct image of the yellow cab that had carried my little body to the hospital to meet Dr. Reese. I saw me looking up at the highest skyscraper I had ever seen. I remember trying to capture the deep impotence I was feeling during that cab ride, but I quickly let go of trying to control the look of the image, and instead I was connecting with every emotion I remember experiencing at that time. With the arrival of each emotion came more tears, and I mean more tears. Both sleeves of my shirt were soaked and my nose was then actively participating in the release of my previously imprisoned emotions that had remained all these years in the darkened corners of my memories. I hope you are able to appreciate the image of me drawing an image of me while all sorts of bodily fluids are escaping my body, and I only had my tongue, hands and sleeves to keep these fluids in check.

Francis had again asked us to jot down any words that arrived during our sketching. Oh my, how surprised I was with the flood of words that appeared along with the continuing flood of tears. Overwhelming, the unknown, fear, why me?, alone, so-o small, God?, where am I going?, scary new area, and cancer? were the thoughts and feelings that blanketed the image. With all the physical and emotional release that surrounded me, I look back and think about what had actually kept me seated in my chair. Why hadn't I simply melted into a puddle of tears with a side order of exhaustion?

By the end of that retreat I knew four things for sure...I knew I was grateful for receiving the opportunity to attend the retreat with Suzanne, I knew I needed to save my pennies so that I could make reservations to go on a week-long retreat in California with Francis, I knew that I had been gifted with a loving, safe, spiritually grounded woman who could help me on my journey of growth and change, and I knew that my life would never be the same after those three days with Francis. Thank You God!

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