Update ... working on new post (March 10, 2012)
THE MAGICAL YEAR OF '8'
THE MAGICAL YEAR OF '8'
My eighth year of being on the planet was a magical time and I will describe here one of the strangest thing that ever happened to me.
They say that children are born open to experiences and knowledge that we outgrow as we age and become socialized by our environment. These are things which are typically attributed to having a vivid 'imagination' and an assumption that if it's ignored, we will just outgrow it.
I'm not sure what we're so afraid of that this thinking is justified. I suppose it's partly because there's still a stigma attached to declaring a belief in things we can't see or explain - the woooh woooh theory. As parents who are trying to protect our children from being shunned and singled out by bullies, we encourage them to not share their experience, coaxing them into believing that it was just a dream. What about the imaginary friends they have conversation with? We fear what we cannot explain - denial helps us to feel normal.
I've read that we begin to forget the magic after age 8 and isn't that a shame? (this book "Magical Child) discusses raising our children, without losing that magic.
What would happen if we encouraged children to access and develop 'other world' knowledge and abilities? Would we grow up to enjoy unlimited access to 3rd and 4th dimensions or does this progressive fogginess develop regardless. If the latter is true, why does it occur?
The Journey Begins
Late one night my father woke my sister and me to tell us to start packing everything we owned into a wooden trailer I'd never seen before. We were urged to move quickly and, because we were not allowed to question our parents, we worked silently until it was time for us to leave - it felt like we were saying good-bye.
He drove us out of the city under the night sky for reasons unknown. Mom and I rode in the front seat with dad, while my sister was uncomfortably, jammed into the back with belongings and Buddy, my best friend, a black American cocker-spaniel. By mid-afternoon we had pulled into a campground and pitched a tent. I wrongly assumed we must be on some kind of vacation and, being a kid with no voice to ask, I quickly learned to adapt to this new situation.
After a few days of fishing for our dinner and breakfasts consisting of charred toast and warm, powdered milk that hadn't completely dissolved, we packed up the trailer and headed further north.
I silently watched civilization disappearing behind us and recall walls of high, smooth rock that lined both sides of the Chapleau Highway. Whenever possible I'd roll down the window to breathe in the heady, green scent of the dense, never-ending forests we passed. I love trees and would come to know them as silent keepers of scary secrets.
My father delivered us to an isolated, 3 room house on acres of prime timberland in the middle of nowhere. Initially, there was no electricity or running water. He had to dig a well, but we never did get indoor plumbing, which meant hauling daily buckets of water for washing dishes and laundry my mother had to scrub by hand on a ribbed wash board. Even our weekly baths taken in a large, galvanized tub. The task of emptying chamber pots fell to me rain or shine.
Eventually, we did get hydro, but with frequent power outages, supplemental lighting by kerosene lamps was necessary - I loved the shadows they cast on the walls and made shadow puppets as a source of entertainment for hours.
One of the best memories that I can still conjure up instantly, is the yeasty aroma of the slightly charred loaves of bread mom baked in the cast-iron, wood stove. Nothing has come close since.
We were completely isolated from our nearest neighbours so having a friend to play with was a rare occurrence outside of school days. I believe being alone so much probably helped me to develop an acute sense of imagining.
My sister was 5 years older so she had other kinds of chores and would have had no interest in playing with an 8 year old. So, Buddy and I became best friends and playmates. I loved running through the fields pretending to be a cavalry soldier running from Indian war parties, or catching frogs in the pond. On melancholy days, I'd sit under the big maple tree that hung above the water and talk to the horse that we boarded for one of our neighbours. He was a very, good listener and when I would cry, he'd look into my eyes and I believed he understood.
But it was the woods that held a special interest. Buddy was always an enthusiastic co-adventurer and we would make the most of our exploration time there. Some days I'd pack a peanut butter sandwich and cookies for us and we'd run off to our favourite spot atop a mossy cliff overlooking a crystal clear stream. I can recall the memory of its icy pureness as it trickled through the fingers of my cupped hand.
When we tired, Buddy and I would rest on the mossy rock that allowed us a view of the water's activity. If we waited long enough we would see the beaver return to work on his twiggy dam or enjoy the sight of a deer drinking from the opposite bank of the stream.
She Brought Magic Into My Life
These are only a few of the things that contributed to the most magical time of my childhood. My third grade teacher, Miss Mortimer, played a significant role. It wouldn't have meant the same if I'd been aware of it then, but she was only 18 years old when she came to teach at the one-room country school house. I can't really explain it, but when she smiled at me, I felt loved and special. More importantly, I felt safe there with her. She praised my writing and even rewarded me with a prize for something I wrote and encouraged me to write more. I never forgot her.
Getting to My Magical Moment
I feel that all of these things led up to and contributed to the event I want to share now. I often went within to escape and to entertain myself. I don't know why or how it happened, but it did.
Mom and I were the only ones at home when it happened. She was standing at the kitchen sink with her back to me. I could see her, over the half wall that divided the kitchen from the small, living room, where I stood on top of the ottoman.
I was pretending to be Superman. Sometimes I was Pocahontas but not today. I had tied a tea towel around my neck to serve as my cape, picturing it fluttering behind me as I flew off to save the world. I became perfectly still, planting my feet apart for balance on the ottoman. I extended both arms straight out in front of me and quietly focused on becoming my Superman persona.
Then suddenly, without any seeming effort on my part, I began to lift up into the air. I recall how excited I was as I floated out into the room. I was really flying. I was being Superman! I began yelling at mom to look at me, but she just kept washing the dishes.
"Uh-huh, I see you." She responded.
"Mommy, look at me, I'm flying, I'm flying...!"
I was happy beyond words as I enjoyed my thrilling ride through the small, living room, but I wanted mom to see me. I should make it clear that I wasn't actually flapping my arms, nor was I moving very fast. My arms were still straight out in front of me, and I was really floating more than flying. I seemed to have control and I was determined to 'fly' into the kitchen to show my mother.
I kept chattering about the fact that I was flying as I made my way through the LR and into the kitchen, keeping an eye on my mother as I approached her left side. As I floated up to her, I grabbed her apron and tugged.
"Look mommy, look at me!" I urged.
"Yes, I see you honey." She answered. But she wasn't looking down at me. I remained floating by her side and tugged harder on her apron.
With a sigh, she finally turned her head.
"Okay, I see you."
What did she mean, she saw me? She wasn't looking down at me. What was she looking at? So, I followed her gaze, but it felt like everything was in slow motion. As my eyes took in what my mother was seeing, there was an instinctive response deep inside of me. I knew that I was right there beside my mother, floating in the air. But, what I was looking at was not what I knew to be true.
I was in the kitchen with my mother, but I was looking at myself standing on the ottoman in the living room. My arms were stretched out in front of me, eyes wide open and completely motionless. In that moment, I experienced a 'knowing' that felt wizened beyond my 8 years. I was not who I thought I was.
As I was experiencing this realization, I knew I had to return to my physical body. I began to move towards the living room and within seconds I was back where I'd started from. I stepped down off the ottoman and went into the kitchen to ask my mother what she'd just seen.
"Did you see me flying?"
"Yes, I did."
"What did you see?"
"Why are you asking me what I saw? You were pretending to be Superman and you were standing on the ottoman with your arms out like you were flying. I saw you there. Why?"
"I just wondered," I replied quietly and went outside to find Buddy.
Who Do You Share This With?
It was decades before I retold that experience to anyone and rarely was I believed. And, it never happened quite like that again. As an adult, I came close to lifting out of my body a few times, but always while lying in bed. I would suddenly be aware of a great roaring noise that grew louder and louder, like the roar of a jet engine. Then my body would begin to vibrate and I'd feel this pulling sensation - as though I was being sucked up from the bed. In both cases, when I became consciously aware of it happening, I felt terrified and it would just abruptly stop. It felt like I just dropped back into my body.
Who can explain these things? I can't, but I've read a lot about it over the years, trying to find an explanation and wondering if others had had a similar experience. It turns out that lots of people have, worldwide. It's what is referred to as an 'out-of-body-experience." How it happens so spontaneously and why, No one seems to really know. Apparently, there are specific things you can practice to make it happen, and though I'm always open to ideas and experiences that are unexplained, I'm also afraid of the possibility of not being able to return to my body.
What I came to believe, as a result of that particular experience during that magical time of my childhood, is that there's more to us than our physical being. I saw the 'shell' of my body existing in the same room as the 'knowing' me.
What my 8 year old self knew in an instant of realization without knowing the 'why' of it, was that my body is definitely not all of 'me.' Perhaps it's simply a vehicle designed to contain whatever it is that exists as 'me,' and that this 'etherial, intelligent energy' goes on without our physical self when our time here ends and we go on to have a new experience beyond this one.
I only know that I am open to the possibility of anything because I know what I know..
Here's something to ponder. I came across this video (poor quality) when 'Googling' pictures to include in this posting. The search for a 'flying girl,' brought up this video. It could be fake of course, but I remain open to the possibilities - it kind of reminded me of what I do in my 'flying dreams.' Look for yourself..