and the Cosmos
The soft grassed-over drive next to the cabin was level and clear of obstructions except for a tall established hedge of dark pink rosa rugosas along its left side. If you could steer your bicycle, the hedge wasn’t a concern, but if you couldn’t, well, a prickly fate awaited. Grandma couldn’t steer.
And yet, we were always hopeful that just one more after-dinner-summer’s-eve bike lesson would do the trick and some sort of miracle would enable Grandma to conquer the bicycle beast and navigate a straight line on her own. Holding our breath as we steadied, then released her with a firm push we shouted our encouragement and watched as she took off, teetered, veered, and inevitably crashed, sometimes into the hedge. We would fly to her rescue with shrieks of laughter, get the bike and Grandma upright and give it another go. No one laughed harder than she laughed. Grandma was the best sport.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” commands the first line of the Doxology aka Old 100 in the Methodist hymnal, the song sung at every single family gathering of my childhood. I loved singing the hymn and God was all right as far as I could tell, but in my young world the blessings actually flowed from my grandma Grace. She was love incarnate.
Always ready for a round of Chinese checkers, Monopoly, a game of catch in the back yard (she caught softballs with her knees), a master candy and pie maker, singer of songs, Grace deserved the Best Grandmother in the World Award in my book. On top of it all, she made you feel special.
Years later and not feeling in the least bit special, I sat in a therapist’s office and listened as she suggested I try something called Holotropic Breathworkto ‘put some miracle grow’ on my therapeutic progress she said. Content with patient plodding, I listened anyway. A Holotropic Breathwork workshop experience involved lying on a mat in a room with other people lying on their mats, listening to a three-hour soundtrack that carried you through a variety of sonic environments with drumming, chanting, more drumming, choral singing, different drumming, flutes, shouts and whale song. All participants breath rapidly and deeply as the dramatic music fills the air and, if all goes well, launch into their respective journeys of altered consciousness.
“No!”, I blurted. “No way!” Never a big fan of altered states, I had assiduously avoided dropping or eating any psychedelics in spite of being a child of the ‘60’s. I was sure that I would lose my mind. The only time I wished I had had some Mellow Yellow was at a Grateful Dead concert stone-cold sober. I would’ve done anything to escape that scene! However, I eventaully overcame my skepticism decided to try a workshop though not without trepidation. Little did I know that I was going to voyage to the cosmic source of specialness. It turned out to be the trip of a life time.
Lying on the floor breathing hard and fast, I began to move out into the cosmos through waves and waves of stars rolling through the darkness, leaving my constricted temporal awareness behind me on my little purple yoga mat. Traveling up, up, up through infinite space and time, I was aware of a delicious longing to get to wherever I was going in amongst the endless swirls of stars. Incomprehensible joy saturated my being. Everything around me hummed in ecstasy. I hummed in ecstasy. The cosmos was overjoyed at my arrival and welcomed me home. I was at the fountainhead from which all blessings flow. I felt whole, valued, adored and special, drenched in universal love.
From that point onwards I never looked at my world in the same way. I now saw that the beautiful, old gal riding a bicycle into a thorny rose hedge on a summer evening amidst peals of laughter was in fact a humble channel of cosmic love. I knew I wanted to be like her. Maybe you do too. I understood that we are all valuable and adorable and loved regardless of being told otherwise by an upside-down world.
When was the last time you felt special? I doubt that any of us feels special often enough. I know I don’t. So, how about we think of every day as National I Am Special Day? Or at least do something for ourselves right now! Maybe stand in front of a mirror, look deep into our eyes, past the hipster, past the critic, past the skeptic to our sweet inner softie and channel Grace and the Cosmos.
“You! Yes, you! You are very special.”
“A highly experiential method, Holotropic Breathwork combines breathing, evocative music, focused release bodywork, mandala drawing & group sharing. By activating the unconscious and mobilizing blocked energies, this work gives us access to all levels of human experience and activates the spontaneous healing potential of the psyche.” from the Breathworks Northwest web-site.
Deep, beautiful truth, and a great piece of writing!
I remember Aunt Grace. She was an important part of my childhood, and was indeed Love and Happiness incarnate.