castle_doorI entered the dark, heated room, placed my mat on the floor, and readied myself for another guided meditation class. A circle of candles in the middle was the only light source. Our mats were placed around them, like rays of the sun, our heads at the center.

The instructor began speaking. Her voice was low and smooth and reminded me of dark chocolates.

Lying on my back, eyes closed and hands resting at my sides, my breathing slowed and my body felt weighted to the mat. While some near me began snoring, I began body and soul separation.

I found myself at a door that stood in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t a door to a room or a house, but just a door that stood on its own, like one of those Hollywood movie props. Nothing behind it, nothing on the side of it, just free standing. I opened the door, walked through and entered into a small room. The ceiling was about 10 feet tall and the room wasn’t any larger than 12 x 12. Dark wooden floors held no furniture and the four walls were barren. There were no lights or windows in the room, but my internal clock said it was dusk.

I saw another door across the room and walked over to it. This door was smaller. It was red and rounded at the top and I had to duck my head as I turned the doorknob and stepped through. I suddenly found myself standing at the top of a cobblestone staircase. I was so surprised, that looking down made me a little dizzy. The stairway curved to the right, candles illuminating each step. Grey stonewalls, weathered and cracked, lined the sides. The air smelled musty and its dampness clung to my skin as I began my descent. Two steps down, my chest began to feel heavy, as though a weight was on it, my breathing deepened, and anxiety rose within me.

I knew there’d be another door at the bottom of the steps, red and rounded at the top like the first one, but with a word carved into it. I felt the word before I saw it and wanted to stop, to turn around and make my way out, but the word is what I came for. To see it, read it, breathe it in, and feel it.

Tears fell
I reached the bottom. As I looked at the word, my face felt warm, tears fell from my eyes and ran into my ears. The letters were a foot tall, and arched in black across the red door they read: RELEASE.

I was here. I had to walk through. I took a deep breath and looked down for the doorknob. There wasn’t one. The door slowly opened on its own.

I stepped into a round turret, with books lining half the room and rising several stories up. The reflection of flames danced on the books and I turned to see a stone fireplace on my left, its orange and blue flames dancing inside. The room was warm, inviting, and wise. It was expecting me. The books were filled with stories of people’s lives, their struggles, failures, and triumphs, and its authors were waiting for me. They were all speaking at once and while I couldn’t discern a single wisdom, I felt their support, encouraging me to declare my True Self.

There was an old, leather bound book on a wooden desk in the center of the room, inviting me over. It wanted me to release two names and write them in the book. I resisted the names that came to me, wanting to question them, to pick someone else, but there they were: my mother and my husband.

My husband and I lost each other years ago. We’ve tried to find our way back, but I went one way and he stood still. I refuse to look at life as half empty and must give rise to the light within me or be swallowed up in darkness, I had said.

Years of loneliness, fear, and unfulfillment had manifested itself as rage and rage found other unhealthy ways to soothe itself. I needed to stop running, to let the tears flow and release.

My mother never knew her heart and didn’t know how to teach me to follow mine. I never felt empowered as a child or as a young adult searching for who I was. Old chains tied her, unrealized dreams spread like a cancer, defining her and threatening those around her. It needed to be cut out.

Free-fall into life
I love them both; it’s their energy I bristle at. When you free-fall into life, when you step into faith, the universe wrap its arms around you, putting people and opportunities in your path. To suppress their names and walk away would mean this journey was for naught; it would mean I had come this far just to sit down and quit, and then, I’d have to repeat this weary, empty path again. Seeking freedom, not captivity, I dipped the quill pen in ink and wrote the names. I grabbed a bunch of empty pages, turned them, and wrote my hopes and dreams. Closing the book, I walked around to the front of the desk and stood in the middle of the room.

With my head and back arched, arms outstretched, I looked thirty feet up to a rounded glass dome and the night sky. Moon was big and round and twinkling stars dotted the black sky. I felt my soul begin to rise, but the instructor had me grounded, droning on about the castle. The glass dome opened to my window of opportunity. A soft anxiety began to build within me, as I glanced around the room, ready to float, but felt tethered like Gulliver in Lilliput with all four extremities anchored.

Permission finally granted, I floated up and out of the castle. The stars sparkled bright, the soft wind whispered, and Moon winked as I presented myself to the awaiting universe. I flew around a little, staying close to the turret, the warm air suspending me. Reacquainting myself with old friends, I heard my instructor ask us to open our eyes. I knew if I did, I’d have to leave where I was. I didn’t want to and kept them closed, feeling one with the universe.

She asked us to wiggle our fingers and toes, to open and close our jaws, and to move our heads from side to side. High above the rest of the class, I felt obligated to return. I tucked a little of Moon inside my heart and came back to my mat.

With each guided imagery class, I’m ahead of the instructor. Tonight, I knew there was a red, round door before she told us and that the door to the turret room was the same, yet smaller, and I had to duck my head to go through it. I knew about floating out through the glass dome and into the night sky. My soul was leading me on a journey and I was eager to follow.

I went into the locker room, took a Q-tip® from the jar and cleaned the tears from my ears.

“What’d you think?” my instructor asked, as I walked towards the lobby desk, “Were you able to relax?’

I looked at her for a moment and just smiled.

“Yes,” I simply said.

I’ve since rocked the foundation of my relationships. Lost my home, my credit, and it’ll be okay, because to deny my soul its path is to deny the very thing I seek: my place in the Universe.

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Pamela Smith holds degrees in Nursing and Communication and is an active member at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. She is a storyteller.

8 COMMENTS

  1. YOU ARE AN AMAZING PERSON!!! So many insights and on so many levels. Almost surreal how much talent, wisdom and intuitiveness you possess. Please share more. I need people like you to help me walk my walk. I crave your kind of sharing. The world needs your passion and evolution. Thank you for your vulnerability and courage!

  2. I second everything Lynn has said! I love this. I’m there with you through every step and felt the suspense that you must have felt while meditating. Write more!

  3. your courage, honesty, vulnerability and insight demand applause and reflection. Thank you for inviting many of us to listen well to the journey we share together.

  4. Stunning! Your story had me there with you, talking into the heart and feeling your joy, pain, release and beauty! Thank you, keep them coming!!

  5. “My mother never knew her heart and didn’t know how to teach me to follow mine.” A nice insight that is probably all too common.

  6. Pamela takes me through to my own dark places, then I walk through the doors alongside her as I read “Release”. When I arrive, I cry loud and hard.I admire her talents as I have heard her story telling before. She is amazing in her ability to share her many experiences through her writings.

  7. Pamela needs to write a book so her writings and great story telling can reach more people. I think everyone can draw from her descriptions. She will be o.k., she has learned to ” no longer deny her soul ” May we all get to that point.

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