Returning of the light – the 2017 Christmas Story


On December 7, 2017, the 2 year anniversary (to the day) of being mugged at gunpoint, my car was broken into for the 3rd time. I made the stupid move of leaving my bag (with laptop) in my car for 20 minutes in Temescal, Oakland. I came back to a smashed window and my bag, laptop, $400 cash, $300 worth of oils all gone. Yes, I have appropriately scolded myself for the stupid move of leaving my bag even for 5 minutes in my car, and no, I don’t need anymore lectures on the matter, and actually, I don’t even need sympathy for it, because this isn’t a tale of woe.

This is a Christmas story, with magic, kismet, angels, reindeer, healing, and a happy ending.

December 7, 2017 was the last day of class. We had a closing ritual, for which I brought two very special items with me – a framed photo of my grandmother (the only copy), and a talisman that says “The Art of Feeling Everything.” My grandmother, now passed, I consider to be among my guardian angels, and the talisman is one of many messages of guidance and wisdom that I collected from my tribe on my birthday 3 years ago. I chose this particular message for the ritual, because it has been the most relevant these past few months. After the class and ritual, I got into my car to drive the 2.5 hours back to Grass Valley. But I was so hungry that I couldn’t think straight so I decided to stop at my favorite taco joint in Oakland.

Man, those tacos were delicious. Little did I know they were $1700 kind of delicious.

As I sauntered back to my car, belly full and happy from Cholita Linda, the first thing I noticed was a couple objects laying on the ground behind my car. As I edged closer, I looked to my right and saw the glass on the ground, and air where the glass should be in my passenger window. FUCK. Blood pulsing quickly now, I looked around me frantically. Are they close? Am I safe? Can I chase them down? Can I press CTRL Z on the last 20 minutes, redo, and take my bag with me to get tacos? All these thoughts and no thoughts at all course through me, causing my whole body to shake and vibrate just enough for my knees to feel weak. I looked down at the objects on the ground. It’s the photo of my Grandmother, the frame now a bit broken, but the glass intact, and the “Art of Feeling Everything.” For a reason that I’ll never know, these two magical, sacred items – and only these two – fell out of my bag as the burglars made a run for it.

The next moments were a blur – I looked around wildly, wanting to catch the burglars and also afraid that they were still there. I called the police (100 calls ahead of me, do I want to wait for the cops to come? nope.)

What I clearly remember is I started to feel the whimper of the victim rise up in me. The OH NO! WHY ME?! part of me that feels helpless and powerless and scared. The part of me that would dissolve in a puddle of tears and scarcity fears. I felt the whimper rise from my belly and arrive at my throat. And I paused, something was different. I actually don’t need her. I swallow. I got this.

Instead, the stronger one in me took the reigns: I’m okay. I’m safe. I can take care of myself. I know it will all be okay very, very soon.

So I drove to my friends’ house in Montclair to tape up my window, and regroup. My brother Matthew sat with me to help me “move it forward.”

Spirits, guides, ancestors, what is the gift here? What is the lesson? (besides don’t leave your fucking bag in your car in fucking Oakland) I am listening. I am with you. The tears I let shudder out of me were tears of triumph and relief. Tears of gratitude for my re-found, re-claimed resilience. For so much more of me being present and available to get through the hard times, for all of me that has returned over the past two years, stronger now, more deeply seeded and grounded here on this planet. This was the moment when I realized the true gift my trauma has given me.

This moment of prayer seemed to mark a milestone. I could hear the wise ones around me, telling me I had graduated, asking if they could be the wind to blow away whatever remained of the hardship from 2 years ago. Cheering me on to let it go. Yes. I could palpably feel the breeze blowing through me, disintegrating little bits of fear and entities into the distant skyline of San Francisco, which lay glistening in the night before me.

My dear friend Sage came in then, and we squealed and laughed, and looked at each other in disbelief at the coincidence of the date, and of all that has come to pass in the last 2 years, as a result. “There’s nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends.” (Ani Difranco)

I got in my car and drove home. As I drove, the full wisdom and lesson landed in my head and my heart with almost an audible thud. It was so loud and clear. And its still unfolding, but that’s another story for later…

I am almost home. It is nearly midnight. I pull onto the dark, windy road that leads up to my home, and I see something that makes me jump my foot off the gas and tap the break. On the side of the road, not 10 feet from me, is a massive, stately buck. (Ahem did someone say reindeer?) He is seated, quite regally, and relaxed, hooves tucked neatly underneath him, head (antlers and all) poised proudly as he regards me with sleepy, dare I say relaxed, and confident, eyes. We proceed to have a staring contest for several long, sighing, magical moments. He does not move, but not in that deer-in-headlights kind of way – I mean, he IS a deer in headlights but he’s not frozen in fright. At the time, I knew it was magical, but only now, as I write this, do I fully understand the gift of his message. You can unfreeze now. You can relax. You got this.

A fox, and a rabbit also scampered across my path that night as I climbed the hill to my house. The natural world greeting me home. Back into a warmth and freedom and expanse inside of me.

Over the course of the next few days, I would receive more straightforward messages that my PTSD around the mugging is no longer (or not currently) limiting my life in the ways it has. On my way out of town to Mexico, I got stranded behind the Toy Run, a 1000+ motorcycle ride through Nevada County. Loud motorcycles used to trigger my PTSD. I sat and watched nearly all 1000 of those fuckers pass me by, revving their engines, and had the bandwidth to be annoyed that they were making me late, and go on a hunt for tacos (what is it with me and tacos?). Once in Mexico (mmmm tacos), enjoying a beer on our patio, we were surprised by the sudden spectacle of a firework show. I started to cry, not because it was triggering me, like it had as my first PTSD episode, but because I was able to squeal and oooh and ahhh in delight for the first time in years.

So this is a Christmas Story, one of (guardian) angels and reindeer, of magic, of resilience, of healing. The full circle completion of one of the hardest roads I have walked in this life. The uplevel of the spiral on to the next. The knowing and feeling of my strength and resilience – these are all quite the recipe for a happy ending all on their own – until yesterday afternoon…..

I got a call from the Fremont Police Department. THEY FOUND MY LAPTOP.

When does that EVER happen?

#magic #merrychristmas #happysolstice #returningofthelight

December 21, 2017

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