Sunday Morning Pancakes (Oct 1998)

Seems like so much happens between each writing … each time I sit down to type, I ask myself, “Where do I start? Where am I at in my life? Recently I made the comment to Betty Nickerson, as I drove her to the airport, that I seem to work best while I am in the middle of process. She had remarked on how well the Wise Woman Weekend was organized. I thanked her, for it was a special weekend of incredible networking and educating people that there are choices and the first step is being aware of them. To her and the 160 women who attended, it opened up the possibilities of growth, freedom and love of themselves. For me it was a time to process deeply. With that many woman appreciating and showing their love with hugs and words, it was easy for me to sink into myself, feeling some deeply buried pain that has been inside of me for a very long time. Pain way beyond me, pain of women who have been raped, including my Mom.

I will start at the beginning and try to put into words my understanding of what is happening. As many of you know, I have done five years of intense bodywork and emotional releasing. Each session of release being reflected in my yoga asanas. As I stretch deeply, there is a point in my left shoulder that feels like a knife is cutting me. When I hold the pose long enough, I feel like throwing up. To localize this point of pain, I have had to let go of the many layers of tightness around it, becoming more aware each day of the subtle energy that is in my body. Many times, I have asked my body to let go and release and finally the other night I had a dream which I shall repeat to you later in the story, where something shifted, but first I need to update you on some details.

Five or six years ago, while Mom was visiting Grand Forks, a group of motorcycles pulled up and parked beside her as she walked on the sidewalk. She almost fainted, to the point where a policeman walking by asked if she was alright. What had happened was that this incident brought up an old memory, one that she had forgotten about. I was delighted that she had the courage to tell me about the rape that happened to her when she was 17. Just out of the convent, she had returned home to Portland, Oregon and found a job driving taxi and late one night, a phone call came in to the taxi company; someone wanted beer and pizza delivered to a park nearby and they wanted Tess to deliver it. My Mom being naive and wanting the work said “Yes.” It wasn’t till she parked that she realized it was a group of Hell’s Angels. She was gang-raped for hours and left to die. When she came to and drove home, the only person she could tell was her brother, for you didn’t talk about those things in those days. He grabbed a gun and went looking for the men but they had moved on. Mom didn’t get pregnant but she was badly hurt.

At the time she told me, it was just information; I could sense Mom’s distress but I didn’t feel the pain and neither of us cried. After my Rolf session last month, a small bruise appeared just below my left collarbone, I rubbed and kept loving it. The bruise disappeared in a few days as the pain shifted. During the next week I noticed whenever I breathed deeply, the inside of my lungs hurt and when I lifted small items the pain went down my arm. It then shifted to my sternum, which felt like it had been badly bruised. But life goes on, so I kept my awareness on my breath and how my body was feeling during the business of doing workshops and looking after details of the Wise Woman Weekend. On Sunday after packing up, I could feel intense sadness and the need to be alone, so I begged off going out for dinner with Betty and the organizers and went to bed. Tears came easily and thoughts of my Mom passed through my mind as well as remembrances of things she had said to me as a teenager that never really made sense at the time, like “Never tease a man,” or “Don’t say it unless you mean it.” I would respond with a puzzled look and say “But Mom, I don’t do that.”

After these thoughts passed I let myself become a rag doll, broken and battered and hurt as I cried myself to sleep. I awoke at 10:30 pm to go pee, something I had done all weekend every couple of hours. I had made note then that I was peeing more than usual and I wasn’t drinking that much so I figured that my body was releasing old fear from my kidneys and cell tissues as the energy cleared. As I repeated my dream to myself upon waking, what was happening to my body started to make sense. So now I will tell you about the dream that happened the night before the Wise Woman Weekend started.

The phone rings, it is my Mom, and she needs something…something to do with computers or telephones. I say I will be right over. Gerry and I jump in a vehicle and we start across town. As we go through the downtown core, (it seems bigger than Penticton) I see a commotion, and a woman I know is laying on the sidewalk. As I get closer she raises her head. She is a native woman, and she feels powerless to move. There is a man half-laying and half-sitting to her left side, holding her hand. I sense his powerlessness as he watches what is happening. I sense she is pregnant. I look at her and see her vagina. There is another man clawing at her thighs. I grab his hand and start to bite it. The first man says “I wouldn’t do that, he has pneumonia and it is contagious.” I stop in mid-air, assessing whether I have punctured the skin. Naw, I am okay. Now there is a glass window between me and the threesome. The man starts clawing his way up the woman’s legs again. I knock very hard on the glass as I feel the energy in me bursting out. I say in a loud, stern voice “You never enter a woman’s body without her permission.” A loud round of applause happens as I leave the scene looking at my watch. It is 2:30 am, and it is too late to contact my Mom, so I will try later.

My interpretation of this dream is as follows: the phone is a way to communicate, and this time it is with my Mom. I leave with both parts of myself intact (the masculine and the feminine)… for it is both Gerry and I in the dream. (Please realize that as in all dreams, all the characters are a reflection of the different aspects of myself). When a town seems big, I take it to mean that the issue is bigger than me, it involves community. The lady is my Mom, the native part of myself. Seeing the vagina and the man scratch her thighs expressed the rape and biting the man’s hand was my way to express rage, for when I was very little, I bit hands and everything else I could find. My Mom has had pneumonia more than once, which Traditional Chinese Medicine says is grief stored in lungs. Knocking hard on the glass was a way for me to release energy as I spoke my truth. The most vivid part of the dream was feeling this intense power inside of me. The cheers from the crowd symbolised the joy my dream ego felt as I spoke my truth for all women. Looking at my watch and seeing 2:30 am, could refer to the time when the original incident happened. And once again there was a reminder to communicate with my mom before it is too late.

I am sure there are many levels and many ways to work with a dream that is this intense but I am grateful to be aware enough to know that most of it has to do with clearing up unfinished business. The details will come to me as I am ready.

The front cover photograph is one of Grandad making pancakes on a Sunday morning, one of my favourite times. Mom, my brothers and I sure appreciated having him around. Perhaps another time I shall share some stories about him. I choose this photograph as a reminder that there are sweet times in life and that men are certainly a part of them.

I put time into my release work once a month, when I am least busy here at the Centre — my reward is that after each session I have more energy and can stretch deeper into the yoga asanas. Both my real work and my release work are important to me for I do believe the person who said ” To heal the earth, we must first heal ourselves.”

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