Excerpts from
The Future That Brought Her Here

My dream placed me in an underground tunnel with mud walls. I began to see the outline of a woman covered in clay. With our eyes closed, the group followed me deeper into the cave. The feeling was overwhelmingly claustrophobic, but I crept along the mud floor until I knew instinctively a spot along the wall where I must begin digging. To my surprise, for this was long before my interest in the Black Madonnas, my active imagination uncovered a black African woman, very proud and strong. She was an object, yet she felt alive.. Though she seemed thoroughly other, my emotional attachment to her was immediate. I ended the session with the statement that I knew she had been walled in for a very, very long time.

*

I remembered Carl Jung's comments to Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung told him his problem was not psychological; it was spiritual. His thirst was for "spiritual fulfillment." I recalled that in the 19th century, alcoholic drinks were referred to as "spirits" and realized that the huge population of drug and alcohol abusers on the planet were not just suffering from what might be genetic tendencies, but also from a thirst for what the fast-paced, materialistic, superficial culture had practically eradicated, deep connections to spirit and soul. I too wanted to get out of my own skin, to get out of this world, to go outside my mind.


*



From Chapter One, A Wrinkle in Time

In Spiritual Emergencies non-ordinary states of consciousness develop spontaneously for unknown reasons in the middle of everyday life . . .

--Stanislav Grof, The Cosmic Game

All heartbreak stories are more or less the same and mine was not exceptional. One morning in the fall of 1984, a period I refer to as “the heartbreak initiation,” I woke up crying. It usually took me a few minutes to realize I was awake and then to remember my heavy sorrow. The man I loved and had been happy with for the last several years, I’ll call him C., had fallen in love with someone else. I handled the revelation without much dignity--crying, arguing, raging like a Medusa--but many months into the separation, I was still suffering acutely. I wasn’t particularly young. I already had one divorce behind me. My life had already been a series of heights and abysses, but I was in mid life now and, although I didn't know it, this was to be my most important crisis.

Maybe I had a dream bad enough that I forgot it immediately, but my face and pillow were wet from crying. I wiped my eyes, sat up, and looked around my bedroom astonished. It was as if I had gone to bed in one room of the house and awakened in another. I imagined I was hallucinating. But why?

Three years earlier, I had moved upstairs to a small in-law apartment in the New England Victorian house my ex and I had renovated when we were married. When my ex moved out, I moved upstairs and rented out the first two floors and main part of the house. My present bedroom was directly above the master bedroom on the second floor, which had been our bedroom when we were married. Both bedrooms were about the same size. The bedroom I had shared with my huband had red flowered wallpaper and a fireplace. My present bedroom was painted light green. In both rooms, the beds were on the east wall facing the same way. Instead of a fireplace, however, I now had a bureau and a television. In the master bedroom, there had been a a night table with a phone next to the bed and a built-in bookcase on the north wall. In my present bedroom, I also had a night table with a phone next to the bed, but there was a dressing table on the north wall.

As I slowly awakened, the strangest phenomenon occurred. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. It was as if I had moved back in time and my bedroom had strangely become the master bedroom downstairs. I kept turning my head right and left, expecting to snap out of a dream. But I knew one reality from another and this was no dream. The wall that had been green was now papered red. Instead of the television, the fireplace from the old bedroom was there, as was the built-in bookcase. I felt panicky. Although I had been known to suffer anxiety attacks, I sat there very calmly and quietly for a few more minutes, continuously blinking my eyes, waiting for the room to return to normal.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t walk over and touch the fireplace or run my hand along the bright rose fleur-de-lis-patterned paper. But I finally did get up and tiptoe into my kitchen to make some mint tea. Small, quiet steps. It was as if I were afraid of falling through a hole, sliding down a tunnel into some subterranean complex complete with its physical correlative--the historic rooms of my emotions, so to speak. Something like Alice's experience in Wonderland.

I purposely didn’t look back into the bedroom until the tea was ready. I sat at the table and looked at the trees outside the window. They were as they should be, waving a little in the morning breeze. It was mid autumn and patches of frost freeze-dried the back yard. Attached to his cement fountain, the cherub who presided there seemed to be holding his breath.

When the kettle began to sing, I lifted it and poured myself a cup, which I took to the threshold of the bedroom. The vision was still clearly there, like a scrim across my retinas in the full regalia of everyday three-dimensional reality: the red bedroom, not the green one I supposedly lived in now. I stood quietly in the doorway, straddling two worlds. Like Alice, or maybe Dorothy in Oz, I stepped into my Wonderland, climbed back into bed, and dialed C's number.

I guess in situations like this, you call your best friend. I was used to calling him, as we’d been so close for so long. I knew he’d be home. C spent his mornings writing before heading to the restaurant where he worked in the afternoon. When he answered, I explained in a low voice what was happening. I just wanted to tell him about it. I couldn’t figure it out. My young son was at his father’s and, since I was alone, I just needed to know the rest of the world was out there doing its regular thing. That there hadn’t been a nuclear explosion. That I wasn’t blown into some Star Trekking seventh dimension. Yet, as far as I knew, it was a twilight zone. To my surprise C, a master of pragmatism, said “I’ll be right over” . . .