Into the luminous dark, with Spirit

By Larch On October 13th, 2012

I’m healed, back to normal. Many of you have sent healing thoughts, prayers, and light to me, and I am grateful for your love. Thank you for your love. Some of you have asked, “How did you do it? What helped you heal?” The rest of this post is about the patterns of thought and action that helped me heal, for what it’s worth. If you don’t have time to read it now, how about checking your supply of seaweeds and ordering something you need at My birthday is October 13th, and I have hospital bills to pay. I’m shameless about asking for help. Will you forgive me? I promise to stay at the work as long as I can. You know I love the Work, and I love all of you, too.

A subdural hematoma (bleeding within the membrane surrounding the brain), is a serious injury. In my case, it all started when I was loading boxes of seaweed into a Dodge Caravan in the dark, and I bumped my head underneath the open hatchback door. At one point in the process, my brain was displaced an inch and a half to the left by fluid pressure, and that pressure was also forcing my brain stem downward through the hole at the bottom of my skull. I could have ended up totally paralyzed or dead. For awhile, I was on the other side of the veil.

I ended up going through three surgeries. But I repeat: I’m healed, back to normal, and beyond. Here are a few slices of life from the past few months that will help you understand my healing, for what it’s worth: When the hematoma occurred, I didn’t realize that I was bleeding internally. I had a headache, and I just slept a lot. Finally, my speech slurred, and I shuffled when I walked. There are two days of my life that I don’t remember, when other people were taking care of me, finally rushing me to the hospital for the first surgery. Nina and my daughter Sarah and my neurosurgeon Dr. Rosario saved my life. That first surgery was two quarter-inch burr holes drilled in my skull to relieve the pressure. I was almost a goner.

“Where did you go?” Nina asked. “Into the luminous dark, with Spirit,” I replied. “You have to sit in the dark awhile, until you get used to it, before you can open and sense the Light. I knew it was there. I just rested in the dark, motionless, waiting for the tide to change.”

I have lived in this forest beside the sea for forty years. During the early years here, I didn’t use a flashlight at night because I wanted my other senses to open up. My feet felt the trail. The area around my eyes sensed more. My palm, open toward the path, would sense an animal near me before I actually heard it rustle the leaves. That was a type of opening up. Later on, I would journey at night on the water for three miles or so, staying open to my father’s guidance from the other side of the veil (he had been a navigator in the south Pacific during WW2), and I would find the kelp bed I intended to find, harvest it in the dark, then come home at first light, cold, calm, and feeling gratitude as the sun arose. That’s another kind of opening up.

Then there was the time I read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and its exploration of the dark and the Light. That exploration led me to a Tibetan teacher who spoke of dark retreats as an opportunity to discover something about our own nature, and I started to open up in another way to the dark. That teacher taught me a practice for the night so that I could maintain Presence throughout the night. Sleeping in Clear Light is a very restful experience. I require less sleep. I’m not troubled by karmic dreams when I follow that practice… anger about past, no worries about future….just resting in open clarity.

Back in the 70’s when my daughter Kai was child-snatched, a friend who was a dowser taught me how to dowse with my heart so that I could find her. I would go down to the bay on a clear starry night, hold the question in my heart, open my arms, and turn to the four directions, like a human compass. Eating greens, the hemoglobin in my blood became very strong. Only one element in chlorophyll needs to be exchanged in order to create hemoglobin, and each red corpuscle containing iron is a miniature floating disc compass unto itself.

My entire circulatory system felt Kai’s electromagnetic field. The heart is 60% neurons, an organ of perception in its own right! That process opened me up in a profound way. As my intuition opened, my anger fell away. Anger just got in the way of clarity. I wanted the clarity, above all else. I started asking more intelligent questions, and I was more able to face difficult people. I sensed some of the negative patterns that were destroying the mother’s clarity, and I just worked around them as best I could. I drove across Canada and dropped into California, and I located Kai. I realized that I didn’t have to pursue justice, though it was necessary to use the courts. No. In many situations I have often felt that I don’t need to pursue justice, because as soon as my opponent develops a negative intent, that person separates himself or herself from all the positive energy that is available in every moment. It may not be apparent, but justice is immediate! That potential energy which is available to us is enormous, and much of it remains “in the dark” because we so often refuse to quiet ourselves enough to open to it! Quieting and opening are part of a powerful process! So when I said to Nina, “You have to sit in the dark awhile, until you get used to it, before you sense the Light,” I had already developed some capacities for being quiet and open in the dark which is luminous with infinite potentials.

The bleeding didn’t stop. The CAT scans showed that there were actually two hematomas. One was old, and had resolved on its own. Last fall, the pipe handle on a farmer jack suddenly swung up and hit me on the side of the head, across my ear. I remembered when that one had occurred. The more recent one was a slow bleed. The brain will tolerate a slow displacement, up to a point. If it had been fast, I would have been dead before anyone had time to intervene. The second surgery was a washout process, using the burr holes that had already been drilled. My neurosurgeon and I were still hoping that I could resolve the hematoma on my own without more surgical intervention. Recovering from that second surgery in intensive care, my sleep was often interrupted by nurses checking me or doing various procedures like shining a flashlight in my eyes to make sure my pupils constricted. I didn’t have pain. A homeopath had prescribed arnica 1M and I used it. I managed to stay submerged in restful sleep most of the time. The mantra was, “I want to live in gratitude. If I die, I want to die in gratitude.” After all, that has been my life on the water for the past 40 years. No need to change course now. We die as we live.

And again, the bleeding didn’t stop. The CAT scan of my head showed that. Now it was necessary to do a craniotomy. When I was in college, I worked 32 hours per week as an orderly in a hospital in a neurosurgery and physical therapy ward. I knew exactly what was coming. The neurosurgeon would cut an access door in my skull and cauterize the blood vessels that were leaking. He would also remove excess tissue that my body had created in an attempt to heal. I remained in Presence, as has been my daily practice for many years, even as I transferred from gurney to operating table. The operating table was covered with a bean bag mattress which was useful to the surgeon for supporting my body in any position he needed me to be in, in order to accomplish the surgery. I asked the anesthesiologist about the three syringes and what was in them, and then I said, “All right, go ahead,” and they put me to sleep.

After that surgery, I joked with the nurses in intensive care: “I have a cat flap door in my head. Say……… did you know that The Great Wall of China has a cat flap door every two miles?” I could see the gears grinding in their heads. Then I would say, “That fact comes from a book, More Lies to Tell Small Children.” The gears meshed, the tires squealed, the nurses smiled. They would say, “Honestly, we don’t know why you’re here. You’re much too well to be in intensive care.” My neurosurgeon had said something like that to Nina: “He’s 66, but his blood work and his vitality are like that of a man who is 46.” My decision, early in life, to remain in the world of physical labor and to pursue a healthy lifestyle had helped me greatly. Nina brought me sauerkraut and kimchee pickles to counter the lethal effects of antibiotics on my digestive flora, and more than once, she cuddled and took a nap with me in my hospital bed. We had the best technology available, and I had the best of family care. During the first surgery, Sarah had sat bedside with a hand on my heart while we talked. After the third surgery, my son David came for a visit, and he pulled up a chair, saying as he placed a hand on my heart, “I’m going to pull a Sarah…..” It didn’t take him long to get comfortable with the idea.

When my neurosurgeon would visit me in the hospital, he would say, “I’m praying for you.” That helped me enormously, knowing that he recognized the energy of the spiritual world and our connection to it. Everyone in the hospital spoke highly of him. He worked nonstop at all hours of the day and night. I’ve worked five years in hospitals, two years in respiratory therapy on night shifts. I know what it’s like to remain alert and caring, upbeat and present, while others are sleeping. It’s a discipline of body, mind, and heart. I honor that man, Dr. Rozario, and all the dedicated workers at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor, Maine.

After that surgery, I lost fine motor coordination in my left hand. My balance wasn’t good. I was all whirly inside, feeling a bit drunk all the time. My doctor had me on a prophylactic anti-seizure drug for awhile, and I didn’t realize that some of my balance problems were caused by the drug. I couldn’t manipulate silverware, I couldn’t write (I’m left-handed), I couldn’t button my clothing or type with my left hand. My left arm and hand felt heavy and thickish, numb and tingly.

I had worked with stroke patients when I was an orderly, and I knew that the more stimulation my left hand experienced, the better. I kept stimulating it with anything interesting I could find: the cat’s wire brush, a bumpy rubber ball, you name it. I danced, being as expressive as I could be with my hands. It was all about “extending the phantom”,  just like the below-the-knee amputee who stimulates his stump before strapping on the prosthesis. He feels the phantom limb extend fully, as though he has a foot and toes, and he walks competently as though his foot is on the ground. If he forgets to extend the phantom before strapping on the prosthesis, he stumbles all day. This story from Oliver Sachs’ book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is important to me, as is Deepak Chopra’s remark that the whole body IS the prosthesis that the soul picks up at reincarnation, and the Great Work is to extend ourselves fully, to engage with this world. Rudolf Steiner was on the mark when he described young children as raw will incarnated, and he said that in the first seven years of life, it is important to encourage children to extend their will by energetic running, shouting, laughing, hugging, and attaching to their family. They are learning how to operate the body-prosthesis. Don’t try to cram them into desks, don’t try to cram them into their heads with heady concepts. In other words, keep them out of school desks. That strong will to live, extend, and attach, developed in the first seven years of life, can then mature to become a strong will to extend love in later life. I continue to challenge myself with the question, “Do you want to open, Larch? Do you want to extend your love?” I do. So I worked with the assumption that I was alive and still had work to do. After journeying halfway across the universe for this life on earth, somehow my brain would find a pathway to connect to that hand, and I would heal and extend my love again.

Freud wrote that “People need work and love.” I had both, but you know what? In capitalist Valhalla, the dream is, “I will be so rich that I won’t have to work.” Capitalist “success” equates with owning more than one’s fair share of the world’s resources, while other people give their time and sweat, or go without. That’s not love. Is it any wonder that our miseducated society is not thriving?

One day while sitting at the computer, I discovered that if I listened to crisp piano music while I was attempting to type, the process improved. This is because when I was a child, I had a piano teacher who sat me down with a copy of John Schumann’s “Five Finger Exercises for the Piano”, and she taught me to how to “attack the keys”. I feel gratitude toward her now because in actuality she taught me how to extend my will as a spirit, through the body, in a very specific way. Thanks to my mother, too, for encouraging me to learn music. In truth, earth is a school for souls, and we are all learning how to extend our love in very precise and skillful ways. When I give a seaweed talk, I often end up using personal storytelling to help people realize that they are spirits having a human experience on earth in order to extend love.

When I teach structural bodywork to amateurs or work with a client, I am teaching how to extend the spirit through the body, all the way out to the far reaches of the universe, using image/imagination, movement/dance, breath/will, and heart/sound.

What do you think I am doing when I pull on the oars and breathe, feeling the oars as extensions of my arms, touching the water that is the life of our planet, the water that is also in me, also in you?

You see, I don’t just row, I extend my love THROUGH the oars to customers who are very real to me.

I’m working for YOU! I operate my seaweed business like a CSA (community supported agriculture), and customers are welcome to come for a visit so that they can discover for themselves the source and spirit of this food.