In the summer of 1990, we moved to a different house in Napa, and one of the other families at Kyle’s Montessori school lived a couple of blocks up the street from us. Marty and I were “lunch Moms” together and her two kids and mine stair stepped three years in age with Kyle being in the middle. We started having play dates and doing ride-sharing, and in the midst of all the child-centered activity, Marty and I were able to strike up a few adult conversations. We had only been friends for a little while; however, in the course of our conversations we had discovered that we each had heard of the same indigenous spiritual teachers and we were both interested in experiencing them. She had heard that they were holding a ceremony out at the beach at Point Reyes, and we decided to go.
We arrived a little late; people were seated in what looked to be a specific pattern on the sand. The teachers, a man and a woman, were facing the ocean, praying. Their colorful hand embroidered clothes fluttered in the wind and their words, spoken in their native language, could barely be heard above the roar of the waves. I sat quietly, watching and opening to the process as I still kept an eye out and watched Kyle and his friends play a little way down the beach. When the teachers turned around, I was shocked to see the indigenous woman who had braided my hair in my dream-vision six months earlier. Her name was Jaichima. When I first heard her name spoken, it sounded like music in my ears, and her face was even more beautiful and kind that it had been in my dream. She and her brother-apprentice, Rutury, blessed each of us who were present. When my turn came, she said, “I’ve been waiting for you.” and I nearly fainted from the realization of who she was.
There is a lot about my time with Jaichima and Rutury for me to write, for the years since that day on the beach have been full of learning under their guidance. My beginning with them is the story of Marty’s husband Steve and the gift that I was given in helping him.
In October of 1990 Marty’s husband was hit by a truck while he was riding his bicycle home from work. The evening was a rush of getting her to the hospital and her children taken care of. Once Mike was home and he and Kyle were at Marty’s house, I went to the hospital to check on Marty. I found her in the waiting room of the ICU. Her husband was badly injured, in a coma, and in brain surgery. She asked me to go and stay with her children all night. I stopped by to pick up a change of clothes before I went to their house. Kyle and Mike went home and I settled Marty’s kids for the night as best I could. They knew that their daddy was hurt and that their mommy was sad, yet, at three and five years old, they seemed to be taking it pretty well that I was there and not their parents. The younger one, Sean, had no trouble getting to sleep, though Christy was more concerned. She fought off sleep as long as she could, but finally fell asleep from exhaustion on the couch.
I sat there watching her sleep in the semi-dark and realized that for the first time I was feeling her father’s energy in the house. Marty was a wonderful artist and her art was displayed all over the house making her presence the dominant one. I felt the energy of her art receding far back into the shadows. Her energy, so brilliant to me every time I had been there before, subsided, and all I felt was Steve’s energy. It was quite easy for me to focus upon it. It had a calm and even flow that mirrored the cadence of his laconic cowboy speech pattern and sound of the bassoon that he played. When I felt that I was well-connected with his energy, and could “hold” it, I allowed myself to doze off: I pictured myself sitting in the waiting room. I sat quietly; serenely. I was cross-legged and in a meditative state. I held my hands directly in front of me. I called on all the healing forces—all the healers and the healing powers of the Universe, and all the healing energies–I called for all of these to combine and allow me to direct them to this man for his own highest good.
I awoke every few minutes, and each time I would hold the energies and picture myself directing it; over and over I prayed the same prayer–that he be healed for his own highest good. I awoke with a start, and realized that I had been seeing Steve looking back at me. His face was shining; his eyes clear blue crystals glistening from some wonderful light source. He was surrounded by a brilliant blue light. I knew then that he would be okay, and I rested in the security of the feeling.
Marty called a little after 3:00AM to tell me that Steve was out of brain surgery and that she was coming home. His mother, and her brother and his wife were with her. I stayed awake to greet them when they arrived about an hour later. As I walked home under the crisp clear sky, I thanked the Universe for helping this man and asked for strength and support for Marty and her children.
The next day was a Friday and the morning was a scrambling effort to get everyone organized and to school, etc. We pulled it together, though. I assured Marty that I would be there to help with the day-to-day schedules so that she could focus on being at the hospital with Steve who was still in a coma. Friday night I dreamed: I was talking to Steve about his “fuzzy gray head” from the surgery and putting his running shoes on him. “Come on,” I was saying, “Let’s get you out of here.” I told Marty about it on Saturday morning, assuring her that her husband would be fine. Saturday was busy with the three kids, mine and her two, who began to accept more of the fact that they wouldn’t see their daddy for a while.
Sunday night I dreamed: I was sneaking Steve out of the hospital so the he could play his bassoon. When I related that to Marty the next morning, she said that her brother had brought a tape of bassoon music that Steve had made. They played it for him Saturday night, hoping to wake him from the coma he was in.
Monday night I dreamed: I was lying directly over Steve on a sheet of crystal bubbles. I drifted down through the sheet and into Steve’s body. I was inside his body, and my blood flowed with his. I was transferring the oxygen from my blood to his. I saw the tiny molecules of oxygen leave my blood and go to his. The next morning, Marty’s reply to my telling her this was that Steve had been put on oxygen during the night. We laughed and cried at the pattern we were recognizing. She made me promise to tell her any dreams that I had about Steve, or any of the rest of her family for that matter.
After I took the kids to school on Tuesday, I went to the hospital. I wanted to see Steve, but I also wanted to talk with Marty. I wanted to tell her how I felt about Steve—how absolutely certain I was that he would fully recover. I certainly had no medical knowledge about his condition, but I kept seeing him whole and shining. I could feel that he will be changed by all of this, but in a wonderful way. He’d no longer be reclusive and separate. He’d learn to cherish and fully experience every minute of life. Bright and shining, his love would flow openly and easily to all those around him.
I didn’t get the chance to talk to Marty at the hospital; she was busy with the doctor. When I got home, she’d left a message on my answering machine for me to call Jaichima for her. Why we hadn’t thought of it earlier was probably due to the immediate crisis of the situation. Of course, it was the perfect thing to do, and I placed the call immediately. I talked with Rutury and explained, in as much detail as I knew, the extent of Steve’s condition. He said they needed some specific information, which I could easily get for them from Marty. Somewhere in our conversation, Rutury began to talk about how I was protecting Steve’s spirit; that I had “known” this was going to happen and that’s why I was close by. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I related all the dreams I had been having while Steve was in the hospital. I told Rutury that after the “crystal sheet dream” I’d been feeling that I should try to use my crystals on Steve. He said that was a good idea. He said I should call him back at a certain time, and that I should be in the hospital room when I called. I should be there to do my work as they did theirs. I called Marty at the hospital and related the conversation I had just had, and we made plans to get me in the ICU.
I prepared myself as best I could for the ritual. I ate a good meal, and then bathed in hot water with mineral salts. I went to rest for a while, keeping myself centered and grounded. I dressed, smudged, meditated, and asked for clarity of purpose and strength to carry the healing energies. I went to the hospital a little early; I wanted to see Steve beforehand, so that I would be used to the condition of his body and the room.
He was laying there a complete innocent. It was the first time I was able to fully connect with his injuries: Head wrapped in bandages from the brain surgery, leg in traction and hips immobilized. I could see his energy; he was physically beaten, but spiritually vibrant. Marty and I left for a while. I took her down to the cafeteria to get her something to drink. As we sat there, she asked me what it is like to “be one of them.” I was amazed at the question. I’d never seen myself in that light. I’ve known the gift was mine to receive, but didn’t think I had received it, yet. Of course, I know that I am not on par with Jaichima and Rutury, but to even be able to connect on this level with them is an incredible blessing.
It started to become clear to me what they had meant when I met with them privately the previous summer and they told me I’d find my own way. Clearer still why I had to be in Marty’s life. Clearer, clearer, clearer, and the clarity brought with it a feeling of being overwhelmed with the enormity of it all. This was not for someone to teach me, or for me to learn: this was for me to grow into and become.
I placed the call, and Rutury settled my nerves by saying that we were a “good team.” I went into the hospital room and I held the crystals as the Tibetan Lama had shown me, and held Steve’s right hand. Immediately I was overcome with a sick green energy, the force of which almost made my knees buckle. It rushed over my head and down through my body. My legs held firm and I sent the energy down into Mother Earth, I cried a little and felt strong as the energy passed through me and then subsided. I tried to put some clear energy in through the crystal in his left hand, but it was hard, and I felt that he was blocked—or blocking me. As this was going on, I could feel Jaichima’s energy. Even when I felt that I had done what I could, I stayed in the room until I felt her energy subside from me.
The next day, Marty called me to say that the doctors were calling Steve’s great improvement a miracle. I wasn’t able to see him for two days. I was so tired from what had happened that I slept the entire next day. Rutury had said that this would happen, and that I was to be prepared for it. When I did see Steve, I couldn’t believe it! I cried and cried as Marty held me. He looked physically whole and he was mentally “with it.” I celebrated with Marty for a while and then went about my business for the day–feeling incredibly elated and full.
I had talked with Jaichima and Rutury the day after the healing ceremony. He said they didn’t need me to call, but I needed to. I had many questions and Rutury was gentle in his answers. He said the green energy was Steve’s “old spirit” leaving him. We agreed that I would be in the hospital room the next day at the same time as they did another ritual. I prepared myself as before, and entered the hospital feeling just a little bit more confident. This time the energy was clearer and lighter but just as strong as before. I wavered a little under it, but held fast and ran the energy down through me easily. Again, I had trouble getting energy to flow into Steve on the left side. I remained in the room until I felt Jaichima’s and Rutury’s energy go away from me. I went home feeling elated and truly blessed.
As I slept, I didn’t undergo any of the shivering that had happened on the first night; in fact, I remember being rather warm as I lay naked under the blankets. I wanted to be able to be physically close to my husband, but I couldn’t release myself from the energetic connection I had with Steve. I dreamed: I stood at the foot of Steve’s bed and pulled the pain out of him and threw it over my shoulders as it came down through his legs. It was gooey and sticky like taffy. I woke up long enough to say, “Oh, I’ve got it!” and then slept well.
I had dreamed that he and I were dancing in the stars. Marty freaked out for a moment when I too quickly said, “I was dancing in the stars with your husband last night.” Looking scared, she asked, “Is that good?” She’d thought it meant he wasn’t going to be around. “It was light and beautiful and joyous!” I said. “I was there, too, remember,” I’d said.
Friday night, she called from the hospital and asked me to come and take over for a while so she could get some rest. Steve was quite restless in his delirium, and they were having trouble keeping him still. I found him much improved energetically. He would be undergoing surgery on his leg and hip the next day; he was partly wound up over the surgery and partly working on putting his mind back in order. It couldn’t figure out where he was or remember what had happened to him. I talked him through things until he was quiet again. Marty returned, and when Steve seemed to be sleeping soundly enough, we left. We had a little something to eat, and talked and cried over the suffering he had to go through. We cried over the overwhelming feelings I had that I was able to be a positive part of his healing. We laughed and cried and cheered each other on: each of us seeing the other’s strength but somehow not quite accepting our own. We explored our fears about getting through the world unharmed and the frailty of the human existence and the strength of the human spirit.
I was called to the hospital at 7:15 the next morning. The surgery had gone well, but Steve was left with a fever of over 102 degrees. They had tried everything to bring it down. There was a pad filled with cold water underneath him, and it was horrible to see him lying there and shivering. On Marty’s request, I called Rutury. They had finished their work, he said, but he would mention the fever to Jaichima. I went to Steve’s room, not knowing whether or not they would be working with me, or if I would be doing the work alone. Praying for strength, I did what I could. I knew Jaichima wasn’t “with” me, because I couldn’t feel her there. I worked with the crystals and coached Steve on how to regulate his breathing. In the first few minutes, his temperature went from 102.7 to 100.5 and I felt I was able to be of service to him. People kept coming in the room to check on him and it broke my concentration. When his temperature began to climb again, I went and called again and asked for help. Rutury sent me back into the room and said he would tell his sister.
I sat there and tried to be open and quiet. Soon, I felt Jaichima’s energy. I realized that each time I felt tightness in my throat, Steve would cough. I knew I was connected to them both. All I could do was be there and stay open. It was after ten when I left the hospital. I was exhausted. I knew I had done all that I could. Steve was asleep even though the cooling pad was back on. His fever was back up to 102.7, and I knew that he’d be fine, but it would take time.
I rested and nurtured myself and my son. Later Jaichima would sense my frustration at not being able to maintain Steve’s temperature when it lowered. She told me not to feel badly about it, that I was all alone doing the work, and that I need to learn to have the strength to hold the energy even when nurses are coming in and out of the room. That night, I dreamed: I was talking to her, and I was saying how afraid I was that I was crazy like my sister. She nodded towards Kyle and said that “he would never let me go that way.”
Steve was in the coma for five days, had two more surgeries and then was in a rehab hospital for a couple of months. He eventually was able to walk without a cane, and return to riding his horse. He asked me years later if I was the one who came and talked to him when he was unconscious and told him that he had to come back because his children needed him. Indeed, it had been me.
I have a ritual that as I finish each journal, I re-read it before I put it away. As I read through the journal in which I wrote about Steve’s hospital stay in October, I found a dream I had written down the previous February: I was talking to Steve about how much I loved to ride my horse. We stood for a long time, just talking about horses, his rodeo days, and the pleasure of riding. He left, then, on his bicycle. As he rode away down the highway, he balanced a long wooden pole on his shoulders. I followed him in my car, and we went to a place where there were a lot of piles of things, like in a warehouse. I saw that there was blood dripping from the broken two-by-four that he was carrying on his shoulders.
Steve had been on his way home from his job at a lumber warehouse when he was hit by the truck. Rutury had known that I had known. I learned to pay closer attention.