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Into the Woods

A memory came back to me today, out of no-where it surfaced in detail, and as it inspired some contemplation on my part for a while, I decided to share it.

As a kid I never liked daycare/preschool much, I never liked school much either, I felt trapped not only in the building, but also within the institution of schooling. Little made sense to me when it came to what we could and couldn’t do, when we all had to create the same art, learn only particular subjects, sing the same songs, stand in straight lines, eat what we didn’t like, and sleep when we were not tired.

Consequently, I got into trouble quite a bit. I never hurt anyone, I was more obstinate and talked back to the teachers. It seemed my beef was with authority. For example, I wouldn’t necessarily listen very well to the teachers if they asked me to stop balancing on the two back-legs of my chair, instead I would continue balancing when I thought they had stopped looking. I was also likely to reply ‘Why?’ when told to finish the food on my plate, and so on.

There was this one teacher at day-care, she really didn’t like me, I never fully understood why she disliked me so much, I was only five or six years old at the time, even so, I did understand that something took over her, a form of darkness, and she became incapable of compassion for a moment.

For a while, this particular teacher fixated on me and she gave me ‘time out’ on a regular basis. At first she put me in the reading room, ostracising me from my mates…only when she came to ask if I was ready to apologise, she would find me with my head in a book distantly replying ‘No’. More so because I wasn’t desperate for my friends, and I was enjoying my read. This teacher soon caught on that I wasn’t suffering my consequences. Her inability to dim my inner light enraged her, and so her punishing ways escalated.

I remember how, out of no-where, her hand would grab me around the entirety of my upper arm, like a claw, hard and painful. She must have been tall, or perhaps the truth is I was actually quite little because I can remember well how her iron grip would cause the entire side of my body to lift off the ground. I remember so vividly, how I would think ‘what have I done now?’; that random and out of the blue were her outburst towards me, so much that I wasn’t even aware that I had done something wrong.

In some abstract way, despite my young human years, I never took her seriously. I let her have her ways with me, I never fought against her, it was like I knew that eventually the demon would leave her and then everything would be back to calm again. I could tell, that it wasn’t so much me she couldn’t stand, it was my light, my inner security, that she hated.

The bully got to a stage where she would throw me into the storage room of our day-care unit, by my arm, lock the door and leave the light off. And there I sat, in complete darkness. The bully’s aim was to break me. It was as if my self-reliance, maybe you could call it self-love, threatened her sense of control in this world. A grown woman, at war with a young child. The problem was, her ways towards me created a disrespect of her within me, I simply could not take her and her ways seriously. I just couldn’t. I never felt fear in the dark storage room, instead I felt relief. I felt safe that she had locked herself and her crazy ways out and away from me.

I remember how I used to sit in there in darkness, and how the isolation and the dark, would lull me into a deeper space of being within me. Here, in this tiny dark storage room, I journeyed into the dark woods within me. Here, in the dark woods, I was the hero on my own journey, outsmarting dangerous fire-spitting dragons.

I believe one time, the bully forgot me in there, you see I was so quiet. It wasn’t until my older brother came to pick me up one evening, and I was still locked inside the dark storage room. That was the first time my family ever started to understand what had been going on for me at daycare, I never thought to tell them. I don’t feel I remember much of the bully after that incident, I have a feeling she may have been fired, and possibly replaced by another teacher. You see suddenly and a stark contrast to my prior experiences, there was now a teacher who told me I didn’t need to finish the food on my plate if I didn’t enjoy it. I remember looking at this new teacher and feeling warm inside, I remembered noticing that she too carried light.

I am not entirely sure why it is that this memory surfaced from my inner depths all of a sudden and with such clarity. I have definitely experienced bigger challenges in my life. So why this. I realised, this memory has allowed me to wonder, from a softer place and without triggers, about how experiences we live influence our mythology, past, present and future. Not from a place of intellect, but from a place of remembering and embodiment. Did I carry the bully with me for a while, did she carry me? Each equally painful to the other it seems. Were we markers at pivotal points in each other lives, where we taught each-other about ourselves by reflecting aspects about the other by simply being? Did we engage in a dance of the dark and the light, the dance between Ego and Heart? Did her rage flow through me onto another? Did she ever face her pain? Is she still alive? If so, did she also remember me out of the blue as well, perhaps, as she looked out over a snowy Stockholm. Or is she still hurting?

Well, bully, for what it is worth, I never held anything against you, I release you, I forgive you. Thank you for the revisit and reminder of our encounter after forty-two years. Thank you for helping me see yet again, how the egregore of the dark takes a hold of us. I pray by the grace of the divine that we release our hurt wherever it came from, that we set our Spirit free, and that we invite joy back in. We not only owe it to ourselves, we owe it to life, and we owe it to the interconnectedness of life. By Grace.

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