I have had experiences in my life, that I thought everyone had. Things were more vivid, sounds much louder, touch and to feel much deeper.
As a child of five years of age, I was sick in bed with a very high temperature. My mother left the room to get a face cloth to put on my head, I was left alone. This is when, I saw women with a robe on and cloaked over her head as I saw pictures of the Virgin Mary. She sat at the edge of my bed and stared and just raised her right hand to me. Vivid as my mother coming through the bedroom door with a face cloth full of alcohol, (then it was alcohol) to put on my fevered forehead I watched this vision disappear. My mother felt my head, my fever had dropped to a near normal temperature. Did my fever break in minutes, or was the the work of a vision? I told her there was a woman sitting on my bed, and she dismissed it by saying “you were running a high temperature and probably imagined.” Okay, but to this day, I remember her, how thin and small her hands were and the softness she left behind and with a fresh scent of openness.
I was more or less a loner as a child, although having a sister three years older. She liked playing with dolls, I like taking adventures, climbing rocks, digging, watching butterfly’s so closely wondering how they were created with such coloring, the smelling of flowers, and how they can all smell so different. Lost in my own colorful world of wonder, does a five-year-old remember such thoughts, of purity and inquisitiveness?
It was Easter. My sister and I all dressed up, white gloves, new patent leather shoes, and straw hats, ready for Easter services. I had a friend named Barry, a furry yellow caterpillar. I found Barry and made a house for him, out of a shoe box. Holes on top, fresh grass every day and of course the petting of love for a fury bug. My mom wouldn’t let me have a dog or cat, so I settled for a fury bug. A great little yellow fury bug. I took Barry out of his shoe box house while waiting for my parents to come out, so we will be on our way to church. My sister looking on said, “That is stupid keeping a bug for a pet, he is gross” and she stepped on Barry. I got up, screamed and pushed her, naturally, she is older, she pushed back, harder. I remember falling and seeing pointed bricks, then falling face down on them. The next thing I remember is my dad, holding my forehead under a faucet in the kitchen pantry, it is a high faucet, and deep sink, holding my skin together, telling everyone to leave him alone. Looking down at me, as he should be now, he told me; “Everything will be alright,” you just have a little cut.” I knew he was not saying the truth, there was blood all over my Easter dress. For some reason the bleeding stopped, he said it was the way he ‘butterflied’ the skin. Another time something happened so quickly that everyone dismissed it, except for me. I am the one that felt the blow to my head, and the warm blood, how it was a different feeling than the cold water from the faucet.
Being so vivid and can bring these feelings, visions and smells back to my being, at my age now of 60 and all through my life, there has to be something else that is ‘different’ about me.
As everyone else at the age of five or six, we start conforming to life and society and rules and forget to tap into what was so sincere, true, and innocent in our colorful world of wonder.
Little things start happening. Like how your penmanship is so precise, the teacher had to send my paper home with a note. I got a certificate of how perfect my penmanship was and still have the certificate from 3rd grade. (OCD) Having the signs of dyslexia then it was called reading comprehension and writing. This prompted extra classes from a tutor, every Saturday, while other kids took art classes, clay movement, etc. Now I was really different. Not like them, I, having to be tutored, special in a uniform way, I wasn’t like everyone else. Keeping my special moments in the back of my mind.
As I got older, I found that to blend was easy, it was not to try to be so perfect; I started my a path of just being like others.
Teenage years, were free, not caring, a rebel without a cause. This was the same time of when 18-year-old ‘men’ were fighting a war in Viet Nam, they were considered adults that can fight for our country. Exposed to drugs of all nature, opium, hash, the best marijuana on the face of the earth was exported to US. Heroin in abundance, and other hard-core drugs that were used there to get by from the day to day bloody war of what these 18-year-old ‘men’ had to endure and cope with. I would have done the same.
After Viet Nam ended and during, it seems we were ahead of authorities and ruled society with the Power to the People and Peace not War epidemic. The authorities didn’t know what was being sent in this country from poppies to pot, from the ‘war-zone’. They couldn’t catch up for what we did as teenagers or what we knew. Viet Nam, Woodstock, it was like we ruled the world. There wasn’t enough enforcement to no there were no boundaries for us. Going to airports to pick up a suitcase, and clothes were not in it. No security, no dogs, no, searching, no TSA. Free will was an understatement for my generation.
Well, that ‘free-will’ eventually caught up with me in the downward spiral of my journey of fitting in. It was my wake up call. The call for me to smell the flowers again, and watch butterflies with magical color. The. rebel without a cause, with her posse that had pocket full of miracles, had to stop. I didn’t feel this way, but a higher power did.
It was October 31, 1976, all of 18 and so rebellious. No one can tell me what to do and how to do it. Eighteen was the age back then for a license to drink, while 16 was the age of given a license, to drive. Bad combination. With friends going out for Halloween, the holiday for the walking dead. Alcohol infused with a barbiturate brain. Naturally I was elected to drive, always being the most coherent, I drove everyone else, they were more fuk-ed up than myself. We ventured out, not to far, I must have fallen asleep, crossed over to the other side of the road, of route 6 and hit a car, head on ,doing about 65 miles an hour. The other, car I was told didn’t have a scratch on it, and he walked out of it, to help us out of my accordion-like car. A Cutlass that was now the size of a VW, with four people in it, thankfully that also survived.
I don’t remember anything after that, but the gentleman from the other car came to my car and started saying “everything is going to be alright”. My mantra today and the one my father always said to me when I was hurt. I must have gone back to sleep or remained unconscious and heard the radio louder than ever it could be turned up. I yelled, shut that fuk-ing radio off. Next, I saw flashing red lights and a state policeman at my window. He told me, “hang on we are going to get you out of there, everything is going to be alright.” Why was everyone telling me “everything is going to be alright”. I told the state policeman, looking at his big-brimmed hat and shiny badge, I can’t hold on any longer. Him screaming at me, wake up, you got to hold on. I fell into a trans-like state, and thinking I was waking up in an ambulance. Not waking up like sitting up, or laying down, but I was levitating over my body.
I had watched paramedics, one which I knew, work on me with paddles to jump my heart, mouth to mouth resuscitation on me. All I thought was, I can be seen by anyone the way I look, with all my hair in front of my head gone, from being thrown to the windshield and I was embeded in the front window shield head first. This feeling that I had when levitating over my body, It was the most peaceful, serene, surreal, feeling I have ever had, in my short existence of 18 years. At times I wish I can have it back, the peacefulness, the softness, the not caring of anything, but being. No drug, no state of mind ever in my life came close to this levitating over my own body feeling. Euphoria! and I did some great cocaine in my day! No bright light, no one calling me to come. Just levitating feeling the freest I have ever felt. I guess I obtained that sense of freedom I was chasing as a teenager, at a cost, my life. I was pronounced DOA.
The following day, my friend, Victor, the paramedic and the other paramedic came to see me. I both thanked them. I continued to talk to them without them saying a word, probably looking at my head that now looked like Frankenstein’s forehead, with puzzling faces on. I turned to the paramedic I didn’t know, and said, “Thank you, Angelo, you stayed with me all the while.” He turned shades of white. He said, ” Do you know you were dead for 7 minutes, and we called it at 11;11.” You were pronounced DOA. HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME? I never met you nor know you. I told him, I heard your name being called in the ambulance several times. He had to sit down. I told them both what I recalled, and they said they heard of such a thing but never talked to anyone that has been ‘there’.
I spent three months in bed at home and didn’t drive for a year.
From 1976 to 1978, I met my husband, and we had a daughter. After 3 months of marriage, he decided he didn’t want to be married and left me 6 months pregnant. I then felt relief, due to the fact he was emotionally abusive and before my being pregnant physically abusive. The Green Barrett that he was, surfaced and I was his prisoner.
Needless to say, I already have lived enough in my life to wonder why I was here. I said it was for my daughter.
Now at the age of 25, I had a three-year-old daughter, raising her with the help of my parents. My old friends from school came about, not believing I had a child. I was the one that was going to travel the world. One very close friends offered to act as her father figure, and I would never have to worry about her finances. Silly, but he was in the place to do it, but I could never accept. They visited, took my daughter toys, gifts, a totally different time zone we were in. The cocaine error, the disco days, the dance off your ass phase, and winning dance contests up the New England coast. Another time of being a rock star only with a three-year-old. Thanks for parents she was safe while her mom was out partying every Friday night. Boston in limo’s, parties invited for VIP’s only, asking to dance for the opening dance contest, Boston, Connecticut, New Haven, and it goes on.
After years of cocaine-induced days and working a full-time job, having now a six-year-old, holding it all down, another wake-up call to tell me to get on my path of my intended journey. What was my journey? At then who believed in spirituality? I knew there were angels and the friend I had that passed watching over me, but that was it. The Angel era…oh yes…here comes the yoga train and meditation, although meditation my sister did in the 60’s it now being in the 80’s-90’s.
I wake up one night at 3 am profusely vomiting blood. It gushed out like something out of the exorcist, hitting the wall over the toilet. I touched it, it was blood. Not knowing what it can be, I laid on my bed and said, I have stomach cancer and fell asleep knowing there was nothing I can do. Peaceful with the thought of knowing what death felt like, I waited. A half hour later, got up, more of the same. I called my sister at 4 am, and she rushed over and took me to the hospital ER. More of the same as I walked in. They rushed me in, put a tube down my throat, and looked at a hole in my main artery of my stomach gush blood into my stomach. Intensive care unit, here I come. They put a port in my jugular for a blood transfusion. I was working for the Department of Health then, in 1986, was fully aware of the AIDs virus, and blood transfusion and I refused. Signing paperwork a priest came in to give me my last rights. I said “what are you doing here” I am still awake and talking and never lost consciousness. He said, “You are bleeding to death.” I just felt weak. Still awake, still talking. I told him, do what you have to do, raised Catholic, even as a young girl, I didn’t believe in Catholicism. The stories that came from the Bible, were so far-fetched, Moby Dick sounded more realistic to me.
The team of doctors that were working for me kept asking if have I changed my mind about the transfusion. Maybe a family member can give you their blood. No one matched. Later that evening, I fell asleep. It was a sleep I never had before, a restful, peaceful, sleep, even if it was only for thirty minutes before another nurse came in to check on me. She couldn’t believe her findings. She called the doctor that had been monitoring me. He examined me, and said, “Claudia, there must be an angel watching over you. Your opening on your main aorta has closed and you have stopped bleeding.” I said, “I told you I wasn’t dying, now can you take this tube out of my neck please”. Another brush with death and I was left again on the face of this earth, to do something, but what?
All kind of partying stopped. I had all to do to keep my life together. A daughter, a job, I went back to college for legal torts, and issues, learning the law. legislative classes. I was a para-legal.
Me time was not there. My painting, photography, writing of poems. Tired of the everyday life of being the minority of a single parent. Still with the help of my parents. After 11 years of ballet and jazz, I decided to call my teacher and asked if I can come back, just to get my strength back. I women that was a rock in my life and I knew, no matter how much time passed, she was there for me. Ms. Elaine said, “Absolutely”. I was there that week.
As my daughter got older, I started doing things that made me grounded at some points in my life. Sitting up near the reservoir, watching the tree reflects in the water. Beaches and the shells that me and my dad used to walk and find. Watching fire-fly at night, something my dad did with me, and then my daughter.
Here it comes, another jolt. In the matter of two years time, I had the death of seven friends die. One is my daughter’s father. Five co-workers, all my age or a little older, and an accidental death of a friend I was to meet for coffee the day the accident happen. Holding all people around me up through their grieving, I again lose myself, helping them through their grief.
Hey, this could have been me, on several occasions. I gave my boss of 22 years my two-week notice. Sold my house that I proudly bought and lived in for eleven years. I sold it in four days. Packed everything, got a moving van, got in my car and drove south with my dog and a stray cat I took care of.
My Spirituality journey began in January 2006 and has not stopped and it’s 2017. I have had all of the 4 elements of a quantum moment; but the fifth one, I am still working on.
Luck ? Or a Quantum Moment.
I would say, see you on the other side, but I don’t think I am going.
I know a job position is opened somewhere for me, and my soul, but I still haven’t found what it is for.
The Bitchen Phoenix
It is now 5/2018, That position in life that I was looking for, it found me! I know work and help people at a place called Rythmia, Life Advancement Center in Costa Rica. I now help people find their way, their purpose, their meaning through the meaningful ceremony of Ayahuasca. It has healed me of all my fears and doubts in life, and I have reached that peacefulness I have once experienced in ceremony. Thank you #GerardArmondPowell for making this all possible.