Riding the Dragon: 5 ways I have encountered the mysterious

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

1. While my father was dying, I entered what I think of as the “state of grace.” All the work I’d done to free myself from past pain and sorrow surrounded me, and aided me as I dealt with the progress of losing him. That state was a sort of fuel that did get used up – it was granted for understanding and supporting my father, but not for dealing with my mother and sister. It was also an inner pool I had built over time; G.O.D decided where it applied, rather than me – and G.O.D was of the opinion that my other family members should do their own self-work instead of drawing their energy from me like they had when I was a child. I was able to deal with the events of the moment, and only had my emotional breakdowns in non-crisis moments.

Saint Jean D'Arc

2.Every time I’ve walked into a room to see a beloved friend I have not seen in years. This has happened more than once.

3. Those odd moments at Como where people I’ve never seen stop and offer to take my picture so I have a shot of myself. This has happened when I didn’t even have my camera out.

4. Years ago, when I still lived in Mankato with my ex, I was mixing perfume oils and I suddenly felt completely surrounded by divine love. I was made aware I could reach that feeling of peace and love whenever I wanted. As my marriage disintegrated, that sense went beyond me; this is not because I am no longer loved, but because conditions of my inner self have made it harder to reach. But I know it’s there, and that I can get to it again; I also know that the divine will surround me when I need it the most, like when my father died. I may be easy to work with because my faith explicitly does NOT define how the divine operates. There are no expectations in either direction aside from mutual acknowledgement of existence.

5. Every so often, I will have a dream that differs from my usual unwinding and winding patters of my subconscious sorting out my tasks and creative trials. I will see/feel someone who meant or means a lot to me, and feel as though that person is actually in the dream with me, with the intention of giving me a sense of safety, healing and comfort. The first time I remember it happening was when I started at Mankato State – my family reacted as though I were a 16 year old runaway that was actively harming them, rather than a 20 year old trying to finish her education. The abuse that came with the expectations, demands and entitlements that they refused to verbalize (because then they’d have to hear themselves how horrible they were being) included literally trying to surround me and demand I “explain” my choice of schools when it was clear no explanation on earth was going to satisfy them – and they didn’t coherently provide any solid reasons for why they felt entitled to that explanation. One night after an especially hard day – Mankato was not a welcoming place, and I had chosen it because it aligned with my ability to raise money to finish my degree there, not because of the “fun” factor; the day had included a confrontation with the ex-boyfriend that had dumped me for a guy long before I got there. I had to finish with a phone call to my mother where she was especially mean-spirited and passive aggressive. I was really demoralized, and called a friend from my old school, who wasn’t home. Later that night, I had a dream that was very different – I was walking around Chicago with this friend, and it was Chicago from HIS point of view (I was raised to see it through a certain nightmarish filter.) We talked honestly and openly in that dream, and when I woke up, I felt comforted, moralized, and ready to handle what was before me. I don’t know if my friend dream walked me or if some divine entity took pity on me, but over the years this has happened a few times. It’s not always when I’m feeling low, but often enough, it comes when I most need a morale boost. It’s a wonderful mystery to encounter.

Threaded throughout the post are images and individuals that give me a sense of spiritual strength. I’m totally in the market for a mini-bust of Voltaire.