Tag Archives: Mystic

Nightmare

It’s my grandma’s funeral, yet she is standing right here in front of me. Did something go wrong? Her face is as white as her hair. We’re in a hallway at the ceremonial building of her cemetery. She’s looking at the others who are at her funeral down the hallway. She knows she should be dead. She looks confused. Then she quickly turns yellow, then also purplish. As if she’s decomposing. She falls backwards. I catch her, my one hand behind her back, the other behind her head. My arms are around her fragile body and she’s facing me now. She looks at me in agony, confusion. As if she wants to ask me what she’s doing here. There’s a morbid serenity between us. She starts vomiting. She cannot stay on her feet, so I gently lay her on her back. My moms voice is mixed with my own in a command to put her on her side so that she doesn’t suffocate. I lay her sideways, then I violently start puking as well. It is not actual puke, it’s a yellow-black decomposed liquid. It spreads over the floor, creating little stretched-out  puddles. Then a bit more, as if my bile spits death. If spurts on her feet.

I wake up in the middle of the night, unsure if she’s dead or alive. I feel sick, to the extent that I’m wondering if I am. It doesn’t go away easily. It was just a dream. Was she there? The likeness of the confusion was striking. Minds deceive, go back to sleep, I tell myself. So it gets dark again.

It dawns on me the next morning that the texts I had considered finished at my new job, got returned to me by some clients. As if they resurrected, through a will beyond me. As if I had to lay them back with care, not knowing if they would stay or disappear from my life. Perhaps the dream’s sepulchral aspect was related the Game of Thrones episode I’d been watching earlier last night. Things are never what they seem. Or maybe the dream related to the talk I had with my girlfriend afterwards, in which we spoke about her insecurities at work. A confusion which then probably reflected my own. It could even be related to a diuretic intestine problem I’m experiencing, working on my mind while I’m asleep.

But was she there?

My grandma didn’t believe in ghosts or in life after death. She told me that in the months before she died. Killed herself. She called me one day to inform me about her decision, so I went to visit her more or less weekly. Cook for her. Bond with her. For the first time in my life, really. I remember that a few days before she took her fatal drink, I had a similar, nauseating dream, less morbid than last night, in which I told her no, I wasn’t fine with her choice. I never told her in real life. My daily me respected her courage and resolve.

For many years I have romanticized death. A next state, a state of freedom. Where worldly matters release their grip. An eternal, infinite deep blackness we all carry inside us but fail to perceive. For a long time I looked upon death in the way I imagined it would look from the inside, as an experience. I’ve never believed in reincarnation, but yes, I do believe that consciousness exists outside our brain and also in dead matter. More than my consciousness shutting down when I die, I believe it will dissolve.  A part of me may have projected this romantic perception of death upon my grandma’s choice to do euthanasia.

It only recently starts to dawn on me, that, free as death may seem from the inside, it leaves a penetrating print upon the living. As a biologist I could have known. We can be poisoned by a dead brother’s body. Could it be that if a body of a dead person can make you ill, so can a dead person’s emotion? Should that too be properly cleaned?

I’ve carried the disturbing memory as a heavy weight through the day. I never knew that death, in all its beauty, can be so repulsive. Not even when watching Game of Thrones. I don’t think I’ve ever had a viler dream. Death in my dreams was usually fresh or even mystical. Not rotting and definitely not in such a way that it spat from my own guts.

She told me she hoped I’d remember her in a nice way. I told her I would. I do. I’ve wondered today if I missed signals in her instants of confusion, when she was still alive. Instants remarkably similar to her anxiety in my dream. Her question if she’s dead or alive. For a while today I seriously wondered if there was a piece of her spirit remnant inside me. Yet now that I truly tune in to that time, I remember joy, laughter and a deep calm. Her choice was made. Anything I would have tried to do to stop her would have made it harder.

It’s that calm that tells me now that it was just a nightmare. The emotion should be taken care of in me, not in her. Some proper rest once in a while wouldn’t hurt.

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Breathshake

In the series of new names for unspoken emotions, I´d like to discuss breathshake. Breathshake is what it sounds like, a deep shaking of the breath that interferes with the actual breathing. It comes together with a pulsating fear of the loss of life, possibly that fundamental one. In fact, I´d challenge you with the thought that breathshake is a pulsating appearance of life out of a state where it is not. Appearance of emotion too. It´s probably the most terrifying fast emotion I know.

The obvious pathway to the experience of breathshake is running out of air. You can do this by not stopping with breathing out, going very deep into the water or doing sports while breathing far below your natural rhythm. The first option is probably safest. In these cases, my diaphragm starts contracting and I have the sensation of being cut off. The thought “this situation is eternal” forces itself upon me. You could call it fear of death, but I think it is a fear of never getting access to life anymore. While silence is present, a feverish tingly cloud dwells up in my upper body. I feel sweat emerge from several spots. I sense that the feeling could subdue me from the back of my neck and shut off my awareness. It never has.

Lighter forms of breathshake can occur without that I run out of air. An interesting thing that can trigger this for me is the tought of not receiving attention from a person I love. It can also happen in conversations where I feel incapable of standing up for myself the way I think I deserve. It is as if the conversation partner suppresses my self-perceived value and does not recognize my true character, or whatever it is inside me that needs to be appreciated at that moment. The parallel with being cut off from oxygen is interesting, as if human attention also is a substance we need.

The pulsating character of breathshake delivers a remarkable alteration of states of mind which reveals parts of myself to me. Fuelled with panic, short, shallow gulps of breath try to resolve the feeling of sinking away into a swamp. That experience alternates a state of tranquility and acceptance, as if the end is already there. This tranquility eventually takes over and allows my breath to deepen again. All of it happens quite quickly.

Breathshake relativizes my concerns. It can release some tensions, but it also makes me aware of my incapacity to be fully in control of myself. I am aware again that somewhere deep inside me lingers a deep desire for taking part that can become stronger than myself. The thought is humbling, but slightly discomforting too.

Orgelet

So two days just passed in which I was once again lost on big and smaller roads in France, carried along by well willing locals with their innate stories and perspectives, while I tried to shake off the worries and concerns of my little life in the Netherlands, meeting them all the more in their contrast with the nature and freedom I viewed from a very close distance.

It’s remarkable how differently time passes by when one hops from spot to spot. Is it a mind-set thing? With only three hours on the road, how many sites have passed by today that would totally be worth further examination? Have fragments of myself perhaps remained behind, still hovering around to perceive the local beauty? Have pieces of my soul remained in conversation with the beautiful people I’ve met along the way? Is there a realm somewhere, where what has happened is still taking place? Is that why all those lifetimes have passed since I left Barcelona? In this state, stronger than in others, the feeling seems so real…

In the same way in which this lifestyle is exhausting, it is extremely energizing. Massive amounts of inspiration get sucked through my existence like water through narrowing river banks. It is impossible to guide it all into shapes, yet I experience things vividly, and am right here to digest it all at once. I feel the space and the strength to accomplish anything I want, but the need to do little more than flow. But more than last time I travelled, I am carrying a burden. It is here with me, in between all beautiful voices. To survive in a Metropolitan world, you need to push things at the cost of others.

Was it a mistake to surrender to the city life? Or was the mistake,  that I chose to grow up? That I did not arrest time before my twenty-fifth? That I did not manage to place myself outside of the big bad wild West? Did not find the loophole?

Slit

I drive my bicycle by the Huizingalaan for my job. There’s an anxious feeling, but I can’t put my finger on it. The traffic light is red. Shall I cross the street anyway? I’m almost at my third destination of this morning, meaning I’m halfway the duty: taking pictures of the litter on the street. The rubbish in the grass doesn’t matter, that’s not in the assignment. I decide there’s no rush, so I just stop for the red light. The weekend pops into my mind. We had a nicely easy pace, far slower than the footsteps I hear behind me. They’re close, actually. I want to turn my head, when I feel a firm, warm hand on my right ear. It is attached to a left arm that is now in front of my face. It my face in a turn to the left. A sharp cold blade enters my neck on the left side of my Adam’s apple and painfully slits through. I am surprisingly aware of it cutting my aorta. My body pressure drops. I’m calmer than ever when I bend my right shoulder forward towards my steer. Whoever is behind me still holds my face back and I’m looking at the sky. I feel my legs give way and my body comes down like a scaffolding with a missing lower pole. My heart pumps out quantities of blood and I cannot stop it. My extremities start tingling. The feeling steadily creeps in. I lose perception in my skin.

He doesn’t look into my eyes, but instead goes straight for the inner pocket of my coat. I hear myself attempt to ask what the black hat expects to find there. His survival? Another pulse of life leaves my arms and legs. It’s sad. The dark black coat and the hat run off with my wallet, leaving what is left of me buried under the bike I had with me. “Now nobody will know who I am”. The thoughts sound distant but meaningful. Light flashes appear. They come with a pulsating headache. Part of my view is replaced by colour patterns. Someone I once briefly dated enters my vision. Never thought she would.

“What did you do wrong?” I hear.
“Should I have ignored the red light and crossed the street?”
There’s no answer. I feel the question press stronger upon me.
“Should I have looked behind me when I felt something was wrong? When I heard his footsteps? Should I have seen him when he wanted to attack?”
Still no answer.
“Should I have taken a shorter coffee break, so that the evil would never have met me? Perhaps I should have called in sick this morning, when I felt that little headache rise? Or should I have forgotten my camera at home and caused a delay, or overslept a little, or made some more love or…”
“What did you do wrong?”
The similarity in tone and volume with the earlier question is frightening.

“Was it my dedication? Should I have been a more effective worker? More persuasive? Should I have been more pro-active in times where I was needed? Should I have tried harder to convince others about this team building idea? Should I have put more effort in the workspace? Cleaned more? Worn more suitable clothes? Perhaps I should have reviewed my products better? And the others’? Paid more attention to their personal problems instead of my own?
It remains silent for a while.

“Should I have been more loving to my girlfriend, maybe? Thought less about sex, perhaps? More about tenderness and care? Cuddled more? Should I have avoided those other girls I felt a stronger affection to at times? Spent less time drinking with friends? Should I have mastered my feelings better, so that she would’ve had a stronger shoulder to rest on? Tried harder to listen to her when she had a hard time? Perhaps I should have practiced Yoga? Should I have asked her to marry me? Have babies? Would that have saved me from this horrible death? Should I have reached out to her more while I still had the chance? Did I date the wrong girl?

“What did you do wrong?” Again, the exact same words in the exact same, serene but powerful voice.
“Should I have saved more energy? Bought more organic food? Perhaps I shouldn’t have bought a car? Lived a more sober life, cared more about strangers? Should I have visited my grandma more often? Learn from her words and give her some news on how the younger people live? Should I have fought her lonely existence and restored the generation gap? Should I have called more with my parents? Asked them for their points of view? Listened to their warnings? Should I not have moved so far away? Chosen my dad’s profession, tried to understand him? Should I have granted them a grandchild while I had the chance? Could I have been less hard on my brothers? Fought them less, given them more space to be who they were? Should I ha…

“What did you do wrong?” am I in a loop? Will this go on an on?
“Should I have dedicated my life to the spiritual? Moved to a monastery? Helped out in the third world, perhaps? Should I have actively practiced a state of constant joyful trance? Strived for enlightenment? Compassion? Should I have passionately sought the wiser ones to support me in a path of service to the divine? Travelled through dimensions? Been more in touch with myself? Should I have established a disciplined bio rhythm? Meditated more? Should I have been an example to those who needed one? Or perhaps I should have been more humble? Taken my convictions less seriously? Or simply have been more open to others? Where the Christians right? Should I have just understood that Jesus was our one and only saviour? Should I have separated milk from meat? Prayed towards the middle east? Or maybe I ignored you when I met you, disguised up as a homeless person? Or were you dressed up as a business man? A beautiful woman in a long black dress, perhaps?

“What did you do wrong?” I’m running out of thoughts. What if I don’t find the answer? I don’t know what to say.
“Should I have slept more?”
“That’s enough, man!” says the voice. “I was just messing with you! You should have crossed the red light while you still could. Your first guess was right. But it’s too late for that now” a jolly laughter. “Anyway, dude, welcome to the afterlife.”

Image run wild

“Not the slightest hint of attention…” thought Shawn as he faded with the setting sun. “The man can’t live without me, but does he ever wonder what I want? Not an instant of the day.” Even if he was disappearing, the shadow was right. Evan had never cared about him and judging the circumstances it seemed unlikely that he would anywhere in the near future. He was more interested in lighter matters such as the computer screen, television or the occasional candle.

“Where would he be without me?” wondered Shawn after Evan had switched the light on. “No girl would take note of his sturdy jaws or his voluptuous lips. His qualities would lay hidden in a face that would seem plain and pale. No one would fall for him where it not for my indefatigable presence.” Not that it had had benefit so far, Evan was not the guy to make a move. Shawn nevertheless actively increased his chances must he ever tip over.

This did not occur to Evan. He turned on his television and sat down, casting a new version of Shawn on the wall behind him. It flickered dimly.  “THEre rEAlly SHoulD BE SOmethINg wE caN do ABout this” he said to his other self on the seat below Evan.  Evan, distracted by the lit up box on the other end, did not notice the conversation between Shawns insecure version and the more sturdy one carrying Evans behind. “Do you think it’s fair that I follow him wherever he goes, while he never even gives the slightest sign of respect? A little thank you once in a while would be nice. Flowers, chocolate, something! Once!” The flickering Shawn found it hard to wrap his head around these concepts, so he agreed with his alter ego on the couch.

Evan stood up. “There he goes!” shouted couch-Shawn, who now flashed to the floor and shot to the lower part of the wall. “Stands up and walks away, pretending nothing’s going on. That we’ll follow him without question. Well, that will not stand!” He had to run quickly and hop from wall to wall to keep up until the kitchen. It was when Evan opened the fridge, spawning yet another Shawn on the enormous plant behind him, that the poor shadow had enough. He lifted his arms to the ceiling and pulled himself up. Evan took his beer out of the fridge and closed it, making his shadow vanish in the darkness.

Evan walked back through the dining room to the TV, Shawn ran around him on the walls. “A man can only spend so much time without appreciating his shadow before it will get back at him” whispered Shawn who was back with his flickering him on the wall behind. He creeped slightly to the left. The flickering Shawn started impersonating Evan picking his nose. This amused the shadow on the couch, who thought some donkey ears would go well with that. Flickering Shawn, inspired, gave him a long tale by which he lifted himself into the shadow of a bonsai tree that stood near the lamp on the table. It to suddenly grew a shady banana. Shawn mimicked another monkey figure that took lice out of Evans fur. He ate them.

“Is that enough?” Evan, warned by jungle sounds, had turned around and now gazed at the scene with a condescending expression. Shawn drooped back to the chair. Evan turned back to the TV. The other Shawn pointed a flickering finger of accusation to the void and held an arm on his thigh. Couch-Shawn giggled silently. He drew a little black square moustache on his lip. Shawn topped this up with a flickering arm in the air, after which the whole figure rose out of its shady chair, threw a straight leg forward and took a step. They thought the resemblance was striking.

Evan, feeling ridiculed, stood up, ran to the wall and screamed: “stop it!” only to find himself yell at his own mirrored projection flickering on the wall. Shawn was delighted at the view. After Evan had turned around again he lifted his thumbs to his ears and wiggled his fingers. Evan himself was puzzled, but felt that he had sufficiently dealt with the situation. He watched some more TV, turned of the light, walked to the bedroom and went to sleep.

The sight of his ceiling at the moment Evan opened his eyes caused somewhat of a stir in his subconscious depths. He closed his eyes again, pretending that that would bring him back to sleep. Meanwhile, the stir moved through his belly, reached disrupting proportions around his heart, then sprang out through his eyes. Kaleidoscopic patterns swarmed over his walls and his ceiling. When he managed to wipe the sleep out of his eyes, Evan could discern little figures running all over. He stood up and walked to the wall, only to find that they were tiny portraits of himself, jumbling in what seemed the representation of a civil war.

One scene showed him running after a girl. She looked a lot like a miniature shadow of his first love Melinda. She ran and ran until she stopped then turned around and pursued him instead. This caused his miniature shadow to turn, run and disappear into the crowd. He saw a tiny picture of his boss behind his desk. On the other side of the desk, a figure of himself hurried in whichever direction the other pointed. The poor little fellow shrank with every act. Evan stood a meter away from his wall, witnessing shadowgraphs of forgotten fights with his brothers, struggles with his car and a strange incident in the supermarket which he found hard to place. The wall kept him hypnotized until all figures disappeared into what seemed a little black hole with an odd depth effect, shrinking down to an invisible size.“Wow…” thought Evan, as he fell backwards on his bed and closed his eyes.
“Uh-oh…” thought Evan as the phone rang downstairs. He jumped out of bed, skipped his house shoes and stumbled down the stairs ignoring three horned creatures the sun cast upon the wall to his left through the tiny windows to his right. They weren’t flattering.
“If you’re not here within half an hour” spoke Evan’s boss calmly through the receiver, “I’m going to have to let you go.” The connection was broken.

It took Evan twenty-eight minutes and thirty-six seconds to knock on his boss’s door. He had been obliged to skip some essential morning rituals, including shower, shave and breakfast. The cause of it all had, according to several eye witnesses continued its shenanigans. The shadow had indeed shown such engagement with its quest that it had managed to drag along crowds in its disobedience. It was for that reason that people looked up expecting to see a zeppelin when Evans bus drove by. It also explained the wavy movement of the buildings’ shadows on the city streets. Perhaps it even had something to do with the street map visuals on the clouds, bothering six meteorologists in the region.

While Evan did his very best to beg for mercy at the desk of his boss, Shawn made a long nose behind him. Ignatio, the boss, ignored the shadows recalcitrance. He had sufficient reason and justice to stick to his words. Evan had managed, against his expectations, to arrive within the given time. But he was not going to make it easy.
“I see you did not shave?” he asked, with a silent undertone.
“I’m sorry. I had to run. I reckoned it will be just for today. Tomorrow I’ll look in top shape again.” Ignatio ignored the gesture of denial made on the background. After all, one can not fire their employees on grounds of undesirable shadow motions. Besides, Evans clothes looked ironed and tidy as ever.
“What is your excuse for arriving this late?”
“Well, I woke up, turned off the alarm, and then by some overwhelming force got sucked back into sleeping mode. I had quite disturbing dreams about seeing…
“Dreams? Force? You’re saying you went to sleep again after turning off the alarm clock! What did you do last night?” Evan wanted to open his mouth, but the question was rhetorical. Shawn felt sudden pity for him, and accentuated Evan’s few weak gestures to support him on the background. Ignatio, ignoring that, entered a speech on how the values of a business are reflected by its employees, and that this kind of late coming must never happen again, and that he could consider buying a second alarm clock if he thought that necessary. He should also go to bed earlier, because well rested employees make a far better impression.
“What are you staring at?” asked Ignatio, noting an absence in Evans mind.
Somebody knocked.
“Yes?”
His secretary entered.
“Sir, the Ink Company® called. They asked when we will deliver the squids.”
“Come in. Evan, you can go. Don’t let this happen again.”
“I won’t”. Answered Evan. The eyes of the secretary looked bigger than usual as he passed. Behind his back, his shadow stroked hers over the shoulder with one finger. Hers threw one arm around Shawns neck.

Evans desk was tidy. Whoever had done that must come from a dark place where evil is forged and grandma wolf sits knitting sheep’s clothing for her twisted little boys.

Evans shade looked small now that the sun stood at its highest. “Morning, Evan” said Fun Freddy. “Problems waking up today?” I have that all the time. It’s a matter of opening both eyes at once, turning on the light and sitting up straight. You’ve got to do it in a single painless move. Pretend it has already happened before you start. If not, the land of the darkness catches you somewhere on the way, and you’re lost. What’s wrong with your shadow? Did you feed it sugar?” Shawn bashed Freddies to the ground. “Whoah! Did you see that? It’s is coming on to mine. You should teach it some manners, dear colleague!” Evan was certain that his nickname would be Savage Shadow Evan from now on.

Yet except for the difficulties in finding his material and the occasional uproar at his work spot, for example when Shawn threw shadow popcorn into the shadow of Fun Freddies coffee, entering numbers into data sheets went as usual that afternoon. He worked for a bit longer, partially to catch up, but he was also happy to avoid rush hour. Driving home was less embarrassing that way. The street lights and the bus lights created interplay of shadows, making it harder for others to see Shawns attempts to wreak havoc.

When they arrived back home and Evan was alone with his shadow, he felt the need to act. The thought of talking to his shadow again made him wonder if he had not lost it, but it was a thought he could not erase. He failed to notice the broccoli with cheese sauce when he put it in his mouth. What would he tell his shadow? Why on earth would he assume it would listen, let alone answer? After all, there had been no response the night before.

The sound and light of the TV reached as little of his conscious mind as the taste. The tension in his belly rose as he wondered where to start. Should he take a loving approach, or be stern? He found himself wording out sentences in his head. He wondered if he needed to explain his shadow about himself, or that it knew everything. It had after all been with him forever. Could it read his mind? Did it know of his current dilemma? Probably. It must be unable to speak, was his conclusion. Or perhaps only in signs, but Evan could not read signs.

His flickering shadow plucked out his hairs on the wall behind him. Sometimes it abruptly stood up, then it quickly sat down. It walked to the corner of the room and put itself there, arms around its knees. Evan hurried to the kitchen, took a glass out of the closet, filled it with water and took a sip. Then, it slipped from his hand and scattered on the floor. “What do you want?” he screamed out. The corner of the room was silent as any corner of a room.

Never again did Shawn act in any way unexpectedly. Evan sometimes wondered if he had dreamed the whole thing, and was decided not to speak of it again. His nickname had not become established on the work floor. Still, ever since that day, he looked back at Shawn frequently with quirky shivers over his spine.

Spirals

I have to slow down to blow my nose. The napkin bill is going through the roof. It’s the time of the year. I’m on a two-hour drive to the sea-shore because I had to get out. The house is too small sometimes, the city too loud. My mind clogs together with the decor of my days.

The roads are narrow and curvy. Red and grey rocks lay spread over the landscape. Some edgy pinnacles rise out of the surface, giving testimony of more violent times. All that grows here are lichens and dry shrubs, stuck close to the ground to seek protection from whatever dangers threaten them. Plains are alternated by enormous rock formations as far as the eye can see.

As I drive, my mind wanders off, back home, where my habits and shield me from the fact that nothing is for certain. I am suddenly aware of the dusty corners of the house and visualise cleaning them. It presses on me now, but there is nothing I can do. The relationship with Isabella has taken over five years. The past week hasn’t been good. Strange fights over the least important things. Where the Indian cuisine originates from for example. Or whether we should or shouldn’t exchange the forks with the spoons. I saw a side of her I did not know so far. Childish, irrational, as if some force has come out that had been locked in there for years. It’s a new burden.

A tree, lonely in the barren landscape. It grows sideways, as if pushed down by an invisible hand, punished for its continuous urge to take more space from the vast and endless nothingness, which it mocks by its presence alone. Its print on my mind’s eye keeps ridiculing this whole site in the same way as the appearance of Isabella’s new face mocks her infinite beauty. How did this tree get here? Were did the seed come from? Was it blown from the outside? Has it always lingered, awaiting the moment where the rocks were softened enough by the rain? Perhaps there was a forest here before.

Shots of thought rush through the space in my head. The fights were disproportionate. They opened up paths to some long forgotten sides of who we are, pulling the rug from underneath our feet. We fell. The extent of it is still as unclear as are the consequences. The red stones around are merely observers of these whirling motions in my mind. They don’t know what’s going on, let alone do they take part in it. They’re old. Lay there, serving lichens and shrubs that eat them away in steady, painful perseverance. I wish they grew upon my mind, undoing it from all the random crap I don’t need. Perhaps they do. Maybe I should just water them.

Meandering, the road carries me further and further away from the inhabited world, nearer and nearer to the place where the land meets the sea. I turn on the radio, but all I hear is a distant and distorted version of the Ride of the Valkyries. I turn it off again. A pull on the wheel makes me hold it stronger. The fight goes on for a while, until after a few more bends, a fire tower stands out on the horizon. It has diagonal red-white stripes painted over it. It says: “here I am! Do watch me!” At its foot stands a little stone house with broken windows. Its brown wooden door is rattling. Some of the roof tiles have disappeared, revealing light wooden grid-like structure that once held them up. I park on an uneven rocky spot along the ending of the road. I grab my coat and my hat, and open the door which instantly gets pulled away, and I’m standing outside in the storm. It takes an effort to close the door. My coat flies out of my hands and gets stuck behind a rock, 33 meters ahead. I run to get it. Pulling the sleeves over my arms turns out to be no less of a hassle, but I finally succeed. I grab the keys out of a bush and walk back to lock the doors. I wonder why, but do it anyway. I don’t let go of my hat.

It’s hard to tell if it is stormiest inside or out of the run-down house. There is a broken furnace here and a gas bottle with a hole in it. A ray lights a closet. A bush grows through its bottom plank. Its branches eagerly try to reach out for some more sun in the room. Its roots hold on to the splinters of the broken pots lying around. The memory. Sudden flapping wings make me jump, and I see an owl fly off through the hole in the roof. “Odd. Its daytime” I hear myself think and a cloud casts a shadow over us.

I too go outside. The hair blowing in my face stings me a little. I try to get to the tower, but blasts of air hold me back with irregular force. Breathing is hard when the storm squalls into my throat, or when it suddenly pulls the pressure away from me. When, after battling the elements, I finally reach the towers door, I feel victorious and exhausted. Stairs spiral up, and I follow them to the lantern room.

“You always make me feel like shit” pierces her voice through my head. I see spit shoot out of her mouth. Disgusting. That issue wasn’t even worth mentioning either. Some conversation about the medicinal use of Melissa. What followed was increasing tension with accusation after accusation, reaching a scale that I couldn’t oversee. I tried to search for truth inside her words, but was blinded by the anger they conjured. Despair about her, about us maybe, and myself. The thought has taken hold of me. I cannot release the dark look on her face, as if she deliberately wanted to break the trust we’d built in all these years.

Near the top, a new gust surprises me, taking me back into the struggle of this place. The sea stretches further than I can see, though I have to close my eyes against the stingy air. I scream from the top of my lungs, but a new blast pushes my voice back into my throat. “You cannot get me!” I scream once more. For a second, I look the elemental force straight into the eye. Then, the fence I lean on gives way, and I am on the fastest track back to the rocks. My fall leaves me no time to think of any plan, and I would crush if it were not for the twister that captures me right out of the air, pulling me back up in direction of the sea. While my limbs whirl and twist, I am not sure if this unexpected salvation is fortunate or not. I try to pull myself together and move along smoothly, but the storm keeps shaking the confusion into me.

I can reorient when I reach the top of the twister. I am now well above the tower, very hard to tell how far. The grey red endless landscape looks less meaningful on the majestic blue background of the sky. I have no time to ponder that because I’m interrupted by a changing pressure, launching me further away from the land. In a glimpse I see that my car is lying on its side. That worries me. My face gets wet and cold in the moist I’m pulled through. I don’t understand why I don’t fall. It seems as if I’m going up instead.  Whatever I try, there’s no chance that I can steer. I’m subjected to the will of the storms. So I fly.

The doors of my house are open. Windows too. The furniture moves through the living room. Papers fly all around and so does the laundry. Plants in pots are either ripped or they have scattered on the floor. The cat has disappeared. The scene disrupts me. That mess was mine to clean. Then again, who am I to speak, I’m up in the air. A snap. I spread my arms. It dawns on me that I have never been this high in the air on my own. It may be cold and unnerving, but the view is beautiful. I feel a wave of respect for the thunderclouds that roll in my direction. Isabella’s insecurity feels easy now. Cute, even. There are no other pressures than the movements of the tides. I am weightless as a feather, dancing through the wind. A shoe spins through the air. It used to be mine. Just like that coat over there, with the napkins. Is that my hair circling around my head? One moment, the sun is up, the next, there’s sea above me. And then she’s down again. I can’t keep track. Different parts of me each take their own direction, whirling along with the motions that carry it. Words, feelings, body parts, sensations and thoughts fly by. None of them attached to one another. It tingles.

The lack of radio signal on the Actarius II caused some trouble on the open sea. It took a few hours before someone was bright enough to inspect the antenna on deck. A complete outfit covered it, the owner of which was never found. The clothes were taken to a farm, where they still serve as a scarecrow.

Thesis Spiritual Experiences in Nature

For those who are interested, I wrote a thesis in 2011 on spiritual experiences in natural areas in the Netherlands. I got an 8,5 for it. I have have written an abbreviated version for publication, but it was rejected for one or two good reasons and a whole list of quite silly ones. My intention remains to publish it when I have more time. Whenever that may be.

Here it is:

Havik2011ThesisSpiritNature

Conjuress of Dreams

She lives on a mountain, among the clouds. You know whom it concerns. She has us all under her spell. Let’s hope her intentions are good.

It was a hot night when it came to me. Do you know them? Those nights where dreams and wakefulness collide. My life had been a mess so far. I lacked touch. Nobody likes to work behind a screen in a multi-storeyed prison for the soul. Not me at least. I realised that many years later. Things had come alive.

I lived in a dark house. It wasn’t big, but even so there was a room I didn’t thread for years. Filled with memories, filled with mess. Remnants of a life I’d never asked for, yet I could not part with them. A fellow knocked one day. White beard and on his head a black Jaguar’s face. He wore long layered garments: black, white and grey. Sinister though he may have seemed, a spark lit up his eye. There was no formality, no respect and no hesitation. He entered my forbidden room; despair pulled me in after him. He showed me things, these objects of the past. He showed me pains that were long gone. The door was open, just like that. No way could it be shut.

I woke up, my brother called. My mom had died that night. Some force tried to turn me inside out. Filled with guilt I cried about that dream. I cursed this wicked man in robes for opening that door. Hated her on the day she left, for all that she had done.

But how can we be sure? A woman with a gift like hers is bound to go corrupt one day. If she owns us and the darkness owns her, then are we not all doomed to befall?

Dreams are no strange thing to me; I have them all the time. But there was something about this one that caught my attention. Some light that it expressed. It was a vividness inside. It revealed a power hidden not just in the dream, but in my life. Does it matter if I describe the events to you? I honestly don’t know.

A day like all others. I was walking down the street. I live in the city, you see? Picture the streets. Take a city where you feel at home. My sister called, I picked up, she said I sounded strange. Different. More powerful or something. I told her it was because of the dream I had that night. Just like I’m telling you now. She asked what it was about. But I did not answer. She kept asking. What difference does it make? My dream is my dream and it means to me what it means to me. You’d be distracted by the words, by the shapes, by the feeling. You’d give it a twist of your own. But the dream was not yours. I could perceive beyond these shapes and thoughts. Not that they weren’t there… at all! But my relation to them was different. Lighter. I could see through tables and mirrors, through layers of reality to look deeper inside. A different kind of knowing I would say, more visual. I do believe that I saw God that night.

My brother sounded manic that day. I wouldn’t know how else to call it. And do you see? He’s in a hospital now. Delusions of the severest kind. Drawing orbs on walls where he may not, with little pictures inside sometimes. The words he says make little sense. One moment everything is beautiful, the next moment everyone is evil, and the next… Nothing. He sits there; silently, unmoved. For hours! I cannot stand to see him that way. I hope he’ll be better again. It started with that devilish dream.

Should we take it from her? She is doing harm. Have you seen how they ended up? Have you seen them all? There are many. Have you followed them? Do you understand? We should take it, before it’s too late.

It takes courage to cross the jungle on your own, especially for a girl. Courage and some madness perhaps. But I did. The journey was long, timeless it would seem. Past snakes and monkeys. They were listening to me. They sometimes did what I wanted them to. Yet they attacked me. Sharp teeth. Then I fought them off, in rage. They’d stop when I calmed down.

Some trees were impossible to chop. I’d have to climb sometimes. Grab lianas and swing from branch to branch. I was determined to cross these woods and would. I’m sorry for the plants I hurt, for the bushes I broke, but I had no choice; this was a one way road. Then, the landscape changed. It went up. I still don’t know what all these cables were, more and more of them, until all my eyes could see were thick black ropes, all pointing to the horizon. I followed them.

A triangle rose as I approached. It grew bigger and bigger and at some point I must have realised it was a pyramid. A voice when I came near: “enter only when you are ready, else you’ll burn in light”. Isn’t that a weird offer? I came all the way, crossing all this trouble, and then this voice offers you a choice? Of course I entered! I could not even consider the question, so full I was with purpose and drive.

It was a maze inside. Challenges alternated. I saw flames. I felt them. Gentle changes in the pressure of the air. They burned. The red flame burned my clothes. Crossing it left me bare. The green one burned my flesh and bones, the blue flame burned my mind. When I finally got out, I was alone with nothing more than soul.

I heard the voice again. “You are ready now”. I am not sure if what moved next was the pyramid or me. A blinding light shone through. It was a dream that led me here, but now I’m not dreaming anymore. I can’t wake up. This is it. This is where it ends.

Where do we look for her? We could track her traces in the skies. If she does reside in the heights, then it should be easy to find her that way.

What drives a man to take a boat and cross the Atlantic by himself? I didn’t know when I left. But I can tell you, being out there on the big blue, being out there on your own brings you an answer. The waves support a lot. Yet if I’d have to tell the truth, the biggest answers came in my dreams. I wouldn’t be able to explain why these dreams occur so intensely, but I definitely have more attention for them now. I have the time to contemplate them. Or better: I am forced to be with them.

In fact, my decision to take this trip was triggered by one dream in particular. At first I thought this dream was very clear, very literal and easy for me to understand. I had to sail and on my own. But as I lived the choice, as I sweated blood on my boat, the whole perspective changed. I did not take this trip because I understood the meaning of this dream; I took it because I had to figure out.

In the dream I stood in front of a … woman. Under her, enormous waves whirling her robes. I am still not sure if they were made of water. I cannot say. I was compelled. It might have been liquid fire, such potency I sensed in her. Many things occurred silently. Little events of my life passed by, little stories I’d forgot so long ago. Other lives, as if they were my own. She bowed, all that time she bowed opening her arms to me. And then, suddenly, she looked up and watched me briefly. Briefly though she pierced deeper than anyone ever before. Beyond my soul. One word was all she said.

“Sail”

Looking back I may have left to deal with that look. I must admit that I miss it. I’ve never seen it on earth. But it seems such things aren’t meant to last. I left, free to deal with it all. Deal with it at the four winds’ pace.

Keep trying. We’ll find her. We have to. We’ve looked for centuries. I began to doubt.