Anyone who has read my stories knows they all involve journeys and that most of these journeys involve a child getting hurt. No surprise that both the explorer and the guide usually suffer during these journeys. Even so, those who practice emergence see this suffering as worthwhile. Why? Because of what always emerges from this suffering; in particular, the love.
In the story I am about to tell you, then, all these things are present; the journey, a child getting hurt, the suffering, and the love. What is different this time, though, and one reason I tell this story is that, in this story, two children get wounded in the same instant and from the same shocking event. And although I know, in theory, this must happen often, this is the only case I have found, so far, in which two children get wounded from the same shocking event in the same instant.
There is also a second reason I tell this story. I tell it because it is a good example of when and how to use the "do it to me again" technique. Admittedly, this technique is one of the more difficult to master. Even so, if you can find the courage to suffer through it, it is still one of the more direct and thorough ways to emerge from a BLock.
As for my story, it begins with me leaving home to meet someone, at the time, a person I had never met.
Now, as I remember, I was a little nervous that day, something about me being a writer. In truth, I love writing, and the person I was meeting that day, Penny, also loves writing; in fact, we have this love in common. But Penny is a professional writer AND an editor, and I am an aspiring writer. Big difference. And Penny always seems to have the words for her ideas, while many times, I struggle to find the words. As I left, then, I remember asking myself, would I find the words?
I also remember feeling excited. I love meeting new people, especially when we are meeting to discuss emergence. I love it even more when the person I am meeting is capable of having what Carl Jung once referred to as an "uncomplicated conversation." Penny could definitely have an "uncomplicated conversation"; meaning, she discuss deep ideas without first needing to prove we were qualified to discuss such things.
Finally, there was the nervousness I felt because I intuitively sensed this meeting would be important. At the time, I had no idea why. I just knew. Add to all this the fact I was worried as to whether I would recognize her and the stage was really set.
Is there an unhealed Block in me about not recognizing people? Probably so. Whatever the case, though, I pushed it aside and left.
One last detail. Those who know me will be interested to know that Penny and I had agreed to meet that day in front of a coffee shop. No surprise. For some strange reason, I seem to have many enlightening moments in and around coffee shops. My karma? Heaven's sense of humor? Whatever it is, whenever I think of it, I smile.
The Parroting Begins
As far as us finding each other, all went well. Unfortunately, though, the coffee shop we met at was crowded and noisy so we had to walk to another nearby. Even so, within minutes, we were lost in that wonderful labyrinth of exploration and discovery, and soon my worries were forgotten.
But something was not right. Something in what we were talking about was bothering me; in fact, something was downright poking at me. But what? Nothing had happened.
I decided to do a little self examination but found nothing so decided to just ignore whatever it was. After all, we both were enjoying the conversation and everything was going well. In fact, Penny was enjoying our talk so much, she was repeatedly acknowledging what I said and then asking me to tell her more. So what was the problem?
For a while, then, I decided to just keep my feelings to myself. After all, who was I to be so judgmental anyway. And this was our first meeting. More important, I had no clue as to what was provoking these feelings in me, so what could I have said?
As we continued to talk, though, I continued to feel poked by something. I again tried self examination but again found nothing. Again, I tried to just let it go.
Finally, I made a conscious choice to simply do damage control, meaning, I simply chose to ignore my feelings and to simply continue the conversation. After all, what's a little annoyance when we were having such a great conversation.
But the feelings would not let up. In fact, they continued to get worse. Soon I found myself engaged in a parallel, internal case-building session. Translation. Outwardly, I was talking to Penny as if nothing was bothering me, but as this thread of my consciousness discussed love and emergence, another, internal thread was building a case against her. In fact, this was unfolding so naturally inside me that it was happening almost against my will, and very soon I had fallen into a full fledged blame session.
Now, have you ever noticed how quickly you can fall into that hellish labyrinth once you begin to blame? Me, too. Soon, I was even blaming Penny for my blaming her. Oh, boy. How complicated things can quickly become once you start to blame.
And ironic. Here I was talking about love and all and at the same time, internally "anal-yzing" Penny's character, half consciously searching for some way to justify my internal finger pointing.
Now, "anal-yzing" is something I rarely do these days, even when I see people in my professional capacity. In fact, in the rare instances in which this does happen, I know all too well I am doing it because something or someone has keyed me. I also know that anyone gets keyed, myself included, that their normal response is to blame whomever is currently n front of them. Being normal, I was blaming Penny.
Will I ever heal enough to stop blaming? Completely? I doubt it. After all, although, at times, I aspire to be one of those legendary "ball of light" beings, I know, all too well, I will never quite reach this point, at least not while I am in a physical body, anyway. Even so, the more I emerge from my BLocks, the more I am able to at least mentally recognize, and acknowledge, my urges to blame as the experience of being keyed.
On this day, then, and although it took me a while, eventually, I recognized that I was being keyed. And as soon as I saw this, although part of me still wanted to blame Penny, I could not keep doing it. After all, she clearly was doing nothing wrong. Even more important, see was not even aware she was affecting me this way.
Even now, I can see that moment. And no matter how many times I witness these wonderful moments, they still amaze me. How can people retain so much of what they see in these brief instants? In truth, I don't know. But even now, I can picture what I saw in that moment: I sense Penny's enthusiasm; I see myself turn my head up and to the left, searching for the words for the point I wanted to make; I see myself turn back to face her and in the instant just before I spoke; I see myself hear it; I see myself discover the key.
What was the key? What was it she had been doing which had been causing me so much discomfort?
The words she had been using to encourage me to say more!; "uh huh uh."
How dare she!
Of course, I'm laughing as I say this now, as once again I get to see how simple healing really is. Once more, I see that much of the pain and discomfort we call "dysfunction" is really just caused by our unconsciously reacting to some trivial, literally insignificant life event. Unseen, of course, we need an explanation and so, we blame whomever is in front of us.
So this was it? I had been getting mad because Penny was saying, "uh-huh-uh?"
Yes, this was it. Over and over again, in fact. And every time she had said "uh-huh-uh," I had felt what I call a "speed bump"; one of those moments of shocked annoyance.
How did I come to recognize this phrase as the key? I did what I call, an "allergy test." I kept narrowing down the time window in which I was going into shock until at last, I glimpsed the key itself.
Amazing. Even after years of finding keys, I still get amazed when I discover one. After all, how terrible is the phrase "uh huh uh?" Yet this seemingly innocuous little phrase was repeatedly piercing me to the heart.
All right; innocuous? I guess. But to be honest, at this point, I had all I could do to override my urges to blame Penny and to accept I was being keyed. After all, a good portion of me was still certain it was her causing my pain and that she was deliberately screwing with my head.
Thus, even knowing what I know about keys, it still took a lot of effort for me to admit I was being keyed, what with a loud voice inside me still telling me Penny was causing my pain.
It was her. But she was not causing my pain. She was simply waking it up. Thus, I knew in that moment that this pain she had been waking in me had simply been asleep in me for a long, long time. Further, as it turned out, this pain had been programed into me before she was even born, but at this point, I did not actually know this yet.
Now before going on with my story, I need to make an important point. This point is about when the healing actually begins. In truth, then, and although many people do not realize this, the healing actually begins in the moment in which you first recognize you are being keyed. In this case, I began to heal in the instant in which I recognized I was being keyed. Thus, my healing began in the instant in which I turned to face Penny and noticed my reaction to her saying "uh huh uh."
This conscious awareness that you are being keyed, then, is the first thing to emerge during the healing process. In fact, this shift from "blaming" to "knowing you are being keyed" is the way all genuine forgiveness begins.
Even more to the point, all healing actually begins in the first moment in which you can allow for the possibility that you are being keyed. It then deepens with the added realization that while you have this BLock, you will be unable to experience this person's innocence. Thus, you will still want to blame them for what you are feeling
I Ask Penny to "Do It To Me Again"
Fortunately for me, at the time of our meeting, Penny had been going to an Emergence Practitioner for awhile. Thus, I knew I could ask her to help me to heal without first having to go through a lengthy explanation as to what I was asking her to do and why. Thank God.
Even so, in truth, we had known each other all of a few hours, and I was about to do what is surely one of the most intimate kinds of personal work a person could do. Regardless, I decided to trust the Universe once more and to give it a try.
I began the process by letting Penny know exactly what I had been experiencing in that hour, at least the part about my wanting to blame her for something she was doing and my knowing it was not her. And to be honest, at this point, this was no easy thing to admit to her as I was still having urges to blame her for my pain.
In fact, what I actually did here was I simply used my head knowledge to override my urges to blame. Still, when I witnessed her delighted surprise, I knew I would have the strength to go on.
I asked her to help me.
Enthusiastically, she said yes, and so I went on to explain to her what an allergy test was; that for some strange reason, she held the key to my healing this BLock and that if she would repeat what she had been saying until I could stay conscious while she did it, that I would be able to heal this key.
Of course, at this point, I had no idea what the key was other than that it was something in the way Penny had saying "uh-huh-uh." I was not surprised when I then self examined for a moment and realized, I had also experienced this key in our last phone conversation as well.
At this point, I asked her if she would be willing to "do it to me again"; to say "uh-huh-uh." Unfortunately, the minute I asked, Penny began to enthusiastically repeat this to me with little to no space in between repetitions. God! I felt like someone was hammering me into the ground.
It was not her fault. Penny had never even heard of the "do it to me again" technique let alone done it herself, and she was merely trying to do it well. And she was! A little too well!
Once I explained to her, though, that each time I was keyed, I needed time in which to become conscious once, things went well, and we spent the next ten minutes or so trying to heal the key. Very quickly, I realized, it was not only the "uh-huh-uh" that was keying me. It was also the was she was saying it; the exact notes and accents.
Within minutes, then, my blame melted into sadness as I saw a scene from my early childhood emerge.
The Wounding Scene
What scene did I see? To begin with, it was one I had never seen before, although once I saw it, I recognized it as one I had always known about. (This recognition of the "known unknown" is one of the best ways to know something has emerged.)
As for the scene itself, in it, I am about two and a half and standing in a beautiful sunny room. Behind me and a little to the left is my father, who is standing and holding my sister Teresa in his arms.
In front of us, I sense a woman, standing and talking to my father. To this day, she remains unidentified, even after asking my father about her. All I am sure of is that she was a friend of my father's whom we had stopped by to see that day.
As the scene begins, I am looking down at a purplish Persian type carpet which ends a few feet in front of me in a beautiful cherry wood floor. I have hated Persian rugs, especially purplish ones, all my life. In the instant in which this scene emerged, I suddenly knew why.
I see an open window in front and to my left, with a breeze blowing gossamer whitish curtains into the room. Would you be surprised if I told you I have hated filmy white curtains like those all my life too?
I sense a tall tree standing right outside the window and furniture that was much nicer and more expensive than what we had in our home. But the woman is happy and I like her, and even now I feel entranced by the whole scene. In fact, I see this experience as that of "little boy wonder," something I had reclaimed in a previous emergence; I had reclaimed the ability to experience the feelings of awe at discovering the beauty in things in life. To this day, this awe is one of my favorite parts of me, although the man in me still squirms a little when I say such loving things about myself. The little boy in me just beams, though.
Now before you think this scene is a long involved one, know the whole scene takes but a single minute to transpire, beginning to end, including what I have already told you. In fact, most wounding scenes take only an instant to unfold. Still, the detail in these scenes is incredible and at times, I imagine this detail is the Universe's way to plaster these scenes with a bunch of post-it notes, literally the clues to where we need love the most.
Words! So many words! So what actually happened in this scene? What was it that wounded me?
A parrot. Not even a parrot. Just the parrot's voice, saying "uh-huh-uh!"
Oh, God, this was all it was! An instant in which a parrot screeched "uh-huh-uh!"
Yes. This was it. And as soon as I heard this sound consciously, I realized that as that little boy, I had become so transfixed by the beauty I saw in the room (so filled with little boy wonder) that I had never even noticed the parrot who was perched on a swing just a few feet in front of me.
What really got me, though, was that the parrot was on a swing which hung freely in the middle of the room. No cage! And when the bird suddenly announced to us that he wanted love and attention too, I got startled. And wounded. For the next forty something years.
In detail, then, in that instant, the one in which I got startled by the parrot's cry, I went from exploring the beautiful carpet to looking for the cause of the startling event. I simply looked up in an arc from the floor to the bird, similar to the arc I had been making when I had turned away from Penny to gather my thoughts . Then, when I realized the bird was not in a cage, I got even more afraid . And as my terrified little eyes fell on that big orange-ish yellow beak, I, in that moment, imagined that the parrot could, at any moment, swoop down and eat me alive!
What details had gotten poisoned on my journey to look up?
First, I saw the purplish Persian carpet. As I said, I have always hated those carpets, especially purple ones.
Next, the shorts I was wearing, little tan shorts. I have always hated shorts, especially tans ones.
Next, I saw the shirt I was wearing, a little short sleeve white shirt. I have always hated short sleeve shirts, especially white ones.
Then, as my head continued to swing upward in an arc, I vaguely saw the furniture in the far end of the room, some type of ornate, dark-oak furniture of a type I have also always hated. And I love furniture. Most of it anyway. I have even designed and built furniture at times in my life. But this type of furniture had always been on my "ugly" list. Or rather, my ability to see the beauty in it had always been BLocked.
Then I saw the curtains, blowing in the breeze. As I have already told you, I have hated that type of curtains for as long as I can remember.
Finally, I saw the vicious beast himself. I saw the parrot. But not the whole parrot. Just the big, huge, threatening, terrifying beak, opening wide once more as it uttered the dreaded announcement which I was certain meant he was about to swoop down and eat me.
The announcement? "Uh-huh-uh!"
What Actually Changed?
At this point, my eyes filled with tears, as I continued, in that coffee shop, to relive this painful scene from my early childhood and as I continued to reclaim my ability to see the beauty in each of these things. I sometimes think, this is what causes us to cry in times of grief. In those times, we see a beauty we have never seen before. Even more, we also realize how much we have missed out on from not having been able to see it.
And of course, the longer I sat in front of Penny, the more I saw the beauty in her, a beauty that to this day, I continue to enjoy.
What, then, had actually changed in me? In a way, a whole area of my life.
For one thing, had I not known to ask Penny to do that allergy test with me, I would have, in all likelihood, left not liking her, and this would have been a great loss for me, to be sure.
I would have also continued to see Persian rugs, especially purple ones, as the sign that the people who owned them were ugly. No exaggeration. How sad for me.
And what about people who wear tan shorts? I suddenly remembered seeing my father wearing tan shorts a few years ago and thinking at the time, they, and he, were ugly. God. How sad. For both of us.
And what about white short sleeve shirts? Have you any idea of how many times I have judged a man as stupid or less than me because he was wearing a short sleeved white shirt. God, what a waste.
And bird's beaks? I realize now that there were many times wherein I was sitting meditation atop the small mountain near my home, when the hawks have flown in close to get a look at me and where I now feel wonder, I had felt terror. I also remember times at zoos wherein I would say I was bored when coming to the bird section. I never understood what other people were so fascinated by.
All this hate from a single startling moment. All this suffering from a single instant in which I went from feeling awe and wonder to feeling shock and terror. And this single moment had programmed all this hate and fear into my nature without me having a single moment of awareness it had happened let alone a sense of the loss.
And the Sister Part?
In the beginning, I told you that one reason I tell this story is because it is the only example I know of in which two children get the same BLock in the same moment. So what happened to my sister?
Months after Penny helped me to emerge from this BLock, I visited my family. And as I drove the eight hundred mile journey and as I anticipated telling them, I processed this BLock even more.
What happened when I told them? My father remembered none of it, not the day nor who the woman was we were visiting that day. My hunch is, it was his friend Blanche. But I will never be sure. No matter. My healing is genuine no matter who it was.
And when I told my sister, Teresa, in the midst of a great dinner in one of Charleston's finest restaurants, what did she remember?
She, too, remembered nothing. But as I went on to tell her the story which I have just told you, when I got to the part about the sound the parrot made, the instant I repeated this sound out loud, she immediately stared into the air and said, "I hate that sound." And once again, my eyes filled with tears, as I realized that we had yet another thing which connects us; we had suffered the exact same wound.
And what about the other keys in my story, the rug and the shorts and the furniture and window curtains? None of these things had become poisoned for her. Only the sound of the parrot had become tainted. After all, at the time, she was being held in my father's arms, so she did not have to look up at all to see the source of the sound. She was already at eye level when the bird had squawked at us its loud request t us for love.
And even as I write this, I can still see the shock in my sister's eyes as I parroted the key to her. Uh-huh-uh!
(Direct Emergence - a Quik Summary)