Healing Past Life Memory

Carol Lamb, founder of Rainbow Light Foundation, author of Born Remembering talks about the release of emotional energy in her latest interview about Soul Journeys.

What was particularly interesting to me this time, (the information Carol has been giving on blog talk radio and now you tube is cumulative) was when she explained how it works. How it’s the healing that proves the story.

This resonated with me deeply, as since childhood my life has been marred or marked (there is always a choice in perception) by a disturbing past life memory of violent death. Finally, (finally!) at the age of fifty I had reason to believe I actually learned the circumstances, as well as the name and age of the girl whose experience I seemed to be remembering in dreams and later in paintings. Suddenly things began to fall into place.

Reconstructing a memory of a childhood drawing by N. Wait

Reconstructing a memory of a childhood drawing by N. Wait

This was back in 2001 when I was in the process of writing a memoir, and though it now made utter and complete sense of my story, I hesitated to proclaim this new knowledge of a soul connection. I mean, I had no proof, did I. I had no memories of the girl’s life or where she lived. All I had was a scalding memory of death.

During the next ten years of writing, I tried the book both with and without the presence of this soul memory, and found my story only made sense when I included the memory. And because it was this recognition of a soul memory that solved the mystery of my experience, I subtitled the book, The Memoir That Solved A Mystery.

The Nancy Who DrewNevertheless, when I published The Nancy Who Drew (2011) I did feel I was going out on a limb.

But not any more.

Paranormal Matters Radio Show; Freeing the mind from the prison of human perception.

Paranormal Matters Radio Show; Freeing the mind from the prison of human perception.

Aside from getting used to the idea over time, I have been listening regularly to Paranormal Matters and finding that my memories are not so unusual after all. It didn’t matter to me that a huge percentage of the global population believes in reincarnation; what has seemed to require courage has been making it personal, with names and dates.

“It’s the healing that proves the story; an exchange of energy occurs in the process, but there has to be a letting go.”

And now, what has made the difference is hearing Carol Lamb tell a story in her recent interview about the healing that occurs in recognizing past life memories. She speaks of the process of recognition, and how there is an energy exchange. What she calls “An alchemical change in energy.” She adds, perhaps most importantly, “But there also has to be a letting go in order for this to occur.”

So now I ask myself, was I healed by the memory? Was there an energy exchange? Did I let go?

Well, let us say it’s a process. Because I am currently engrossed in the sequel which deals with painting my inner life. And through the art of writing, which involves knowing consciously what my subconscious and my dreams knew all along, I have of necessity kept the past alive in my emotional body in order to share the story with others.

Writing and painting, when they delve into deeper layers of truth within, also cause “an alchemical change in energy.” 

There’s a tremendous amount of trust that goes in to undertaking a soul journey. If and when you recognize (or think you might be recognizing) a feeling or an experience from a past life but are not sure whether to trust or believe it, the answer will be in the healing of your experience, as Carol tells us.

And what I have been learning through the course of my sojourn, is how art, and now writing, are ways to know myself, and to know what I know. Creating these pictures and writings have been ways of putting the story and the feelings outside myself. This, and  the sharing of the work, are the ways I continue to let go…

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The Self-P and the Self-E

Selfies (The Self-P is for Self-Portrait. Self-portraits were the first selfies, pre-dating them by hundreds of years. Plus they took a lot longer.)

Lately I’ve been picturing dualities with the app Pic Collage, showing the difference between outer and inner selves. Which is only natural since my second memoir (in progress) is about the time I first looked (deeply) within. My tool was a paint brush, which being a lefty, was held in my left-hand. Thus with the act of painting, no less than with the hand I used, I bypassed left-brain and right-side and went straight to my intuition. I say “I” did this, but I had no control over it. It was more a case of allowing “it” to show me what I really felt and saw.
So with these two shots I am showing a self-portrait on the left done in 1987 shortly after I had come through a big hurdle. (It felt like the ring of fire.) And unlike my earlier self-portraits, I don’t appear angry or fearful, but solid and strong.

Also determined! Because after coming through that hurdle, I had been given a brand new assignment: to tell the story of how I arrived at the hurdle and how I got through it.

I took the selfie on the right with my webcam in 2011, shortly after I published my first memoir, The Nancy Who Drew; The Memoir That Solved A Mystery. I was in the front room where it got all the afternoon light, and well, you can see how light I felt! So in a way these are “before” and “after” shots. But in this case, the before shot was certainly not something I wanted to put behind me as less-than, or a look that needed improvement in any way. Perish the thought! What I had been through showed in my face – and that’s good!
I like seeing these two different sides taken 23 years apart, as a reminder of the inner-self who brought forth the woman on the right who could take such a picture of joy and lightness.
I’m working through another big hurdle now, writing the sequel, which deals specifically with the situation I faced in ‘87. The first book ended with my return to New York from London after I gave up my acting career (along with a few other things besides). This second one is about the next ten years, the years I was a painter and what it all led to. Which was namely the year 1987…and realizing it was time to stop painting, and write what the paintings meant… It’s 350 pages so far, and with every revision the story becomes more clear…

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En Pointe!

watercolor and pencil by Nancy Wait 2015

watercolor and pencil by Nancy Wait 2015

Me, dancing on my toes? I’d have to be dreaming. And actually I was. Dreaming I was in ballet shoes. Then, to my utter astonishment, my heels lifted off the ground and I was dancing en pointe! Even twirling a bit! My body felt light as a feather. There was no struggle, no pain, just this beautiful feeling of UP!

I might easily have forgotten the dream when I awoke.  It might have slipped away on gossamer wings as dreams often do, not being solid enough for this reality. But not this time. I know it was because of what I had been doing before I fell asleep. Uploading some files into my Dropbox. Ah… UP-loading…

And not just any files. These were from the course I am taking in the Quantum Light Programme at Rainbow Light Foundation.

It was one of those days when my foot had been cramping. I felt it when I got out of bed, and later that morning when I was riding the Path train to New Jersey. There were plenty of seats but I had to stand on the Path (train) to get the cramp out. A few hours later when I was home again I checked my email before heading off for a snooze, and saw the new course files had arrived from my tutor at Quantum Light. I was too dozy to read anything but the titles before uploading them for later.

The titles were as follows: “Current and Far Memory,” “Cellular Memory,” and “Positional Memory.” All three parts came under the heading of Module Five. (It struck me later how there are “five” “positions” in ballet…)

Ah, memory… Current or far, cellular or positional… you are there. Reminding me of the day half a century ago when I auditioned for the American School of Ballet. A plump, flat-footed ten-year old dreaming of becoming a ballerina.  Though I wasn’t athletic and had never been to a dance class, I was quite expressive as I danced and twirled and leapt around the living room to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, waving a long chiffon scarf in the air. I couldn’t manage a cartwheel or get my body to dive into the pool without doing a belly flop, but I had a feel for “the dance.”

Going to the open auditions at the ballet school was my mother’s idea. She said experience didn’t matter; they were looking for potential. Once we got there and I saw the other girls (hundreds of them) practicing at the bar – thin girls with long legs and long necks and long hair pulled tightly back in a bun, I must have known they wouldn’t pick me. The only surprise when the rejection letter arrived in the mail a few weeks later, was the information that I had flat feet. My mother didn’t believe it. She thought they’d made a mistake, and carted me off to the pediatrician to have the news refuted. Instead, it was confirmed. The doctor put on a grave face as he warned me that if I didn’t start wearing corrective shoes I would have backache in my fifties. This never happened. Instead of wearing corrective insteps I wore platform shoes and stilettoes. (And had cramp.)

But I would also carry with me the day I was taken into the interview room with George Balanchine. They all spoke Russian. I didn’t know what they were saying. I only knew that I was being studied and pointed at. My calves especially. I didn’t know who Balanchine was in those days, but later I saw his photo, and saw him on TV, and recognized him as the man who had touched my leg and found it wanting.

That was the end of my dancing ambitions. Though I made a go of it in small parts in musicals during my theatrical days, I lacked the necessary stamina as well as the correct bone structure. But never mind. Fifty-some years later my flat feet would go into vertical mode and spin me around. A beautiful dream, yes.

And maybe it was more than a dream. Maybe it was a memory, too. Because when I woke from my nap I remembered the titles – past life memories and such – of the Quantum Light materials that had arrived in my inbox, and I hurried off to take a look. To read how subconscious memories are held within the subtle energy fields. And soul memories exist at the cellular level, within the physical body…

I have no conscious memory as a ballerina in a past life. But the dream of dancing en pointe showed me that I knew how to do it. Whether or not my physical brain remembered, there was a memory in my light body. Perhaps a cellular memory of another time, another place. A memory of lightness, and being light on my feet, that was prodded into awareness the day I took the Path train to New Jersey and back, and had cramp, and uploaded some files about past life memory. Then closed my eyes and dreamed of lift-off and spin. The ease and familiarity, the joy of it!

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A Post-Shame Point of View

close to the boneI read this book, Close to the Bone, back when I was first beginning to write memoir. It is excellent. Here are a few quotes from the Introduction by editor Laurie Stone:

“The memoirists I find inspiring have mined self-knowledge and come clean with the goods…

“Most memoirs fail as literature because their authors mistake their experience for a story rather than search out the story in their experience…

“What matters in the memoir, as in fiction, is the degree of insight and drama…

“The challenge is to write about shame from a post-shame point of view, to enter an ego-free zone, cleared of mirror-worship and whining, to walk out naked and speak intimately… rather the teller sets up the self as a lab rat and mounts folly and error as exhibits that can be surrounded, poked. The project is to winnow romance and vanity from the way others see the self…

“With self-scrutiny the teller transforms blunders into the only shapely and reliably honorable offering that can be made of such materials: art.”

Isn’t that great? I thought so. I read this book almost 20 years ago and Stone’s Introduction has stayed with me. I especially love this line (about after you’ve written your story):

What’s left is a voice that may once have told its story as a weeper but now knows, ineluctably, it is threaded with comedy.

Yes! When I was in grad school (2001) and read a particular excerpt aloud to an audience, a passage that to me had been heart-wrenching, tragic even – they roared with laughter! I couldn’t believe it! Why were they laughing at my pain… Well, that was then and this is now… And only time could bring me to the point where, if I couldn’t laugh at myself, I could at least see why others thought it funny.

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Me and My Shadow (Self)

Self-Portrait and Photo, 1979, Nancy Wait

Self-Portrait and Photo, 1979, Nancy Wait

I call these pictures Me and My Shadow.

One is a photo and the other is a self-portrait.

We might call them inner self and outer self.

Each has its own truth.

In each duo the photo was taken around the same time the self-portrait was painted. They don’t even look like the same person. But they are.

⇐ The first one took place in 1978-79.

Outer Self and Inner Self, 1982, Nancy Wait

Outer Self and Inner Self, 1982, Nancy Wait

⇓ The second duo is from 1982-83. As you can see, outwardly I didn’t change much—both photos show a confident looking woman, smiling and happy, pleased to smile at the camera. And inwardly—(me looking in the mirror, trying to give an accurate portrayal of the face staring back at me) I didn’t change much either!

In the first one with beret and glasses I look shy and afraid. In the second one I look terrified. Startled, fearful, even angry, and totally intense. And all I was seeing was my own self. In the mirror.

At the time, when I showed these portraits to people, especially the second one, I felt the need to explain that painting is an extremely intense activity, and that’s why I came out looking the way that I did.

17th Century self-portrait

17th Century self-portrait

But these were early days, and if I had been more adept at my craft I might have been able to alter my expression for the canvas, perhaps coming across as cool and serene as this woman artist perhaps?

And now something else has come to mind.

Because on the one hand, I’ve been writing memoir for many years, getting to know myself in a much deeper way. Unraveling events and thoughts I had about myself and my relationships, delving into areas I was only semi-conscious of at the time, if at all.

That’s on the one hand. And on the other hand, I’ve been learning about the “subtle energy body” through this course in the Quantum Light Programme. So now, when I look at the dichotomy between the photos and the self-portraits, I’m thinking the paintings capture an image of my “emotional body.” The unresolved conflicts, the unacknowledged traumatic memories I’d shelved for convenience sake. And not only memories of this current life-time. For I had an as yet unknown appointment to keep with the memory of traumatic death in a past-life.

What astonishes me is how the terror showed in my face. The feelings were buried, unobtainable, forgotten, yet very much alive in the subtle body… in a not so subtle way…

self-portrait tinted blue, by Nancy Wait 1982

self-portrait tinted blue, by Nancy Wait 1982

It’s good to want to be happy, and it’s good to let go of the past.

And it’s even better to let go of the past when you understand what it is you’re releasing. Lest it stare back at you, uncomprehending, as my shadow did to me.

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Stopping the Judging

So many things I once thought I did “wrong” – turned out to “right” – in the end. Or right for me. It’s the judgments that got in the way. And they’ve been getting in the way again now I’m writing part 2 of my personal story. (Oh you can’t tell this – what will people think?) Of course “people” will think whatever they want and my job has always been to come up with good writing. But then I came to another stumbling block with an episode I’ve been struggling with for ages – a relationship that didn’t make sense.

I know relationships don’t have to make sense (they are what they are / it is what it is) – but I’m talking about real craziness here, the kind bordering on insanity. (I know, another judgment!) And then last week I happened to hear the definition of a twin flame, and suddenly I knew that’s what it was – so it was okay. Crazy was expected. Insanity par for the course.

Once I accepted that irrational went with the territory, I plunged in again – this time with enthusiasm. Yet now that I am almost at the end of the chapter (titled “Cruel Happiness”) a new judgment has popped in. Such melodrama!

I shuddered at all the drama. But I couldn’t change the facts because it was a true story. And living a drama  or being in a drama has come to have such negative connotations. It was true back in the 80s too, when this took place.

Still, I was glad to come up with this label of melodrama. If you’re writing a story, you want to tell people where it takes place. Are you at the seaside? Are you in the city? The park? A room somewhere? Being in a melodrama is a place too.

But now I wanted a quote about it. Something that would give the reader the idea that I knew where I was aside from geographic placement. And Google came up with this brilliant line from Lillian Hellman:

If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy, then you will probably write melodrama.

I especially liked the part about being at nobody’s mercy… (not even the angels this time).

In the end it’s whatever gets you over the hump or on to the next chapter. And for me, instead of all this cringing going on, I’m feeling excited again. (Head up, shoulders back.) Living out a melodrama was hell to go through, and writing about it has been just as hellish. But hallelujah to taking a risk. And hallelujah to being young. And hallelujah to being older and remembering being young without cringing at the memory.

Or am I being too melodramatic…

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The Earrings

I took the subway and spent the day wandering around the city, having a slice of pizza here, a coffee there. Buying a new pair of shoes here, a new mascara and a bar of chocolate there. I rode on the bus and took in the buildings we passed, taking note of windows  and doorways, and watched the people passing by. I looked at the cars and the buses, the taxis and the trucks. I was aware of being in a great metropolis, and took it in, though in an impersonal way. A non-committal sort of way, as if I hadn’t spent most of my life in the city. If I had to say what I was feeling, I would call it a kind of detached amusement.

Pencil drawing by N.Wait

Pencil drawing by N.Wait

Late in the afternoon I found myself walking along Upper Broadway, passing a small shop window filled with Indian-type jewelry. I stopped for a moment to look. There was a large assortment of rings and bracelets and intricate silver necklaces, but I was only interested in the earrings. I saw a pair of dangly silver ones with a turquoise stone that I liked, so I went inside to ask the price. A bell tinkled when I opened the door. It was a tiny shop. There was no one there but a woman in a sari standing behind the glass counter. She smiled at me as I came in. Or rather, her face lit up, causing me to wonder if I had been the only customer that day. I smiled back. She wasn’t young, somewhere in her forties I would have thought. Her long sleek black hair fell in a thick braid down her back. I pointed to the earrings in the window and asked if she could bring them in for me to see.

Pencil drawing by N.Wait

Pencil drawing by N.Wait

“Yes, yes, of course,” she said, nodding. She lay the earrings down on the counter. “Please, why don’t you try them on?” she said. “I’m sure they will look very pretty on you.”

I picked them up and held them to my ears as I looked in the mirror and turned my face from side to side. She said, “If you don’t like these I’ve got plenty more for you to chose from!”

“Oh, no, that’s okay,” I said. They were only seven-fifty. A bargain. But did I really need a new pair of earrings? I put them back down on the glass counter. I was thinking of buying them, or at least I think I was thinking of buying them, because new earrings always gave me a lift, but she kept going on about their merits as if they were unusual, one of a kind. Which they were not. I had seen similar ones being sold on the street, those sidewalk displays you always seemed to run into. Yet on and on she went, extolling their merits, saying how they suited me, and what a good price. If only she would have stopped talking and left me alone with them for a moment. I think I would have bought them then. They were simple, just my style. But she wouldn’t stop talking. And suddenly I had to get away from her voice. I told myself it was her voice, her lilting accent, but it was really her neediness. I couldn’t stand her neediness.

“Perhaps some other time,” I said. “I’ll have to think about it.”

The warm open smile vanished and the light went out of her eyes. She looked crestfallen. Her skin became taught as her face seemed to close in on itself. Her naked disappointment was almost too much to bear. I felt ashamed. I almost said, never mind—I’ll take the earrings. But it was too late. She was resigned to her failure and I had to get out of there. I picked up my shopping bag and mumbled a thank you. The tinkle of the bell sounded when I opened the door and hurried out to the street.

I tried to talk myself out of feeling guilty as I walked to the subway, telling myself it was ridiculous for me to think I had to buy the earrings just to make the shop owner happy. But of course she wasn’t just a shop owner. She was somebody’s mother, somebody’s wife. No, that wasn’t it. Well it was, in the sense she was a person. But she wasn’t just any person. She was someone whose face lit up when I came into the shop. As if my presence made a difference. Who else had been happy to see me that day? No one. If only she hadn’t been so desperate. I could easily have bought the earrings for seven-fifty and made her happy. If only she hadn’t been so eager for me to buy! Been so obvious about it!

I was still justifying myself and trying to put her face out of my mind when I went down into the subway. I was dying to get home. Home was where I could close the door and get out my paints. I would do a watercolor when I got home. But by the time I got home I was still feeling guilty, saying to myself, for what? A pair of earrings I didn’t buy? I couldn’t stop seeing the change in her expression. How her face literally seemed to fall because of me. She shouldn’t have given me so much power. I shouldn’t have gone in there in the first place. The whole thing had been a mistake. But since I had gone in, did I have to buy something? Yet it would have made her happy.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized it wasn’t just her neediness, it was mine too. The look I saw on her face, so blatant with no effort to hide it, reminded me how I felt when I wanted someone to buy my work or give me a commission. And before that, when I was an actress and I wanted them to give me the part. To say yes, you’re the one we want. You. The desperate need to be wanted. Hating my own neediness. Despising my dependency. So I had learned to hide it. I had developed an air of detachment. I pretended to find the whole thing amusing. Comme ci, comme ça. Take it or leave it. Either way was fine with me. Why couldn’t that woman do it too? She should. She really should. Someone should tell her.

January 1986

(Excerpt from my new memoir-in-progress)

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