WHY the name of this site.
The story I’m about to share took place so long ago, and much has happened since then. I’ll tell most of the story as a whimsical tale, which I hope may soften your heart.
First, context: therapist’s office. Dark books line dark walls around an invisible (to my memory) sofa. Therapist has tall, curly hair and a yellow tablet in hand. He’s patient while I do my best to simply stay in the room.
The self I remember there is small and anxious, nervous eyes darting around. She is deeply out of place, not just there, but in the whole of a life she once wished for. Ingratitude? Maybe. Guilt? Certainly. Health: poor. Family: turbulent. And why does no one else share her sense of urgency?!
🙂 I’m so thankful she found herself there.
Some seek therapy to change themselves, some to change situations. I wanted not to change myself so much as to make sense of myself, and to receive permission to change my situation. As it turns out, what I needed mostly was space. And space was actually something therapy could teach: ways to contact space in thinking, in words, in expectations and desires. Also in others, from time to time. I learned to expect to be listened to, and to slow ‘it all’ down with simple rituals, like tea.
Originally, I sought someone with hypnosis expertise. I envisioned he would put me under, speak to me positively/fill me with empowering ideas, then voila! I’d emerge with the confidence (but without the recklessness) one can have after a few drinks. Instead, along with asking good questions, my therapist burned a guided meditation onto CD. It was a visualization of support, building layers of ground beneath me. It was a stance from which he hoped I would locate a sense of stability.
After a while, I did start to notice some things:
1 – First, I noticed that I could see farther. While I was driving especially, or out and about, my world no longer felt as familiar. My sense of
distance was clearer, and I could see in more colorful detail.
2 – Then, lines weren’t as much of a burden. Rather than restlessness waiting in the many lines my life entails, I could locate ease there, even pleasure, simply taking in surroundings. I stopped feeling I was taking up too much space by just being in the room, or being in others’ way.
I sought out other visualizations… more esoteric and elaborate, which were relaxing, sometimes emotionally moving, but not personal. There felt to be some ceiling still; some part of me couldn’t experience the support as real.
Then I encountered Eckhart Tolle.
What I find odd now, is that I had blazed through books about mind-body connections for many years by this time, but Tolle’s simple guidance to notice breath at natural openings proved revolutionary. Primed by therapy, I was especially receptive to suggestions like counting breaths at stoplights, which could be easily incorporated and kept private. It became a secret affair I was carrying on. Perhaps the timing was also right because more people were meditating. The conversation was in the air.
It’s hard to pinpoint how long this phase went on before I began noticing other changes, like laughing louder (and more, according to my children), but I knew I was on the cusp of something even more durable.
I was content with progress I made that year of therapy, especially learning how to make retreat zones when necessary, out of thin air. A vast new world of curiosities had opened before my eyes.
So, I quit. Hah. Sigh.
True, I hadn’t conquered anxiety nor faced the family issues yet, but I reasoned those changes would come in time, now that I had these new tools and outlook. I still retained a dualistic religious ‘redemption’ mindset, though. Every insight and step upward felt earth shattering, so I harbored lingering fear that having climbed so far, I would slide down the chute again. I was looking for the catch. What would life now ask back of me in exchange?
I wobbled… got distressed… struggled more with my health again…
But one day shoe shopping with my daughter, wandering the wide aisles of a DSW store (the most ordinary thing in the world), this happened:
I noticed I was not thinking.
It wasn’t that I’d gone on auto-pilot into memories or daydreaming at all, but that a quality of mind vividly different from anything encountered before was quietly acknowledged. Unique from spiritual experiences I’d had during my later teen years – dramatic visions and insights — this was utterly non-intrusive.
I’ve came to describe it as happening upon sky.
The act of noticing at some point did bring thinking back – but not right away, and that which re-entered didn’t lessen awareness. It somehow sat alongside it like a stealthy, big-eyed cat.
I almost wanted to turn to a person near me and ask “Did you see that?!” But instead I stood in that spot grinning, until my daughter was ready to go, basking in how normal this awareness was. I didn’t know I hadn’t experienced normal before.
Wondering where the Singing Gecko part of the story is? We’re here! 🙂
The changes flowing from the openness moment just described were subtle. I wanted to read more, meditate more, ‘just be’ more. I wanted to enjoy the breezy new energy circulating through my world.
But we’d bought a big older house needing constant repairs and improvements, taking up a lot of attention. The work was enjoyable, but felt endless, always something to work on next. The backyard of the house had been especially neglected, trees growing without trimming or care, and an old black olive tree just outside the bedroom had grown too large for its space. Branches left streaks as they scraped against the roof, and roots endangered the home’s foundation.
But the tree also provided shade from the intense Florida sunshine, a home for our orchids, and a fine resting spot for a wide variety of birds.
Along with :::drumroll:::: a gecko.
A loud gecko.
A loud gecko who, every night when I would settle into bed, would make a loud and horrible noise —> something like >rwaaaaaaaak< >rwaaaaaaaak< >rwaaaaaaak<.
I saw it just once, and couldn’t believe the giant sound came from such a tiny creature!
This went on for weeks. Some nights I was awake in tears, pleading into the air, “Please, please stop…” to no avail. During the day I leaned on friends’ sympathy so hard that the gecko became daily news. I even wrote in my journal, “I’m sure he’s here to teach me something if I’ll just let him.”
Not realizing it was a prayer.
I don’t think it was that very night, but it could have been…
I fell deeply asleep quite early, and at some point in dreams began to be stirred by the most astoundingly beautiful music I’d ever experienced. I lingered in it, relishing the way I couldn’t tell if the music was inside or outside — a layered, heavenly symphony I wished would go on and on.
I remember trying to balance attention so that I was neither too awake nor too asleep, hoping to stay there in that perfect state, but daylight was persistent.
As I reluctantly woke, the music began to change, warping into a different sound… one I thought I recognized. It was…
Sigh. Yes, there it was.
I then came completely to myself and into my room, except not then hearing the >rwaaaaaak<, alone. I could also hear, as if alongside, this deep and ethereal music. I couldn’t hate it anymore.
But you know, just like that, the next night the gecko was gone! Or, at least gone from our tree.
This is my favorite story to share, because most people can relate to some moment like this, where life, what is important about life and being human, is apparent. We can’t create these moments, but we can soften our hearts to receive them.
Here is a fascinating link that showed up in my life later: Someone Recorded Crickets then Slowed Down the Track, And It Sounds Like Humans Singing
“Composer Jim Wilson has recorded the sound of crickets and then slowed down the recording, revealing something so amazing. The crickets sound like they are singing the most angelic chorus in perfect harmony. Though it sounds like human voices, everything you hear in the recording is the crickets themselves.”
Just, I mean, Wow.
One of the richest places for dream or meditative practices, is in what some traditions call the amrit vela (nectar veil). Sikhs call it the ‘hour of God’. It is around 3 or 4 am, when barriers are softer, before we’ve put on our roles and agendas. It seems to be a natural ‘thin place’ opening for many people.
In my hynopopic state, the gecko transformed from a nuisance that didn’t fit in to my plans nor benefit my life, into a pure blessing ~ a guide who further lowered my guard to trust what Life is doing.