Preparing for Pilgrimage | The Little Soul
"Once upon no time there was a Little Soul who said to God, 'I know who I am!' And God said, 'That’s wonderful! Who are you?' And the Little Soul shouted, 'I’m the Light!' God smiled with a big smile. 'That’s right!' God exclaimed. 'You are the Light.' The Little Soul was so happy, for it had figured out what all the souls in the Kingdom were there to figure out. 'Wow,' said the Little Soul, 'this is really cool!”' But soon, knowing who it was was not enough. The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was. And so the Little Soul went back to God and said, 'Hi, God! Now that I know Who I Am, is it okay for me to be it?' And God said, 'You mean you want to be Who You Already Are?'" -The Little Soul and the Sun, by Neal Donald Walsh
Yesterday as I was happily crunching the fall leaves on my walk home, my two-year-old self reared up on my left asking, “Can we talk tonight?” I didn’t see her but I could make out her little energetic shadow skipping next to me. That night before bed, she shyly admitted that she was afraid of the trip. “There’s gonna be new people, and places and things that I don’t know.” "You’re right" I said, slowly nodding my head up and down. “But you know what? There’s gonna be new people and places and things!” I said excitedly. She stared at my enthusiasm, sucking her thumb with wide eyes. I continued, "But I get it, New can be scary."
I moved to Orcas Island a few years ago intent on building my business, living in nature and finding myself. This involved walking away from relationships that no longer served me and walking towards a life that was more in line with my values. Once I figured out what those values were, exactly.
Over time, my sleep suffered, and I intuitively knew that something was surfacing inside. I could feel it in my body. With help, I recognized my symptoms as PTSD. I went to a doctor who specialized in trauma and I decided to undergo, EMDR—eye movement desensitization and reprocessing—in order to stop the alarms in my body that were still going off from a rape that happened in my teenage years. That’s when I met “Little Sally.”
One night when I couldn’t sleep, I noticed a tiny girl sitting below the left side of my bed with her legs drawn up. This was a living picture of me, when I used to hide in my closet growing up. I put on my best chaplain’s demeanor and got still. She didn’t want to talk, or she couldn’t, or she would be in trouble. Upon hearing this, my heart sunk. After a few minutes of tense silence, Little Sally finally said, “I don’t want to pet Uncle Jules stick anymore.” Ah…wow. And with my heart breaking, I proceeded to explain to Little Sally how sorry I was, how her secret was safe with me, and how adults shouldn’t act that way. Ever. I barely moved or breathed, and I poured as much love and compassion as I could into as few words as possible to free her from the grips of her frozen fear.
In the EMDR sessions, I was able to witness scenes of the abuse, like slowing a movie strip down to its essential frames. My body was getting the crucial time stamp it needed to begin to reset and restructure. It was exhausting and I experienced “the terrors” soon after. I learned that the abuse went on for four years. I finally found the basis for all of that latent anxiety, and the shame! More importantly, I now had the last puzzle piece to make sense of my fragmented emotional story.
Back in bed, after talking to Little Sally about how it’s ok to say and feel whatever you feel, I decide to read her the book The Little Soul and the Sun. With her fast asleep, I talked to Jesus about my “hi-low” from the day and prayed. I admitted my fears about the trip and my longing to feel more whole. He told me that “all will be well” which sounds suspiciously like something you’d say to a two year old. Just before I noded off to sleep, I heard him say, “You’ve never been anything but whole to me.”