Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Tunnel

Around ten years ago I was living in Wellington, well, in Northland, Wellington anyway and I was lonely.
So, I tried attending a meditation evening because, hey, it seemed cheap and maybe was a good place to meet people. The course was run by two lovely women, who both worked as "fortunetellers" so, as it turned out, it wasn't the kind of meditation I expected.
We looked for our totem animals. We regressed ourselves. We had allergic reactions to incense that were taken to be extremely meaningful.
Pretty much every week someone would see a historic figure in the corner... in fact many weeks there seemed to be dozens.
When they began talking about our alien overlords (oh you think I'm kidding, but I'm really not) I finally stopped going.
Although I am making (I hope gentle) fun of the group, in reality we were all lonely women (I think a guy came in once for a few minutes, but he might have been looking for the restroom), searching for someone to pay just a little scrap of attention to us and in that sense, the classes were wonderful. We all turned out to be Ancient Egyptian princesses after all.

Anyway. This long winded explanation is to justify why I was sitting in a Spiritualist church one particular night. I was there with one of the group leaders, a very sweet woman who I considered a friend. I don't remember much of the ceremony, although I don't think it was strictly Wiccan... It was a bit of a hodgepodge of different religions. Nice, friendly people.
At the end of the mass, a few of the psychics in the congregation stood up and did impromptu readings for the crowd. They would point at someone and expound on the ghosts surrounding them, or predict their future, or talk about angels or whatever.
Both times I was there I got picked on (the first time by my friend who explained to me that there were faeries all around me. Made my next shower a delightful adventure).
Now, I've just done my best to explain that I don't really believe this stuff now. I have developed a healthy skepticism (not that I was being taken for a ride... meditation "class" was ten dollars and I was pretty much getting out of it what I wanted).
But, I still remember what the second woman told me. She was standing up and got me to stand as well. She was across the crowded room from me, but maybe she could see my face clearly, because she told me that I was going through a tunnel.
She said I had a dark tunnel to go through and that it would take years, but that one day I would come out the end of it.
That's it. Not a huge insight, I mean, I was a teenager, of course I was going through a dark tunnel.
Later, I found her at the tea and biscuits table and asked her if there would be anyone waiting for me at the end of the tunnel (of course... I was a teenager!).
She looked very upset and shrugged, and said maybe and apologized for giving me such a depressing reading. I think that might have been what made it stick in my mind. Most of the readings I've seen (not a lot, to tell the truth) have some kind of upbeat end. They want to give you hope and make you feel special, because that's the drug. It's what keeps you coming back (I know this doesn't apply to all of you who work in that business and I don't mean to disparage individuals, many of whom genuinely want to help people). 
She gave me no hope.

Every now and then, since that time, I have looked about my life and asked myself, am I still in the tunnel? And then I would say, yes.
Sure, there's been good bits, bloody marvelous bits in fact, and even the bad bits have their uses I have to admit. I am trying to write poetry after all.
But, that's a long, long goshdarn tunnel. More than ten years worth of tunnel. It's dark and confusing and sad all the time. All the time.

Today, under the lowering clouds, in my cold, still bare room, with a niggling backache, and a dying cellphone I had to admit something to myself.
I'm through the tunnel. My lovely flatmate offered me balm for my back. The weather broke free long enough for me to run to the Farmer's Market (the one on Willis) and buy some lovely late watermelon that tastes like candy. I've only been on holiday for a few days and I already miss my classes.
Somehow I managed to keep my eyes peeled for the light, scramble over the slimy rocks and through the... OK, sorry, you get the idea. Anyway.
I'm through the damn tunnel.


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